Owens Community College is looking for a great communicator.
“We need someone who can communicate internally and externally, someone who will be willing to listen to opposing views,” said Michael Schmitz, a buildings and grounds worker at Owens.
“Communication during the 10 years I've been here has been one-way, from the top down,” he said yesterday at a forum dedicated to the college's search for a new president.
Owens is looking for a successor to Daniel Brown, its leader since 1984 who will retire May 31.
Public forums at the Owens campuses in Perrysburg Township and Findlay were held yesterday to provide insight into the challenges and opportunities facing the institution, as well as to identify characteristics for its next president.
Two smaller focus groups comprised of selected faculty and administrators met for similar discussions.
A top priority for participants was finding a candidate who is a consensus-builder and who communicates well with the college and surrounding community.
“I think their interpersonal skills are more important than a doctorate,” said Dave Matheny, an assistant professor of transportation technologies.
Many participants agreed they would cast a wide net when looking for candidates, but they would prefer a president who has a doctorate and some experience as an administrator at a community college.
“It would be nice if this person had a faculty point of view,” said Hod Doering, an assistant professor of computer information systems.
Narcisa Polonio, a consultant from the Association of Community College Trustees who is assisting with the search, said the vast majority of today's community college presidents have doctorate degrees. Mr. Brown has a master's degree from the University of Toledo. Other qualities discussed included the ability to delegate authority and plan strategically for the future when the college's enrollment levels off following years of growth. Enrollment at Owens is about 17,000
Input from the sessions will be used to draft advertisements and a brochure for the position, Dr. Polonio said. The college hopes to place ads in January and select a president by July 1, she said.
Dr. Polonio briefed the Owens board of trustees on the search process during a special meeting.
The only action by the board was to add Ron Fasca, a professor of industrial and engineering technologies, to the presidential search committee.
John Moore, a trustee and committee chairman, said the action was taken because the committee lacked representation from that area.
The 17-member committee will meet for the first time this morning to discuss the search process and desirable candidate characteristics.