On Education: GCC needs a leader who will stick around

January 24, 2013|By Megan O'Neil

What would you like to see in the new Glendale Community College president?

The time for public input regarding the most important job in local public education is now.

The position is being advertised nationally, with the search committee to begin reviewing applications after the Feb. 28 deadline. First-round interviews in April are to be followed by finalist interviews in May. The new president will start on July 1, a year after the resignation of Glendale’s last president, Dawn Lindsay.

The job description, too long to detail here, is largely boilerplate.

Besides upholding GCC’s position “as a leading academic institution in the state,” the newcomer’s many job responsibilities will include “taking necessary steps to ensure enrollment, increase revenue and maintain the district’s financial stability,” as well as “revitalizing mutual respect and a sense of community among students, faculty and staff.”


What it doesn’t seem to capture is the fact that Glendale Community College is at a critical juncture in its 85-year history, and that the current financial and educational environment means the new president will play a super-sized role in shaping its future.

The California fiscal crisis has translated into four consecutive years of budget cuts at the college, including millions of dollars in reductions in staff, classes and programming. But the state has turned a corner. Earlier this month, Gov. Jerry Brown, whose own political career began as a community college trustee, unveiled a budget that would provide $197 million more for the 112-campus community college system in 2013-14.

The numbers will likely climb from there. That means whoever is at the helm of Glendale College will be overseeing a recovery period that will include the restoration of millions of dollars in funding.

He or she will set the leadership tone for the hiring of dozens of employees to fill positions long vacant because of budget constraints. The new president will help make decisions about restoring programming, or creating new programming. He or she will make critical choices about investments in technology for tomorrow’s students.

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