Mohave Community College has narrowed down its four finalists for its president search. The final four visited campuses in Bullhead City, Lake Havasu City and Kingman. MCC and community members were able to meet the candidates and ask them questions.
According to the MCC president search timeline, the Board of Governors will decide in May which of the four candidates will take on the role as president.
The final candidates are: Songie Adebiyi, Stacy Steve Klippenstein, Gregory Rodgers and Krista Johns.
In presenting her vision for Mohave Community College, Krista Johns focused on the benefits of working closely with the community.
She said a president’s job is both inward and outward facing. As a new president, Johns said she would need to communicate with the college’s staff on their programs, needs and passions when it comes to education.
“But I would also need to be introduced and get to know everyone in the communities of MCC,” she said. “The task of a president is both representing the college outward, marshalling resources, making sure we’re continuously relevant to our communities, but also inward to be the big supporter, the cheerleader, the person who can be there to help guide our programs and to make them what they need to be.”
When asked how she would promote cooperation opportunities with the county’s medical community, Johns focused on relationship building. She also spoke to promoting “quality of life, healthy living practices,” and making professional connections in that field. She also recommended participating in mutually beneficial programs with local businesses and organizations.
“Student success really is about how do we help people find their pathway to the program that helps meet their goals, and then how do we help them be successful at it,” she said. “It has to do with the way we teach, it has to do with the way we organize our programs, it has to do with the support we give to students so that they can stay on track and that we can know when there’s a need for some more follow-up …”
Songie Adebiyi also spoke on MCC’s Kingman campus last week. She said her first priority would be to get to know each MCC campus, their students and staffs, and the needs of the communities.
“Each campus is different and each population is different, and so that’s going to require me to think differently, and respond differently and appropriately to each area,” she said.
She addressed a number of “focus points.” The first was “doing more with less,” with which Adebiyi said she has experience if it were to be needed at the college.
She also spoke to stability, noting that she is looking to become invested in the community both personally and professionally. She does not view the position as a stepping stone to another job, a mentality which Adebiyi said would allow for the accomplishment of long-term projects and goals.
Adebiyi also talked about MCC’s changing student population. She said about 24 % of students identify as Hispanic or Latino, increasingly making MCC a “minority serving institution.”
“With that transition in population, there are various opportunities for the college to obtain additional resources, to attain a specific federal status as a Hispanic Serving Institution, and receive various supports to be able to properly support and respond to our changing population,” she said.
Stacy Steve Klippenstein
Klippenstein was scrolling through the MCC website he noticed taglines that were about improving student lives and communities.
Throughout his career he has found five commonalities that help students be successful: having an environment or culture of care, pathway development, industrial partnerships, self-efficacy and resources.
Klippenstein said industrial partnerships are important to have in order for students to apply what they learn in the classroom at an internship and eventually a job.
“There’s nothing better than having a student that goes from the classroom to an internship to an apprenticeship,” Klippenstein said. “The more you can do that the better they’re off and more success stories you will have.”
The other commonalities Klippenstein said are important to have for a community college is to have a caring environment where students are provided support in and out of the classroom. Pathways that show students where they are going in their college career and show them that there will be “off ramps” that they can take if they choose a different field of study.
The last two thing Klippenstein mentioned was self-efficacy that students need to be believe in themselves in order to achieve their goals. Money and resources, the behind the scenes, how can the college provide financial aid, scholarships and other resources to have a solid college and more success stories.
Rogers said that when he was looking at the presidency position at Mohave County it was important to have his personal values and goals match up with the institution.
“When it came to Mohave, I was very impressed when both my passion, privilege and profession listed in all three goals of the strategic plan,” he said.
When it comes to passions, the college has a passion for student success, which tied into one of his goals. Another is building the community relationships with businesses, industry and government.
“That was part of the privilege and what brought me here,” Rogers said.
Third is a sustainable growth model. Rogers said community colleges struggle in enrollment when there’s low employment.
“We have to find ways to mitigate and manage that across and it was such a strong message in the strategic plan about strategic growth,” he said.
In strategic planning it’s also important to recruit, train and retain quality faculty and staff to the area.