College decides to search nationwide for next president

Jan 31, 2014 By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

The Central Wyoming College Board of Trustees has decided to look both locally and nationwide for the school's next president.

The board met Wednesday in executive session to determine the process for finding a successor to longtime president Jo Anne McFarland, who is retiring June 30. Trustee Nicole Schoening said the group decided on a comprehensive national search that also will include local candidates and current employees.

"We're looking for the person who is going to be the best for the college, period," Schoening said Friday. "We know we may never have another Dr. McFarland, (but) we want someone who will come in and continue to grow the college."

Important process

McFarland has held the post for 25 years and has worked at CWC for more than four decades. She announced her plans to retire in December.

"Because this hasn't been done in 25 years, I think all of us feel the enormity of this process," Schoening said.

The board hopes to select a new president this spring so McFarland can help in the transition process.

Schoening pointed out that a timely decision also would be helpful for faculty and staff whose school year ends in May.

"We know employees would like to know what direction the college is heading," she said. "So we're hoping by the end of spring semester to have completed this process and have someone at least identified."

Search committee

The next step is to determine the size and membership of a search committee that will narrow down the initial list of applicants for the job. The CWC board will meet in executive session Feb. 18 to discuss additional details. Chairman Charlie Krebs said he would update the public on the search process during the board's regular meeting following the executive session.

Schoening said the search committee likely would include three trustees and 10 other people from CWC and the community at large.

"That's where we're really hoping to get a lot of input from a lot of different sources," Schoening said.

The committee will identify a group of candidates who will be invited to Riverton for interviews on campus. Schoening said the campus visit is tentatively scheduled to take place in conjunction with a public forum in April.

"(That way) we can allow opportunities for everyone in the community to meet the potential candidates," Schoening said.

School faculty and staff and members of the CWC Foundation have specifically requested involvement in the search process.

Transparency promised

Although Wyoming statutes allow the presidential search process to remain confidential, Krebs said the board is committed to openness and transparency.

"We also believe that such a process will provide for all candidates to be thoroughly vetted as we prepare to make this important decision affecting CWC's future," Krebs said Thursday in an email to employees.

Schoening added that the group wants to avoid any perception of favoritism as a new president is chosen.

"We really want the person in the position to have earned that position," she said. "We don't want to leave people wondering."

A facilitator from the Association of Community College Trustees has been recruited to help the board and search committee through the selection process.

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