Eleven candidates in the running for new Northeast State president

Rick Wagner • May 11, 2009 at 12:00 AM

BLOUNTVILLE — An advisory committee Monday came up with 11 semifinalists in the search for a new president of Northeast State Technical Community College.

They come from as close as Northeast State’s own staff, as well as from elsewhere in Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, Vermont and Utah.

The group is looking at prospective successors to Bill Locke, a Kingsport native who formerly worked for Walters State Community College and is slated to retire June 30.

“We’re really getting down to the core of people we’re going to consider,” said Robert Thomas, committee chairman and Tennessee Board of Regents member. “We’re getting down to the really difficult part.”

Charles Manning, chancellor of the TBR, will take the committee’s input and make a final selection for submission to the TBR for its approval.

Monday was the deadline for applicants, and the committee started the day with 27 prospective candidates — 25 who applied and two who were nominated.

Of those, two were ineligible because they did not have doctoral degrees, leaving 25. Of those, the group chose seven to be semifinalists and another four “maybes,” whose applications were revisited and added to the semifinalists at the end of the meeting.

The committee will meet again May 27 to cut the list to a final three to five, who will be interviewed June 9.

The seven initially chosen, in alphabetical order, are:

• Rodger A. Bates, dean of the College of Professional Studies at Clayton State University in Morrow, Ga.

• Jeffrey A. Cantor, vice president and chief academic officer of Goodwill Industries of Middle George, Macon, Ga.

• R. Foster Chason, vice president for student affairs and athletic director for Walters State Community College in Morristown.

• Janice Hoots Gilliam, vice president of student development services at Haywood Community College in Clyde, N.C.

• Katherine High, chief of staff for the University of Tennessee system in Knoxville. She was nominated by Dr. David Millsap, an executive vice president at UT.

• Adolph King, vice president for academic services at Roane State Community College in Harriman.

• Frank Robert Vivelo, former president of Remington College in Nashville.

The four who were set aside and then added to the list at the end of the meeting are:

• Steven R. Campbell, vice president for business affairs at Northeast State.

• Ty Julian Handy, president of Vermont Technical College in Randolph Center, Vermont.

• Thomas C. Henry, chancellor emeritus at Mohave Community College in Kingman, Ariz.

• Veldon L. Law, chief operating officer of The Clements Group in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Nominee Karen Rowell, director of operations for support services and global quality for Kingsport-based Eastman Chemical Co., was one of two candidates not considered by the committee because they did not have the required doctoral degree.

Other candidates with regional ties who were removed from consideration were Richard L. Brown Jr., vice chancellor for finance, operations and information technology for the University of Tennessee, and Alan Punches, vice president and academic dean for Northern Maine Community College in Presque Isle, Maine. Punches formerly served as director of adult degree studies at Virginia Intermont College in Bristol, Va., for four years.

Some candidates waited until the 11th hour to apply, leaving staff to scramble to get copies of their applications and resumes to the committee. Locke, who is not involved in the committee process, hand-delivered one set of copies to the group.

Committee members include students and faculty at Northeast State, TBR members and members of the community including those in business.

Committee members indicated important considerations include experience with and knowledge of community colleges and the ability to fund-raise and collaborate with the community, as well as instructional and administrative experience.

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