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N.C. Community College System aims to fill president job by end of May

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  • The N.C. Community College System posted the job for a new system president this week, listing a preferred start date of May 31, 2023, “or as soon as possible.”
  • The State Board of Community Colleges strongly prefers candidates with a terminal degree, the job description says, but it encourages “interested individuals with outstanding success in business or a professional career” to apply.
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The N.C. Community College System (NCCCS) posted the job for a new system president on Jan. 10, “seeking bold, visionary, and exceptional leadership” and listing a preferred start date of May 31, 2023, “or as soon as possible.”

The State Board of Community Colleges said last month that it aimed to post the job at the start of the new year, a week after the system announced Buffkin/Baker as the national firm to lead the search.

“This candidate will serve as the architect of the future of North Carolina’s economic engine and as the bridge between North Carolinians and the great careers in their communities,” the job position reads. “Leading the North Carolina Community College System is a career-defining opportunity to bolster and shape the premier community college system in the country and chart our state forward through this dynamic time. For our next leader, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime.”

The presidential search follows former President Thomas Stith’s resignation in July. Stith was the sixth NCCCS president in seven years.

The State Board’s search committee met with the firm for the first time on Dec. 14 to refine its position description. The search committee will have three total in-person meetings with Buffkin/Baker, search committee co-chair Dr. Shirley Carraway previously said.

The job posting includes facts about the state, NCCCS, and the system’s mission and goals moving forward. The page also includes information on the State Board and System Office, the system’s new strategic plan, and working and living in Raleigh.

The posting then includes information on the presidential role: responsibilities, qualifications, compensation, and how to apply.

“The President serves as the Chief Administrative Officer of the NC Community College System with responsibility for ensuring the success of the System’s mission,” the description says. “The new President should become personally invested in the future of education in North Carolina. In doing so, the President will be expected to continue to raise the profile of the NC community colleges and promote the mission and value proposition of the System.”

The State Board strongly prefers candidates with a terminal degree, the job description says, but it encourages “interested individuals with outstanding success in business or a professional career” to apply.

Other strong preferences listed in the description include:

  • At least five years of senior leadership experience in a community college system college and/or in public higher education; or ten years of senior leadership experience in a government organization, nonprofit organization, or private sector business environment
  • Demonstrated success in working with a board formulating policy, guidelines, budgeting, and management
  • A demonstrated ability to secure private donations to support System-wide initiatives

The NC State Board of Community Colleges is seeking an individual who possesses, or can quickly gain, a thorough understanding of the NCCCS, its mission, and its philosophy. The candidate of choice will be a creative, visionary, experienced leader of high energy, exemplary personal integrity, and professional ethics, and should possess the ability to work with and respect a constituency of diverse needs and interests.

NCCCS description for a new System President

The job description also lists the importance of a candidate’s ability to build strong legislative relationships, sustain strong partnership relationships, and articulate a clear vision for the future of the System. The next president should also understand “the changing demographics of North Carolina and… lead and support the System to enhance its diversity, equity, and inclusion,” the description says.

The job posting does not list a compensation range, but says pay will be based on experience, “including a competitive base salary and a competitive benefits package.”

Interested applicants should submit a resume and/or vita, and cover letter to NCCCSPresident@buffkinbaker.com. People wishing to make a nomination or provide a referral should use the same email address.

Interested individuals should apply as soon as possible, the description says, “as review of submitted materials will begin immediately.”

The search committee previously said it will make selections for a first round of interviews once “a reasonable number of candidates have been identified.” After that, a second round of interviews will take place. The system has previously said that it aims to hire a new president in the spring.

You can read the full job description here.

Hannah McClellan

Hannah McClellan is an EducationNC reporter covering community colleges, postsecondary access and faith.