Board narrows search criteria

Published 1:25 am Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Beaufort County Community College Board of Trustees has high expectations of its next president.

In a “presidential profile” recently posted on the college’s website, the board makes clear it wants a leader with, “Demonstrated strong communication and interpersonal skills,” who “is visionary, creative and open to people and new ideas.”

The top criteria listed in the profile include a “doctorate degree from an accredited institution … with a minimum requirement of a master’s degree from an accredited institution,” and a “(m)inimum of three years senior-level administrative experience, preferably at a community college, or equivalent required.”

The board is seeking a replacement for retiring President David McLawhorn, who originally was scheduled to retire July 1.

McLawhorn asked for and was granted a five-month extension allowing him to see through construction of the new Allied Health building on campus.

Board Chairman Mitch St. Clair said the trustees hope to finish the presidential search no later than March 2012.

“We hope to have him place by the end of the year,” Trustee Buster Humprheys said of the next president.

For now, a search committee is overseeing the replacement process, but the full board will step in once the field has been narrowed to three finalists, St. Clair said.

BCCC is advertising the soon-to-be-vacant post and receiving applications, St. Clair said. He wasn’t sure how many applications the school has received to date.

“Dr. McLawhorn has done a great job, and we’re going to have a hard time filling his shoes,” St. Clair commented.

A possible salary range for the new president was available from the state.

Each school’s enrollment numbers determine the minimum and maximum salaries of the state’s community college presidents, said Sherry O’Neal, director of internal communications for the N.C. Community College System.

Based on BCCC’s enrollment figures, the bottom salary for the school’s president would be $102,576 at the first level, or Step 1, with a maximum amount of $152,424 “at the 20th step,” O’Neal explained.

“The BCCC presidential salary appears to have been budgeted at step 5 in the amount of $113,256,” she wrote in an email.

Humphreys serves on the presidential search committee.

The board hired a professional “head hunter” named Donny Hunter, executive director of the N.C. Association of Community College Trustees, Humphreys said.

Hunter is helping negotiate the search, Humphreys related, adding the board authored its search criteria with Hunter’s assistance.

“We want a guy that’s a visionary, who has charisma, who can sit down with industry coming in and handle himself,” Humphreys said of the president-to-be.

A community college president can be an asset to local economic-development initiatives because community colleges help train workers for the skilled jobs that industries offer, he pointed out.

Without that vital training component in the county, expanding or relocating businesses will go somewhere else, Humphreys asserted.