President of NorthWest Arkansas Community College
About the College
NorthWest Arkansas Community College (NWACC) is a comprehensive two-year higher education institution, fully and most recently reaccredited by The Higher Learning Commission in 2020, to offer associate degrees, technical certifications, certificates of proficiency, workforce and economic development and adult and community education and training. Founded in the summer of 1989 by a generous commitment of support from people in two local school districts, NWACC began offering instruction in Benton and Washington counties to approximately 1,200 in the spring of 1990. Over the past thirty years, the College quickly expanded programs and locations to deliver exceptional instruction and comprehensive student support services in facilities on the main-campus in Bentonville, on additional campuses in Springdale and Fayetteville, and at several outreach centers. These facilities include unique Centers for Global Business Development, Health Professions, Regional Technologies, Workforce Technologies, the Study of Food, and a Student Center; an Integrated Design Lab; and a National Child Protection Training Center. Today, NorthWest Arkansas Community College is the largest community college in the State, offering over seventy-five degree programs and certificates. The 2020-21 academic year enrollments at NWACC included 4,373 full-time equivalent (FTE) students, with an unduplicated headcount of 10,215. The College has approximately 800 full-time and part-time staff and faculty.
NorthWest Arkansas Community College is located in a beautiful, diverse and rapidly growing region of the State. Situated within the foothills of the Ozark Mountains, approximately 500,000 residents have access to a rich variety of education, employment, career, cultural, and recreational opportunities and activities that enhance quality of life for an expanding population. The two-county area served by the College and Northwest Region of the State has been recognized by national publications as one of the best places to live and work in the country. Economic vitality throughout the college's service area is sustained by three Fortune 500 employers, multiple other corporate offices that include many nationally recognized firms, and a thriving business community. Strategic financial and capital investments have enabled NWACC to maintain high academic standards, while delivering a well-prepared workforce that meets the needs of business and industry.
The NorthWest Arkansas Community College Foundation receives generous and benevolent corporate, community, and employee support. This support generates scholarship opportunities, program enhancements, and capital construction funds that enable students to access affordable and convenient education and training services. NWACC has also established successful student partnerships with Arkansas' public and private baccalaureate degree-granting institutions; on-campus and high school-based concurrent enrollment and summer bridge programs for first generation students with multiple secondary institutions; and apprenticeship programs with employers in trades occupations. These partnerships enable NWACC students to navigate education and career pathways that lead to associate or further degree completion, explore college-level courses while obtaining credits toward accelerated achievement, and assure regional employment opportunities in high-demand occupations. The College also provides comprehensive academic advising and student success services that foster transfer possibilities, and lead to successful careers in business, nursing and allied health professions, computer science, engineering, culinary, and criminal justice professions that meet employers' requirements for well-educated and skilled associates.
NorthWest Arkansas Community College also enjoys strong bonds with and connections to the communities and region it serves. An awareness of significant regional growth, coupled with the fact that most students who attend the College remain within the community, NWACC has developed and delivers relevant and responsive academic and professional development, customized training, construction technology, robotics, integrated design, certified retail analysts, and small business programs and services that coterminous fulfill student career interests and meet employer needs. The College is the connection between successful student completion and business and industry demands. This linkage improves and the quality of life for all citizens in Benton and Washington counties and throughout the region.
The current mission of NorthWest Arkansas Community College includes empowering lives, inspiring learning and strengthening the community through accessible, affordable, quality education. This mission clearly reflects a student-centered agenda. The current vision statement is also focused upon changing the lives of those served by the institution. In addition, NWACC has established five strategic goals that connects it with multiple community partners. The College's community partners include student-learners, faculty, staff and alumni, educational institutions, taxpayers, and business and industry. For each of the partners, the College has identified goals that speak to its responsibility to strengthen programs and services, be an effective and ethical steward of the resources entrusted to it, create and maintain an atmosphere of openness, host a safe work and learning environment, its ability to nurture and expand its partnerships, and be innovative in furtherance of its mission, vision and values. Finally, the College commits to becoming the premier provider of education and training by establishing College "End Statements" that actualize its goals.
NorthWest Arkansas Community College's commitment to the highest educational standards is actualized by and through its participation in the Standard Pathways accreditation process with The Higher Learning Commission. In addition to the Commission's decennial accreditation, several College programs of study also have specific program accreditations. These program accreditations include:
Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs
• Business Programs
• Computer Programs
Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and Arkansas State Board of Nursing
• Associate In Applied Science in Nursing Program
Arkansas Department of Health
• Emergency Medical Services Program
Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIM)
• Health Information Management Program
Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education
• Physical Therapy Program
Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs – Committee on Accreditation for EMS Professionals (CoAEMSP)
• Paramedic Program
Committee on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC)
• Respiratory Program
International Fire Science Administration Accreditation Congress (IFSAC)
• Fire Science Administration and Technology Program
The Role of the President
The President of NorthWest Arkansas Community College is hired by and is responsible to the Board of Trustees. The nine-member Board employs a Policy Governance Model, and follows the Principle of Shared Governance in carrying out its governance and fiduciary responsibilities. The Board has designated the President as the College's Chief Executive Officer. In this capacity, the President has authority to administer the institution, consistent with policies adopted by the Board, in accordance with federal and state laws and regulations promulgated by the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Pursuant to Board policy, the President's performance will be considered synonymous with the organizational accomplishment of the institution as a whole. Consequently, the President's job contributions are stated in areas of organizational accomplishment of Board policies on College Ends Statements; and, effective organizational operations within the boundaries of prudence and ethics established in Board policies related to "Executive Limitations." In terms of the policies in College Ends Statements, five items guide the President's role. These items include:
• Providing expanded access to educational opportunities, especially for under-served learners who are disconnected from education; and, actively support student retention and completion.
• Enhancing collaborative partnerships with business and industry through innovative approaches to design and delivery of training and education.
• Enhancing NWACC's capacity to achieve its initiatives by diversifying its resource base; and provide comprehensive programs, services and facilities to taxpayers.
• Forging a systemic linkage with both P-16 schools and university partners to achieve seamless curriculum, technology and learner support and service delivery.
• Aligning NWACC's organizational infrastructure with the College's growth.
The President is the Board's link to institutional operational achievement and conduct. As such, all authority and accountability for College staff is considered within the authority and accountability of the President. The President provides clear and consistent information and counsel to the Board related to academic programs, student success and support services, financial affairs, property and facility matters, and related items. In addition, the President communicates institutional opportunities and challenges, trends in higher education, substantive policy issues, operational risks and threats, and organizational and other matters that collectively enable the Board to fulfill their governance and fiduciary responsibilities to the College.
The Board adheres to the Principle of Shared Governance, in that it refrains from giving instruction to people that report directly or indirectly to the President, and it does not formally or informally evaluate the performance of any staff other than the President. As noted, the Board views the President's performance identical to the College's performance. Further, the Board acknowledges both its governance and policy-making roles, versus the administrative and management responsibilities of the President. The Board delegates employment and administrative responsibility of all College employees to the President. The President builds and manages an effective leadership team, and maintains oversight of executive positions throughout the College. The Board also authorizes the President to be responsible for all contracts within an amount designated by the Board.
Opportunities and Challenges
The next President of NorthWest Arkansas Community College will have the opportunity to not only maintain but amplify the College's historical tradition of providing accessible, affordable, high quality education, training and student-focused services. The opportunity to further this tradition is enhanced by significant and culturally diverse population growth and economic development within the NWACC region. This growth and development also creates ever evolving educational and community needs during periods of fiscal challenge. As such, the next President shall work to leverage the region's philanthropic generosity, and pursue non-traditional funding streams that support teaching and learning for the benefit of all students. The next President will also represent the College, both as an advocate and ambassador, advancing its students-first focus at the local, regional, state and national levels. As the region continues to expand in population, economic development and cultural diversity, the President must provide visionary, charismatic and inspirational leadership throughout the College and community to successfully take advantage of unique opportunities that are presented, and to meet resulting challenges.
The Board of Trustees and Presidential Search Committee provided several public fora to enable both College employees and members of the community to offer their views related to opportunities and challenges that the College will need to address in the next three to five-years. While the College has successfully navigated its way through the impacts of a global pandemic, one consequence therefrom has been a slight decline in student enrollment. In addition, a vibrant labor market and healthy economy combine to make employment opportunities for community members attractive. Finally, the College has committed to serve and meet the needs of all students, regardless of their educational background or economic status. Therefore, the following are seen as opportunities and challenges that the College will face:
• Strengthen Student Enrollment, Progression and Completion: Amidst the changing demographics and development of the Northwest Region of the State, the College will need to continually market to students the importance of obtaining marketable skills and credentials. The message that NWACC is the optimal place to obtain them, whether in credit or non-credit programs, must be frequently communicated throughout the region. Once enrolled, intrusive engagement services, relevant guidance and counseling, appropriate financial assistance students and effective retention strategies are required to enable students to progress and complete. The College will need to increase and sustain enrollment to generate the resources required to actively support student progression, completion and employment.
• Provide Access to Educational Opportunities for All: NWACC intends to provide educational opportunities to all communities and populations that it serves. It places special emphasis on populations that have either lost connection to or were never connected with the College, whether they voluntarily separated or lacked awareness of all the institution has to offer. The College must have the capacity to meet people where they are, and take them as far as they are capable of going. The institution must be led by an individual that is sensitive to cultural, ethnic, and economic diversity, and affirm students that represent those populations as essential participants in the life of the College. Students should see NWACC as a way to enhance their and their family's quality of life.
• Partnerships and Collaboration With Business and the Broader Community: The College has established and nurtured beneficial partnerships with business, education, governmental, arts, health care, service and public safety organizations and institutions. These partnerships provide opportunities for student recruitment, internships and apprenticeships, clinical rotations, employment, and progression to further education. They also take the work of the College into the communities where people live and work. It will be critical for the President to sustain existing and identify new partnerships to sustain the mission of the institution. This includes delivering to its partners innovative approaches to and delivery of instruction, continuing education, customized training and credentials for students that contribute to the viability and success of their enterprises.
• Financial Stewardship: NWACC has pledged to provide a comprehensive education and training program, student engagement and support services, and state-of-the-market facilities, utilizing the financial resources generated through taxes paid by its citizens, through tuition and fees paid by students and their families, and appropriations provided by the State of Arkansas. This pledge includes a commitment to be ethical stewards of these resources, and be accountable for their uses, for the benefit of students. It will be important for the College to diversify the resource base to enable it to accomplish its mission and End Statements, and to serve a growing population.
Ideal Characteristics of the President Background, Experiences, and Personal Skill Sets
The NorthWest Arkansas Community College Board of Trustees and Presidential Search Committee, with participation from the College community and citizens across the service area, have identified and established the experiences, skill sets and personal characteristics it seeks in its next President. The Board and College first seek a student-focused leader who will enthusiastically affirm NWACC's adherence to and pursuit of its mission to serve and strengthen the community through learning for living. Such a leader must be a collaborative thought partner with the elected Board of Trustees in the development of College policies, communicate institutional risks and challenges, and the pursue innovations and opportunities. The President should be a seasoned, approachable administrator that will solicit and utilize input from faculty and staff in decision-making; in the development of procedures and guidelines that implement new policies; and be an individual that has a clear understanding of the important role the College plays in the educational success and economic well-being of Benton and Washington counties and the Northwest Region of the State of Arkansas. The ideal characteristics of the next President also include the following background, experiences and personal skill sets:
• Higher Education Acumen – Has worked in higher education, preferably in a community college setting, either as an educator or education administrator, with experience in instruction, student services, or economic and workforce development. Is familiar with higher education accreditation processes, including an Accrediting Commission's principles of accreditation. Has a working knowledge of existing and record of modifying applicable education policies and procedures at the College and related educational and governmental levels. Experiences in initiating, developing and successfully implementing academic programs, student success services, and customized training for industry and businesses is highly desirable. Has directly participated in procedural modifications to facilitate successful online delivery modalities, emerging instructional technologies, and enterprise resource management systems.
• Effective Communicator and Advocate – An individual who can effectively represent the College's best interests before corporate and business, elected and appointed, media and journalists, educational, economic development, and civic and cultural individuals, boards and organizations. Equally, an individual who is accomplished and effective in both written and oral communications with multiple audiences, including faculty, staff and students within the College, and in presentations to broader communities at all levels of government, education, and the private sector.
• Resource Development and Management - A leader with a demonstrated ability to develop and obtain external funding, including an advancement organization and targeted fundraising, gifts and bequests, capital campaigns, securing enhanced federal and state support, competitive grants, and other resources opportunities. Is politically astute, and has worked with various units of government, including state, county, and city governing bodies, to secure additional operational and capital resources. Has managed, either directly or indirectly, federal and state funds, tuition and fee receipts, tax revenues, auxiliary and enterprise resources, and productivity and performance-based funding. Is a strong fiscal manager and ethical steward of public funding, and adheres to the highest standards of fiscal prudence and accountability.
A preference for an earned doctorate from a regionally accredited institution and a minimum of ten years of successful senior-level administrative or academic administrative experience preferred. In lieu of an earned doctorate, a candidate must possess a minimal credential of a master's degree from a regionally accredited institution and a minimum of ten years of successful senior-level administrative, management or academic administrative experience. For all candidates, a commitment to student learning and success, experience in classroom instruction, delivering educational services, or private sector enterprise experience is preferred. Candidates should have demonstrated administrative and executive experience in a comprehensive, complex institution or organization.
To apply, visit https://acctsearches.org/president-northwest-arkansas-community-college-ar/
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