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We finally have the make-up for a search committee

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After one failed search and a few months of requested proposals for consulting firms, Palomar’s Governing Board has settled on a flexible timeline and committee make-up for the presidential search.

The Board convened on March 15 to workshop and approve the plan and process for searching for Palomar’s next president. Judy Walters, Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) consultant, lead the board through the proposed and confirmed timeline and search committee. Under the proposed timeline for the search the board will elect a president in June who would start in August.

The search committee will be shrinking from 22 to 19 members with one board member, eight faculty members, five classified staff members, three administrators, and one community member. ACCT also recommends three to five finalist candidates, rather than two.

In public comments, Faculty Senate member Shannon Lienhart explained the importance of acknowledging that the board and faculty share goals and that Palomar is a “big ship and can’t get turned around on a dime. Each issue is complex.”

She added that the faculty needs the Board on their side, and to trust faculty in addressing issues of enrollment management, diversity in hiring, and the south center.

Part of this coexistence through shared goals would be fair representation of constituent groups on the presidential search committee.

Later in the meeting, Leinhart brought up concerns of a board trustee sitting on consulting committee. She worries that the trustee would have an unfair amount of say in the pre-finalist process by being able to discuss the candidates with the rest of the board behind closed doors.

Trustee Paul McNamara pushed back by calling Leinhart’s request for the board to trust the faculty a “two-way street.”

“You asked us to trust you, we’re asking you to trust us,” McNamara said. “We all want the best president we can find, especially with the challenges we have ahead.”

During approval of the candidate profile, Trustee John Halcon addressed concerns that the Board was looking for one specific diverse candidate, rather a candidate that’s diversely sensitive.

Halcon’s aspiration is for the next president to “develop and promote a plan for ethnic diversity in faculty to match the demographics of the constituency that Palomar college serves.”

Halcon explained his push for this was necessitated by his belief that the faculty is not ethnically diverse enough.

Trustee Nancy Chadwick described Halcon’s aspiration as more than reasonable and necessary. However, Trustee Nancy Hensch was concerned that the use of the word “ethnic” narrowed the scope of diversity.

“I work with people who have disabilities and there are other diversity issues. I don’t want to assume one diversity over another,” Hensch said.

Halcon assured that this wasn’t exclusive, claiming that you could “have a Hispanic in a wheelchair.”

The Board also said they wanted candidates with eight or more years of previous executive experience, with at least three years at the collegiate level.

Chadwick explained it as discouraging “wannabes” from applying, letting people know that only “experienced presidents” need apply.

Interim Vice President of Human Resources Mike Popielski, Halcon, and Walters attempted to poke a hole in this by explaining that it will shrink the candidate pool.

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We finally have the make-up for a search committee