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Three Rivers hopes to name new president next month

By Claire Bessette

Publication: The Day

Published February 08. 2014 4:00AM
Jones plans to stay on until the end of June

Norwich - The search for a new president for Three Rivers Community College has fallen behind the schedule announced by a top higher education official last fall, but the Board of Regents for Higher Education now hopes to have a new president in place by July.

"They're just now starting the search," said Grace Jones, who announced her plans to retire as Three Rivers' president last spring, but agreed to stay until a new president is named. "I'm here to the end of June."

Shortly after he was named as new president of the Board of Regents for Higher Education, Gregory Gray visited Three Rivers and told about 20 public and corporate supporters of the college that he hoped to have new presidents named by March for Three Rivers, Asnuntuck Community College in Enfield and Quinebaug Valley Community College in Danielson.

The presidents of Quinebaug Valley and Asnuntuck community colleges also recently retired, and both of those schools have interim presidents.

"Our interim presidents are doing a great job," said Juliet Manalan, spokeswoman for the Board of Regents, "but it's important to get good permanent leadership at these colleges. We expect to have the three presidents in place by July 1, 2014."

The Board of Regents has hired RPA Inc., Executive Search Consulting of Williamsport, Pa., to conduct the search for new presidents for Three Rivers, Asnuntuck and Quinebaug Valley.

The firm's contract with the state calls for it to be paid $62,500 for each search, or one-third of the first-year salary for the successful candidate, whichever is greater, Manalan said. But RPA also agreed to reduce the total fee owed by the state by $6,000 once the total price is known, Manalan said.

In December, RPA conducted interviews and held focus group sessions at Three Rivers prior to launching the search, Jones said.

The firm has placed advertisements on its website, www.rpainc.org, for all three community college searches in Connecticut. Each ad describes specifics of the college and attributes desired in applicants. The ads do not give a salary range or application deadline, but say that the first review of applications is anticipated to start in early March and that applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

"Each candidate's salary will be negotiated based on experience, background, and market considerations," Manalan said.

The advertisement for a Three Rivers president stated the college provides a "high quality, affordable and accessible education" to more than 5,000 credit and 1,800 continuing education students. The college has 48 associate degree programs and 44 certificate programs.

"The new president will lead an institution that is a highly respected, integral part of the economy and intellectual life of the region," the ad stated. "… S/he will be a skilled administrator and visionary who is committed to community engagement and partnerships, takes a collegial and team-oriented approach to administration, and successfully engages Three Rivers' constituencies."

On Thursday, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy made upgrading technology at the state community college and university system part of his annual State of the State address and 2014-15 budget adjustment. Malloy proposed spending $134.5 million to bring all 17 campuses in the state college and university system "into a single, student centered, technology-enriched system."

c.bessette@theday.com

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