Three finalists picked for Cowley president - The Arkansas City Traveler : News

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Three finalists picked for Cowley president

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Posted: Monday, March 25, 2013 11:21 am | Updated: 12:41 am, Tue Mar 26, 2013.

Cowley College has narrowed its search for a new president to three finalists who are expected to participate in public forums next month at the college, as well as interviews with the college's board of trustees.

The finalists are Clark Williams, Robert Riza and Michael Calvert. Williams is a vice president and chief operating officer for Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, Ore.

Riza is vice president of student services at a multi-campus, comprehensive community college — Hill College in Hillsboro, Texas.

Calvert is campus president and college vice president for Central Community College in Grand Island, Neb.

The schedule of the public forums is Williams on April 8, Riza on April 9 and Calvert on April 10.

All forums will take place at 3 p.m. in the Wright Community Room at Cowley College's Brown Center.

Cowley spokesman Rama Peroo said each forum will have a question-and-answer format.

Members of the public and Cowley employees will be invited to ask questions of each candidate on the three successive days on which the forums are scheduled.

"Any college staff or public (attendee) who is interested in asking questions may address each candidate," Peroo said.

"The individual candidates probably will give a brief presentation about themselves."

Clark Williams

As chief operating officer of Blue Mountain Community College, Williams has been responsible for the duties of a chief administrative officer, chief financial officer and chief technology officer.

He has the senior executive responsibilities for enrollment management, and the leadership of the college's four branch campuses, construction and maintenance of facilities, and operation of auxiliary enterprises.

In a previous position, he served as chairman, president and CEO of Decision Works, Inc. in Reston, Va.

Williams earned a master of science degree in engineering and economic systems from Stanford University, and a bachelor of science degree from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

Robert Riza

Riza has many years of experience in higher education, including in student services, instruction and athletic administration.

He has served as the executive director of athletics and associate vice chancellor for student affairs at Pima Community College in Tucson, Ariz., the nation's sixth-largest community college.

Riza earned a doctorate of education in curriculum, supervision and instruction from Texas A&M University, a master of science in secondary and higher education from Texas A&M, a bachelor of science in exercise and sports studies from Texas Wesleyan University, and an associate of arts degree at Weatherford College, Weatherford, Texas.

Micheal Calvert

Prior to his current position as campus president and college vice president for Central Community College, Calvert served for 20 years at Butler Community College in El Dorado.

He was a dean for 14 years, primarily overseeing the campuses at Andover, Rose Hill and McConnell Air Force Base.

Calvert has a diverse set of experiences in higher education, including instruction, administration, coaching, community involvement, fund-raising, student services and residential life.

He earned a doctorate of education in educational administration from Oklahoma State University; a master of arts degree in physical education from the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, S.D.; and a bachelor of arts degree in physical education from Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa.

The new president will replace Patrick McAtee, who retired Dec. 31, 2012, after serving for more than 25 years as president.

The Cowley board hired the American Community College Trustees (ACCT) for $35,000 to help to conduct the search for a new president.

ACCT is a nonprofit association based in Washington, D.C., that specializes in providing executive search assistance to governing boards of community colleges.

Cowley board vice chair Dennis Shurtz said the three finalists were selected from among 28 résumés presented to the board by the ACCT.

"They represented what (the ACCT) felt were the top candidates," Shurtz said.

"They separated themselves (from the rest of the applicants) by having the potential and capability of taking the college to the next level, in terms of the academic and technology standpoint."

The deadline for candidates to submit applications was Feb. 28.

After examining the 28 résumés, the trustees limited the number of candidates to six.

They held video conferences with the six candidates on two days last week. After that, they chose the top three, he said.

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