Western starts search for new president
January 25, 2024
What makes a good leader?
This is the question Western Wyoming Community College is asking as the school begins the search for a new president.
Western recently hosted a series of presidential search meetings to gather input about what the community and the college are looking for in the next president.
Current Western President Kim Dale announced her resignation in October, while will be effective July 12, 2024.
The Board has partnered with the academic search consulting firm Pauly Group, Inc. to facilitate the presidential search process. Angela Provart, the Pauly Group president, hosted the recent public meetings through Zoom.
Provart explained they are putting together a search committee made up on various constituents to represent both the college and the community. This committee will go through applications and interview candidates, then choose three or four final candidates who will be invited to the college. Provart said a survey will be sent out asking for input about the final candidates, which will be shared with the board before they make the final decision.
The search committee will likely select candidates and interview them in March, according to Provart. She estimated the finalists will visit the college personally in April, allowing the board to make their selection by the end of April "so that we can get someone started just as soon as possible."
In the community search meeting, Provart asked for input on the characteristics that are important in the new president, from personality traits to professional characteristics, as well as feedback on what the college is doing well and what could be improved.
"I think one of the most important things we feel at the college is somebody that can really relate to our community," Regina Clark, one of Western's board members, said. "They really need a very outgoing personality and one that's willing to listen."
Kelly Brink expressed a desire for the president to promote continued partnerships with industry and schools to prepare students to enter the workforce. Carl Demshar shared his hope that the college will be closely integrated with the community and regularly communicating with partners. Sweetwater County Treasurer Mark Cowan noted that there is lots of new industry coming to the county, and the new president will need to be proactive in continuing to develop training. Melissa Atkinson, a business teacher at Green River High School, said she has had a good partnership with Western doing sessions for students. Atkinson also said she is going to be the new community engagement manager for carbon capture, and she hopes to work with the college to develop more programs related to that field.
"I think that the outreach to various parts of our community is critical," Jackie Freeze, a former Western Vice President, agreed. "But the other aspect that I think is an important part of what we should be looking for in this position is somebody who really takes care of the internal aspect as well. And sometimes that's kind of a hard marriage of personality traits."
Freeze said the president has to make sure the infrastructure is in place at the college to be able to provide the rest of the support to the community.
"I just think those two things have to go hand in hand as we look at this person," Freeze said.