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Posted on Tue, Mar 22, 2011 : 4:21 p.m.

Washtenaw Community College reopens search for new president after conducting interviews

By Kyle Feldscher

The search for the next president of the Washtenaw Community College is being reopened after the college’s board of trustees interviewed three candidates earlier this month, an official said today.

Pam Horiszny, chair of the WCC Board of Trustees, said trustees simply felt they hadn’t yet found the right fit for the college. She said trustees wanted to insure that they make the best decision.

Current president Larry Whitworth announced in September that he would retire after more than a decade as president.

“It was basically a decision by the board as a whole. All the candidates were well-qualified or we wouldn’t have asked them to come into campus,” she said. “Larry has been there for 13 years and so, obviously, this is a big decision that could impact us for another 10 or 15 years.”

The trustees interviewed Donald Doucette, senior vice president and provost of Ivy Tech Community College in Indianapolis; Irene Kovala, vice president for academic and student affairs at Minneapolis Technical and Community College in Minnesota; and Vicki Martin, executive vice president and provost of Milwaukee Area Technical College in Wisconsin.

Interviews and public forums were held two weeks ago for the three candidates.

Horiszny said she is working with the presidential search advisory committee to look at additional applicants in the near future. The committee is made up of college faculty members, staff, representatives from the Washtenaw Community College Foundation and representatives from the community at large, as well as two of the college’s board members.

The latest round of applications is due April 18, Horiszny said. She said a decision on which applicants to bring to campus for interviews and public forums would be made a couple of weeks after that.

“We’ll have the same format we had with the other three candidates,” she said. “There will be a public forum and then board interviews.”

Kyle Feldscher covers K-12 education for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Fri, Apr 1, 2011 : 6:06 p.m.

I think the citizens of Washtenaw County need to better consider board candidates that are pro technology. WCC has a great reputation but it is dwindling in certain areas, like the deemphasis on technology, unless it is automotive. The students would be best served if a candidate for president that had experience in running technical programs was sought as opposed to liberal arts.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sat, Mar 26, 2011 : 12:37 a.m.

Yes, just what the WCC BofT needs: a disgruntled former part-time instructor. No agenda there, eh? Good Night and Good Luck

William Campbell

Thu, Mar 24, 2011 : 11:39 a.m.

In order to understand the actions of this board you must first understand their motivations. Money! I attended all three public forums held for the three candidates who seemed to be focused on education which costs money. I have also attended meetings where board members have commented on how they 'want to clone Larry Whitworth' even though the search firm that they are paying tens of thousands of dollars to has explicitly recommended that they not look to 'clone the current president.' Although Whitworth has done an exceptional job fiscally, he and his board have neglected some serious academic issues which desperately need to be addressed. As a recent candidate for the board with over 32,000 votes (5% short of being elected) I have been excluded from all processes concerning the selection of the new president and they did not even interview me for the seat that opened up when David Rutledge resigned. Why is this? Because my agenda is clearly academic quality and improvements to what we provide students both of which cost money. I recently shared my experience as a WCC instructor, as it relates to academic quality, during the 'public comments' portion of a recent board meeting and posted on my website which will help clarify where the problems lie concerning academics. My concerns didn't even make the minutes. As a Part-Time instructor I had to spend my money on computer equipment, instructional videos, and lab supplies while they spent your money on a new board room (nearly a half a million dollars). You really need to see this board room to appreciate the spectacle. The public is welcome to attend all board meetings and admission is free. So where are their priorities? I would not be surprised to see some CFO's and CEO's in the next line up of candidates. -William Campbell


Thu, Mar 24, 2011 : 4:24 a.m.

I am confused. When a position is posted it lists the qualifications necessary for the job. The implication is that a person will be selected based on evidence of meeting those qualifications. How did these candidates not meet the qualifications posted? Were there hidden qualifications that candidates did not meet? If so what were these? And, more importantly, how do we know these qualifications comply with Equal Opportunity Employment Laws and the 14th Amendment? This is disgusting. The citizens of Washtenaw County are not stupid. Publish your criteria for a postion. Let people apply. Then choose the candidate that best meets those criteria. If you are unable to come up with criteria, as a taxpayer I think you are incompetent to select people for a job.

Christopher LeClair

Wed, Mar 23, 2011 : 3:51 p.m.

@Chip Reed That is the most random suggestion I've ever heard! Not a bad one, just random

Chip Reed

Wed, Mar 23, 2011 : 12:35 p.m.

WCC should merge with EMU and get rid of the administrators. Why do so many people think the current president has done a good job?


Fri, Apr 1, 2011 : 5:41 p.m.

Merge with EMU? You have got to be kidding!

dading dont delete me bro

Wed, Mar 23, 2011 : 12:19 a.m.

i told 'you' the first time i'd take the job. who do i send my resume` to? doesn't surprise me they didn't choose any of the finalists. wcc has been loosing the technical focus from there in the recent years. they had (yes HAD) a solid foundation of a good engineering program. many of the engineering staff has been pushed into math, physics departments, and some have even left. so why does it NOT surprise me that none of the finalists from technical schools were chosen...? this opens the door for mr. palay, as suggested by a previous story commentor.


Fri, Apr 1, 2011 : 5:40 p.m.

You hit the nail right on the head. WCC has lost its technical focus and is more interested in appearance and liberal arts than in technology. The current president has dissolved the technology division, shut down the tech building computer commons, dismantled the networking and computer technology department, and the board is saying they want another president just like him. The instructors are the ones the programs going, not the administration.