CEO retirements

Dennis Harkins, president of Orange Coast College (OCC) in California, plans to retire at the end of the fall semester after leading the Costa Mesa campus for nine years.

Harkins oversaw significant changes at the college during his tenure, including the passage of Bond Measure M, which spurred several construction projects, such as the college’s: math business and computing center; recycling center; allied health sciences, biological sciences and consumer sciences complex; and the much-anticipated OCC planetarium, which is set to open early next year. Harkins also joined OCC as the college was addressing an accreditation warning in 2008, and helped guide the resulting changes in some of OCC’s practices, such as a more robust institutional research function.

In a letter to the campus announcing his retirement, Harkins thanked the OCC community. “I simply could not have prospered without the endless support of OCC’s faculty, staff and managers. My cabinet members have been and continue to be the strength behind my success in these past nine years along with my executive assistants who inspire me daily.”

Timothy J. Nelson, president of Northwestern Michigan College (NMC), has announced plans to retire on December 31, 2019. He is the longest-serving president of the college and has led the institution for 18 years.

Under his leadership, the college: was the first community college in the state to offer a baccalaureate; increased foundation endowment support to benefit students; and has the only ADCI-certified ROV pilot technician training program in the world. Nelson first joined the college in 1975 as a residence hall supervisor, returning in 2000 as an executive director of administration before becoming president the following year.

“I have committed myself to our ultimate purpose, which is to provide our learners and communities with the skills, experiences and values that will help them to create social and economic wealth during their lifetimes,” Nelson said in his announcement. “I am humbled to think that as I look to the future, the people, programs and systems that we have developed together, position this institution for continued success in meeting that purpose well into the future.”

NMC Board of Trustees Chairman Kennard Weaver noted that the college was “fortunate to have had a leader of this caliber” for so long at a time when many leaders don’t stay at one institution for longer than a decade.


Tiffany Hunter has been named vice president of academic affairs at Clark State Community College in Ohio. She was dean of education and human services at Florida State College at Jacksonville for the past seven years. Hunter has worked in higher education for 20 years and in administrative roles at both two- and four-year institutions for 10 years.

Adam Schauer is now dean for adult education at Waubonsee Community College in Illinois. He previously was program manager for advancing careers and employment at Safer Foundation. Prior to that position, Schauer served in various adult education and dual-degree/transfer positions at several two- and four-year institutions.

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
is editor of Community College Daily and serves as publications director for the American Association of Community Colleges.