Newsmakers

New CEO

John Wilkinson is the new president of North Georgia Technical College, effective February 1. Wilkinson is a long-time state senator, serving from 2011 until this week, and is a well-regarded career, technical and agricultural education specialist.

Wilkinson began his career teaching agriculture and serving as a Future Farmers of America (FFA) advisor at public high schools in Georgia. He later served as a program manager at the Georgia Department of Education, where he oversaw the state’s agricultural education programs. He also worked as the executive secretary for the Georgia FFA Association.

In 2017, Wilkinson received the Outstanding Service Award from the Georgia Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association and was later named the Region V national award winner by the National Association of Agricultural Educators. While in the state senate, Wilkinson was chair of the Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee and vice chair of the Education and Youth Committee. In 2012, he was named Policy Maker of the Year by the Georgia Association for Career and Technical Education.

Interim president

Jeremy Thomas is now interim president of Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC). He will also continue his roles as the college’s provost and vice president of student affairs. Thomas joined OCCC in 2018 and previously served at Blinn College, Angelina College, College of the Mainland and Northwestern State University. He has more than 20 years of experience in higher education, including instructional and leadership positions in academic advising, campus recreation, educational partnerships, enrollment management, recruitment and student organizations.

CEO retirement

Lori Weyers, who has served as president of Northcentral Technical College (NTC) in Wisconsin since 2006, plans to retire on June 30.

“Dr. Weyers’ leadership and nearly 15 years of service to the college have positioned NTC as a local, state and national leader in higher education,” said Paul Proulx, chair of the NTC District board of trustees. “Her vision and commitment to our students have been a driving force in NTC’s success. On behalf of the board and entire college community, we thank her for her service and wish her well in retirement. We are fortunate that she has positioned the college to succeed well into the future.”

Under Weyers’ leadership, NTC significantly grew its enrollment and developed partnerships with K-12 districts, local businesses and community organizations. She established Centers of Excellence that positioned the college as a major driver in the sectors of manufacturing, health, business, public safety, agriculture, woods and transportation. She also focused on expanding transfer partnerships and developed a virtual college.

Previously, Weyers was vice president for learning at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College. Prior to that, she was executive dean, dean, coordinator and faculty member at Fox Valley Technical College.

“Serving as NTC’s president has been the most rewarding, fulfilling role of my 42-year career in higher education,” Weyers said. “We have accomplished so much, but none of it would have been possible without the amazing support of our leadership team, staff and faculty. I find great comfort in knowing that the college is well poised to continue to serve our students and our community.”

Obituaries

George B. Vaughan, who served as president of two Virginia community colleges and authored several perennial articles and books that focused on leadership development and the history of community colleges, passed away on January 7.

Vaughan served as chief academic officer at two community colleges before becoming the founding president of Mountain Empire Community College in 1971. In 1977, he was named president of Piedmont Virginia Community College (PVCC), a post he held for 11 years. He also taught courses on community colleges at the University of Virginia. In addition, Vaughan served on the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) board of directors for three terms. In 1996, he received the AACC Leadership Award.

“George B. Vaughan’s contributions to the nation’s community colleges cannot be overstated,” said AACC President and CEO Walter Bumphus, who served on the AACC board with Vaughan from 1993-95. “In both practice and theory, George was a visionary. As the nation’s community colleges became increasingly complex institutions, George’s insight to develop curriculum set the stage for many leadership programs. These principles are still relevant and useful for today’s leaders and are a testament to his extraordinary vision.”

Vaughan left PVCC in 1988 to create a community college leadership doctoral program at George Mason University in Virginia. In 1992, he took a post teaching leadership graduate programs at North Carolina State University. He also served as editor of the Community College Review journal, which was published by the university’s department of adult and community college education. He retired in 2006.

Vaughan was a prolific writer about community colleges. He wrote or co-wrote such well-known books as The Community College in America: A Pocket History (1982), The Community College Presidency (1986), Dilemmas of Leadership: Decision Making and Ethics in the Community College (1992) and The Community College Story: A Tale of American Innovation (1995).

Arthur M. Cohen, professor emeritus of education at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and community college scholar, died on December 25 at age 93. He joined UCLA in 1964 and remained there as a professor of education until his retirement in 2004. His many contributions to the community college movement include: establishing the ERIC Clearinghouse for Community Colleges in 1966; the launch of Jossey-Bass’ New Directions for Community Colleges series in 1973; the creation of the Center for the Study of Community Colleges in 1974; and the numerous books and research reports on the community college enterprise, both on his own and with Florence B. Brawer, his wife. They include: The American Community College (1982) and The Shaping of American Higher Education (1998).

Appointments

Cornelius Johnson is now vice president of academic and student services at Danville Community College in Virginia. He previously served as dean of student services for more than seven years at two different institutions.

Erin Mann is the new dean of humanities at Volunteer State Community College in Tennessee. She comes most recently from Lindenwood University (Missouri), where she was associate provost of academic operations.

Northeast Community College in Nebraska has named two administrators as vice presidents. Michele Gill is now vice president of educational services. She previously served in the position in an interim role. Prior to that, Gill was dean of health and wellness at Northeast. Tracy Kruse has been promoted to vice president of development and external affairs. She previously was associate vice president of the division.

Editor’s note: An obituary on Arthur Cohen by Carrie B. Kisker, an education research and policy specialist and a director of the Center for the Study of Community Colleges, was used for this article.

About the Author

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