Joseph Schaffer, president of Laramie County Community College, will become chair of the American Association of Community Colleges board of directors on July 1, succeeding Richard Rhodes, chancellor of the Austin Community College District in Texas.
Ava Parker, president of Palm Beach State College (Florida), will serve as chair-elect of the board of directors, effective July 1.
Schaffer’s work in the two-year higher education sector spans nearly two decades, serving the past 12 years in the role of CEO at two different institutions. As president of Laramie County Community College (also known as L-Triple C), Wyoming’s largest community college, Schaffer has led the completion of more than $75 million in facilities improvements, celebrated two record-setting graduating classes, and has seen the award of degrees and credentials to students increase by more than 38%.
Prior to LCCC, Schaffer served for nearly a decade at Montana State University-Great Falls College of Technology (now Great Falls College) in a variety of academic and administrative roles. At age 34, he was appointed campus dean and chief executive officer, making him one of the youngest college CEOs in the nation at the time. Before coming to higher education, Schaffer worked in nonprofit, municipal and private industry, including owning and operating a successful website design and Internet consulting company.
Schaffer is active both locally and nationally in several higher education organizations. His current and past services include:
- American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) board of directors (current)
- Chair of the AACC Committee on Public Policy and Government Affairs (current)
- Chair of the AACC Commission on Small and Rural Colleges (current)
- Member of the Center for Community College Student Engagement National Advisory Board (current)
- President of the Wyoming Community College Presidents’ Council (past)
- Member of AACC Commission on Research, Technology & Emerging Trends (past)
- Member of AACC’s Presidents Academy Executive Committee (past)
- Member of Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education’s Alliance of Community College Academic Leaders Executive Committee (past)
Schaffer is also on the boards of various community and business organizations, including serving as board chair of Cheyenne LEADS, Wyoming’s leading economic development organization. In addition, Schaffer lectures, presents and writes on a variety of topics, but his passion is learning and sharing about surviving change, leadership and leadership development, and educational policy.
New college representatives to the AACC board elected in February include:
- Donald Generals, president, Community College of Philadelphia (Pennsylvania)
- Leigh Goodson, president, Tulsa Community College (Oklahoma)
- Russell Lowery-Hart, president, Amarillo College (Texas)
- Avis Proctor, president, William Rainey Harper College (Illinois)
- Ronald Rhames, president, Midlands Technical College (South Carolina)
- Robert Vela, president, San Antonio College (Texas)
The board’s new council representative is Tracy Hall, president of Southwest Tennessee Community College. The board appointed Susan Looney, president of Reading Area Community College (Pennsylvania), to fill the second council position. The board of directors appointed Nancee Sorenson, chancellor of Louisiana State University Eunice, as the new institutional at-large representative, and Lynn Tincher-Ladner, president and CEO of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, as the public at-large representative. Mordecai Brownlee, president of Colorado’s Community College of Aurora, was selected to fill the vacancy left by former Grand Rapids Community College President Bill Pink, who accepted a position outside of the sector.