Finalists prepared to fill position as decision looms

By Calindra Revier:

The candidates, Stephen Curtis, Terry Calaway and Arthur Tyler, all have considerable experience working at community colleges.

Curtis served as president of Hudson Valley Community College and as acting president of Queens College and the Borough of Manhattan Community College. Recently he was terminated from his 14 year position as president of the Community College of Philadelphia.

Calaway finalized his retirement as president of Johnson County Community College on Aug. 1 to spend more time with his family. Before his presidency at Johnson County, he served as president of Central Arizona College.

“I’m retired. I have a little more time on my hands than maybe some others might have. So you know, I could be here sooner rather than later,” Calaway said. “I’m not looking to make that kind of a quick change, but if it’s necessary that’s what we’ll do.”

Public forums were held on Oct. 7 and 9 at the Rosenberg Library on Ocean campus. Many of the questions the candidates asked were related to accreditation.

“I’ve been very active in the accreditation arena,” Curtis said. “I’ve never been in a situation where we would let ourselves be in that position. There should never be a moment that we have to face something like this again.”

Curtis wants to hit the ground running if he is chosen for the position.

“As soon as possible the college needs to start focusing on the bright spots,” Curtis said.  “There is a moment when you do whatever it takes to solve the problem.”

Calaway said he is dedicated to seeing students achieve their goals.

“Its important to re-establish a relationship with our students, from the senior level. Colleges like City College of San Francisco truly are in many ways, along with the universities, the economic engine of our communities,” Calaway said.

Tyler has a very different background.

As well as having served as deputy chancellor and chief operating officer of the Houston Community College System, president of Sacramento City College and vice president of Administration and Finance at Los Angeles City College, he also served for more than 20 years in the United States Air Force.

“I know that everybody has the same desire to educate people and to help them get the skills that are needed so they can enter the workforce and create that economic engine that we know community colleges do. That’s why were here,” Tyler said. “I think that I’ve got the right skill set. I love helping. This is not a job. I care about the community.”

Tyler relates his experience with the accrediting commission as something that will benefit his position as chancellor.

“I’ve been on accreditation teams for institutions that were in trouble, that were sanctioned,” Tyler said. “I know how that happens and why the commision makes the decisions that it does.”

California Community College’s Chancellor Brice Harris hopes to find a candidate who is willing to commit to the position for the foreseeable future.

“I’m optimistic about seeing someone who will stay a minimum of five years and do a good job of stabilizing the college,” Harris said, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle.

The new chancellor will face many issues and will have to find a way to work closely and for Agrella—who will still have final say in all decisions—as well as attempt to find a way to integrate the Board of Trustees back into the decision making process.

UPDATE: Arthur Tyler has been elected to be the new Chancellor.

Chancellor elected, Arthur Tyler. Photo courtesy of SFGate
Chancellor elected, Arthur Tyler. Photo courtesy of SFGate

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