Joseph Defalco – Managing Editor
Clark College hired two new vice presidents this year, Vice President of Human Resources and Compliance and Vice President of Instruction, who say they created a bond during their hiring process and are supported in their transition by current faculty.
Stefani Coverson was the Human Resources Director at Seattle University and the President Elect of the Washington State College and is on the Board of Directors for the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources. She became a penguin in place of interim Human Resources Vice President Darcy Rourk.
Dr. Sachi Horback is a licensed psychologist with 15 years of experience in higher education. Coming from Pierce College, where she was the District Dean for Business and Social Sciences. She replaced Tim Cook, the new President of Clackamas Community College.
Both Coverson and Horback are settling into their new roles as the school year begins. “There’s always a period of adjustment.” Horback said. “I think we can prepare as best as we can, but I think [with] different leadership styles and different experiences coming to the table, it takes some time.”
The two vice president’s credit Clark staff in helping them adjust in their new positions, providing background information, previous experiences and a complete picture of their respective departments’ duties. “I don’t think that my continued onboarding would be effective or complete without their hard work and diligence,” Coverson said.
Horback acknowledged the learning curve in regards to their positions. “I think when you get to this level of leadership, there’s no manual,” she said. Horback and Coverson both said their full transitions will take a year or two. “There’s a lot to learn, there’s a lot to understand,” Coverson said.
The two vice presidents stressed the importance of flexibility and adaptiveness in their departments. “Human resources needs to be nimble in order to keep up with the strategies and initiatives,” Coverson said. “It cannot be disjointed from the strategies and initiatives put forth with the institution.”
Coverson said Human Resources is expanding their efforts to hire and retain a diverse staff, including insuring that at least 25 percent of their hiring pool are applicants of color. “There have been studies that show that students do better with a diverse faculty and staff pool,” she said. “Representation matters. There have been studies and statistics that support that.”
After a series of departures by women of color, President Bob Knight rededicated to diversity as a major focus for Clark faculty and staff. Coverson and Horback said that they believe their hirings are an example of Clark’s commitment to that diverse staff.
“I think that our appointments specifically speak to that, that the college has taken significant steps to ensure that diversity and inclusion occur at all levels of the organization,” Coverson said.
Horback said her department is “focusing on programming a student experience better in alignment with industry and jobs and what those needs are.”
“The changes would be gradual and adaptive to the current and future job market, she said. “I think we’re going to see improved processes and practices with Instruction.”
In addition to acquainting themselves with established faculty and staff, the two new vice presidents have gotten along since the day they met at their Clark interviews. “I’m just thinking how grateful I am that we both got this position, because we were both kind of tied,” Horback said, referring to the timing of their pre-hire process. “We kind of just got along from the second we met.”
Editor’s Note: This story previously switched the titles of Dr. Horback and Coverson.