Campus, News

One Last Conversation with Interim President Sandra Fowler-Hill

Photo of Sandra Fowler-Hill
(Photo courtesy of Sandra Fowler-Hill)

The 2019-2020 school year was one of Clark’s most tumultuous years in recent history.

After Clark’s former college president Bob Knight stepped down prior to being cited for discriminatory behavior, the college named Sandra Fowler-Hill as interim president while they searched for a replacement.

That was the first of many challenges Fowler-Hill would help the college navigate through during the 2019-2020 school year. In the following months, Clark’s first-ever faculty strike shut down the school’s main campus, the COVID-19 pandemic forced almost all courses online and the school grappled with budget-shortfalls.

“Although it was a very challenging year for all of us, I have no regrets about interrupting my retirement to work at Clark. It was a great year,” she said.

Fowler-Hill has extensive experience working with community colleges around the Portland metro area. Recently retired from being president of PCC’s rock creek campus, she put her retirement on pause to serve Clark. She was also vice president of instruction at Everett Community College and dean of student learning at Cascadia Community College. 

As a hands-on community college with a range of programs such as automotive, culinary arts and dental hygiene, Clark was simply not set up for online learning until recently. 

 She said her experience allowed her to handle all the obstacles that had been thrown the college’s way. But she didn’t do it alone. 

“I was very grateful for our hardworking staff, it wasn’t easy transitioning into a fully online quarter,” she said.

Fowler-Hill admitted that Clark’s community was much different from the previous institutions she had worked at. She admired Clark’s close-knit community, and how much pride they had for their school. From the involvement of alumni frequently returning to see how far Clark had come to our foundation whose main mission is to support students. 

“I had so much fun from attending soccer games, listening to the Buffalo Soldiers, watching the Tibetan monks and so much more.” 

Fowler-Hill concluded her presidency in June with the class of 2020’s virtual graduation ceremony. 

Coming into the new school year she has passed the job onto President Karin Edwards who took over during summer.

“I know we have made major strides towards equity but I’m excited to see how Clark will grow with Dr. Edwards as Clark continues to work to ensure that it is an inclusive and inviting environment for all staff and students,” said Fowler-Hill.

Fowler-Hill put together a slideshow showcasing photos from her time at Clark. You can watch it here.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Sandra Fowler-Hill was president of PCC. Fowler-Hill was president of PCC’s Rock Creek campus. This article has been corrected to reflect this. 

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