Campus, News

Clark Starts Search For New Vice Presidents

A picture of Rashida Willard, the Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion and Equity. Photo provided by Willard.

Clark College currently has three interim vice presidents in the administrative services, human resources and student affairs departments. Given Clark’s problems regarding budget cuts, promised staff pay raises and declining student enrollment, it is essential that Clark finds people to lead these three departments.

Clark College President Karin Edwards announced in a staff-wide email that a committee is being formed to search for the vice president of human resources. This Committee will be led by Rashida Willard, the Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Kelly Love, the spokesperson for Clark College, said Willard was chosen to lead the committee because of the close work she’s already done with human resources, including compliance, complaints and staff recruitment.

“She was selected based on her work with human resources and her keen awareness of campus climate issues,” Love said. “We believe the vice president of human resources will play a key role in addressing some of the climate issues.”

“We are currently in the process for the vice president of human resources and the position is closed,” Willard said. “We expect someone to be in the seat by the end of February, hopefully.”

During this process, she explained that 8-10 people will be interviewed by the committee, and then 3-4 finalists will be recommended for the college community to interview in forums. The finalists will also go through many day-long interviews with various constituents at the college.

“What we are looking for is someone that knows the field well and all of the many human resources nuances, someone that can build effective relationships with the unions and the college community, someone that can help the college navigate labor relations, reduce risk and liability for the college, and someone that can lead with an equity lens,” Love said.

“Ideally, we want to fill all three positions by the end of the academic year.” Love said.

Afterward, the search for the vice president of administrative services will begin, followed by the vice president of student affairs.

In October the college announced that two vice presidents would be leaving. Vice President Bob Williamson is leaving Clark for another position and Vice President Bill Belden’s contract was not renewed by the school.

In the meantime, student affairs will be led by interim vice president Michele Cruse, who has been in the position for about a month.

“I hope that the work that we do as a team builds upon some of the great work that is already underway and creates a good road map for how we support our students in the future,” Cruse said.

Cruse explained that COVID-19 has changed how students engage in the various services and activities that student affairs provides. She hopes to ensure that those services keep students engaged in equitable and accessible ways.

“My main focus is to ensure that we engage our students in meaningful and inclusive ways and that our processes, services, and programming are student-centered and are responsive to student needs,” Cruse said.

President Karin Edwards said that they are looking for visionary leaders who can connect the dots and move the college forward.

“We are looking for leaders who share the college values of excellence, inclusiveness, equity, integrity and transparency,” Edwards said. “We are looking for leaders who can support and inspire others.”

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the reason for Vice President Bob Williamson’s departure. He resigned to take a position out of state. The Indy regrets the error.

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