While Interim President Larry Buckley continues to preside over Pierce College, the search for a new full-time president is underway as students and staff look toward the future.
The search is being primarily held by the Presidential Search Committee. The committee itself and many of its operations remain largely confidential, but the faculty that attend Pierce’s Academic Senate meetings have discussed matters relating to the search.
Fernando Oleas, the chair of the Modern Language department, stated that the process to find a new president for Pierce has been going on for some time now. He also said that Pierce faculty are stressing the importance of open forums when it comes to deciding on the new president.
“What it is important to our campus and community is that the Search Committee represent their constituency,” Oleas said. “Faculty, staff and members of our community have expressed the need to hold Open Forums for the finalist. This last Academic Senate voted unanimously to have an Open Forum and at the AFT chapter meeting faculty member unanimously expressed the same desire.”
Outside of the Academic Senate, faculty and students are left to hope that whoever takes over next will be able to meet their demands and expectations.
Richard McMillan, an instructor of history, believes that when it comes to being a college president, a qualifying trait is being a good listener.
“A good listener, that’s first and foremost,” McMillan said. “For those of us who are old timers – I’ve been here for 23 years – it was disheartening to see the divisiveness that permeated this campus. We’ve had a series of presidents who’ve loved Pierce, and you’d see them walking the campus, and as they were walking they’d see a piece of trash, they’d pick it up because this was their school and they wanted to keep it clean. It started from the person on the top and worked its way down.”
McMillan also wants to see a president who treats students as equals.
“The most important person on the campus is the student, and the student comes to Pierce because of the faculty and to get an education, and that needs the faculty,” McMillan said. “So ‘What can we do to get students into those classes, to get their AA degree and transfer out’ means also in my mind ‘What can we do to clear the way for teachers to do their job.”
Joseph Guevara, a second year student majoring business administration, sees the qualifying traits of a president differently, and that if a new president should take office, they should be inspiring to students and staff as well as having a grasp general leadership skills prior to taking office.
“They first have to know how to lead, and if they don’t know how then they shouldn’t be in that position in the first place,” Guevara said. “They need to know how to control others and discipline them. That’s basically what a leader does, they make sure they follow orders, discipline them, and do what they’re supposed to do.”
According to Oleas, if things continue to go smoothly, the new President shall be taking office anywhere between four months to a year.