College board to take action on president recommendation

SCOTTVILLE — The West Shore Community College Board of Trustees are expected to take under consideration a recommendation from the board executive committee at Monday’s 4 p.m. trustee meeting to name interim president Scott Ward as the new college president.

West Shore Community College interim president Scott Ward talks to the WSCC board of trustees about enrollment numbers at the October board meeting. The board is expected to name Ward as the college's fifth president at Monday's board meeting.(Ken Grabowski/New Advocate)

West Shore Community College interim president Scott Ward talks to the WSCC board of trustees about enrollment numbers at the October board meeting. The board is expected to name Ward as the college’s fifth president at Monday’s board meeting.(Ken Grabowski/New Advocate)

Board chairman Bruce Smith will make that recommendation on behalf of the executive board, which would name Ward as the fifth president in the 50 year history of the college. Previous presidents are Dr. John Eaton, Dr. William Anderson, Dr. Charles Dillon and Dr. Kenneth Urban.

In a memo to the board, Smith laid out why the committee came to that conclusion.

“Scott Ward has done an exceptional job as interim president not only once, but twice and he is prepared and capable of handling the presidency, therefore the board executive committee recommends to the board of trustees to appoint Scott Ward as the fifth president of West Shore Community College,” wrote Smith.

The executive committee reviewed the findings of a community survey run by the board of trustees that produced 89 responses. From that survey, the overwhelming majority that responded felt Ward would be a good selection to fill the president’s position.

Ward has served as interim president at WSCC since the acceptance of the resignation of former president Dr. Kenneth Urban at the June 19 board of trustees meeting. Urban’s resignation came as a result of what board members called “a difference in leadership vision for the college.”

It is the second time Ward has served in the interim position; he also held it from September 2014 to July 15, 2015, following the retirement of Dr. Charles Dillon. He also serves as vice president of administrative services at the college.

If the board approves the recommendation at Monday’s meeting Ward will immediately become the new president.

Board members are also expected to take under consideration a request being brought to them from Ward to purchase with capital improvement funds a building located 6050 N. U.S. 31 that formerly housed the West Michigan Cancer Center.

The board heard a presentation at its October meeting about the building which the college hopes to turn into an emergency personnel training center for the district’s first responders. It would also be the home to college classes, community education programs and serve a variety of other purposes.

Ward stated in a memo to the board that the cost for the purchase of real estate and building is $985,000. Ward also indicated there would be some additional costs.

“This recommendation is made with the understanding that additional funds will be required to renovate and equip the facility,” wrote Ward.

Board members will also receive a report from Ward concerning the college switching from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan to Priority Healthy for their health insurance. The switch is expected to reduce the fixed costs by $70,000.

Board members will also consider accepting the college financial and single audit reports. Those documents have been favorably reviewed by the board administrative committee at its Nov. 15 meeting.

A ceremony also will be held during the meeting to honor WSCC employee Tasha Dault as the Winter 2017 employee of the semester and Kris Ivester as the Summer 2017 employee of the semester during the meeting.

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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