Input valuable in finding new SMC president

Editor,

I would like to thank all of the taxpayers who have contacted trustees personally and/or attended Southwestern Michigan College’s September Board of Trustees meeting to provide input on the qualities and characteristics they would like to see in the eighth president of SMC.

SMC has enjoyed a series of extraordinary presidents who have led the institution for the past 55 years. In addition to their leadership and vision, they have provided great stability to the institution. Since 1971 SMC has had only four presidents.

This is in stark contrast to national trends and also in stark contrast to our two neighboring community colleges that have had nine presidents combined (and three terminations) during the time that Dr. Mathews has been SMC’s president.

The Michigan Constitution, the Michigan Community College Act and the bylaws of the SMC Board of Trustees all clearly spell out that it is the responsibility of the Board of Trustees to select and appoint the president. In doing so, trustees are upholding their fiduciary responsibility to the citizen-owners of the college – i.e. the taxpayers.

Trustees are responsible to the taxpayers to provide affordable access to high quality education in our community. Trustees, and the SMC presidents, have a strong history of balanced budgets, no deferred maintenance and providing the best facilities for our students and employees. Through deliberate budgeting, SMC also has 60 percent more full-time faculty per full-time equated student than the state average.

The SMC Board values each and every college employee, be they a maintenance worker, support staff member, administrator or faculty member. SMC employees deliver exceptional education and services to students day in and day out. Nonetheless, it is the roughly 55,000 citizens of our college district that trustees have been elected to represent.

We appreciate all of the input taxpayers have provided. This will guide us in our final selection of the next president, making sure that SMC is as successful in the next 50 years as it has been for the past 50 years.

Thomas F. Jerdon

Chairman

SMC Board of Trustees