American River College will begin the spring 2014 semester with Vice President of Student Services Pam Walker serving as interim president.
Walker was one of four finalists that participated in a nine-hour formal interview process at ARC on Nov. 1, which took place shortly after a similar process was hosted at the Los Rios District office. Students, classified staff, faculty and foundation managers interviewed the candidates.
“Our Los Rios (interview) process was pretty grueling,” said Walker, who will be serving as interim president while the district continues to look for a long-term replacement. “Maybe one that I haven’t seen in other places.”
District policy denies interims permanent basis because of potential conflicts of interest. The other candidates, however, may still be in play.
“Any individuals are certainly encouraged to reapply. We actually encourage them to,” said Ryan Cox, associate vice chancellor of Human Resources at Los Rios. “The economic picture for the state and the financial picture for community colleges has consistently been improving ever since Proposition 30 was passed by voters, so if you were someone thinking of applying for a job as a president of a community college in California, it’s clearly the case that the economic situation is a lot better now than when the first search was opened.”
There is some precedent for such an occurrence at ARC. Three interview processes took place before former ARC president David Viar was hired. Rich McCormick held the position on an interim basis during that time.
“Typically we have not seen someone take the interim from the pool. The unusualness (in this case) is that one of the candidates was from the campus, so that makes it a little bit different, so at least there is some continuity and understanding (of) what’s happening.”
Though disappointed, Walker is approaching her term as ARC president in the same manner she planned had she been selected as full-time president, and believes such an approach will be required to address some “urgent” issues on ARC’s agenda going into 2014.
“It’s never been my personality to not put my head down and go full steam,” Walker said. “I don’t think I would do anything different… One of the hardest things about being an interim is (my term) could be six months, it could be a year, depending on whether we get somebody else and you want to keep moving the college forward. We have accreditation issues on our agenda, we have the student success plan on our agenda, we have some innovative technology opportunities on our agenda, so there (are) lots of things we can be doing.”