LUMBERTON — The Robeson Community College trustees are expected to narrow the search for President Charles Chrestman’s successor to about a dozen semifinalists during Tuesday’s meeting, according to Rose Avant, executive assistant to the president.
Avant, who has been working closely with the trustees during the search, said that 13 out of 37 applicants were weeded out by search consultant Dr. Donny Hunter, president and CEO of the N.C. Community College Trustees Association, because they did not have one or both of the basic qualifications listed in the job profile — a doctorate from an accredited institution, and a minimum of five years of senior-level community college leadership.
“If they didn’t meet those two qualifications, they were not considered,” she said.
The semifinalists will be asked to submit responses to questions compiled by Hunter to the trustees on a DVD, Avant said. The search committee will review the responses and further narrow the applicants, who will be interviewed in “late January.” The names of a final selection and two alternates will then be submitted to Scott Ralls, president of the North Carolina Community College System, who will then put that name before the state Board of Community Colleges for final approval.
The trustees have said that they expect to have a new president named by February. Chrestman announced his retirement at the July 9 board meeting. His retirement will go into effect on the last day of this year, one day short of his 10-year-anniversary for the college.
“We have a very good pool of applicants,” said George Regan, chairman of the board of trustees. “It’s a time-consuming thing, but I feel like there’s a real good chance that we will have good luck finding a good replacement for Dr. Chrestman.”
During Chrestman’s tenure, the college underwent a 10-year reaffirmation of accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Several educational programs also became nationally accredited, and others are completing self-studies for national accreditation.
Also during that decade, three buildings were constructed and two others renovated. Aging roofing systems were replaced and parking was expanded. The college began offering the ACT’s WorkKeys Assessment, which leads to a Career Readiness Certificate; today, Robeson County ranks in the top three among the state’s 100 counties with more than 5,000 individuals holding the certificate. The college also landed one of the state’s NCCCS Biotechnology Network regional centers that now serves a statewide role in advancing bio-agriculture.