Finalists For CSM President To Visit

By William Wan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 5, 2006

Five candidates to succeed Elaine Ryan as president of the College of Southern Maryland will introduce themselves to the campus and community during visits scheduled this month.

The college identified five finalists on Thursday and announced plans for each to spend two days visiting the school's three campuses and participating in public forums with students, staff members and area residents.

The finalists include a college president in California, a chancellor in the Pennsylvania higher education system and the College of Southern Maryland's dean of arts and sciences. The search committee, which has been operating since last fall, plans to choose among them before Ryan's scheduled retirement in June.

About 70 people applied for the position, said CSM spokeswoman Karen Smith Hupp. The candidates were winnowed to a dozen who were interviewed in February by the search committee. Then the committee chose the finalists.

During their campus visits, each finalist will meet with faculty, staff members and students, as well as elected officials and business leaders. Each visit will include a 45-minute open forum at each of the three campuses, with the first scheduled March 13 in Leonardtown.

"It's an opportunity for us to get to know them and for them to understand the college and area," Smith Hupp said.

The college, which began as Charles County Community College in 1958, has had three presidents in its history. The long tenure of its leadership has been a source of stability for the school, said college officials.

Ryan, the college's third president, announced last July that she would retire after 34 years on campus, seven of them in the top position. Two months later, officials launched the search process, holding a series of meetings with faculty, students and community leaders to determine what qualities to seek in the next president. By October, a 14-member search committee was named, made up of trustees, faculty, staff, foundation members and one student.

Emphasized among the criteria that the search committee developed is an understanding of the differences among the counties the college serves. During Ryan's tenure, the college consolidated separate schools in Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's counties into Maryland's fifth-largest community college.

Ryan oversaw construction and renovations on three campuses, including a 75-acre complex in Prince Frederick. Enrollment increased by more than 30 percent in the last five years.

Several of the five candidates said growth and the three-campus structure will be key challenges for the new president.

"A crucial thing will be to make sure the college provides services to all three and be able to serve the different needs," said Bradley M. Gottfried, president of Sussex County Community College in New Jersey.

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