That other state higher education system is beginning its own presidential search

North Carolina’s community college system is undergoing a transition. President Scott Ralls is leaving in September to become the president of Northern Virginia Community College in the Washington, D.C., area. Last week, the state board picked an interim successor, George Fouts of Jamestown.

A little bit about Fouts: He’s been associated with the community college system for more than 40 years, most notably as a former executive vice president of Guilford Technical Community College. He was also an interim president at Mayland and Roanoke-Chowan community colleges. The state board gave him this year’s I.E. Ready Award, which the community college system says is the highest honor an individual can receive from the board.

Meanwhile, this summer will begin the probably long process of picking a more permanent president. The search committee will spend the next 60 to 90 days finding an outside consultant. Then, according to board member Clyde Higgs, it could be as late as next summer before the board is able to make a formal offer to any candidate.

See Jay Schalin’s recent interview with President Ralls for a good rundown of what’s right and wrong with the community college system. See also my piece about the state board’s tendency to bow to the wishes of the system administrators. That’s something that is very wrong with the system, which hopefully a new president will change.



Harry Painter

Harry Painter writes for the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.