The first of four meet and greets being held for school employees and the public to meet four candidates who have been selected as finalists to fill the open position of president at Mineral Area College in Park Hills was held Monday afternoon in the Rice Lecture Hall.
The college began seeking a new president after Dr. Steve Kurtz announced his resignation from the position as of the first of the year. The first featured candidate was Dr. Joe Gilgour of State Fair Community College in Sedalia.
According to the school, dates for additional meet and greets are Wednesday with Dr. Tim Taylor of Oakland Community College; Thursday with Dr. Amber Henry of Missouri Baptist University; and Feb. 20 with Dr. Thomas Mills of Seminole State College. All the meet and greets will be at 2 p.m. in Rice Lecture Hall on MAC’s Park Hills campus.
According to Shaun Braswell, MAC’s director of marketing/adjunct instructor, the meet and greets are free and open to the public.
“We are hoping to pack the place,” he said. “I will have the streaming link posted each day for each candidate on the Mineral Area College Facebook page for viewers who are off campus, or for whatever reason are unable to attend the meet and greets.”
Dr. Joe Gilgour
Dr. Gilgour is originally from Chillicothe, and currently serves as dean of student and academic support services at State Fair Community College in Sedalia. He has been with Missouri community colleges for 14 years and has lived in Missouri all his life.
According to Gilgour, he believes in the power of higher education and community colleges specifically as the answer to not only bridging the skills gap in the state of Missouri, but also the best way to reach those who are less likely to attend or be able to afford college.
He holds a Bachelors in Theatre and Psychology from Southwest Baptist University; a Masters in College Student Personnel from Arkansas Tech University; and a Doctorate in Education-Higher Education Administration from Saint Louis University.
Gilgour has presented at numerous conferences including the Higher Learning Commission, Missouri Community College Association and Missouri College Personnel Association. He collaborated with other colleagues from ACPA on the publication of “From Remediation to Graduation: Directions for Research and policy Practice in Developmental Education.” Gilgour has served as instructor of graduate programs at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
He and his wife Stephanie have two children, Grant and Genevieve.
Dr. Tim Taylor
With a background in academic leadership, community partnerships and performance-based curriculum design, Dr. Taylor said he “brings tremendous depth and leadership focused on student success.”
From 2014-18, Taylor served Oakland Community College (OCC) in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, as campus president with progressive responsibilities as chief operating officer for the college’s two largest campuses: Auburn Hills and Orchard Ridge (Farmington Hills) with responsibilities for campus administration and operations.
Taylor said that in May 2017 he “intensified his efforts to focus on student success and community need in a newly created academic officer position as associate vice chancellor of academic affairs at OCC where he provided leadership and support to one of the largest technical and career programs in the Midwest.”
He further stated that, “while his focus is on manufacturing, engineering, industrial technology and emergency services,” he had “an integral role in the college’s strategic plan, as well as administrative development of board policy.”
Prior to his work at OCC, he served as president of Frontier Community College, one of four community colleges in the Illinois Eastern Community College District. Taylor began his career in a faculty role before moving to leadership positions in business, technology, skilled trades and agriculture.
He holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from the University of Wisconsin; a Master’s in Science in Vocational Education from Southern Illinois University; a Bachelor of Science in Electronics Management from Southern Illinois University; and an Associate of Applied Science in Electronics Technology and Industrial Maintenance from Danville Area Community College.
Dr. Amber Henry
Dr. Henry has 23 years of experience in the field of education, with 20 of them at varying levels of leadership in higher education. She has experience in the areas of transfer and articulation; program design and development; student services; recruitment and retention; online and distance education; and strategic planning.
Dr. Henry serves as the associate vice president for extended learning, leading Missouri Baptist University’s (MBU) regional learning centers; adult and post-traditional programs; and the department of online and distance education. As a professor of education, she currently teaches in the Higher Education Leadership program at MBU.
According to Henry, she has “dedicated her career to providing accessible and affordable education and been instrumental in extending access to high quality education through the creation of regional learning centers, articulation agreements with community colleges and the development of online and distance learning offerings.”
Dr. Henry holds an associate degree from Jefferson College; a bachelor’s degree from MBU; a Master’s in Educational Administration from Southwest Baptist University; a Specialist Degree in Information Systems and Learning Technology from the University of Missouri-Columbia; and a Doctorate in Education from Walden University.
She and her husband James have two sons, Logan and Dylan.
Dr. Thomas Mills
Dr. Mills has more than 28 years of experience in higher education, the last 25 in the service of two community colleges — Seminole State College and Rose State College.
According to Mills, throughout that time he has built a reputation as an authentic leader and team builder “with unwavering integrity and dedication” to student success and the community college mission.
For the last 16 years, he has served the students, faculty and staff of Seminole State College (SSC), a rural community college in Seminole, Oklahoma. During his career he has progressed from the position of biology instructor/basketball coach to director of athletics, on to serving as dean of instructional compliance and his current role as the school’s vice president for academic affairs.
As vice president for academic affairs, Mills said he has “fostered a culture of learning and spearheaded the development of numerous programs,” as well as “led a very successful student success initiative,” which he attests nearly doubled the school’s graduation rate.
Prior to his tenure at SSC, he served nine years as a biology instructor/basketball coach at Rose State College in Midwest City, Oklahoma, a larger comprehensive urban community college. He noted that his length of stay and community activism while at both Seminole State and Rose State “provides evidence of his willingness to put down deep roots and make long term investments in the communities where he serves.”
Mills holds a Ph.D in Biochemistry from the University of Houston; a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Central Oklahoma; and an Associate of Arts Degree in Education from Rose State College.
Mills and his wife Yvonne share their home with their pug Cricket and enjoy spending time with their three children, Kendall, Brandon and Kirby, who are all attending graduate school. In his personal time Mills likes to read, lift weights, hike, camp and build things with his hands.
Kevin R. Jenkins is the managing editor of the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-756-8927 or firstname.lastname@example.org