Candidates selected – Dr. Karin Pettit

Dr. Karin Pettit, a well-traveled and experienced educator and administrator is the third candidate for the position of president at the Riverside Campus. Pettit is the sr. vice president of Corporate, Economic and Workforce Development at Louisiana Community and Technical College System .

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By Vanessa Overbeck

By Vanessa Overbeck

Dr. Karin Pettit, a well-traveled and experienced educator and administrator is the third candidate for the position of president at the Riverside Campus. Pettit is the sr. vice president of Corporate, Economic and Workforce Development at Louisiana Community and Technical College System. Although Pettit is not currently the president of a college, she has over 19 years experience working in community colleges as a president and chief officer in the areas of academics and student services. Prior to joining Louisiana Community and Technical College, Pettit was president of the Corporate College of Cuyahoga Community College, the largest community college in Ohio.

Before her move to Ohio, Pettit served 16 years in the North Carolina Community College System at Guilford Technical Community College where her education began. Pettit said that Guilford College is best known for being Quaker. It was there that she learned consensus building and mediation. “It’s a way of doing business,” Petit said.

Her first presidency was at Lenoir Community College where she developed an honors and a study abroad program. Of her early beginnings in community education, Petit said, ” I started in the trenches.”At the presidential forum on May 19, Pettit said her experiences living in different sates are one of her strengths.

“It’s good to live in different states so that you have more experiences to bring to the table,” Pettit said. “A president needs to have a statewide perspective.” The role of a president was also raised at the presidential forum and Pettit responded by emphasizing a president’s responsibility to the community. She discussed her efforts to purchase computers and office supplies in bulk by partnering with companies in the area. And she talked about a partnership with Johnston Controls that resulted in a savings of $1 million in the college’s utility costs.

“The role of a president is to make sure we’re getting the most out of the dollars, because we have to report back to taxpayers,” Pettit said.

But she emphasized that it is really a team effort. Pettit wants all voices heard and she likes to bounce ideas off of faculty and staff. At one time she offered a $500 award to anyone who developed an efficiency plan to save the college money.

Pettit said that she is also used to working very closely with students. During her presidencies she spent one lunch a week in the cafeteria, so students intimidated by formal offices can have “lunch with the Prez.” She joked that students and faculty often commented on her frequent walks about the campus: “Doesn’t she have a job? She wanders around a lot.”

At the forum Pettit also voiced her support for the first amendment. At Lenore Community College she supported the art faculty’s selection from student artwork for the cover of the college catalogue, even though a complaint surfaced that the piece had sexual connotations.

“This is what our faculty recommended and we’re going to stand behind it because it was a form of expression,” Pettit said.

Pettit is well known for her community service, winning many awards for her efforts. Her doctorate is in adult and community education and her dissertation focused upon how community colleges maintain their middle name, “community.”

“A major role of a president of a community college is to be sure that we’re connecting with the community,” Pettit said.

At the forums she discussed partnerships with Dow Chemical a natural gas company that resulted in state of the art chemistry labs and culinary facilities.

At Lenoir Community College, Pettit completed community-wide needs assessments and she has served on many boards and committees, including the Governor’s Commission of Workforce Development and the North Carolina President’s Statewide Technology Committee. Pettit has earned the YMCA Volunteer of the Year Award, Guilford College Alumni Excellence Award and the National Red Cross Good Neighbor Award for her community efforts.

On the topic of protecting students and faculty from harassment and discrimination, Pettit said that she has a “zero tolerance policy.” “We have to have a safe environment that is conducive to learning,” Pettit said. “We have to make sure that we have a strong policy, back it up with step by step procedures, and that we’ve bent over backwards to make sure that everyone understands that policy.”

Pettit’s vision for the Riverside Campus included further increasing students’ access to different classes and addressing transportation and daycare issues. She said that as the president of the college she would be looking to increase funding opportunities so that these needs could be met.”I want to give the faculty, staff and students at the Riverside Campus the opportunity to try new things,” Pettit said. “We need to have an environment that encourages faculty, staff and students to take risks.”

Pettit wants to introduce the Riverside Campus to new markets and new programs by building stronger relationships and partnerships with the community.

“We have to keep growing,” Pettit said. also raised at the forum and Pettit emphasized a president’s responsibility to the community. She discussed her efforts to purchase computers and office supplies in bulk by partnering with companies in the area. And she talked about a partnership with Johnston Controls that resulted in a savings of $1 million in the college’s utility costs.

“The role of a president is to make sure we’re getting the most out of the dollars, because we have to report back to taxpayers,” Pettit said.

But she emphasized that saving money is a team effort. Pettit wants all voices heard and she likes to bounce ideas off of faculty and staff. At one time she offered a $500 award to anyone who developed an efficiency plan to save the college money.

Pettit said that she is also used to working very closely with students. During her presidencies she spent one lunch a week in the cafeteria, so students intimidated by formal offices can have “lunch with the ‘Prez.'”

She joked that students and faculty often commented on her frequent walks about the campus: “Doesn’t she have a job? She wanders around a lot.”

At the forum Pettit also voiced her support for the First Amendment. At Lenore Community College she supported the art faculty’s selection from student artwork for the cover of the college catalogue, even though a complaint surfaced that the piece had sexual connotations.

“This is what our faculty recommended and we’re going to stand behind it because it was a form of expression,” Pettit said.

Pettit is well known for her community service, winning many awards for her efforts. Her doctorate is in adult and community education and her dissertation focused upon how community colleges maintain their middle name, “community.”

“A major role of a president of a community college is to be sure that we’re connecting with the community,” Pettit said.

At the forums she discussed partnerships with Dow Chemical a natural gas company that resulted in state of the art chemistry labs and culinary facilities.

At Lenoir Community College, Pettit completed community-wide needs assessments and she has served on many boards and committees, including the Governor’s Commission of Workforce Development and the North Carolina President’s Statewide Technology Committee. Pettit has earned the YMCA Volunteer of the Year Award, Guilford College Alumni Excellence Award and the National Red Cross Good Neighbor Award for her community efforts.

On the topic of protecting students and faculty from harassment and discrimination, Pettit said that she has a “zero tolerance policy.”

“We have to have a safe environment that is conducive to learning,” Pettit said. “We have to make sure that we have a strong policy, back i
t up with step by step procedures, and that we’ve bent over backwards to make sure that everyone understands that policy.”

Pettit’s vision for the Riverside Campus included further increasing students’ access to different classes and addressing transportation and daycare issues. She said that as the president of the college she would be looking to increase funding opportunities so that these needs could be met.

“I want to give the faculty, staff and students at the Riverside Campus the opportunity to try new things,” Pettit said. “We need to have an environment that encourages faculty, staff and students to take risks.”

Pettit wants to introduce the Riverside Campus to new markets and new programs by building stronger relationships and partnerships with the community.

“We have to keep growing,” Pettit said. community,” Pettit said.

At the forum she discussed partnerships with Dow Chemical and a natural gas company that resulted in state of the art chemistry labs and culinary facilities.

At Lenoir Community College, Pettit completed community-wide needs assessments and she has served on many committees.

She’s been a part of the Governor’s Commission of Workforce Development and the North Carolina President’s Statewide Technology Committee.

Pettit has earned such honors as the YMCA Volunteer of the Year Award and the National Red Cross Good Neighbor Award for her community efforts.

On the topic of protecting students and faculty from harassment and discrimination, Pettit said that she has a “zero tolerance policy.”

“We have to have a safe environment that is conducive to learning,” Pettit said. “We have to make sure that we have a strong policy, back it up with step by step procedures, and that we’ve bent over backwards to make sure that everyone understands that policy.”

Pettit’s vision for the Riverside Campus included further increasing students’ access to different classes and addressing transportation and daycare issues.

She said that as the president of the college she would be looking to increase funding opportunities so that these needs could be met.

“I want to give the faculty, staff and students at the Riverside Campus the opportunity to try new things,” Pettit said. “We need to have an environment that encourages faculty, staff and students to take risks.”

Pettit said she wants to introduce the Riverside Campus to new markets and new programs by building stronger partnerships with the community.”We have to keep growing,” Pettit said.

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