Butler Community College’s search for a new president continued Monday evening during a question and answer time with Dr. Ann Valentine in the Hubbard Welcome Center.
Valentine presently serves as chancellor of Ivy Tech-Wabash Valley, a position she has held since 2011, and was president of Minnesota State Community and Technical College for six years prior to her current position.
She also was vice president/provost of Gateway Technical College for five years and dean of Independence Community College for two years.
Valentine’s degrees include a Ph.D. in higher education leadership and policy studies from Iowa State University, a master of public administration from Iowa State University, a bachelor of arts in political science/history from Mount Mercy College, and an associate degree in liberal arts from Kirkwood Community College.
After briefly introducing herself, Valentine answered questions from her audience.
When asked about her experience dealing with bargaining agreements and unions, she talked about making sure faculty and administration have the same goal.
“We still have to come out of the bargaining room and work together,” she said. “We want to be able to have a strong working relationship.”
She was also asked about her experience in the classroom, where she served around seven years as an adjunct faculty member teaching, among others, political science and anthropology courses.
When asked what she sees as some of the biggest challenges facing community colleges, other than funding, Valentine talked about the issues with which students are dealing.
“Our students are coming to us with more baggage,” she said. “We just don’t have the expertise to do everything.”
She said students are dealing with a multitude of relational and financial issues that can hinder their academic progress.
She also spoke broadly about current political discourse and how certain attitudes are prevalent in society today.
“There’s a lack of civility,” she said. “It’s starting to bleed into all areas of society. We’re just in a very complex milieu.”
She said that community colleges take all comers and often help provide students with a second chance at an education.
“Students take a test that tells us whether they have a cognitive ability,” she said. “It doesn’t tell us they have an emotional ability. We don’t have any way to measure that.”
Valentine was also asked about her impression of Butler’s facilities. She replied there are extremes, as some buildings are newer and some look rather dated. She mentioned strategic planning would be necessary before any substantial changes could be made.
Page 2 of 2 - When asked what she would do to help faculty help students, she responded students shouldn’t be only expected to sit and listen to lectures. She believes in incorporating technology into teaching and helping faculty members stay current with technological trends.
She was also asked about the importance of extracurricular activities.
“We know student life does help to engage students,” she said.
In response to questions, Valentine also said it is important for faculty and administrators to have a common goal of helping students succeed, important to build relationships with members of the community and important to thank legislators for funding they are able to provide.
When asked where she sees herself in five years, Valentine replied she wants to make her last move.
“I’m going where my heart is going to make me happy,” she said.
She believes Butler could be that place, and said she likes the location. Valentine owns dogs and horses, and wants to live somewhere she will be able to keep them with her.
“I need green grass,” she said. “I enjoy the culture here.”
She also addressed her experience working with a foundation board, working to retain students, recruiting international students and what she is currently reading.
Valentine was asked if she would accept the position of Butler president if it was offered to her.
“I want to know what the package is and we will probably negotiate,” she said.
Valentine believes her energy and experience would serve Butler well.
“I have a high level of energy and a high productivity,” she said. “I don’t sit still very well.”