Dunn resigns as president
Monday, May 18, 2015
In executive session at the April 20 Board of Trustees meeting, Seward County Community College/Area Technical School President Dr. Duane Dunn submitted his resignation, effective June 30. Dunn has accepted the position of Associate Dean and Director of Programs for the Global Campus of Kansas State University.
“I wasn’t searching, but was encouraged to apply for this position — a friend described it as ‘a perfect fit,’ with my personal philosophy of making sure people have the opportunity to get education, no matter where they live, no matter what their background is,” Dunn said.
When he came to SCCC/ATS 11 years ago, he recalled, “I knew Seward was the right college with the right values, the right perspective, people, faculty, students — it all fit,” Dunn said. “Leaving is a difficult and emotional decision, but this opportunity is one I need to pursue both professionally and personally.”
As the college’s longest-serving president, Dunn looks back on more than a decade of tremendous change and progress.
“I’m really proud of the things we’ve been able to accomplish,” he said. “We’ve adapted to a changing regional population, and have kept doing what we’re supposed to do, which is make education possible for people who might not have had access to it.”
During his years at SCCC/ATS, Dunn guided the college through a merger with Southwest Kansas Area Vocational Technical School, navigated a changing landscape of federal, state and academic regulation and oversight, and saw the college attain national recognition for its quality, graduation rates Dunn described as “way off the charts,” and transfer success that exceeds national community college averages.
“This College’s strength is due in large part to the solid Board of Trustees which govern SCCC/ATS,” Dunn said. “They are supportive of the college, expect high achievement, are great stewards of the resources that the public provides, and are very caring about the students, employees, and the community.”
Board chair Ron Oliver and Vice Chair Marvin Chance, Jr. met with Dr. Dunn Tuesday evening to review processes for beginning the search for a new president. The full Board of Trustees will meet next Wednesday for a work session to refine a position description and timeline for hiring a new president.
“I know this position will be highly desired as the faculty, staff, board and students have created a nationally recognized college that is financially strong, has superb facilities, with high achieving students, and strong employees,” Dunn said. “There are of course challenges and all organizations have those – but not all organizations have the spirit and philosophy focused on student achievement that is found here. It has been a privilege to serve this college and you but it’s also time for new leadership to move the college forward.”
Dunn said he’ll take the Southwest Kansas values instilled in him by his parents on the family’s Richfield farm with him as he returns to the university where he continued his own education after two years at Colby Community College. Dunn holds bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees from K-State.
“What I learned growing up — help your community and help people get an education — is why I am passionate about community colleges,” he said. “This new position will allow me to come back to Seward occasionally and I look forward to developing partnerships for degree completion, transfer agreements, professional development opportunities, and whatever other situations may arise which will strengthen SCCC/ATS and its students’ goals.”