By Courtney Wentz | Mount Observer Staff
Dr. James Vander Hooven, MWCC’s incoming President is officially taking over on March 18th.
Vander Hooven previously worked at Landmark College, a four year school in Vermont, but he has worked at two community colleges in the past. He was President for four years at Tohono O’odham Community College in Arizona and Lakes Region Community College in New Hampshire as Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. He said, “Community colleges is where my passion is.”
His immediate plan is to do a “listening tour.” Meaning, he will listen to concerns and get input from faculty, staff, the administration, community, and especially the students. He wants students to have a say in strategic planning with moving MWCC forward. Vander Hooven plans to interact with students by having monthly lunches to get their input on what is happening with the college.
As a student at Ohio State University, Vander Hooven said he “struggled academically,” but being a part of the speech and debate team, along with theatre, kept him in college. His difficulties in school made him want to be a teacher to help students with their challenges.
The advice he has for students is to “get involved with the college and community, even if it’s just once a semester.” Vander Hooven’s dissertation was about women who had children and finished their associate’s degree. He wanted to know how they juggled college and parental responsibilities. The one factor the women had in common was they were all involved with the college and community, keeping them motivated to graduate.
Vander Hooven also suggested that students ask for help, saying, “Right before you sense that you’re falling behind or that something is confusing you, reach out to someone.” He thinks asking for help is “the ultimate sign of strength,” not weakness, and wants to change the perception of that.
“I am humbled and excited to have this opportunity,” Vander Hooven said, “It’s nice to be here.”