Amy Fugate, vice president of Academic Affairs at Mott Community College and presidential finalist, traveled to Grand Rapids Community College yesterday, Nov. 16, to proceed with the final stage of the interview process.
Fugate is one of three candidates for presidency at GRCC. Dr. Bill Pink, vice president and dean for workforce development, with GRCC and L. Joy Gates-Black, vice chancellor for academic affairs and student success from Tarrant County College (TX), are the other two candidates.
Coming from Mott Community College, Fugate talked about how she and Mott CC played a role in helping the community of Flint, the city Mott CC is located in.
“We started thinking about the situation from the standpoint of ‘we have a lot of students who live in the city, they could pick up their water from here while they’re here,” Fugate said. “We became a water distribution center … we also realized we are an educational institution, we need to help educate the community.
Fugate discussed how she would bridge the gap between minority students and the majority.
“I learned after my first interview with (GRCC) that you have closed the gap with Latino male students, so something is working there,” Fugate said. “So what’s working there? … I think you have to have these discussions college wide and one thing you should always do is segregate your data, not bunch it into one set of numbers. We also need to get past the quantitative data because until we start asking the questions of students ‘Why? How? What’s going on?’ then all we have are numbers and we just keep trying to reduce those numbers and figure out if this solution works or that solution works.”
Fugate also discussed how important morale is within institutions like GRCC and in general.
“I think the bottom aspect of morale is people need to be appreciated,” Fugate said. “You want to hear a ‘good job’ from somebody. You want to hear someone tell you ‘you look nice today.’ You want somebody to give you that positive reaffirmation. That’s human instinct. Why do we find ourselves getting so busy and so caught up in things that when something goes wrong, we have to address it and talk about the negative when we forget to go out and talk about the positive.”
Fugate elaborated by telling a story about a previous employer that would finish every email she sent with ‘good job,’ or ‘great job’ and the faculty would each count the number of times this person would finish emails with those phrases and they would see who had the most at the end of the work day.
“At the time, I thought of it like a joke and I thought ‘when I become vice president, I’m not gonna say this stuff.” It wasn’t specific enough for me and now I find myself saying occasionally ‘good job’ and ‘great job.’ I try to put more with it, thinking back to that time, but I think it’s that affirmation that we’ve done something and we’re being recognized for what we’ve done.”
The overarching theme of the three candidates is all are “equally qualified and impressive candidates” according to GRCC Board of Trustee member Deb Bailey.
“We are really excited to have three really strong candidates,” Bailey said.
GRCC has been very attractive and appealing to potential candidates according to Bailey.
“This institution has been a real draw for great candidates to apply,” Bailey said. “This is a phenomenal institution and it’s a great time to come in and take up leadership after Dr. Ender … We’re an institution that’s not in any trouble, our numbers are great, we’ve got a great leadership team, great staff and a great student body, so it’s a healthy institution to come into.”
All candidates are looking to improve where Ender will leave off and hope to act as a representative for all staff, faculty and students, as well as listen to the concerns from various individuals and committees within GRCC.
The final decision for the new president of GRCC will be made next week at 9 a.m. Monday, Nov. 21, by the Board of Trustees.
Several videos of Fugate’s presentations of the day can be found below.