By Selena Reyes
Waubonsee Community College, located in Sugar Grove, Illinois, has selected Grand Rapids Community College’s Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs (ASA), Dr. Brian Knetl, as the college’s fifth president.
The announcement came early Friday afternoon and was posted on the Waubonsee college website. “On behalf of Board Chair Rebecca Oliver and the Board of Trustees, I am thrilled to announce that the Board of Trustees has selected the next president of Waubonsee Community College,” said Michele Needham, Executive Director of Human Resources at Waubonsee, in a statement released this afternoon. “After interviewing a very strong field of three finalist candidates and a thorough review of feedback from the constituent groups, Dr. Brian Knetl was selected unanimously by the Board of Trustees.”
The college’s presidential search committee included the Board of Trustees, as well as designated representatives including full-time employees, students and the community. The search for the college’s new president began in September and by November they announced the three finalists. Knetl, then participated in on campus interviews as required of all three finalists for the job.
“The board will take official action to appoint Dr. Knetl at its Dec. 14 meeting. The college’s current president, Dr. Christine J. Sobek, is retiring on Jan. 4, 2023, after more than 21 years in the role,” was published in an article posted to the college’s website.
Knetl shared in an email to the GRCC community about his excitement in accepting the opportunity. He also expressed his desire to someday become a college president. “While my aspirations have been to one day serve as a community college president, I am departing GRCC a bit sooner than expected. I do hope that I have contributed to and initiated the work needed to build and maintain a collaborative culture in Academic and Student Affairs and have provided a framework that will allow the faculty, staff, and programs at GRCC to continue excelling,” Knetl wrote, adding, “My work at GRCC and previous institutions have prepared me well for this next step in my professional and personal development. I will be forever grateful to GRCC for presenting challenges, opportunities, and colleagues that have contributed to my readiness for this position.”
Knetl’s employment with GRCC began in September of 2019 and his duties as Provost included strategic planning and guiding in relation to teaching and learning in support of student success.
As provost, Knetl recently led a reorganization in the Academic and Student Affairs department which was intended to increase the capacity of academic leaders and strengthen student services.
Knetl also played a key role incorporating the Grand Rapids Promise Program, opening a new satellite campus, expanding resources for the needs of students, adding soccer as an NJCAA sport, and reinforcing early college credit programs.
While some may have some concerns about the future of ASA, Knetl had this to say.
“When I became a finalist for the position, Dr. Olivarez and I immediately began talking about “what if” scenarios to plan for my possible departure,” Knetl stated. “We have also provided Dr. Lepper with updates. I assure you that GRCC’s work in ASA will continue with the same vigor, quality, and innovation that has come to distinguish GRCC.”