LIMA — Rhodes State College president candidate Dr. David Devier told a group of the college’s staff Thursday that higher education is at an interesting place with declining high school enrollment and increased full employment.
Devier is one of three candidates seeking the college’s president’s position which became vacant in April when Debra McCurdy left for a job at Baltimore City Community College in Baltimore, Maryland. McCurdy served 12 years as Rhodes State College president.
Devier has been president and CEO of Glen Oaks Community College, Centerville, Michigan, since January 2014. He touched on many issues ranging from his views on the college’s downtown project, working with OSU-Lima and building a culture of trust. He spent 40 minutes answering questions at the Keese Hall Multipurpose Room. His wife Patty, who earned a degree in nursing from Rhodes State College, also attended the event.
“We are at a situation where we have declining high school enrollment which means fewer students to go to college. We have full employment with those who used to be called non-traditional students who are working,” Devier said. “It is much more difficult for those fully employed to seek education. Colleges are competing with each other for student enrollment that have a smaller pool of students.”
He added that Rhodes State is helped by a large number of high school students who are earning college credit.
Devier was asked what he felt his role was in the college’s downtown project of building a Center of Health Science Education and Innovation at Main and Market Streets adjacent to the Veterans Memorial Civic and Convention Center. The campus will have nursing, occupational therapy and respiratory care classes with groundbreaking scheduled for December 2019.
“My role is key and I understand there is a lot of interest in the community to have this state-of-the art facility,” Devier said. He pointed out the facility will have the latest and greatest in equipment, adding the decision was made by the board of education with the community’s support.
“I support the decision and would not want to change a decision that appears to already have been made. My goal is to carry out the decision,” Devier said.
Why the interest
He was asked why he is interested in the job and said he feels that Rhodes State College would be a good fit for him.
“I think we are at a great time to help the institution move forward in a very short period of time. I feel I have those credentials to move the college forward,” Devier said.
He served as vice president of student academic affairs at Clark State Community College, Springfield, Ohio, from Aug. 1, 2007, ending to his retirement effective Oct. 1, 2013. Devier also served as the dean and CEO at University of Cincinnati Clermont College, Batavia, Ohio, from Sept. 1, 2002, to July 31, 2007.
He was employed in the department of industrial technology as an instructor for the Department of Industrial and Technical Education at Central State University, Wilberforce, Ohio.
He holds a doctor of philosophy degree from Ohio State University, a master of arts degree from Kent State University and a bachelor of arts from Ohio Northern University.
One person asked Devier to provide a specific example of how he has encouraged community outreach.
“In my current position when I came there the college was estranged and had leadership issues. I spent the first major portion of my job visiting superintendents, governmental officials and industrial folks to build those relationships back,” Devier said. He noted the first step in community outreach is building relationships. He said it is important to build those relationships consistently stating that the president of the college is the conduit to build those relationships.
“I learned a long time ago that working with folks is better than working against them,” Devier said.
Devier also emphasized the importance of Rhodes State partnering with OSU-Lima.
“I look forward to helping this institution grow and am intrigued about the partnership between the college and OSU-Lima. I met with the dean and I think there are a lot of possibilities to have synergy and grow together,” Devier said.
He addressed the topic of building a culture of trust at the college.
“I would like to support faculty and students and the role of president should be to facilitate and encourage and find resources for them,” Devier said.
Devier was asked to describe his leadership style and said he is a “servant leader.” He said he models his leadership style after serving as a leader that he would like to have. He added that he is a good listener and has an open door policy.
Upcoming receptions have been scheduled from 4 to 6 p.m. at the multipurpose room for the college’s other presidential candidates.
Dr. Cynthia Spiers, who is currently serving as the interim president at Rhodes, will answer questions on Aug. 27. Dr. Lauri White is scheduled for Sept. 4.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.