Spokane Community College moved its interim president to permanent status Thursday – giving Joe Dunlap the top job at SCC four years after he arrived at the college.
Dunlap, 57, was vice president of learning from his arrival in 2004 until last September, when he became the interim president to replace Steve Hanson, who retired. He was selected from three candidates for the permanent position.
“I have a real good sense of the campus and a good sense of where we are and where we need to go,” Dunlap said.
In announcing the selection, Gary Livingston, chancellor of the Community Colleges of Spokane, cited Dunlap’s experience with work force development, capital planning and instruction.
A major focus for the college is work force programs, helping train workers in response to the needs of local industries. Dunlap noted that eight new programs had been started at SCC in recent years – including massage therapy and truck driving – in response to local business needs. While no specific new programs are planned now, he said the college is always looking at industry trends to see where more training might be needed.
“Right now we’re looking to see where the next need will be,” he said.
SCC has seen steady enrollment growth in recent years. It already hit its enrollment target of roughly 6,100 for this academic year, and it will likely look to grow by 50 or so students next year, he said.
Among the biggest areas of growth in recent years, and likely in future years, is online distance learning programs. Dunlap said 2,150 students are taking at least some distance education this quarter.
“Four years ago, it was probably 250,” he said.
Dunlap was chosen over two other candidates: Eric Murray, a North Idaho College administrator, and Ivan Gorne, of Bates Technical College in Tacoma. The candidates visited the campus this month for interviews and sessions with faculty, students and staff.
Dunlap was hired as vice president of learning in 2004. Before that he held a similar position at Clover Park Technical College in Lakewood, Wash., served as instructional dean of science at Mount Hood Community College in Gresham, Ore., and was a founding director of the School of Aviation Sciences at Western Michigan University.