Finalists make case to be next chancellor
The applicant pool for the next chancellor of Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC) has been narrowed down to four finalists.
Vying for the position are Dr. Barbara Jones, Dr. Douglas “Rick” Bateman, Dr. Larissa Littleton-Steib and Dr. Kimberly A. Russell. An open and competitive search began last year after Dr. Jim Henderson accepted the job as President of Northwestern State University in Natchitoches.
Each candidate was on campus last week for a series of forums for faculty, students, community members and business partners. In addition to the public forums, each candidate will interview privately with Louisiana Community and Technical College System President Monty Sullivan.
A selection of the next chancellor of Bossier Parish Community College is scheduled to be made at the LCTCS Board meeting on April 8.
Cadidates faced a variety of questions from community members, business leaders and BPCC stakeholders during the community forum. One final question, though, was asked by Donna Womack, Associate Vice Chancellor at BPCC – “You are here to ask Bossier Parish Community College to pick you as its next chancellor. Why did you choose BPCC?”
Read candidate responses to this question and more below.
Dr. Barbara Jones
Dr. Barbara Jones grew up in an Air Force family. Her dad was stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base and she attended Haughton Middle School then graduated from Haughton High School. Jones considers herself to be a product of Bossier Parish, having lived in the area for more than 30 years, starting a family and raising children here.
Jones was the division chair of allied health at Bossier Parish Community College in Bossier City from 1998 to 2003, and an instructor of allied health and life science at BPCC from 1991 to 2003.
She is a 2004 graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, earning a doctorate in Administration, Curriculum, and Instruction with a specialization in Educational Leadership and Higher Education. She is a 1992 graduate of Louisiana State University Health Science Center in Shreveport, LA, earning a master’s degree in health science; and a 1981 graduate of Northeast Louisiana University in Monroe earning a bachelor’s degree in medical technology.
Jones served as the dean of instruction at Louisiana Delta Community College in Monroe, LA, a position that she held from 2003 to 2009. She also had held other collegiate administrative-level positions, including the presidency of the National Network of Health-Career Programs in Two-Year Colleges in 2004-2006.
Jones assumed the duties and responsibilities of President of South Arkansas Community College August 1, 2009, becoming the institution’s fourth president.
Jones said when it comes to a presidency position, it’s about finding a person that fits the job. She feels that her experience and history in the community make her an ideal candidate for the position.
“I have 34 years in this community, my kids grew up here, I have school connections already and I know the layout of this community. I’m ready to hit the ground running,” she said.
If selected chancellor, Jones said her number one goal is student success.
“Student success is measured in a lot of different ways,” Jones explained. “Whether a students is trying to earn a GED, workplace credentials or an associates degree, the focus is on the students. To me, starting at a new institution begins with listening a lot. Until you really visit with people, you really don’t know or understand what happens at a college.”
The role of chancellor, Jones continued, is to be the face of the college.
When asked why she chose BPCC, Jones referred back to her 34 year history in Bossier Parish.
“I would love to come back to Bossier. It’s home,” she said. “It’s good to see familiar faces in an area I know well. I feel like I can hit the ground running and contribute to the college. I’ve watched this college grow and I’m so proud. I think we can go even further and I would love to be part of it.”
Dr. Rick Bateman
Dr. Rick Bateman, Jr. currently serves as the Interim Director of Northwest Louisiana Technical College and Interim Chancellor at Bossier Parish Community College. He has been at Northwest LTC for a little over a year and at BPCC for two months.
Prior to becoming Interim Director at Northwest LTC, Rick was the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Student Success at SOWELA Technical Community College in Lake Charles, Louisiana. He has 20+ years of progressively responsible and varied higher education experience in Belize, Texas, and Louisiana.
Rick has a proven record of success as a dynamic, visionary, servant leader committed to expanding access, promoting student success, utilizing data-informed decision making, promoting partnerships, and building a collaborative, cooperative, team-centered environment.
“BPCC is market responsive like no other college in the state of Louisiana. BPCC is customer focused like no other college in our state. I love that about BPCC,” Bateman said. “We are ready for students when they cross the threshold and we’re going to embrace them and help them get where they need to go.”
Rick holds a Ph.D. in Community College Leadership from The University of Texas at Austin. He also has a Master’s Degree in Religious Education from Loyola University New Orleans and a Bachelor’s Degree in History from the University of California at Los Angeles.
Rick is passionate about the open door mission of the two-year college and believes that the community college is an essential tool of a healthy democracy and a vibrant economy. His leadership style is driven by core values that include courtesy, integrity, perseverance, respect, trust, and personal growth.
“What BPCC needs right now is someone that is innovative and results oriented. I think the experience I have, educational and professional, make me an ideal candidate for the next chancellor of BPCC because I am action oriented, customer oriented and solutions oriented,” Bateman said. “I lead with a sense of urgency because I know what it’s like to be that student who is about to walk onto a college campus and need services.”
Bateman said the important thing to remember is staying market focused and customer centered.
“The vision we have for BPCC is to be a world class institution. We already have a national reputation and BPCC Open Campus has taken our name around the world,” he said. “The next step is identifying ways that will continue that growth and improve on it.”
When asked why he chose BPCC, Bateman said he feels like he is the candidate best fit for the job.
“I believe that God wants us to take our greatest talents and apply them where we find the greatest need. That has driven a lot of the decisions I’ve made as a professional. I was invited to provide interim leadership at BPCC, but I didn’t think this is where God would lead me. I’ve realized that there is a contribution for me to make here. There are things that I can do to help BPCC get to the next level and I do believe that I am the best fit. You won’t find anyone that will love BPCC like I love BPCC. You certainly won’t find anyone that will work as hard as I will for this college and community.”
Dr. Larissa Littleton-Steib
Dr. Larissa Littleton-Steib currently serves as the Vice Chancellor for Workforce Development and Technical Education at Delgado Community College. She is a native of Jefferson Parish and has over 20 years of experience in education.
Larissa began her career as a Special Education Teacher in the Jefferson Parish Public School System. Previously, Littleton-Steib worked in New Orleans Public Schools as the Executive Director for External Grants. During her career at Delgado, she has held various positions such as, Executive Dean of West Bank Campus and Dean of the Technical Division, Executive Assistant to the Chancellor and Equal Access Equal Opportunity Officer, Executive Director of Community and Economic Development and instructor and job developer.
Littleton-Steib said she has held BPCC in high regard for a long time and is honored to be a finalist for the chancellor’s position.
“Jim Henderson has some really big shoes to fill,” she said. “This community and staff has brought this college where dreams never thought it would do. It has surpassed expectations on many levels in spite of budget cuts, limited resources and staff. This institution can succeed and will succeed.”
Littleton-Steib has an extensive background in program development, grant writing and workforce development and training. She chaired the Delgado Community College Strategic Planning Committee which developed the college’s five year strategic plan.
Littleton-Steib said BPCC needs a chancellor that is visible on campus and in the community, someone who is accountable and someone who is willing to make a stand for the college.
“Relationships take time. They don’t happen overnight. BPCC already has a strong foundation,” she said. “I’m sure a plan has been written for Bossier Parish Community College as to how its goals will be reached and obtained. What you need now is someone to put those steps into action, holding an individual accountable for those actions and finding the resources needed to achieve those goals.”
Littleton-Steib holds bachelors and master’s degrees from Xavier University of New Orleans and a doctorate in Urban Higher Education from Jackson State University in Mississippi.
Her vision and plan for BPCC was not stated in the forum. Instead, Littleton-Steib believes that the next chancellor of Bossier Parish Community College should come in and listen to the students, faculty and staff on campus first.
“I’m not coming into BPCC with a high level view of what I think should happen next,” she explained. “I’m coming in with a plan to work with a team and we are going to develop the next step for Bossier Parish Community College. We are going to do it together. There are things you do really well and things that fall short. We also have to listen to our business partners and design programs that meet the need of the community and industry partners.”
When asked why she chose BPCC, Littleton-Steib said she likes the direction the college is moving.
“I’ve been watching you for a while and I like what you’re doing here,” she said. “I want to be part of this team that’s doing exceptional things for the region, state and country.”
Dr. Kimberly Russell
Dr. Kimberly A. Russell is Vice President for Advancement and External affairs at Tyler Junior College and also serves as Executive Director of the Tyler Junior College Foundation, the largest two-year college foundation in Texas. She has worked for TJC since 1999 after a five-year tenure as Director of Foundation and Corporate Relations at LeTourneau University.
Russell has over 20 years of experience in higher education including advancement, alumni affairs, enrollment management, marketing, web development, government relations and public information. She said BPCC’s work with workforce education is the thing that makes it appealing and what drove her across the state line into Louisiana to apply for the job.
“You speak with what seems to be a unified voice. Your system of community and technical colleges speak with one voice and I think that is different from Texas. You are allowing your community partners to help guide your programs and I think that is very appealing. You are offering degrees and certifications that the business and industry needs. That’s huge.”
Russell earned her BA in English at the University of Texas at Tyler and her MA in English and EDD in Higher Education Administration with a minor in Economics from the University of North Texas. She served as an adjunct instructor in the English department at Kilgore College while completing graduate work at the University of North Texas.
Russell said there are many untapped markets that BPCC could utilize.
“I see a lot of potential here,” she explained. “From what I’ve gathered and researched about this institution, you do have strong partnerships, but I think you can do more. You can position yourselves by using a marketing campaign to not portray this as a grade 13-14 school, but as an economic engine for this community, region and state. It’s a matter of developing relationships, which takes time and trust.”
If chosen as the next chancellor, Russell said her plan for the first six months is to begin building relationships with the students, faculty, community and business partners.
When asked why she chose BPCC, Russell said its because the college has a handle on its mission.
“You know what you’re doing and you know where you’re going,” she said. “In Texas, we don’t have that same kind of focus. I think that takes away from the core of who we are. I think you have a wonderful group of people here. I’m excited about the community here. I’m excited about the larger market here in Shreveport-Bossier. I’m excited about the facilities this college has. I would welcome the opportunity to work and live here.”