KC Star – Incoming leader to forge ties at JCCC – The college’s new president wants to get out and improve relationships with local businesses, faculty and staff

Paper: Kansas City Star, The (MO)
Title: Incoming leader to forge ties at JCCC – The college’s new president wants to get out and improve relationships with local businesses, faculty and staff.
Author: MELODEE HALL BLOBAUM, The Kansas City Star
Date: June 18, 2007
Section: NEWS
Page: B1

A new era begins today at Johnson County Community College, as Terry A. Calaway settles into the president’s office.

But he doesn’t plan to spend a lot of time in that office over the next few weeks. His priority, he said, is getting out in the community to meet the school’s business partners and getting to know the faculty and staff.

“I think you’ll find us to be a little more entrepreneurial,” he said. “We can’t wait for people to come to us.”

Calaway comes to the college after a yearlong transition led by interim president Larry Tyree, whose last day was Friday.

Charles Carlsen had held the office for 25 years, but he retired in April 2006 after the campus newspaper published allegations that he had sexually harassed a female employee in 2003. He denied the allegations and called for an independent review of the matter, then retired a week later.

Trustees hired the Kansas City law firm Badger & Levings, spending more than $500,000 for an investigation that also covered other personnel and policy matters.

They also hired Tyree, who arrived in July and faced faculty and staff worried that their conversations with the investigators could lead to retaliation from trustees and administrators. Tyree’s goal was to build trust and open communication among faculty, staff, administrators and trustees.

“Hopefully, there’s a feeling of openness where people can express themselves without fear of retribution,” Tyree said. “Any organization this large and complex is going to have issues, but hopefully he (Calaway) won’t have to deal with the same ones we’ve encountered over the last year.”

First on Calaway’s agenda: scheduling a tour of the nearly completed Regnier Center and Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, both scheduled to open later this year on the Overland Park campus.

The Nerman Museum houses exhibition space, a cafe, an art education center and an auditorium.

The 160,000-square-foot Regnier Center has a conference center, a small-business development center, offices and classrooms for computer applications, information technology and biotechnology.

The Regnier Center opens new doors for work force development, Calaway said, and the community should look for the school to offer more customized curricula to meet the needs of small businesses.

But to get those doors open, he said, he and other leaders need to be out in the community talking about the new opportunities.

Calaway isn’t the only new face in a leadership position at the school. On Thursday, longtime trustee Elaine Perilla will attend her final board meeting, with incoming board member Don Weiss to start his four-year term on the board in July.

Tyree had high praise for JCCC, calling it a dynamic institution that continues to define itself in how it meets change.