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Iowa Central to vet five presidential candidates

Finalists chosen from pool of 35

March 1, 2009
By JESSE HELLING, Messenger staff writer

Five candidates are in the running for the top job at Iowa Central Community College.

The finalists were selected from a pool of 35 applicants from around the country.

The candidates are:

Robert C. Huddleston, a regent professor and former president of Dixie State College in St. George, Utah;

Daniel Kinney, vice president of students services at Western Nebraska Community College in Scottsbluff, Neb.

Lenny Klaver, vice chancellor of university relations and advancement at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in Kenosha, Wis.

Fact Box

Time line of interviews

Each of the five candidates will participate in a two-day interview schedule.

The schedule is:

James Dale Rottweiler - March 10-11

Daniel Paul Kinney - March 23-24

Marlene McComas - March 26-27

Lenny Klaver - March 30-31

Robert Huddleston - April 1-2

Qualification and Characteristics developed for presidential search

Master's degree required, doctorate preferred

Community college experience preferred

Entrepreneurial, innovative, visionary leadership style

Commitment to a learner-centered environment with an emphasis on quality

An established record of community participation and involvement

Ability to lead in a collaborative, inclusive, participatory, and team oriented environment

Successful experience partnering with business and industry, K-12, and four-year institutions

Strong advocacy skills for the community college mission to all constituents, including legislators and state and federal government officials

Understanding of and commitment to diversity among the constituencies (faculty, staff, students) and communities of ICCC's campuses and communities

Strong commitment to staff development and support

Commitment to continued growth of the institution

Demonstrated professionalism including honesty, integrity, respect, trustworthiness, and a strong work ethic

Demonstrated leadership in administrative and financial management with expertise in fundraising


Robert C. Huddleston

Lives in St. George, Utah

Employed by Dixie State College of Utah

Served as president of Dixie State College of Utah for 12 years. He currently serves as regent professor and has held that position since August 2005.

Education consists of:

1969 - Associate of arts degree, Arizona Western College.

1971 - Bachelor of science degree in business administration from Northern Arizona University.

1977- Master of arts degree in business education from Northern Arizona University.

1981 - Ph.D., higher education administration (vocational education) from Colorado State University.

Daniel Kinney

Lives in Gehring, Neb.

Employed by Western Nebraska Community College in Scottsbluff, Neb.

Serves as vice president of student services and has held that position since November 2007.

Education consists of:

1990 - Associate of arts degree of General Studies from Coffeyville Community College, Coffeyville, Kan.

1992 - Bachelor of business administration degree in management from Pittsburg State University.

1997 - Master of science degree in higher education administration from the University of Kansas.

2008 - Ed.D., leadership and higher education administration from the University of Arkansas.

Lenny R. Klaver

Lives in Kenosha, Wis.

Employed by University of Wisconsin-Parkside

Serves as the vice chancellor of university relations and advancement and has held that position since 2001.

Education consists of:

1978 - Associate of arts degree from Iowa Central Community College.

1980 - Bachelor of arts degree in education from Wayne State College.

1985 - Master of science degree in education from Wayne State College.

1994 - Ed.D., educational administration from the University of Northern Colorado.

Marlene A. McComas

Lives in Dayton

Employed by Iowa Central Community College

Serves as vice president of instruction and has held that position since July 2003.

Education consists of:

1974 - Bachelor of science degree in home economics from the University of Wisconsin/Stout.

1981 - Master of science degree in clothing, textiles and related art from the University of Wisconsin/Stout.

Anticipated completion of Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy studies from Iowa State University: May 2009.

James Dale Rottweiler

Lives in Riverton, Wyo.

Employed by Central Wyoming College

Serves as executive vice president for academic services and has held that position since July 2002.

Education consists of:

1988 - Associate of arts degree from Ricks College, Salt Lake City, Utah.

1990 - Bachelor of arts degree in sociology and Japanese from the University of Wyoming.

1992 - Master of arts degree in sociology from the University of Wyoming.

2005 - Ph.D., educational leadership and policy from the University of Utah.

Marlene McComas, vice president of instruction at Iowa Central Community College, and

James Dale Rottweiler, executive vice president of academic services at Central Wyoming Community College in Riverton, Wyo. Rottweiler did not return repeated calls from The Messenger requesting comment.

Though McComas is the only internal candidate, Klaver also has a tie to Iowa Central. A native of Kamrar, Klaver received an associate of arts degree from the school in 1978.

The chance to be nearer to family appealed to Klaver in applying for the Iowa Central presidency, he said.

"I've always loved Iowa Central," he said. "I like the way the institution has grown."

Klaver said he believes his current position at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside has helped him develop many of the skills he would need as Iowa Central president.

"Our profile of students is very similar to Iowa Central," said Klaver.

Located between Chicago and Milwaukee, UW-Parkside is very regionally oriented, Klaver said.

"We have great involvement with local commerce and industry," he said.

In his current position, Klaver works to generate private donations - an avenue of funding that becomes ever more important in times of economic difficulty, he said.

"In today's economy, everybody's facing real challenges," Klaver said.

For Kinney, leading Iowa Central would provide him an opportunity to be associated with "one of the best community college systems in the nation," he said.

"I grew up in the community college system," said Kinney, who has worked in community college administration since 1999.

Kinney's father, also named Dan Kinney, is president of Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs.

"We'd love to be closer to family," he said.

As president of Dixie State College, Huddleston oversaw the transformation of the institution from a two-year community college to a four-year institution.

"In 2000, the state legislature approved for us to offer a limited number of bachelor's degrees," he said.

In 2005, Huddleston stepped down as president to become a regents professor, a title which the Utah Board of Regents may award to a college president or commissioner who elects to assume or resume a faculty position after serving as president or commissioner for a period of at least seven years.

As such, he had a chance to get back into the classroom, Huddleston said.

That's in keeping with his personal philosophy to make students the focus of education, he said.

"I've met people from Iowa community colleges and have been very impressed with the system they had there," he said.

That coupled with the "itch" to get back into administration, prompted Huddleston to apply for the Iowa Central job, he said.

For McComas, becoming Iowa Central president would allow her the opportunity to continue her professional career at the institution she has come to know well since joining the faculty in 1999.

McComas, a native of Wisconsin, has served as vice president of instruction since 2003.

"I enjoy working with the students, faculty and staff," she said, adding that she has enjoyed a positive working relationship throughout the region and the state.

McComas said she received a letter saying that someone nominated her for the position - though she does not know who.

Such nominations were solicited by Larry Ebbers, an Iowa State University professor and member of the faculty of the university's Community College Leadership Program who has worked to facilitate the search process.

To seek out candidates, Ebbers said he called a number of people from various institutions throughout the country.

The position was also advertised online and in the Chronicle of Higher Education, he said.

Prior to seeking applicants, a list of qualifications for the president's position was developed.

Once applications were received, a screening committee of current Iowa community college presidents narrowed the list of applicants to 11. From that list, a search committee composed of Iowa Central faculty and staff, along with community and business leaders, selected the top five candidates.

"We used the same criteria to narrow the list," he said.

The search for a new president for Iowa Central began in September 2008, following the Aug. 28 resignation of Robert Paxton in the wake of controversy after the release of a photograph that appeared to show him pouring beer down a young woman's throat.

Despite this incident, Iowa Central's reputation as a premier community college spurred more candidates than average to apply, Ebbers said.

"Iowa Central is in a very good situation," he said. "People are looking at the kind of things being accomplished there."

Each candidate will participate in a two-day interview, beginning March 10 and continuing through April.

The goal, as identified by the Iowa Central board of directors, is to have a new president in office by July 1.

Contact Jesse Helling at (515) 573-2141 or



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