On Wednesday, a new era began at Iowa Central Community College.
Foregoing a celebration, Dan Kinney's first official day as Iowa Central's president was decidedly low-key.
Kinney, who was hired for the community college's top job May 12, spent Wednesday settling into his office in the school's instructional services building.
Dan Kinney,the new president at Iowa Central Community College, goes for a stroll across the campus Wednesday morning on his first day of work.
But Kinney said he plans to spend as little time as necessary behind his desk.
"I plan to spend a lot of time out on campus," he said. "I like walking around, observing what's going on."
Kinney's primary short-term goal is getting to know the school and its faculty and staff, he said.
"I want to get out and meet people in the community," he said.
Kinney, a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, most recently served as vice president of student services at Western Nebraska Community College in Scottsbluff, Neb.
He described his leadership style as a team approach.
"I have an open-door policy," he said. "When people have issues, I hope they come in and talk to me."
The new Iowa Central president said he is excited to help the community college move forward.
To begin with, Iowa Central can serve a pivotal role in aiding economic recovery, Kinney said.
"I believe we can help the residents of central Iowa," he said.
One side effect of the current economic downturn could be less state funding for community colleges, said Kinney.
"I wish I could start my presidency during great economic times, but that's not where we're at," he said.
Therefore, Iowa Central will have to become more effective and efficient, Kinney said.
As president, Kinney said he will work with area businesses to help facilitate productive cooperation between Iowa Central and the potential providers of jobs for the school's graduates.
"We're close to the Interstate 35 corridor," said Kinney. "We don't want to lose people who go north to Minnesota or south to Des Moines."
Though Kinney said he'll work with administrators to further develop a strategic plan for Iowa Central, he is not a fan of change merely for change's sake.
"If it's working, we're not going to have to fix it," he said. "That is not productive."
For Karen Lombard, Iowa Central's administrative assistant and secretary of the community college's board of trustees, the timing of Kinney's arrival is perfect, she said.
"I can't think of a better way to start a new fiscal year," Lombard said.
Iowa Central had been without a president since August 2008. In the interim, the school was run by an administrative team, of which Lombard was a part.
"It feels good to have someone in that office," she said.
Contact Jesse Helling at (515) 573-2141 or email@example.com