Semifinalists named in college president search

Peter Bodley
ABC Newspapers

Five semifinalists have been named in the search for a new president to lead both Anoka-Ramsey Community and Anoka Technical College.

All five candidates will be on Anoka-Ramsey’s campuses in Coon Rapids and Cambridge and Anoka Technical College campus for tours and open forums with students, community members, faculty and staff at various times next week.

The semifinalists were announced by a presidential search committee Tuesday.

They are:

• Dr. Ron Erickson, president of Hocking College, Nelsonville, Ohio, since 2009. A native of International Falls, he was previously vice president of academic affairs and institutional planning at Dakota County Technical College, Rosemount.

• Dr. Jerome (Jerry) Migler, currently provost and executive vice president of the  Moorhead campus of Minnesota State Community and Technical College (M State) and before that he was vice president of college outreach at North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton.

• Dr. Linda Baer, senior program officer for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Postsecondary Success and before that she was senior vice chancellor for academic and student affairs with the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system.


• Dr. Constance Mierendorf, special assistant to the president of Hudson County Community College, Jersey City, N.J. She taught and designed curriculum at Minneapolis Community and Technical College from 1979 to 1993.

• Dr. Alex J. Kajstura, provost and director of business at the Norfolk campus of Tidewater Community College, Norfolk, Va.

Erickson and Mierendorf will be visiting the three campuses at different times Monday, March 21.

Erickson will participate in open forums at ATC Monday from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., at Anoka-Ramsey’s Coon Rapids campus from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and at the ARCC Cambridge campus from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Mierendorf will start her day Monday with an open forum at ARCC’s Coon Rapids campus from 9 to 10 a.m., then head to Cambridge for an open forum from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. before finishing at ATC with an open forum from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Migler and Baer will be touring the three campuses and taking part in open forums Wednesday, March 23.

Migler has his open forum at ATC from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. March 23, then drive to the Anoka-Ramsey Coon Rapids campus for an open forum from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. before concluding at Cambridge with an open forum from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Baer’s schedule March 23 has open forums at ARCC Coon Rapids from 9 to 10 a.m., Cambridge from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and ATC from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Kajstura will be at the three campuses Thursday, March 24 with open forums at ATC from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., ARCC Coon Rapids from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and ARCC Cambridge from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Last fall, James McCormick, chancellor of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU), announced that the two colleges were being aligned with one president, but not merged – each would remain independent of the other.

MnSCU retained Pauly Group, Inc., Springfield, Ill., to conduct a nationwide search for the new president.

A presidential search advisory committee, which comprised representatives from both Anoka Technical College and the two campuses of Anoka-Ramsey, was formed to assist in the search process, which included interviewing the candidates and making recommendations to the chancellor.

Following the on-campus sessions next week, the advisory committee is scheduled to present the names of finalist candidates to the chancellor’s office.

According to MnSCU policy, the chancellor and at least one and up to three members of the MnSCU Board of Trustees will interview the selected finalists, after which the chancellor will recommend a candidate for president to the board, which will make the appointment.

The goal is to have the new president on board in July.

McCormick announced that the technical and community colleges would have one president last fall after both Anoka-Ramsey President Dr. Patrick Johns and Anoka Technical College President Anne Weyandt left their respective positions for other jobs within the MnSCU system earlier last year.

At this time, the colleges are being run by interim presidents – Dr. Jessica Stumpf at Anoka-Ramsey and Dr. Shari Olson at Anoka Tech.

But MnSCU policy states that the current interim presidents of the two colleges could not be considered as candidates in a presidential search process.

In announcing that the two colleges would have one president, McCormick made it clear the technical and communities colleges would not be merged.

The alignment of the two colleges means that each college will retain its own name, mission and accreditation, according to McCormick.

“It is essential that the colleges retain their identity and distinct nature as they serve differing student populations,” McCormick said in his announcement.

Anoka-Ramsey’s two campuses have a total of 12,000 students, while Anoka Technical College enrolls 3,400 students.