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Six finalists named for BTC president post

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
May 19, 2010
— Four men and two women are finalists for the job of Blackhawk Technical College president.

All six have doctorates in education. None is now working in Wisconsin, but two have previous experience in the Badger State. A search committee selected the six from a pool of about 40 applicants, according to a BTC news release.


The BTC Board is looking for a replacement for President Eric Larson, who retires next month.


"The candidates represent a very diverse group from across the country, each with demonstrated leadership experience in a two-year college setting," said BTC Board Chairman Tom Westrick in the news release.


"The board sought individuals with the vision to implement innovative solutions to address the educational and training needs of our district communities," Westrick said.


They candidates are:


-- Kathleen Brock, dean of instruction at Ridgewater College in Willmar and Hutchinson, Minnesota, since 2007.


Brock previously served as vice president in several areas at Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon, Iowa, from 1991 to 2007, including instruction, community education and academic support and academics.


Brock earned a bachelor's degree in secondary education from the University of Northern Iowa, a master's degree in adult and higher education from the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, and a doctorate in administration of higher education from Iowa State University.


-- Mark Curtis, vice president of instruction at Alpena Community College in Alpena, Mich., since 2007.


Curtis served as director of the college of technology and professor of computer graphics technology at Purdue University from 2004-07. He was assistant provost for community college programs for Northern Michigan University in Marquette from 2000-04.


Curtis also was dean of the college of technology and applied sciences and professor of product design engineering technology at NMU from 1999 to 2004.


From 1981-98, he held multiple positions at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich.


Curtis holds a bachelor's degree in vocational technical education/drafting, a master's degree in industrial education and a doctorate in educational leadership from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Mich.


-- Thomas Eckert, president of Bellingham Technical College in Bellingham, Wash., since 2007.


Eckert was vice president of college services from 1998 to 2007 at Nicolet Area Technical College in Rhinelander, Wis., where he was vice president of student services from 1995-98 and director of the student development center from 1993-95.


Eckert was academic advisor/instructor of special services at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Wash., from 1984-93. He served in the United States Air Force at Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, Colorado, as behavioral science officer/wing safety officer from 1980-84.


Eckert holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from Washington State University in Pullman, Wash. He earned a master's degree in counseling psychology at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Wash., and a doctorate in educational leadership at Seattle University.


-- Bruce Exstrom, president of Allegany College of Maryland in Cumberland since 2008. He held the position of president-elect of the college from 2006-08.


Exstrom announced his resignation May 5. He continues in his current post through June 30 and has agreed to work as a consultant to help with his successor's transition, according to The Daily American of Somerset County.


"It is my personal and professional philosophy that after I decided to pursue opportunities at other community colleges in the middle part of the USA, that I could not devote my full attention to my current duties," Exstrom said in an e-mail to the Gazette.


Exstrom was previously vice president of instruction and associate dean of Instruction at Allegany College.


From 2001-05, Exstrom was director of assessment and student learning for Southeast Community College in Lincoln, Neb., where he taught business administration from 1999 to 2001.


Exstrom was instructor and coordinator of business administration for Hamilton College in Lincoln from 1997-99.


Exstrom earned a bachelor's degree in business administration and finance, a master's degree in adult and continuing education/human resource development and a doctorate in administration in curriculum and instruction/higher education leadership from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.


-- Harry Muir, vice president of instruction at Pima Community College in Tucson, Ariz., since 1994.


Muir was director of student affairs at Arizona State University West in Phoenix from 1989-94.


From 1983-89 he was at East Texas State University, where he served as athletics director, assistant professor of education, director of the graduate school, affirmative action officer and director of academic and student services.


Muir is currently an associate professor at Northern Arizona University. He holds a bachelor's degree in secondary education and a master's degree in higher education administration from the University of Kansas in Lawrence. He earned a doctorate in higher education administration with an emphasis in community education from Kansas State University.


-- Sheila Ruhland, vice president of instruction at Rockingham Community College in Wentworth, N.C., since 2007.


She was vice president of instruction at Clatsop Community College in Astoria, Oregon, from 2004-07.


Ruhland was assistant professor in the department of work, community and family education at the University of Minnesota from 1999 to 2004.


She was dean of business at Western Wisconsin Technical College in La Crosse, Wis., from 1995-99.


Ruhland holds a bachelor's degree in marketing from UW-Stout. She earned a master's degree in continuing and vocational education and a doctorate in continuing and vocational education from UW-Madison.



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