Great Bay Community College — President

Great Bay Community College (GBCC), one of seven institutions that form the Community College System of New Hampshire (CCSNH), seeks a passionate, dynamic, engaging, and student-centered leader to serve as its next President. The successful candidate will possess a demonstrated ability to identify strategic goals, effectively communicate them, and translate them into action. The President will work towards student success goals by engaging with the community and ensuring college programs are innovative, meet community needs, and have high educational and economic value.

The Position: The President plays a prominent, visible leadership role within the College and across the community. Reporting to the Chancellor of the CCSNH, the President oversees the programs and operations of the College and the management of financial resources. The President will be collaborative and inspire faculty, students, and staff to work together to achieve new levels of operational and instructional excellence. The next President will be a strong leader, capable of making difficult decisions based on data, evidence, and listening. The President will empower employees and foster an organizational culture that embraces collaboration, trust, and respect by drawing upon the strong sense of institutional pride that already exists at GBCC. They will achieve this by working within the institution’s shared governance framework, which is an integral part of the campus culture. The next President will also work effectively with the CCSNH Chancellor, Board of Trustees, and the presidents of the state’s other community colleges to help achieve and maintain balance between serving local needs and coordinating with other institutions within the System. The President, along with the Advisory Board, will continue to hone the strategic vision for GBCC by actively listening to and involving students, faculty, and staff. The President will also work with faculty and staff to identify and actualize opportunities for program development and review and for diversifying the College’s revenues, doing so in a collaborative, transparent, data-driven, and market-oriented way–with a focus on assessment, outcomes, and market research. Building enrollment and retention, the new President will ensure that students are aware of their options and pathways to a career or a four-year degree. The President will be visible to students, involved in student life on campus, and will promote a strong sense of community and affiliation that engages and supports students inside and outside the classroom. The President will also support faculty and staff engagement with students.

The President will support processes to identify, collect, analyze, and utilize information and data for decision-making with a consistent focus on student and institutional outcomes, including supporting the Strategic Enrollment Management (SEM) process and development of an SEM plan. As an external advocate, the President will work to raise the profile and visibility of GBCC as a comprehensive community college to the broader community, strengthening the College’s presence as an integral, accessible community resource. As part of this work, the President will develop appropriate coalitions, promote community college higher education, engage in community and statewide educational finance and policy debates, and build strong working relationships and partnerships with government, businesses, industry, K-12, the military, and other educational institutions and organizations. They will also lead the College in capitalizing on strong existing relationships with major businesses in the community, the state, and nationally, as well as with New Hampshire’s flagship university—the University of New Hampshire.

The President is responsible for developing and stewarding GBCC’s operating budget and securing funding from a diversified range of sources to support clearly identified priorities and assure institutional sustainability. To successfully manage GBCC’s finances, the President will work closely with the Advisory Board, the System office, and the Board of Trustees to ensure that the College is prepared for all future economic scenarios. Additionally, the President will work effectively with elected and appointed public officials in a wide variety of public bodies at the city and state levels, including the executive branch and the legislature, to aggressively advocate for the College’s economic needs. In addition, the President will work with the Community Colleges of NH Foundation in helping the College to raise money through philanthropic donations and to generate corporate sponsorships through partnerships with the area’s businesses, industries, and public-sector enterprises. The President, along with the Foundation, will also encourage and foster an active alumni association and build a culture of philanthropic support among the College’s alumni.

The Institution: Founded in 1945, Great Bay Community College is committed to the mission of expanding intellectual and economic opportunity by providing affordable higher education in an environment that embodies excellence, innovation, and collaboration. The College is recognized by the NH Higher Education Commission and accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE, formerly NEASC-CIHE). The last accreditation visit by NECHE was March 2018, and full 10-year accreditation was granted with the expectation of 2-year and 5-year interim reports. Additionally, the departments of Business Studies, Nursing, Surgical Technology, and Veterinary Technology maintain specialty accreditations. GBCC serves approximately 2,200 students overall through approximately 30 degree programs (Associate in Arts, Associate in Science, and Associate in Applied Science), 20 certificate programs, and numerous customized training programs. GBCC employs 34 full-time faculty, 69 staff, and approximately 210 adjunct faculty annually. Great Bay Community College’s main campus is in Portsmouth, NH. Since 2009, the campus includes 122,000 square feet of academic space in the renovated former Pease Air Force Base hospital building, which houses over 50 classrooms, including laboratories for biology, chemistry, nursing and other healthcare fields, general sciences, and veterinary technology. Additional programs at GBCC include Biotechnology, Business Administration, Criminal Justice, Computer Technologies, Engineering, English, Life Sciences, Fine Arts, Hotel, Restaurant and Event Management, Math, and Psychology. A fully commuter campus, GBCC added an additional 20,000 square feet in 2015 with the construction of a student success center that engages students in the life of the College by integrating curricular and co-curricular programs, gymnasium, administrative offices, a student lounge, an exercise space, and locker rooms. Additional student services areas include the library, career center, Center for Academic Planning and Support, Advising Center, One Stop Area, bookstore, and on-campus dining. The College also maintains a growing athletics program, recently adding women’s and men’s basketball and Esports. GBCC’s Rochester Campus was created in 2012 in part by a TAACCCT grant through the U.S. Department of Labor and in part by a special state allocation to support workforce training needs for aerospace companies coming to Rochester, NH. The 27,000 square foot facility includes state of the art manufacturing labs, classrooms, student lounge, and offices, and the center was awarded the 2014 project of the year by the Northeast Economic Development Association. Today the center continues to support the workforce needs of a growing number of advanced manufacturing companies with programs in composites, CNC, metrology, and nondestructive testing and, most recently, welding. An opportunity for the next President, the Rochester area offers many opportunities for leveraging partnerships with additional industries. GBCC primarily serves New Hampshire’s growing seacoast area.

The System: The College is part of the Community College System of New Hampshire, which is composed of seven community colleges. CCSNH is led by a Board of Trustees, the Chancellor of the System, and the presidents of the seven community colleges that comprise the System. CCSNH offers more than 250 associate degree programs, short-term certificate programs, and specialized training. Each college is served by its own president and has its own college advisory board, although fiduciary stewardship responsibility rests with the statewide Board of Trustees. CCSNH is a vital civic and economic engine for the state of New Hampshire with an operating budget of approximately $120 million. Through its seven independent colleges and their affiliated academic centers, CCSNH provides educational access and opportunity for more than 26,000 learners annually throughout the state and has a current full-time equivalent enrollment of approximately 12,900 students. System colleges employ more than 2,500 full and part-time faculty and staff.

Qualifications: Candidates for the position should have a track record of success in community relations, internal management, strategic planning, finance, and administration. Experience working in large, complex organizations is a strong asset. A keen understanding of budgets and an ability to clearly communicate decisions to the campus is particularly important. The President must be a respectful manager, a strong advocate for students, and a convincing, credible leader of an institution dedicated to serving the educational and workforce needs of the community. The next President must also be an effective agent of change and will preferably be a thought leader and pace-setter in the field. Additionally, the successful candidate should possess many, if not all of the following experience and qualifications: high ethical standards and a dedication to openness, transparency, and community; deep commitment to and understanding of the mission of community colleges; an outcomes focus and fluency in financial and student success metrics; the ability to manage people and resources; a collaborative approach and the capacity to make decisions; demonstrated commitment to excellence in education; resilience and flexibility in the face of unexpected constraints; a proven ability to implement change and manage conflict; collegiality, the ability and desire to build trust and encourage creativity and innovation, an optimistic and positive outlook, and perseverance in the face of challenge; skill in outreach and cultivating relationships that support the advancement of the College; ability to serve as an effective spokesperson for the College, articulate a vision, educate and energize an audience, and be persuasive; political savvy and a history of successful advocacy; understanding of the needs of the business community, and the ability to engage the participation of external stakeholders and develop strategic partnerships with a broad range of organizations; understanding of the impact of changing technologies on higher education; an understanding of and commitment to supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion; ability to be a persuasive negotiator and facilitator; experience with or knowledge of collective bargaining; history of direct work with elected and appointed public officials in a wide variety of public bodies, including some experience with the executives and the legislature at the city or state level; and a demonstrated ability to relate to and interact with students. Additionally, experience working in a college that is part of a multi-campus system is ideal. Experience working with transfer issues is also desirable. Experience in the classroom is preferable. A master’s degree from an accredited institution is required; an earned doctorate is preferred.

Location: The State of New Hampshire encompasses diverse geography stretching from the White Mountains and the Canadian border in the North to the suburbs of Boston in the South. Bordered on the east and west by Maine and Vermont, respectively, the state has a sizable rural population as well as small but cosmopolitan cities such as Manchester, Nashua, Portsmouth, and Concord. The state is home to approximately 1.3 million residents. New Hampshire is notable for its strong civic culture, as well as for the high quality of life it affords its citizens. The state is routinely ranked as the “most livable state” in the country, owing to its impressive natural beauty, various recreational and cultural opportunities, and other quality-of-life indicators such as low crime and negligible traffic. The state has a strong culture of independence exemplified by the official motto, “Live free or die.” The state levies no personal income tax or general sales tax. The state also holds a special place in the national and international consciousness for its quadrennial “first in the nation” presidential primary. New Hampshire residents take their civic responsibility seriously, and the level of engagement is impressive. The citizenry prides itself on being both broadminded and practical. The size of the state along with the culture creates an environment that is uncommon in the United States. Citizens are on a first name basis with their elected officials and civic leaders. State-wide offices, including the governorship, are contested every two years. The bicameral legislative body, called the general court, consists of the house of representatives and the senate. The house of representatives is the fourth-largest legislative body in the English-speaking world, with 400 members. The Senate has 24 members. New Hampshire is a state that both enables and demands a high level of personal engagement of its civic leaders.

Portsmouth, where GBCC’s main campus is located, is a growing city of roughly 21,000 people. It sits near the mouth of the Piscataqua River, a short, wide tidal river that divides New Hampshire and Maine. The city also is at the hub of a metropolitan region that includes the cities of Rochester and Dover and many towns – Exeter, Hampton, Greenland, Stratham, Newington, and Rye, New Hampshire; Kittery, Eliot, South Berwick, and York, Maine; among others. Settled in 1623, Portsmouth claims to be the nation’s third-oldest city. It served as a focal point on the Eastern seaboard until the late 1800s when rail travel overtook the shipping industry. John Paul Jones’ ship The Ranger was built in Portsmouth, and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (which lies across the river in Maine), still active, was established in 1800 as the country’s first Naval shipyard. A vibrant, coastal New England city, Portsmouth honors its colorful history, preserving its authenticity while remaining passionately engaged in shaping the future. Its working seaport, unique locally owned shops and restaurants, world class cuisine, engaging outdoor activities, vibrant nightlife, and interesting local character attract visitors from around the world. The geographic location, historic past, and cultural strength of Portsmouth regularly lands it on various “best places to live” lists.

Application: Interested candidates should submit only a cover letter and resume to RPA Inc. at For a confidential discussion about this opportunity or to make a nomination, please email Kira Heath, Search Manager; Isaac Karaffa, Vice President and Senior Consultant; or Dana John Cohick, President, at the email address listed above. The first review of candidates will begin on September 3, 2021, and first-round interviews will commence thereafter.

Great Bay Community College is part of the Community College System of N.H., committed to creating and maintaining a positive and productive learning environment for students, a professional setting for its employees, and a community atmosphere grounded in mutual respect, dignity, and integrity. In light of these objectives, the Community College System prohibits all manner of discrimination in the administration of its employment programs and practices on the basis of unlawful criteria including race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, gender identity or expression, genetic information, and veteran status, as defined under applicable law.