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NHTI announces finalists in search for president

NHTI has narrowed its search for a president to three finalists, the Concord community college announced yesterday.

Howard Davis of Arizona, James Ahern Jr. of Virginia and Susan Dunton of Massachusetts will all visit the NHTI campus within the next week, where they will meet with members of the college community and the public.

Susan Huard, president of Manchester Community College, served as co-chairwoman of the search committee. She said the finalists were selected from a pool of seven who participated in a first round of interviews.

“We know that each of these people is very qualified to lead NHTI,” Huard said. “The question becomes who matches well with what the college knows about itself and sees as its future.”

One of the three will succeed Lynn Kilchenstein, who stepped down in December after 10 years as president. Stephen Caccia, vice president of student life, is the interim president until a replacement is hired.

NHTI faculty, staff and students have served on the search committee, which also included representatives from the local community, NHTI’s advisory board and the trustees of the Community College System of New Hampshire. That committee will eventually make a recommendation to Chancellor Ross Gittell.

NHTI is the largest of seven community colleges in the state.

The candidates will now each spend a day on NHTI’s campus, meeting with faculty and other members of the college. Part of that day will include a community forum, during which students and members of the public can meet the candidate.

At each turn, Huard said the search committee will solicit feedback on the candidates.

“We want the person who comes to NHTI to be the most highly qualified, best-fitting candidate. . . . It will only benefit all of us to have a really strong president at NHTI,” Huard said.

Gittell encouraged students and community members to come to the forums.

“The candidates’ visit to the college is an important element of the next phase of the search, which is to select the person we believe will be the best choice for NHTI’s next president and one of the leaders of our statewide community college system,” Gittell said in a press release yesterday.

The press release provided more detail about the three finalists:

∎ Davis is the director of e-learning for the Academic Consortium for Global Education in Carefree, Ariz. Before that post, he served as the vice president of online education at the Boston Architectural College, and the academic dean and chief learning officer of SNHU Online at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester.

He also worked at the University of Vermont as the director of instructional technology and director of the digital media lab. In the classroom, he taught courses in college writing and literature as Tunxis Community-Technical College in Farmington, Conn.

David has a master’s degree in literature from San Diego State University in California and a bachelor’s degree in English from Yeshiva University in New York.

∎ Ahern most recently served as the vice president for academic and student affairs at Eastern Shore Community College in Melfa, Va.

He has also served as the vice chancellor for academic affairs at Ivy Tech Community College Southwest in Evansville, Ind., and as the vice president for academic affairs and academic dean at Brescia University in Owensboro, Ky.

Ahern has held administrative positions at Ulster County Community College and Fulton-Montgomery Community College, both located in New York. He has taught history courses at a number of institutions, including Antioch College in Ohio, and the University of Michigan-Flint and Roanoke College in Virginia.

At Ohio State University, Ahern earned a doctorate in history, a master’s degree in industrial technology education and a master’s degree in history. Ahern also has a bachelor’s degree in history from Roanoke College.

∎ Dunton is a higher education consultant with Ayers and Associates of Arlington, Va. She was previously the academic dean of Bethel University in McKenzie, Texas, the provost of Fisher College in Boston and the associate dean of Lesley College in Boston.

She has also served as the assistant dean for academic affairs at the Harvard Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass. Her resume includes administrative posts at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research and Averett University, both in Danville, Va.

Her teaching experience at Fontbonne University and Lindenwood University, both in Missouri, includes courses in management, human resources and career development.

Dunton has a Ph.D. in higher education administration from the University of Connecticut. She has a master’s of education in student personnel services and a master’s of music education from the University of South Carolina. Her bachelor’s degree from Ithaca College in New York is in music.

She also attended the management development program at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education in Cambridge, Mass.

(Megan Doyle can be reached at 369-3321 or mdoyle@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @megan_e_doyle.)

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