NHTI president announces she will step down

  • Gretchen Mullin-Sawicki Courtesy of Nolan McGurn

  • Gretchen Mullin-Sawicki

Monitor staff
Published: 2/18/2022 5:50:11 PM

NHTI president Gretchen Mullin-Sawicki will step down from leading Concord’s community college in March after three years in the role. 

“It has been an honor serving as president of NHTI, and I am grateful for the opportunity to lead this institution and contribute to the community,” Mullin-Sawicki said in a statement. “This past year has caused me, like many, to assess the most compelling needs in my life. This reflection has brought me to the decision to relocate to be closer to family.”

Mullin-Sawicki said that NHTI’s next leader will face challenges, including weathering the pandemic, adapting to the changing environment of higher education and helping New Hampshire residents overcome barriers to that education. 

During Mullin-Sawicki’s first year as president in 2019, a decline in enrollment led the college to lay off 10 staff, including four faculty members.

More recently, NHTI has struggled to fill positions in its computer engineering program, which currently has just one full-time professor, Ken Gitlitz. Frank Polito, the former head of NHTI’s computer engineering department, said Mullin-Sawicki failed to replace NHTI professors who resigned or retire with full-time faculty positions and questioned whether the vacant computer engineering roles would be filled by adjuncts.

Community College System of New Hampshire Chancellor Mark Rubinstein will replace her as interim president for a period of about six months while the board of trustees searches for a replacement. Meanwhile, Rubinstein will remain in his role as chancellor, an arrangement which he said in a statement would help him understand the community college system from the institution level. Before Rubinstein was appointed chancellor in 2021, he led Granite State College. 

Before becoming NHTI president, Mullin-Sawicki served in leadership roles in the community college system in Allegheny County in Pennslyvania, including as president of multiple campuses. She has a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto in English literature and has taught English in Toronto, Pittsburgh and Tokyo.

Among her accomplishments as president, Mullin-Sawicki listed the development of the college’s five-year strategic plan, a partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of Central New Hampshire and the money-saving decision to relocate the school’s arts programs to a center located on campus from a leased facility. She also praised the college’s role as an overflow site for Concord Hospital patients during the pandemic .

Cassidy Jensen bio photo

Cassidy Jensen has been a reporter at the Monitor, covering the city of Concord and criminal justice, since July 2021. Previously, she was a fellow at the Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbia University, where she earned a master's degree. Her work has been published in Documented, THE CITY, Washington City Paper and Street Sense Media. When she's not at City Council meetings, you can find her hiking in the White Mountains.

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