Three finalists chosen for BCC president

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Brunswick Community College has narrowed its pool of applicants for president from 80 to three.


The BCC Board of Trustees announced in a Thursday news release Drs. Gene Smith, Thomas Gould and Joel Welch are finalists for the position held by Dr. Susanne Adams, the college’s first female president.

Adams announced in February she will retire in January. The new president will assume the position Jan. 2, according to the release.

The public is invited to meet the three candidates from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in BCC’s LaDane Williamson Student Center game room: Smith on Oct. 30, Gould on Oct. 1 and Welch on Nov. 1.

During their visits, the candidates will meet with college personnel as well as tour the campus and offsite centers. All three are employed in the North Carolina Community College System.

Smith, who holds a doctorate in education from East Carolina University, is vice president of academic and student services at Wayne Community College in Goldsboro and has held the position since December 2013. He has oversight of 235 employees, a $22.6 million budget and 39 degree programs, 16 diploma programs and 83 certificate programs. He’s also responsible for workforce development and continuing education programs.

Smith began his career at Wayne Community College as an instructor in the math and science department from August 1993 to August 2005. He was its division chairman (dean) of arts and sciences from August 2008 to January 2011 and served as chairman for the math and science department. He was director of special instructional projects director from January 2011 to July 2011, associate vice president of academic and student services from July 2011 to December 2013 and interim president Aug. 1-31, 2016.

Smith was one of three finalists in November 2017 to succeed Dr. Paul Hutchins as president of Sampson Community College.

Gould holds a doctorate in philosophy and has a degree in English from the University of North Carolina Greensboro and is vice president of academic affairs at Pitt Community College in Greenville. He leads and manages all instructional programs, both continuing education and curriculum and all related support services, including traditional studies/basic skills, community outreach and recruitment, academic advising and career services, distance learning the library, academic support, teaching and learning, grants and sponsored research, community programming, BioNetwork, high school programs and the area’s early college high school. He oversees a budget of $58 million.

From 2008 to 2013, Gould served as dean/department head of Durham Technical Community College, where he was associate/associate dean from 2003 to 2008, college chairman from 2001 to 2004 and an English instructor from 1997 to 2013.

Welch, who has a doctorate in educational leadership from Clemson University, has served as vice president for instructional services at Forsyth Technical Community College in Winston-Salem since 2016. His work includes leading academic, development, policy and planning matters for the instructional services division, which has more than 7,800 credit students in 71 academic programs at eight locations.

Welch was Greenville Technical College’s Business & Technology Division dean from 2014 to 2016, its technology division dean from 2008 to 2014, the college’s associate vice president for administration from 2004 to 2008 and its engineering technology division dean from 2002 to 2004 after serving as an environmental health and safety technology department head/instructor at the college.

Before beginning his community college career, Welch was environmental health and safety department manager for Trigon Engineering Consultants Inc. of Greensboro and project manager/project engineer for ViroGroup Inc. of Nashville, Tenn., from 1989 to 1996.

Adams joined BCC in 2011 with more than 35 years of education experience, mainly in North Carolina and Virginia community college systems.

Executive Leadership Associates LLP of Emerald Isle screened all 80 applicants for Adams’ position. An advisory council made up of four BCC board members, four BCC staff members and four at-large members of the community further reviewed the applications of 11 finalists. The council recommended six semifinalists, and the board selected three to be interviewed.

Lindsay Kriz is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or lkriz@brunswickbeacon.com.