07-01-2022  7:59 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 23 March 2022

Portland Community College’s presidential search effort has produced a pool of four finalists.

Candidates under consideration are Adrien Bennings, Naydeen Gonzalez-De Jesus, Craig Herndon and Shouan Pan. They were selected from a group of eight semi-finalists who had been winnowed down from more than 40 applicants from around the country. 

Confirmed in-person finalist visits began Monday, March 21 and will continue through Thursday, March 24. Each candidate will participate in two open forums as part of their visits, to enable the college community and the general public who have RSVPed to meet the finalists and ask questions. Live streams and recorded forums can be viewed on the college’s YouTube channel.

The next president will be PCC’s eighth since the college was founded in 1961. The announcement of PCC’s next president is anticipated to take place in April. The new president will replace Mark Mitsui, who is retiring from PCC at the end of this academic year, in June.

Following is background information on each of the finalists, in order of their visits:

Naydeen Gonzalez-De Jesus

naydeen gonzalez de jesus introGonzalez-De Jesus is the executive vice president of student success at Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) in Wisconsin. During her tenure at MATC, she has ensured collaborative strategic implementation of initiatives to improve student support and the college’s commitment to the guided pathways framework, which brings together academics and student services. 

Under her leadership, the college’s Academic Multi-year Plan and the Strategic Enrollment Management Plan were developed and adopted by the college’s board. She sets the vision for programs and services aimed at promoting retention and completion through an equity lens, while engaging internal and external partners throughout four campuses and education centers, serving more than 30,000 students. In her previous role as public diplomacy officer for the U.S. Embassy in Argentina, Gonzalez-De Jesus expanded partnerships between higher education institutions in the U.S. and Argentina, including the implementation of an education memorandum of understanding between the two countries. This was accomplished during the G20 World Summit and created a more diverse cohort of participants in the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant program. 

A leadership fellow of the National Community College Hispanic Council, Gonzalez-De Jesus holds a doctorate in industrial/organizational psychology from Northcentral University in Arizona, a master’s degree in student personnel services from Rowan University in New Jersey, and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from The Pennsylvania State University.

Craig Herndon

craig herndon medHerndon has more than 20 years of professional experience in higher education, with roles in student support, academic affairs, and extensive community college leadership for workforce development, advocacy and administration. Since 2018, he has served as the senior vice chancellor for administration, finance and technology for the Virginia Community College System (VCCS), which fulfills the education and workforce development needs for nearly 250,000 people at 23 community colleges on 40 campuses throughout the commonwealth. Herndon is responsible for collaborative and strategic leadership for all operational aspects of the community college system including finance, governmental relations, human resources, procurement, real estate, facilities management, capital projects, and information technology. All efforts are directed toward generation and alignment of resources to further the mission of Virginia’s community colleges.

Previously, Herndon served as the system’s vice chancellor for workforce development for eight years, where he led state-level policy and strategy to bolster Virginia’s economic health through workforce training programs and services. This included the implementation of the nation’s first pay-for-performance funding system that creates and sustains a demand-driven supply of credentialed workers who meet the needs of business. He also worked as the special assistant to the chancellor for the Virginia Community College System and led transfer initiatives, partnerships with K12, and fostered economic development. Prior to joining the VCCS, he supported the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, where he was a policy advisor to the council and lawmakers on student learning assessment policy, college transfer policy and university research policy.

He was selected as an associate of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education just after earning a doctorate in educational policy from Virginia Tech University. He also has a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Radford University in Virginia.

Adrien Bennings

Bennings is the president of Kellogg Community College, one of 28 community colleges in the state of Michigan. In this capacity, she oversees a multi-campus institution within a three-county service area. She is also the president of the Kellogg Community College Foundation and serves as a voting member of the foundation board. In this role, she leads the foundation’s strategic planning and fund-raising activities, advocating for equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Bennings has taught courses in human resource development, academic development and retention and small business development. She has held progressively higher-level positions in higher education for more than 15 years. Before joining KCC, Bennings was the vice president of administration and finance and chief financial officer at Clovis Community College in New Mexico. Before this, she served as regional director of small business development at Texas Tech University where she advanced economic development initiatives spanning across a 16-county area. She possesses extensive experience in higher education in the areas of teaching, academic development and retention, strategic planning, personnel management, professional development, accounting and finance, mentoring, entrepreneurship, crisis preparedness, and community relations. Additionally, she serves as a certified peer reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission.

Bennings’ educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in agricultural development from Texas A&M University; a master’s degree in business administration with an HR concentration from Wayland Baptist University; and a doctorate in philosophy in higher education administration from Texas Tech University.

Shouan Pan 

shouan pan medPan has served as chancellor of Seattle Colleges since 2016 and has 30 years of experience promoting student, institutional and community success. Previous administrative roles include president of Mesa Community College; provost of Broward College-South Campus (Pembroke Pines, Florida); executive dean of instruction and student services at Florida State College in Jacksonville; dean of student life at the Community College of Philadelphia; and assistant professor of educational psychology and recruitment and retention administrator at Northern Arizona University. 

He is actively engaged at local, state, and national levels, serving on board of directors of the League of Innovation in the Community College, Higher Educational Research and Development Institute, National Asian Pacific Islander Council, Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, King County Workforce Development Council, King County United Way, Washington Technology University, and more. Pan is the recipient of several honors and awards, including the Virgil S. Lagomarcino Laureate Award, the Benedictine Values Award, Paul Elsner International Excellence in Leadership Award, Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction by the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society and the Veora E. Johnson Spirit of Unity MLK Award. 

Born and raised in Mainland China, Pan immigrated to the United States in 1985. He earned a doctorate in philosophy in higher education from Iowa State University; a master’s degree in education in college student personnel from Colorado State University; and a bachelor’s degree in English from Hefei Polytechnic University, China.

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