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Merced College - CEO Search 2012
Application and Selection Process

Merced College Chief Executive Officer Search

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                              Contact: Robin Shepard

June 26, 2012                                                                                                      209.381.6470


          The Board of Trustees of the Merced Community College District has selected Dr. Ron Taylor to serve as the sixth president of Merced College.  Dr. Taylor is currently serving as the superintendent/president of Feather River College, located in the northern California community of Quincy.  The District’s governing board made its announcement during its meeting yesterday after approving Dr. Taylor’s contract. 

          “I’m delighted with the selection of Dr. Taylor,” said Merced College’s interim President Dr. Benjamin T. Duran.  “I’ve known and have worked with Dr. Taylor for several years and I am confident that he will make a very good president for our college.”

          Dr. Duran, who has guided the District as superintendent and president since 1998, announced his retirement last fall.  He has been serving in an interim capacity until the selection of a new district superintendent/president.

Board of Trustee member Dennis Jordan, who served as an assistant to the presidential screening and interview committees, expressed equal confidence in the selection.

“I went to all four forums and visited Feather River College,” Jordan said.  “I spoke with many people there, all of whom were very grateful for Dr. Taylor’s leadership and guidance.

“At every level of the process, beginning with his written application and through the interview and forums, Dr. Taylor did an outstanding job.  He communicated his vision to us very well.  He’s very articulate and knowledge, and very obviously he is a leader of the highest caliber.

“I strongly believe that the Board has made the right decision.  He will be a good fit for Merced College.”

Trustee Robert Haden echoed Jordan’s comments.

“Dr. Taylor brings to the table a solid history of achievement,” Haden said.  “I’m very impressed with his ability to navigate through some rough waters, not the least which includes keeping the doors of a small community college open during a time of shrinking budgets and other fiscal challenges.

“Our students and our community should know that we’ve chosen a highly qualified individual to lead their college.  Our goal is what it has always been, which is to provide the best education possible for our students.  Dr. Taylor will help us preserve that primary mission.”

While at Feather River College, Dr. Taylor established a new vision for the college and new planning and budgeting processes.  He effectively steered the college through a challenging fiscal crisis, and fostered a positive and communicative campus culture.  Under his guidance, Feather River implemented a new database system and built a comprehensive approach to enrollment management. He has also resolved accreditation recommendations, thus getting the college removed from a warning sanction.

Previously, Dr. Taylor served as vice president of Academic Services at Chabot College, Dean of Instruction at Reedley College, and assistant dean of Instruction for Letters and Social Sciences at Santa Rosa Junior College.  Dr. Taylor began his teaching career in Kyoto, Japan, where he taught English and linguistics after earning his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.  He also taught at the University of Virginia before moving back to California, and taking up community college teaching at Santa Rosa Junior College.

            Dr. Taylor has extensive experience working with diverse populations and has sponsored activities to promote cross-cultural understanding.  He has also been active in facilities bond campaigns and in facilities planning.  An active community member, Dr. Taylor was co-founder of the Plumas County Economic Recovery Committee. 

He is an active Rotarian, and has served on various citizen task forces.  Dr. Taylor is known as a passionate advocate for the community college agenda and for rural communities, serving on several statewide commissions.  His current focus is on developing effective strategies to improve student success.  He sees his primary strength as building consensus and community on campus as a means to foster student success.

Dr. Taylor’s first day of work at Merced College is expected to be July 23.

Dr. Duran announced in a transition letter dated June 28, 2012:

"In conferring with our Board of Trustees, I am announcing the transition team that will be in place from July 1, 2012 until July 23, 2012. 
President –
Dr. Anne Newins will serve as Interim President during this period.  She has a long history with Merced College and will do a fine job. 
Vice President of Administrative Services -
Dr. Larry Johnson, who served as Vice President of Administrative Services before his retirement three years ago, will serve in an interim capacity for two months or longer until Dr. Taylor is able to fill this position.  Dr. Johnson will be able to begin either July 5th or July 8th. 
Associate Vice President of Technology and Institutional Research –
I have asked Dr. Susan Walsh and Director Donald Petersen to continue to serve as interim AVPs for two months to give Dr. Taylor an opportunity to see how he wants to proceed.  They have done a fine job in this capacity and will continue to do so I am sure.
As of July 1, 2012, please direct your inquires to your appropriate vice presidents, deans and directors as you have always done.  Dr. Newins in her capacity as Interim President will have the full authority of the Superintendent/President as per Board Policy 2430.  She will be authorized to sign documents and make decisions as President in her interim capacity.  After July 1, 2012, and until Dr. Johnson is on board, Administrative Services managers should direct their questions and concerns to Dr. Newins."