TNCC’s on-sabbatical president is a finalist for post in California

Published: February 6, 2009

The Daily Press

Thomas Nelson Community College President Charles Taylor is one of four finalists for chancellor of the Riverside Community College District in California, according to a press release from its Board of Trustees.

Taylor is currently on a nine-month sabbatical working for the Virginia Community College System. Alvin Schexnider took over as TNCC’s interim president Oct. 1.

Riverside’s press release described Taylor as the former president at TNCC. He and three other finalists at Riverside will be interviewing and participating in open public forums individually this month.

The Riverside district has campuses in Moreno Valley, Norco and Riverside, with approximately 30,000 total full-time students. The district has been without a full-time chancellor for two years and California is in the midst of a massive budget crisis.

Taylor wouldn’t answer Wednesday whether he intends to return to TNCC.

“I can say I am excited about the opportunity that has been presented to me, in that Riverside Community College District is a very good district in southern California and it’s growing – similar to what’s happening here in the Hampton Roads area,” Taylor said.

“This was just an opportunity there. If I am selected, I will look at all the options available to me. And this is an opportunity, just like the opportunity that the chancellor has given me to work on this project that has implications not only for Hampton Roads area, but for all the 23 community colleges in the state.”

VCCS spokesman Jeff Kraus said Chancellor Glenn DuBois is “supportive of Dr. Taylor in this and wishes him well. It sounds like a great position.”

Taylor has been TNCC’s president since 2004.

He received a no-confidence vote from a majority of TNCC full-time faculty in April.

A campus climate survey showed that faculty and staff were concerned about trust on campus and the effectiveness of senior leadership, feared retaliation for speaking out and were discontented by an increase in the number of administrative positions.

Taylor announced in an e-mail Aug. 31 that he would take a nine-month leave of absence beginning Oct. 1 to work on student retention and success as part of VCCS long-range planning.

During that time, Taylor’s salary of $202,117 is being paid by the VCCS.

Both his annual contract with TNCC and sabbatical with the VCCS will end June 30.

His next move will be the latest in a long line.

Taylor was fired as chancellor of the Community Colleges of Spokane (Wash.) unanimously by its board of trustees in 2001 after a two-year tenure, according to the Associated Press.

He had been criticized, especially by faculty members, for his divisive leadership style and demotion of several top executives, the AP wrote at the time.

Taylor worked as senior vice chancellor for administration and finance/chief operating office for the Peralta Community College District in Oakland, Calif., for two years prior to coming to TNCC.

He was president of St. Philip’s College in San Antonio, Texas, from 1995-1999 and has held administrative appointments in Michigan, Illinois and Maryland.

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