COS president candidates meet the public

Amanda Hinds Doyle and Skye Kinkade
From top left, moving clockwise: COS president candidates David Smith, Rob Frost, Farley Herzek and Nathan Church.

College of the Siskiyous students and faculty gathered last week at two public forums to see who best fits the bill of new superintendent/president.

Candidates David Smith, PhD, and Robert Frost, PhD, introduced themselves on Thursday, and Farley Herzek and Nathan Church, PhD, spoke on Friday during a series of four one-hour forums held in the Science building on the Weed campus.

College of the Siskiyous board trustee and chairperson of the presidental search committee Carol Cupp introduced the candidates and said that out of 29 applicants, 18 met the minimum qualifications. That number was whittled down to 10 interviews and four final candidates emerged.

Next steps include another interview, background checks and possibly site visits, said Cupp. The forums were held so anyone interested could meet the candidates, ask questions, and provide feedback to the board of trustees, which will make the final hiring decision.

Topics for questions included declining enrollment, athletic interests and unionized employees, improving graduation rates and the future development of the college.

David Smith

David Smith currently serves as vice president of instruction and student affairs at Colorado Northwestern Community College. He has a doctoral degree in English and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in English and writing.

He said he has more than 20 years of varied higher education experience, specifically at small rural colleges similar to COS.

“I’ve been particularly interested in COS for a long time based on location and opportunities,” Smith said. “I see much potential... I think this college can be a world-class institution.”

“You can do things with and for students here that you can’t in San Francisco” and other larger community colleges, he said.

Smith said his academic and business excellence are perfectly balanced to succeed as the superintendent/president of COS.

He said that coming from Colorado gives him an outsider’s perspective, and that can be refreshing and productive.

He said he would be willing to teach a class each semester to keep in touch with the students.

If hired, Smith said the initial stages would be to mitigate and minimize risks, begin to set a conversation and style of the institution, and then begin the work that will build over time.

Rob Frost

Rob Frost has served as interim superintendent/president of College of the Siskiyous since July 2013.

He holds a bachelor of arts degree in English, a master of arts degree in History/International Relations and has 24 years of experience working with community colleges and universities.

“I realized it’s so much more fun to be in this kind of setting,” said Frost. “I’m really passionate about this place.”

Replying to questions on declining enrollment, Frost explained his plans for on-campus housing and recruiting from outside the district.

He said he’d like students to feel that they are “part of a thriving village,” which would move the campus to a more healthy and vibrant position.

Frost mentioned the importance of athletics to the college and his interest in adding more programs such as soccer, cross country, golf and tennis.

“We know if we recruit scholar-athletes it’s a win, win,” said Frost.

“I place a high value on what our athletes add to our college,” he said.

Frost said he considers himself a servant leader who has to represent the whole.

He said his goals include increasing diversity at the college by recruiting international students and increasing vocational programs that are more in line with 21st century careers.

He’d like to see classrooms renovated, so students can feel comfortable and proud of their school.

“Sign me up,” was Frost’s response when instructor Bill Hirt asked if he would be open to teaching one class a semester. “I’ve asked for that opportunity since 2010.”

Frost said being in the classroom would provide him with face-to-face time with students. He would most likely teach Spanish, Latin American History or possibly international relations, he said.

Frost said the college has been moving from reactive to proactive by seeking grants and working with local high schools and Shasta College. “I’m trying all I can to get the college back in the game,” he said.

Farley Herzek

Herzek is currently the interim president at Los Angeles Community College District. He has a bachelor’s degree in industrial education, a master’s degree, a teaching credential in technology education and an administrative services credential.

With more than 34 years experience in education, Herzek said he has held positions such as interim president, vice president and dean.

Herzek said he is very student-oriented, enjoying face-to-face time with students and faculty.

He said he believes student retention is one key to growth at COS.

He mentioned wanting to work closely with high schools and middle schools, to encourage students there to take college coursework.

Herzek spoke of a collective approach with the entire community.

“I am a person that digs deep roots and gets really connected with the community,” he said.

In regard to student success, Herzek made a list, including: taking a “prescriptive approach” with new students, a progressive and early alert system for students having issues early on, professional development, and connecting students together.

Nathan Church

Church is serving as provost at World Education University in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

He holds a PhD in sociology, a master’s of science degree in sociology, and a bachelor’s of science degree (with honors) in psychology and sociology.

Church said he has nearly 40 years of experience, holding positions such as educational administrator, vice president and dean of students.

He said athletics are important to him, and his desire to see a revitalized athletics program at the college.

“The data tells us that student-athletes have better grades and retention rates,” he said. “They also create a sense of identity.”

Church focused on community involvement. He said as COS president he would spend time during his first year meeting with all the businesses, agencies, schools and campus departments and creating a collaborative plan for COS.

“Obviously I am passionate,” he said. “I don’t have the answers, but I have the methods and values linked with a leadership style to figure out what those answers are.”

The following is background information about each of the four candidates, submitted by COS:

David Smith, Ph.D., Vice President of Instruction and Student Affairs at Colorado Northwestern Community College

David Smith, Ph.D., holds a Doctoral degree in English from the University of Denver and Master and Bachelor degrees in English and writing from Fresno State University.

Prior to his position at Colorado Northwestern, he served as the Chief Administrative Officer (2006-08) and as Interim President (2005-06) at Lamar Community College in Colorado.

He has more than 20 years of experience in higher education and has held faculty, administrative, and support positions at colleges and universities ranging from community college to a comprehensive research university.

Smith has taught composition, creative writing and literature at both the community college and university levels. He served as director for Columbia College campuses at NAS Lemoore and Cuesta College.

Robert A Frost, Ph.D., Interim Superintendent/President, College of the Siskiyous

Dr. Frost has served as College of the Siskiyous’ Interim Superintendent/President since July 2013. He came to Siskiyou County in 2010 to serve as the college’s first Vice President of Student Learning.

Frost holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education from the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, speaks fluent Spanish, and has worked in both community colleges and universities for more than 24 years.

He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English at Wichita State University and his Master of Arts degree in History/International Relations in St. Louis.

Frost taught history, humanities, and Spanish as a tenured community college professor. The author of numerous peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and poems, Frost is a speaker on rural colleges, international education, and the challenges societies face in an era of rapid globalization.

He has served in various curriculum, instruction, and leadership capacities since 1995 and has been a long-term proponent of integrating learning services to better support student success.

Farley Herzek, Interim President, Los Angeles Community College District

Farley Herzek has worked as an educator in Southern California for 34 years. He has served as Interim President of East Los Angeles College and is currently serving as Interim President for Los Angles Harbor College.

Before coming to the Los Angeles Community College District, Herzek served as Vice President of Academic Affairs for the Desert Community College District.

He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Education from the City University of New York, his Master of Arts degree and Teaching Credential in Technology Education from California State University Long Beach, and his Professional Clear Administrative Services Credential from the University of La Verne in southern California.

Herzek served as the Dean of the School of Trades and Industrial Technologies and Interim Provost for the Long Beach Community College District.

Nathan Church, Ph.D., Provost, World Education University

Nathan Church, Ph.D., is currently serving as Provost at World Education University in Rancho Mirage, Calif. He holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Rutgers University, a Master of Science degree in Sociology from Portland State University, and a Bachelor of Science degree (with honors) in Psychology and Sociology also from Portland State University.

Church has nearly 40 years of experience in higher education. He has held faculty, administrative, and support positions at community colleges and universities throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Prior to his current position as provost, Church served as the Educational Administrator, Student Health, Psychological and Disability Services for College of the Desert and as Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at Touro University.

He is an author for numerous publications and grant proposals.

 For information about the search process or the community forums, contact the College of the Siskiyous Human Resources Department by calling 530-938-5317. The college may also be reached by calling toll-free, 888-397-4339.