Dr. Paul Watson
Dr. Paul Watson. Photo provided.

Kellogg Community College recently announced the four finalists in the college’s presidential search, who will visit KCC in the coming weeks to meet with students and staff.

Each candidate will also be formally interviewed by the KCC Board of Trustees in a public interview held in the Roll Building Board Room, on campus at 450 North Ave. in Battle Creek. The next candidate to visit KCC will be Dr. Paul Watson, who will be interviewed by the board beginning at 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31.

A public forum just for students to meet Watson will begin at 1:45 p.m. Oct. 31.

Dr. Paul Watson currently serves as vice president for Instruction at KCC. Watson has 20 years of teaching experience at the secondary and post-secondary levels, within which he has served eight years as an administrative leader in higher education. Watson holds a doctorate in educational leadership and management with a concentration in creativity and innovation from Drexel University; a master’s degree in teaching and curriculum from the University of Rochester; and a master’s degree in mathematics education from Syracuse University. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Houghton College.

We asked Watson some questions about what his presidency at KCC would look like. His answers are below.

The Bruin News: What are you going to do to maintain affordability for tuition and textbooks at KCC?

Watson: At KCC, we have continued to keep costs at an affordable level. We have continued to use and promote the expansion of Open Educational Resources (OER) in the classroom. Last year, we estimated over $300,000 of direct savings by KCC students in classes that used OER. In cases where OER is not an option we have investigated and adopted “unlimited” options for students so they pay once for all texts by a given publisher. In some programs, this means that one text charge covers all texts in the program. Furthermore, with regards to tuition, we are among the most affordable community colleges when compared to our peers, and we have no intention of changing that.

The Bruin News: Why were you drawn to KCC?

Watson: I strongly believe in the mission of KCC. When I visited I sensed (and can say now that I confirmed) the passion and desire of the administrators, faculty and staff to positively influence the trajectories of the students we have the honor of serving.

The Bruin News: What are your main short-term and long-term goals for the campus and students? What will be your top priorities at KCC?

Watson: To continue relationship building, strategic planning and a focus on student success. If we are able to align ourselves around those foci, we will build upon the strengths of KCC in an effort to better serve the community and our students.

The Bruin News: What will be the first thing you do once you start?

Watson: All that we accomplish in the future will be centered on the relationships that we cultivate and sustain. Therefore, I would seek to meet with internal and external partners to ensure we understand emergent issues and needs, as well as possibilities for future collaboration.

The Bruin News: What is your attitude toward student-led and campuswide events? How are you going to support clubs and their activities?

Watson: Student engagement is powerful and can assist an institution in achieving its mission. We would continue to welcome student-led initiatives that showcase the quality and benefits of what a KCC education offers. Additionally, we would work to ensure that we clearly identify and build ways in which that support can be quantified, i.e. platform, financial or presence.

The Bruin News: What is your plan to prioritize diversity, inclusion and equity for student success?

Watson: That notion is embedded in my ethos. I firmly believe that everyone can find success at KCC. The best example of how much I prioritize this is found in the recent showing of the documentary “Unlikely” to our administrators, faculty and staff, which focuses on college completion in light of students’ diverse backgrounds. I hope that this viewed material assists the continuing strategic planning conversation on campus as we seek to evaluate our practices and procedures towards successful outcomes for all.

For more information

The Bruin News published answers to the above questions from the other presidential candidate finalists in advance of their visits to KCC. Click through the links below to view answers from the other finalists.

For more information about KCC’s presidential search, visit www.kellogg.edu/transition.