Leadership. Vision. Diversity. These were the three qualities that were heard most frequently from JJC students on what they want in a new school leader to replace retiring president Judy Mitchell.
“I hate to see her go, she is a very caring person, very personable,” Diane Glidewell, food services worker, said.
Twenty-three-year-old veterinarian technician major Jacky Diaz wants a new school leader to get students back in the classroom.
“Learning online is difficult, and so with the lack of teacher involvement students have to adapt, but not so much the teachers,” Diaz said.
Jozelyn Macias is a 22-year-old psychology major who wants our new college president to focus on the broader picture and bring back the sense of community that was missing because of the rigorous safety guidelines.
“A better community environment on campus with students and staff, especially as it has been strained with COVID-19, and to continue to focus on the student experience,” Macias said.
Luke DeBiase is studying for his Associates Degree in Applied Science. The 21-year-old reiterated the concerns of many students regarding the disruption of learning caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“For technical learning like welding, we must be here on campus in the lab, it is not as effective online,” DeBiase said.
In a time where demands for equality are prevalent, the students spoke of a new president who valued diversity but surprisingly didn’t feel strongly if the new JJC president should be a woman or person of color.
“As long as they are the most qualified, it doesn’t matter,” DeBiase said.
As a member of the Latinx community, Macias added, “It doesn’t matter, but a woman or minority in a position of power would have a perspective to advocate for inclusivity.”
Twenty-one-year-old veterinarian technician major Megan Winebaugh expresses that the new president should be someone within the school saying that they would know how things run already. Other students were more neutral on the matter.
“It is not that important if our new president comes from inside the college, but if so, then it would give them more understanding of the JJC experience and the needs of the current student body,” Macias said.
Computer Technology Prof. Joe Sullivan values a new president with local roots.
“I believe they would have a vested interest in long-term success rather than a short tenure,” Sullivan said.
“It’s not important that the new leader come from JJC, but more important they come from the greater Joliet area,” Linda Blanco, department of mathematics chair, said.
Both professors would like to see specific areas addressed such as a commitment to green initiatives and better community outreach programs.
Sullivan wants less paperwork requirements and more energy put towards classrooms, while Blanco wants a renewed emphasis on new student recruitment by building better relations with high schools.
The qualities that students want in a new president is as diverse as the students themselves, but one characteristic they all seem to agree on is the aspect of leadership.
“Leadership skills are very important since they will be running the school and supervising all the employees and staff,” Diaz said.
Leaders inevitably have a lot of responsibility, and what they do with that responsibility sets the tone of the environment for those they are leading.
“Leadership is really important in order to give a clear vision and to convey those goals to the students,” Macias said.