February 11, 2015
Dr. Elaine Collins will be the next president of Johnson State College, succeeding President Barbara Murphy when she retires June 30. The Board of Trustees of the Vermont State Colleges voted to appoint Dr. Collins at a special meeting Wednesday, Feb. 11.
Dr. Collins is currently dean and chief operating officer of the College of Education at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan. Before that, she served as vice president of arts and sciences at West Shore Community College and interim vice president of academic affairs at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.
A first-generation college student, Dr. Collins holds a Ph.D. in education policy and leadership. During her time at Grand Valley State University, Dr. Collins strengthened academic programs, galvanized faculty, increased financial support, improved the physical plant, embraced a more inclusive vision of shared governance, and expanded external programs. She is an award-winning administrator and researcher whose interests focus on arts and education.
“Dr. Collins will bring strong leadership, vision and administrative skills to Johnson State College,” said VSC Chancellor Jeb Spaulding. “She recognizes the importance of meeting the diverse needs of our students and the crucial role the college plays in Vermont’s economy and our regional community. Just as important, she has demonstrated the fortitude to implement innovative strategies to strengthen student recruitment and retention and to achieve operational efficiencies.”
Spaulding added that throughout the search process the JSC community engaged in a lively conversation about its future. “On behalf of the Vermont State College community, I welcome Dr. Collins and look forward to our work together on behalf of our students and our state,” he said.
Professor Tyrone Shaw, chair of the JSC Faculty Assembly, praised the selection of Dr. Collins as well as the work of the search committee. “We all very much appreciated the thoroughness and inclusiveness of the process,” he said. “Not only were JSC faculty, staff and students on the search committee, the wider college community had ample opportunities to meet the top candidates and express their views. An excellent process has yielded an excellent decision.”
Search Committee member Jamey Ventura, director of athletics and recreation at JSC, said he is thrilled that Dr. Collins will be JSC’s next president. “Dr. Collins’ vision for moving the college forward, along with her attention to detail and proven track record in accomplishing her goals, will help us reach our full potential in the years to come,” he said. “Her focus on developing and marketing a strong college brand, providing opportunities and support to help students achieve their dreams, and developing new initiatives and partnerships will distinguish Johnson regionally and nationally.”
President Murphy announced this past summer that she will retire June 30, ending a 32-year career in Vermont higher education, including 14 years as JSC president. Murphy became JSC’s leader in 2001 after serving as the president of the Community College of Vermont from 1994 to 2001.