Jackson State Community College begins virtual forums with presidential candidates

JACKSON, Tenn. — The search for a new president for Jackson State Community College is down to three candidates.

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The first virtual forum for Jackson State Community College president started Monday afternoon.

First up was Dr. George Pimentel. He is currently the Vice President of Academic Affairs at Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin, in Middle Tennessee.

He stressed the importance of satellite campuses and of multiple Jackson State locations.

“Each community will have special needs, so we try to get those satellite campuses to address those special needs in those communities,” Pimentel said.

He also introduced the idea for “milestone courses,” which would aim to help students choose the right career path.

“We went backwards and started looking at what key courses indicated whether a student would be successful moving forward,” Pimentel said.

Pimentel was asked about the need to close the equity gap and meeting desires of students with less resources.

“Once a student sees what we’re teaching as relevant to them, it takes on a different aspect. They learn much better and easier,” Pimentel said.

Finally, he gave his ultimate vision of what he would bring to the school as president.

“I can’t settle for status quo. We may have to back up and redo what we need to do, to approach a problem from a different direction. But we are never going to give up,” Pimentel said.

The next two candidate forums will take place Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.

On Tuesday, Dr. Paige M. Niehaus, Provost for Strategic Initiatives and Executive Director for the Design Center at the Wayne County Community College District in Detroit, Michigan will interview.

On Wednesday, Dr. Jeff Jochems, President/Vice Chancellor of Ozarks Technical Community College’s Richwood Valley campus in Nixa, Missouri will interview.

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