By Amanda Dyslin
Free Press Staff Writer
NORTH MANKATO —
Highly impressed with her innovative, technology-focused background, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System Board of Trustees appointed Annette Parker the next president of South Central College Wednesday.
Board members and Chancellor Steven J. Rosenstone, who recommended Parker, praised Parker for her experience as the Kentucky Community & Technical College System’s director for the National Center of Excellence in Advance Automotive Manufacturing.
Parker will take over as president July 1, replacing Keith Stover who has served since 1999.
In St. Paul Wednesday night, Parker said she accepted the position in part because of the warm reception she received from faculty, staff, students and community members during a recent visit to campus.
“(The center) is a big deal. It’s a really big deal,” Rosenstone said via the live-streamed board meeting, citing an example in which former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton invited Parker to the State Department for ideas on how to enhance technology education in India.
Parker has served as the KCTC system executive director since 2007. And she also has served as the executive director for AMTEC, which is an automotive technical education entity involving community colleges and automotive manufacturers in 14 states. AMTEC works to prepare skilled technicians and manufacturing engineers for work in automobile manufacturing and technology.
In a letter from Parker on the AMTEC website, she writes that the center is at the forefront of education because “the future involves a very different kind of technical worker, a very different kind of partnership, and a very different kind of education.”
“This is big thinking on a global scale,” Rosenstone said.
Parker held a similar position in her previous job at Lansing (Mich.) Community College, where students were trained to work in the automotive industry.
In Kentucky, she has worked closely with the huge Toyota manufacturing plant in Georgetown, and her familiarity with automotive engineering and technology piqued the interest of search committee member and Minnesota State University President Richard Davenport.
During her recent visit to SCC, Davenport told Parker her automotive education knowledge could lead to a “huge connection” between SCC and the complementing automotive programs at MSU.’’
Parker said Wednesday that her experience with AMTEC is transferable to any curriculum.
“It’s all about partnerships and collaboration,” she said, including government, industry and higher education.
Reference statements reviewed by the board indicated Parker is innovative, collaborative, and, “she gets things done,” Rosenstone reported.
Board Member Margaret Anderson Kelliher made glowing remarks about the president-elect, whom she said expressed a great deal of enthusiasm to work collaboratively with MSU and between both SCC campuses in North Mankato and Faribault.
“This is a very exciting appointment,” Kelliher said. “We are so lucky to get her. ... This is someone who so easily could have moved in a different direction.”
During Parker’s visit to SCC she said, despite her great experiences with the center, she’s a hands-on educator at heart and yearns to return to a campus setting.
“It is both humbling and a tremendous honor to have been selected to serve with the faculty and staff at this outstanding institution and the communities it serves. I look forward to our work together in enhancing access, promoting student success, fueling innovation and pursuing excellence in all we do,” said Parker in a statement issued by MnSCU.
Parker holds a doctorate in educational leadership from Western Kentucky University.
Other semi-finalists included Lisa Larson, vice president for academic and student affairs at Hennepin Technical College with campuses in Brooklyn Park and Eden Prairie; and David Hellmich, vice president of academics at Bluegrass Community and Technical College in Kentucky.
Parker was one of 48 applicants for the position.