HAZARD — When June 1 arrives, Hazard Community and Technical College will have a new president. KCTCS announced three finalists for the job last Friday. The candidates are: Dr. Jennifer Lindon of Hazard Community and Technical College, Dr. Rick Mason of Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College and Dr. Amy Sue DeSonia of New River Community and Technical College in Beaver, West Virginia. One of these three will replace Dr. Justin Pate, who assumed the position on an interim basis last November, while the search for a permanent president unfolded. All of the final candidates boast impressive resumes.
Dr. Jennifer Lindon is the hometown representative, as an honors graduate of Hazard High School with more than 17 years of experience working at HCTC. Lindon attended Hazard Community College as a student, prior to achieving a Bachelor Degree and a Master Degree from Morehead State University, and then venturing on to earn her Ph.D through Mississippi State.
Four of Dr. Lindon’s years at HCTC have been spent as the Dean of Occupational Technologies Programs, while also managing the technical campus, which includes five buildings and more than 1,200 students. Lindon accumulated 13 years of experience in supervising, developing and coordinating the Workforce Solutions Unit at Hazard Community and Technical College, along with her more than 10 years of experience in Academic Leadership. Among her many honors are the John Brown Faculty Award and the New Horizons Award.
One of Dr. Lindon’s objectives is to maintain a visible and motivated presence within the communities HCTC serves. She also plans to grow HCTC through creative enrollment efforts that focus on both traditional and non-traditional students, including high school and dual credit initiatives, as well as workforce and short-term training.
Jennifer Lindon has written grants that total more than $600 thousand, without counting the $10 million grant she helped write for KCTCS and HCTC as part of a team. During her tenure at the technical campus, the air conditioning, diesel and auto technology programs doubled in size, with the cosmetology program also expanding. The third highest ACT WorkKeys Scoring Center in the nation was managed by Dr. Lindon. On her list of numerous accomplishments, Jennifer Lindon also claims the largest fall to fall workforce training growth rate in KCTCS.
Dr. Rick Mason is the Vice President and Chief Learning Officer for Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College. Dr. Mason received his Bachelor Degree from Lincoln Memorial University before moving on to earn his Master’s at Eastern Kentucky University and his Ph.D through the University of Kentucky.
Currently, Dr. Mason guides Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College in the development and implementation of its strategic and annual plans, while also holding responsibility for 26 full-time faculty and staff, plus approximately 160 students. The delivery of all professional development activities, college-wide, is also part of Mason’s current responsibilities. Dr. Mason manages more than $90 thousand in funds for separate budgets at the college.
In the past, Dr. Rick Mason worked as Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, at which time he enhanced the marketing services and tools available to support the institution, while also overseeing the college’s website and social media accounts. Dr. Mason claims more than 14 years of experience as an instructor, teaching classes at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, and he has counseled students with a wide variety of issues. Before launching his college career, Rick Mason spent time teaching high school and elementary school classes.
Dr. Mason co-authored Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College’s 2012 application to the Aspen Institute, which resulted in the school being selected as one of the top ten community colleges in the United States. The college’s Diversity Plan for 2012, 2013 and 2014 were co-authored by Mason. Writing reports and streamlining services for the college are part of the skills Dr. Mason has practiced with success. If he is hired as HCTC President, Dr. Rick Mason will be moving to Hazard from Bell County.
Dr. Amy Sue DeSonia is the Vice President for Academic Affairs at New River Community and Technical College in Beaver, West Virginia. Dr. DeSonia achieved her Bachelor’s at the University of Michigan. Both her Master’s and her Ph.D were earned through Western Michigan University.
The list of accomplishments for Dr. DeSonia includes garnering one of only three multi-million dollar Advanced Manufacturing Centers, funded by state bond. The 2015 update of integrated institutional and strategic plans for NRCTC was led by Dr. DeSonia. She planned and implemented the Guided Pathways model in response to the Governor’s Career Pathways Programs of Study Initiative. An expansion of dual credit, early enrollment and tech prep opportunities has occurred under Dr. DeSonia’s guidance. NRCTC is experiencing continuous improvement in the processes of student intake, registration, advising, performance evaluation and selective admissions, during Dr. DeSonia’s tenure. New academic and non-credit training programs have also been developed at NRCTC as a result of Dr. DeSonia.
Before she became the Vice President for Academic Affairs at New River Community and Technical College, Dr. DeSonia held the titles of Chief Academic Officer and Dean of Academic Affairs at Quinebaug Valley Community College in Connecticut. Dr. DeSonia occupied a Dean and an Associate Dean position at two other colleges prior to her time in Connecticut. Her resume also reveals a wide variety of courses, which Dr. DeSonia has taught in the classroom.
Developing partnerships and expanding outreach are a couple of Dr. DeSonia’s strengths, according to her credentials. The town of Beaver is located in Raleigh County, West Virginia, which sits near the southwestern tip of the state.
The three candidates for president of Hazard Community and Technical College are scheduled for on-campus visits and interviews April 13 and April 14. During those visits, candidates will meet with HCTC faculty, staff, students, the board of directors and local leaders. Forums have also been scheduled on those days to give the public an opportunity to meet the candidates.
For more information on the candidates, or to learn the time and location of each candidate’s public forum, visit: hazard.kctcs.edu/Candidate_Information.
Sam Neace can be reached at 606-629-3243 or on Twitter @HazardHerald.