Johnson State College has chosen its next president. On Wednesday the Vermont State College Board of Trustees voted to hire Dr. Elaine Collins, who is now Dean and Chief Operating Officer of the College of Education at Grand Valley State University near Grand Rapids, Michigan. Collins is a first-generation college student credited with strengthening academic programs, increasing financial support, and improving the physical plant at the suburban University.
“Dr. Collins will bring strong leadership, vision, and administrative skills to Johnson State College,” said VSC Chancellor Jeb Spaulding. During campus interviews, Collins spoke about bringing better recruitment and retention strategies to Johnson State, as well as operational efficiencies.
Last May, facing a $1.5 million dollar budget hole, Johnson State saved nearly $500,000 by cutting five jobs and reducing hours in several others. Despite declining enrollment and nearly flat state support, the College in north central Vermont offers more than 50 academic programs including a variety that prepare teachers. There are about 920 campus-based undergraduates, 176 graduate students, and nearly 500 external degree students who take courses fully or partially online.
Dr. Collins comes to Vermont from a much larger school, with about 20,000 students.
She replaces the retiring Barbara Murphy who, when she leaves at the end of June, will end a 32-year career in Vermont education.