New GHC president selected
by Cheree Dye
Jun 07, 2014 | 1314 views | 0 0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia named Dr. Donald J. Green the new president of Georgia Highlands College on Friday morning. Green, who is currently the vice president of extended and international operations at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich., will begin his new position on Sept. 8.

In previous positions as vice chancellor and vice president, Green is credited with increasing the number of satellite campuses from nine to 19 and maintaining an 8 percent annual enrollment rate, according to a press release. He also raised the Hispanic community’s enrollment in the college by 4 percent over four years.

USG Chancellor Hank Huckaby deemed Green’s achievements in the areas of student success, recruitment, economic development and diversity as “impressive.”

Green said concerning the importance of economic development within a college, “The success of any business is based on the talent within the organization. One of GHC greatest contributions to the surrounding community is to produce exceptional talent. It helps the students because it makes them more employable and businesses benefit from the access to highly-skilled employees.

“Student success is fostered by great instruction and great advising. These two key factors work together to create retention. Retention leads to graduation, which is the goal of the students and the institution.”

In regards to developing a greater spectrum of diversity at his previous college, Green said, “If you want under-represented groups to be apart of your college community, you must be apart of their community. We got heavily involved in economic development activities for the local Hispanic community. We created greater access to higher education and built relationships with the K-12 community. I look forward to building similar relationships with the various groups represented in Northwest Georgia.”

Board of Regents Chair Philip Wilheit Sr. said in a written statement, “Georgia Highlands serves an important area of Georgia with multiple campuses and Dr. Green’s experience in Michigan made him the ideal choice for this presidency.”

His higher education career also includes administrative and teaching posts at Grand Rapids Community College in Grand Rapids, Mich., and Davenport University in Grand Rapids, Mich. Green also operated a consulting firm, D. Green and Associates.

Green holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich.; a master’s degree in labor and human resource management from Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio; and an Ed.D. in educational leadership from Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Mich.

John Millsaps III, associate vice chancellor for the USG, said, “The president is chosen through a process by which a campus committee works to develop a job description, which shapes the pool of candidates. The committee narrows the selection to a list of three to five unranked candidates, who are interviewed. The board then selects the president.”

Three candidates were considered in the final round of the process. Dr. Anita K. Bowles, Dr. Al M. Panu and Green toped the list of possible presidents for GHC.

Bowles is vice president for Academic Affairs at Spartanburg Methodist College in Spartanburg, S.C. Prior to her current position, Bowles served as chief academic officer for North Greenville College in South Carolina and in key administrative positions at the University of South Carolina’s regional campuses in Union and Beaufort. Additionally, she has held administrative and teaching positions at these and other South Carolina higher education institutions during her career.

Panu is senior vice president for University Affairs at University of North Georgia in Dahlonega. Panu’s previous experience includes serving as vice president for Academic Affairs, dean of the School of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics and chair of the division of Science, Engineering & Technology, all at the former Gainesville State College. He has also served in administrative positions at Kennesaw State University. Panu is a chemistry professor.

Green said his first order of business once he begins his position is to create and strengthen relationships within GHC and reach out to the community.

“Georgia Highlands College exists to provide access to education. We must collaborate with stakeholders and create a shared vision. It takes making the right decisions and building the right relationships to see the college succeed,” Green said.

— A USG press release contributed to this article.