26 Jul 2012 — The Intelligencer By Naila Francis/Staff Writer
Stephanie Shanblatt will be the first woman president in the 47-year history of Bucks County Community College.
The BCCC Board of Trustees unanimously appointed Shanblatt, from East Lansing, Mich., as the school's fourth president, to succeed James Linksz, in a special meeting Wednesday at the Newtown Township campus. The appointment of Shanblatt, who wasn't at the meeting, follows a six-month search for Linksz's replacement.
Shanblatt, the provost and senior vice president of academic affairs at Lansing Community College, will begin her five-year term Oct. 1, at an annual salary of $180,000. She has worked at LCC for the last 13 years.
Linksz, who announced his retirement in November after 20 years at the helm of BCCC, will stay on as president through Sept. 30.
"The board entered this process wanting to select a president for our great college who would continue to move the institution forward with a strong vision and a commitment to our students, faculty, alumni and staff, as well as deepen the relationship we have with the community," trustee board Chairman Blake Eisenhart said, after Shanblatt's appointment. "Stephanie has an impressive record of accomplishments, both as an academician and an administrator, and she is absolutely the right person to continue the good work of Jim Linksz, who leaves a powerful legacy."
Following the meeting, Eisenhart said Shanblatt, who holds a doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, has served in multiple capacities at Lansing, giving her the experience to understand every facet of running a community college.
Her past leadership roles at Lansing include senior vice president of strategic planning and partnerships, chair of the science department, chief operating officer of the University Center and director of instruction for the school's liberal studies department. While at the college, she headed the Achieving the Dream initiative, which focused on institutional change that improved student success and graduation rates and helped start a Middle College, which allowed high school students to take college courses for credit. She also was known for her collaborative efforts to strengthen regional workforce development.
"I am very excited about the opportunity to build on the strong foundation at Bucks County Community College," Shanblatt said in a prepared statement. "I am committed to serving our students, local employers and the community."
The new president was chosen from among four finalists, whittled from an initial pool of 54 applicants. The search was conducted by Greenwood/Asher & Associates, an executive search firm from Florida specializing in higher education, and a search task force appointed by the trustees. The BCCC group consisted of faculty, staff, members of the community and the BCCC Foundation, plus students and alumni. An oversight panel of representatives from various employee groups at the college also worked with the board to ensure the integrity of the search.
"The process was open, transparent and inclusive, and we're fortunate we have a community where everyone wanted to be involved," said Eisenhart. "Our new president is going to come in with the complete support of the college community."
Wednesday's announcement was met with enthusiastic applause from a standing-room-only crowd.
"We're excited that Bucks has its first woman president, and I'm excited that she's a scientist," said Lisa G. Angelo, assistant academic dean of sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics and a task force member. "We did a lot of work in a short amount of time and got to four great candidates. We would have been happy with any of them. Obviously, Stephanie rose to the top and I'm very excited about the prospects for Bucks' future with her at the helm."
Annette Conn, dean of academic affairs, said she met once with Shanblatt and found her immensely likable.
"Jim (Linksz) has been here 20 years, so it's really going to be very different because we're used to working with him, but I think it's going to be an exciting change," she said.
Linksz, who came to Bucks from Catonsville Community College in Maryland in 1992, said he plans to remain available to Shanblatt - even in his retirement.
"Having been a person coming from another community college to this college to take a job 20 years ago, I pretty much understand the transition process," he said. "I'm looking forward to helping the new president get started and be successful."
"Shanblatt appointed as next president at BCCC" The Intelligencer 26 Jul 2012: A3