As of Oct. 2, 2012, the Central Arizona College Governing Board has made a choice in its search for a replacement for former President Dennis Jenkins who left the school last year.
The Board chose interim President Dr. Doris Helmich over and Dr. Ralph Ford, Vice-President of student affairs at Union County College in New Jersey.
Helmich was appointed interim President in Nov. 2011 after Jenkins announced his retirement. In her submitted résumé, she cites the improvement of employee morale and a re-focused direction as accomplishments in office.
Before her appointment, she served as Dean of students and chief student affairs officer for CAC. She received her doctorate in higher education administration from Johnson and Wales University.
In an extensive interview video, Helmich said the economic downturn and a decline in state funding means community colleges need to focus specifically on career preparation.
“We need to get back to why community colleges started to begin with, which was to train the workforce,” Helmich said. “Career and technical education are absolutely where the college needs to provide emphasis right now.”
Helmich said her vision for CAC involves bolstering what happens in the classroom and making the product provided for students as relevant as possible within the realm of economic development.
“I sit on two economic development groups to listen to what we’re talking about in terms of economic development for Pinal County,” she said. “The county is about to recruit some high-end manufacturing companies, and the institution needs to stay ahead of all of that.”