Minnesota State has named three finalists in the search for the next president of Dakota County Technical College (DCTC) and Inver Hills Community College (IHCC). The candidates are Michael Berndt, Beatriz Espinoza, and Charles Lepper.
The candidates were recommended by a search advisory committee that was comprised of students, faculty, staff, and community leaders, and was chaired by Kent Hanson, president of Anoka-Ramsey Community College and Anoka Technical College. The candidates are scheduled to visit the campuses of DCTC and IHCC between February 10 and February 12, 2020. The campus visits provide an opportunity for students, faculty, staff, and members of the community to meet each of the candidates and offer feedback. Details of the candidates’ campus visits and the process for providing feedback are available at https://www.dctc.edu/go/presidential-search/ and at https://www.inverhills.edu/presidential-search/.
Michael Berndt has served as interim president of Dakota County Technical College and Inver Hills Community College since 2018. Previously, he served Century College from 2014 to 2018 as vice president of academic affairs, and from 2002 to 2014 he served Normandale Community College in several capacities including vice president of planning and institutional effectiveness, assistant to the president for strategic initiatives, and chair of the English department. He has teaching experience at Augsburg College, the University of Minnesota, and Normandale Community College. He holds a bachelor’s from the University of Minnesota Morris and a master’s from Southern Illinois University. He will visit the DCTC and Inver Hills campuses on February 12.
Beatriz Espinoza served as president and CEO of Coastal Bend College (TX) from 2012 to 2019. Prior to that, she served Yuba Community College District (CA) as vice chancellor, educational planning and services from 2008 to 2012. She also served as vice president for learning services at Arizona Western College from 2006 to 2008; dean of academics at Galveston College (TX) from 2005 to 2006; vice president of academic affairs at Morton College (IL) from 2004 to 2005; district director community development for Dallas County Community College District (TX) from 1999 to 2004; and dean of educational partnerships at North Lake College (TX) from 1999 to 2002. She has teaching experience at Arizona Western College, Southern Methodist University (TX), University of North Texas, University of Iowa, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She holds a bachelor’s from the University of Texas-Pan American, and a master’s and a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She will visit the DCTC and Inver Hills campuses on February 10.
Charles Lepper has served as vice president for student affairs and enrollment management at Salt Lake Community College (UT) since 2015. Previously, he served Tidewater Community College (VA) as vice president for student affairs from 2013 to 2015; Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana from 2007 to 2013 as assistant vice president for student development services, institutional liaison to the higher learning commission, and director of faculty development and student life initiatives; and Ivy Tech Community College (Anderson, IN) as associate dean of student affairs from 2004 to 2007. He has teaching experience at Indiana State University, Ivy Tech Community College (IN), Indiana University, Western Michigan University, and Grand Valley State University (MI). He holds a bachelor’s from Ball State University (IN), a master’s from Grand Valley State University (MI), and a doctorate from Indiana State University. He will visit the DCTC and Inver Hills campuses on February 11.
DCTC and IHCC use a “shared service” model in which a single president serves both colleges and certain administrative functions are shared. Both colleges are accredited separately by The Higher Learning Commission, and both enjoy full accreditation status. The colleges have positive institutional cultures, in part because of a commitment to shared governance.
The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees is expected to consider Chancellor Devinder Malhotra’s recommendation at its March 18, 2020 meeting. The anticipated start date of the new president is July 1, 2020.