Arizona college is a big step up for Lee Lambert

Friday, May 24, 2013

Lee Lambert, new Chancellor at
Pima Community College in Arizona
By Diane Hettrick

Lee Lambert accepted the position of Chancellor at Pima Community College. When asked why he was leaving Shoreline Community College, where he seems to be universally liked and admired, he said that Pima was a big step up. It's three times as big as Shoreline, with a budget that is almost eight times the size. At a time when Washington drastically cut community colleges budgets, Arizona increased their funding, including allowing local levies to support the college.

Pima's last chancellor was forced out over a sexual scandal and the college is under probation by its accrediting body. "I like a challenge," said Lambert. Indeed, when he took over at Shoreline, the previous two presidents had been plagued with scandal and then dissension. SCC was at war with the neighborhood over its master plan. The City of Shoreline was in a decade of political warfare with a deeply divided city council. Lambert reached out to the neighbors, the college faculty and staff, and made numerous connections with the City of Shoreline.

When school budgets were drastically cut and student tuition was already high, Lambert created relationships in Asia and brought foreign students, paying out of state tuition, to SCC. "People criticized us and said the college should be for local students. But we needed the money and the foreign students brought it."

I asked what it would take to keep him here. "The Board of Trustees," he said, "could make me an offer I couldn't refuse." Not likely, since his new job pays $344,000 a year.

From this article in the Arizona Daily Star, it appears that the hiring committee got a good picture of Lambert's work and style:

Lee Lambert is under no illusions about what lies ahead when he takes the helm of troubled Pima Community College. 
Some who work there now will likely have to go, he said. Morale that plunged under a previous leader will need to be restored, and those skeptical of Lambert's hiring will need to be won over. 
Winning over skeptics is one of Lambert's many strengths, say those who visited his current employer this week for a final round of vetting before he was appointed as PCC's new chancellor. 
The college's Governing Board approved the hiring unanimously Friday, pinning their hopes on Lambert to steer the college through two years of probation imposed by PCC's accreditor.

The rest of the article is here 


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