NY educator eyes DMACC for return to Midwest, rural roots
Provost candidate for Carroll campus would come from State University of New York system
February 27, 2014
Carroll Mayor Adam Schweers (left) speaks with Des Moines Area Community College Carroll campus provost candidate Vern Lindquist following a Carroll Area Development Corporation meeting.
What’s one of Vern Lindquist’s most successful strategies as an educator?
At Sullivan County Community College in New York, Lindquist, who chaired the liberal arts and humanities department, started a writers' lounge, staffed part-time with an instructor who could assist students with their papers. The lounge also offered students a place to relax, grab a cup of coffee or use computers. Students who signed the guest book there had a retention rate double that of the general student body.
"They felt like this was a place they could be, and it was their place," Lindquist said.
Vern Lindquist is a Ph.D who loves the FFA.
A native of Lupton, Mich., the son of an auto-plant worker, Lindquist, a candidate for Carroll campus provost in the Des Moines Area Community College system, is equally at home in working-class environments and corporate board rooms, he told the college's search committee in recent interviews.
"I'm from a small town, I'm used to rural areas," Lindquist said.
But he's also built a resume that extends from two prominent Big Ten universities, Michigan and Indiana, where he earned degrees, to the university system of New York State.
Since 2010, Lindquist has served as dean for liberal arts and sciences and a professor at State University of New York (SUNY) in Delhi.
For about two decades before that, Lindquist was a professor in liberal arts and the humanities for Sullivan County Community College in New York. He rose to the position of chairman of liberal arts and humanities at the college.
"A few years at Sullivan were all it took to convince me that the best and most valuable efforts in higher education were those happening at community colleges that value teaching and learning, where education makes a crucial difference in the lives of a truly diverse population," he wrote in application materials.
In an interview on campus this week, Lindquist told the DMACC search committee he is a passionate advocate for community colleges in negotiations with four-year schools for joint programs.
"People who teach at community colleges like to teach," he said.
While at SUNY, Lindquist helped the school launch a bachelor's program in criminal justice. DMACC officials revealed in the candidate-interview process that they are considering developing a criminal-justice program on the Carroll campus.
As dean Lindquist also worked on expansion of online programs in a variety of areas - and has personal experience teaching in the increasingly popular medium.
Lindquist said the Carroll campus would get a highly visible provost, one who is engaged in the college and in related economic-development and community activities.
"You've got to walk around," Lindquist said. "You have to see everybody, every day."
Lindquist said he would measure DMACC's success in Carroll largely on how well students performed after earning associate's degrees and moving on to four-year colleges for completion of bachelor's degrees.
"That's something, frankly, many colleges do not bother to track," he said.
Lindquist now resides in Grahamville, N.Y., in the rural reaches of the Catskill Mountains, where his children have been in FFA. He counts many farmers as friends from his own youth in Michigan - and enjoys fishing and the outdoor life.
"I will be out and about in the fields," Lindquist said.
He also knows his Shakespeare.
Lindquist earned his bachelor's degree in English at the University of Michigan. He then went to Indiana University for his master's and doctorate in English literature.
The search committee has narrowed the DMACC Carroll campus provost field to five candidates. The committee is expected to make a recommendation on hiring by Friday to the college's Ankeny leadership, which will make the final call. A decision is expected in the next two weeks.
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