Veteran Educator Takes Helm Amid Unprecedented Growth, Challenge
WASHINGTON, June 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Following a six-month national search, the board of directors of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) has selected Dr. Walter G. Bumphus to serve as its next president/CEO. The decision was announced following a specially called meeting of the board held June 16-18 in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Bumphus currently serves as professor in the Community College Leadership Program (CCLP) and chair of the Department of Educational Administration at the University of Texas at Austin. The CCLP is the nation's oldest and most prolific doctoral program for community college leaders. He also brings to the AACC leadership more than 38 years' experience as a senior administrator, community college president, system chancellor and executive in private industry.
As head of the AACC, Bumphus assumes leadership of an organization that represents the nation's more than 1,200 regionally accredited public two-year colleges – the largest and fastest growing sector of higher education. Over the past three years, the colleges have experienced a marked enrollment surge, fueled by a deep and protracted recession and persistently high unemployment.
That unprecedented demand as the vital entry point into postsecondary education for close to half of all U.S. undergraduates has increased both visibility and challenge for these traditionally low-profile institutions. The Obama administration, leading foundations and business and industry leaders have identified community colleges as critical players to help restore U.S. leadership in the percent of citizens with college credentials and to ensure a globally competitive workforce.
"The community college role in higher education and in the economy has taken on increasing urgency and significance, both nationally and in our communities," said Dr. Mary Spilde, chair of the AACC Board of Directors. "The board has worked diligently to find the right individual to seize this moment and step up to the unprecedented challenges the nation is facing. We are confident that we have found in Walter Bumphus a proven leader with the passion, energy, commitment and expertise to lead the nation's community colleges to even greater service for our students, communities and country."
Bumphus holds a B.A. degree in Speech Communications and an M.A. degree in Guidance and Counseling from Murray State University, and a Ph.D. in Educational Administration from the CCLP, University Texas at Austin, the program where he currently serves.
The in-coming AACC president had perhaps his most challenging leadership role as System President of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System (2001-2007), an organization that comprises seven community colleges, two technical community colleges and 40 campuses, which serve close to 51,000 students and has an operating budget of $250 million. Bumphus led a major post-Hurricane Katrina initiative, quickly securing a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to develop construction trades centers in hurricane devastated areas of the state. The centers have helped fuel a rebirth of hard-hit coastal areas. Among other achievements, he led the creation of the system's two technical community colleges and three new community colleges; created a system-wide leadership development program; and led statewide efforts for transfer articulation agreements.
AACC President George R. Boggs says of his successor, "Walter has been tested over and over as a leader, and he has consistently risen to every challenge. He brings both intellect and experience to the leadership of AACC, and he has a deep commitment to community colleges and the people they serve."
Bumphus served as CEO at two community colleges: president of Brookhaven College (1991-1997), part of the seven-college Dallas County Community College District, Texas' largest undergraduate institution; and as chancellor of Baton Rouge Community College (2000-2001). Prior to his presidential experience, he served as dean of students (1978-1987) and then vice president and dean of students at Maryland's Howard Community College (1987-1991) and dean of students at East Arkansas Community College (1974-78), where he helped launch the new college and appeared before Congress on its behalf. He began his career as director of minority affairs at Murray State University (1972-74).
From 1997 to 2000, Bumphus worked in private industry as president of the Higher Education Division of Voyager's Expanded Learning operation. As a pioneer in after-school learning programs, Voyager provided innovative reading and other curricula to over 1,000 school districts in 45 states.
Beyond his personal administrative experience, Bumphus has a deep knowledge of challenges facing two- and four-year colleges and universities. He has consulted for more than 100 institutions in 26 states, Canada and Puerto Rico on projects ranging from designing student development programs; total quality management; technology in students services, marketing and recruitment; and instructional strategies for high-risk students. He has chaired or participated in accreditation reviews for 19 institutions in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Florida and Puerto Rico.
Bumphus' service to higher education, civic organizations and business is extensive. Among these, he served on the AACC Board of Directors (1993-1997) and as board chair (1996-97); on the Board of Directors of the American Council on Education (1997); on the National Advisory Board for the Education Commission of the States (1996-97); Advisory Committee for the League for Innovation in the Community College Kellogg Minority Leadership Project (1989-1991); and the Louisiana Workforce Commission (2002-06). He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the 2009 AACC Leadership Award; distinguished graduate award from both Murray State University and University of Texas (1992); 2005 CEO of the Year from the Association of Community College Trustees; and the Lifetime Achievement Award, North Carolina State University (1998).
A native of Princeton, Kentucky, Walter Bumphus is married to Dr. Aileen Bumphus and has four children and 12 grandchildren.
SOURCE American Association of Community Colleges