First of two finalists meets the public in Pratt.

It's always about the team.

That's what Michael Calvert, presidential candidate for Pratt Community College, told the audience was his philosophy at the community forum Monday evening in Carpenter Auditorium at the college.

Calvert is the first of two presidential candidates on campus for face-to-face interviews.

A second candidate, Darrell Hammon, will also have a community forum from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 10 also in Carpenter Auditorium.

After spending time at PCC and getting to visit with members of the faculty staff, Calvert said it was a quality and caring institution and he loved organizations like that.

Establishing an open relationship with the community is a key to a successful partnership with the college, Calvert said.

Former faculty member Marvin Proctor asked what Calvert saw as his relationship with the faculty.

The faculty, coupled with the support of student services, is vital to the decision making process at the college. He described his leadership style as "participatory" with shared governance with the faculty.

"Instruction is the life blood of the college," Calvert said. "You (faculty) are going to be part of the decision making process."

Moving the college forward requires a close watch on the budget and an integrated plan examining resources and allocations. Evaluating the data and developing a list of criteria will be done before any decision is made.

It is vital to get the big picture before tackling a new program.

But after everything is analyzed Calvert has to decide if it is good for the college.

"It has to pass muster with me," Calvert said.

Part of that assessment about a new program continues through the life of the program.

The value of the program must be evaluated and if necessary, the program might have to be sunset if it is not producing positive results for the college.

"We can't be afraid to pull the plug," Calvert said.

Calvert wants to listen to the faculty and find out how they have done their jobs so successfully with limited funds.

"I want to know how you did it," Calvert said.

He acknowledges that funding is a critical factor and after evaluation some things may have to go away but it will be a team decision with faculty and staff.

Former PCC Trustee Jason Roberts wanted to know what Calvert considered his biggest challenge at PCC.

Calvert said he was replacing a legend and wondered how to do that when retiring President William Wojciechowski was leaving the place in great shape.

Being accepted is an immediate challenge for Calvert. The Board of Trustees wants to take the college to the next level. Calvert is busy assessing and going through the process of learning because he wants answers to what is the next level.

Joy Schwartz, former staff member, said that the college had gone through a lot of staff changes and morale was low.

Calvert said he worked hard to make himself available and listen to any complaints. He is a problem solver and is available on campus all the time.

"I want to know what is going on," Calvert said. "You need to know I'm connected to the whole institution. It's OK to say something to me. Your thoughts matter to me. If things need to be better, I'll dig into to it and find out what's going on. My goal is to build trust."

Calvert is currently the president of Central Community College, a part of the Nebraska Community College system, and has been in that position for one year.

The CCC campus reaches out to other Nebraska towns including Hastings, Columbus and Holdridge and has a footprint the size of Maryland.

He started professional career as a football coach. He was a head football coach at Butler Community College and eventually rose to be an academic dean after 20 years.

He has been in education 30 years with 25 of that in Kansas community colleges also serving at Independence Community College and Indiana State University.

Calvert said he has a diverse experience and brings a broad background to the position.