Community colleges should be economic drivers in the community.
Pratt Community College presidential candidate Darrel Hammon shared that philosophy during the presidential forum Wednesday night at the college.
"We (community college) should be doing things for you (community)," Hammon said.
He brings a wide diversity to the table from teaching seventh graders to his work in K-12, community college and community development. He said he has been successful with programs and understands what the college needs.
"I just do what needs to be done," Hammon said. "I want to move forward."
A small rural college needs to be progressive and that is what he saw at PCC. A good community college needs to serve the community because the community makes a substantial investment in the college.
"You guys pay a lot for it," Hammon said.
He was impressed with the community service projects at the college. Those students area going to be leaders in the community and service projects is good training for them.
On the issue of low morale at the college among the staff, Hammon said he would talk with staff to determine what was or was not happening that made them unhappy. Then they need to work together to determine if administration and staff can fix the problem.
Leaders need to create a productive environment for staff. But eventually it comes down to the staff member and their choice to be happy.
As a leader, Hammon said his job was to help people progress and grow. His goal was to do everything he could to help students succeed. If they needed a tutor he would be there for them or get someone else who could help them.
"We're (college) going to help you succeed." Hammon said.
Former PCC instructor Marvin Proctor said he wanted to know Hammon's position on faculty input on making decisions.
"President's shouldn't do all the talking," Hammon said. "We should do this together. We can't do anything without working together."
Amazing things can come out of talking with the faculty and staff. They have to have a say in decision making, Hammon said.
According to multiple news sources, Hammon resigned as president of Laramie County Community College Nov. 29, 2010 with two and a half years left on his contract. His yearly salary was $184,000. The LCCC Board of trustees paid him $360,000.
At the candidate forum, Hammon said the resignation was his choice and that his values didn't parallel with the LCCC Trustees.
He stuck by his record at the college and said he had helped increase assets from $38 million to $68 million, had added 20 new programs and increased the student body 20 percent.
Page 2 of 2 - "Look at the success that took place," Hammon said. "I stand by my standards."
Hammon wants success at PCC and that takes funding and that is always an issue. He said the college should examine student retention and see if the college can make the students feel more attached to the college.
The more attached, the more likely a student will stay in college. That makes the Full Time Equivalency go up and that increases funding. The college needs to ask, "How do we recruit more students on-line?"
Partnership with other institutions, such as EDUKAN, is also a good method to bring more students to PCC programs. Grants and federal programs should also be investigated.
He wants to meet with state legislators and take a look at the state funding formula to see if penalizes rural community colleges. If it is, the college needs to take action.
Funding is all about planning while advancing the college.
"Are the avenues of revenue progressive," Hammon questioned.
Seeking markets for mature students is also an area that needs to be explored.
Hammon is currently a consultant and writer. He served as president of Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne, Wyo. and before that as president of Miles Community College in Miles City, Mont.
He started his career as an English teacher and an adjunct instructor. He has worked in the K-12 system, community college and state college systems as well. He and his wife have spent the last 18 months in the Dominican Republic doing humanitarian service. He currently lives in the Salt Lake City area.