Donna Larson will assume the newly created position of vice president for academic and student affairs at Clatsop Community College starting July 1.

Larson, 54, is the dean of allied health at Mt. Hood Community College.

“Dr. Larson brings a depth of experience in working with both faculty and students that will contribute significantly to the success of our college and all those we serve,” said CCC President Larry Galizio.

Last year the college decided to merge its instruction and student services positions in the administration starting the following year. Current Dean of Student Services Roger Friesen announced his early retirement late last year. Former Vice President of Instruction Stephen Schoonmaker, meanwhile, left to become president of the College of the Ouachitas in Malvern, Ark. in spring term.

Schoonmaker’s salary would have been $104,000, which Human Resources Director Leslie Lipe said is similar to the salary Larson will make. Meanwhile, the college will save the approximately $81,000 a year that Friesen earns once he retires at the end of the year.t

Larson learned of the job from her former co-worker JoAnn Zahn, vice president of finance and operations at the college. The two worked together for six years when Zahn was director of budget and auxiliary services at Mt. Hood.

When she applied, Larson was one of 40 candidates for the position, more than half of whom Lipe said had a good skill set for the vice presidential position.

“She was interviewed by staff and faculty who represented the different employee groups,” said Lipe about a selection committee convened to fill the position.

Larson’s first trip to the college was in late March, when she interviewed with such committee members as Galizio, Zahn, physics instructor Pat Keefe, Director of Institutional Research Tom Gill and others.

Larson again visited CCC April 26, when she was interviewed by a wider array of faculty and staff. “I talked to the whole campus community – it was mostly faculty and staff,” said Larson. “I though I was pretty well-received.”

She toured the Marine and Environmental Research and Training Station (MERTS) and main Jerome campuses. Larson said Mt. Hood, which includes the Maywood Park Campus for vocational studies, job and career training and other remedial programs, has a similar proportion of career technical courses as CCC, although it’s on a significantly larger scale with about 25,000 students.

Student affairs includes such areas as advising, career services, counseling, disability services, Lives in Transition, the TRiO (educational opportunity) programs, tutoring and veterans services. Academic affairs encompasses curriculum, math labs, tutoring, remedial programs, English as a second language and scheduling.

“I plan to do a lot of listening,” said Larson about learning what’s important to the campus community. “I’ll take the information ... and come up with some exercises we can do together. Once we know each other, it will be easier to work together.”

She said her focus when arriving at CCC will be building a team that includes people from student services and instruction. She’ll also be creating a strategic plan for the college academically and standardizing educational assessments, as per recommendations from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, which accredited CCC.

Larson, who started at Mt. Hood in 2006, has directed medical programs at the Australasian College of Health Sciences (Portland), Apollo College (Portland) and Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina for seven years. She was also an assistant professor at Winston-Salem from 1994 to 1997 and became a captain in the U. S. Air Force Reserve, serving in the Medical Service Corps. She started her career as a medical technologist at Concord Hospital in New Hampshire.

She’s received numerous professional appointments including her current positions as chairwoman-elect of the Oregon College Healthcare Education Alliance, member of the Oregon Healthcare Workforce Committee and the Oregon Health Network Stakeholder Council.

Larson earned a bachelor of the arts degree in chemistry and a bachelor of science in medical technology from Rhode Island College, along with a master’s of science in management from Troy State University’s European division in England and a doctorate in higher education from Texas Tech University.

She will keep her residence in the Portland area for the first year while her husband, Earl Larson, finishes his bachelor’s degree in health informatics from the Oregon Institute of Technology’s satellite campus in Portland.

“I am so excited to be working at Clatsop Community College,” said Donna Larson. “The college has unique, niche programs that serve the community well.  They are also very connected to their community.  This is an excellent community college and I am happy to join the Clatsop Community College family.”

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