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College News

Dr. W. Richard Stephens Selected for National Leadership Program

June 11, 2012

Category: Staff


Dr. Rick Stephens, ProvostCatawba College is pleased to announce that Dr. W. Richard Stephens, Provost, is one of 20 senior college administrators selected by the Council of Independent Colleges to participate in a year-long Presidential Vocation and Institutional Mission program for prospective college and university presidents.

The seminar-based program is designed to help individuals with the potential to serve as college and university presidents to understand better the fit between their personal and professional goals and the missions of institutions that they might lead in the future. With a wave of retirements of university presidents on the horizon, it is especially important that individuals who become new presidents are well suited to the needs of the institution. Participation in a program such as this would help potential presidents to enter into a presidency that is more long-lasting, highly effective, and satisfying to both the individual and the institution.

Individuals chosen for the program are senior administrators who aspire to the presidency of an independent college or university and their spouses. Participants, including their spouses, engage in two seminars, participate in consultations with experienced mentors, and undertake a series of readings about the vocation of college presidents and the role of vision and mission in institutional leadership.

"The alignment of personal vocation and institutional mission emphasized in this program addresses a common pitfall of presidencies," says Richard Ekman, president of the Council of Independent Colleges. "The program aims to help participants achieve great things for their institutions and to avoid being ‘the right person in the wrong place'."

Stephens holds his bachelor's degree in sociology from Greenville College in Greenville, Illinois.   He earned two master's degrees – one in sociology and one in philosphy, and his doctorate from the University of Kansas.   He taught at the University of Kansas, he also served as an assistant professor, associate professor, professor and chair of the department of sociology and social work at Greenville College in Greenville, Illinois; as a visiting professor of sociology at Nizhni Novgorod State University in Nizhni Novgorod, Russia; as vice president for Academic Affairs and as Academic Dean at Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, Massachusetts; and as Chief Academic Officer and Dean of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies at Husson College in Bangor, Maine.   He joined Catawba College as Provost in 2009.

This approach to the preparation of new presidents has proven itself highly successful in the short period that the program has been operating. Since 2005, 19 individuals who have participated in the program have been named to college presidencies.

For more information about the Presidential Vocation and Institutional Mission program, which is funded by Lilly Endowment Inc., visit www.cic.edu/vocationmission.  

PRESIDENTIAL VOCATION AND INSTITUTIONAL MISSION PARTICIPANTS, 2012–2013:  

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  • Ellen Glidden Beaulieu, Mount Ida College (MA)
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  • John J. Brogan, Northwestern College (IA)
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  • Albert DeCiccio, Southern Vermont College (VT)
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  • Roger Drake, Lindsey Wilson College (KY)
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  • David R. Evans, Buena Vista University (IA)
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  • Stephanie L. Fabritius, Centre College (KY)
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  • Barbara A. Farley, Augsburg College (MN)
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  • Jack Fitzmier, American Academy of Religion (GA)
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  • Michael Frandsen, Albion College (MI)
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  • Christopher L. Holoman, Hilbert College (NY)
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  • Joseph Jones, North Park University (IL)
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  • Dan Lawson, Ashland University (OH)
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  • Benjamin C. Leslie, Gardner-Webb University (NC)
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  • Christine Pharr, College of Saint Mary (NE)
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  • Elfred Anthony Pinkard, Johnson C. Smith University (NC)
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  • Carolyn J. Stefanco, Agnes Scott College (GA)
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  • W. Richard Stephens, Catawba College (NC)
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  • Donald B. Taylor, Benedictine University (IL)
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  • Beth Triplett, Clarke University (IA)
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  • Jann Weitzel, Lindenwood University (MO)
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The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) is an association of 640 nonprofit independent colleges and universities and 90 higher education organizations that has worked since 1956 to support college and university leadership, advance institutional excellence, and enhance public understanding of private higher education's contributions to society. CIC is the major national organization that focuses on providing services to leaders of independent colleges and universities as well as conferences, seminars, and other programs that help institutions to improve the quality of education, administrative and financial performance, and institutional visibility. CIC, headquartered in Washington, D.C. also provides support to state fundraising associations that organize programs and generate contributions for private colleges and universities.


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