Metropolitan Community College Chancellor Mark James has announced his plans to retire in June 2017.
James has been chancellor of the five-campus community college since 2010. He joined the College in 2009.
As chancellor, James led the College through one of its most difficult financial times. In 2010, the College was in danger of exhausting cash reserves by 2015. By instituting zero-based budgeting, restructuring debt and benefit options, outsourcing the operations of College bookstores, restructuring the organization and building relationships with state appropriators and the governor, James transformed the College into one that was recently commended by the Higher Learning Commission for its extremely strong financial ratios.
The College has now been able to reinvest in the institution. This includes an extensive overhaul of information technology infrastructure, new classroom media, upgraded software tools to assist in enrollment management, sabbaticals and professional development.
Chancellor James said the timing of his decision makes sense for him and the College.
“We have worked together through challenging times and made tough decisions, but this work positions MCC to remain strong and vital for our community. I leave confident that MCC has the infrastructure , resources and processes to thrive and carry out its mission of preparing students, serving communities and creating opportunities,” James said.
Under his leadership, the College evolved from “the best kept secret in Kansas City” to a highly visible institution synonymous with quality, innovation and entrepreneurism. MCC was the only College in the nation to successfully earn three Title III federal grants totaling $12 million to help students succeed academically. The College expanded workforce training relationships with area businesses, enhanced safety and security, renewed support and engagement with community constituents and focused on diversity and inclusion efforts.
“Chancellor James has guided MCC to a solid financial foundation and surrounded himself with strong leaders that focus on student success,” said Trent Skaggs, MCC Board of Trustees president. “On behalf of the entire MCC Board of Trustees, I want to thank him for his service and leadership and wish him the very best.”
The MCC Board of Trustees will begin the process of initiating a national search to recruit a new chancellor this January.
“We are proud of the progress Metropolitan Community College has made under the leadership of Chancellor Mark James,” said trustee David Disney. ” His guidance helped secure a strong foundation for continued progress well into the future. Chancellor James nourished important relationships with educational partners and the business community to ensure that students graduate with necessary skills to succeed.”
Trustee Bob Martin shared: “Chancellor James was selected for this position based on his commitment to innovation, financial expertise, and his ability and experience to lead complex organizations. He has used those tools to propel MCC forward. We will miss his valuable service to this institution and we applaud his tremendous work.”
As chancellor, James has served on the Clay County Economic Development Council, Cooperating School Districts of Greater Kansas City, Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City Board, Full Employment Council, Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Board, Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Business and Leadership Council, Kansas City Area Development Council Board, Kansas City Metropolitan Crime Commission, Kansas City and Vicinity Workforce Investment Board, KC-REACHE Board, KC Rising Human Capital Workgroup, Local Investment Commission Education Policy Fellowship Program Advisory Committee, Mid-America Minority Business Development Council, Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) Homeland Security Policy Committee, Missouri Community College Association Presidents and Chancellors Council, Missouri Department of Higher Education Homeland Security advisory sub-committee to the Governor’s Homeland Security Advisory Council, Missouri Higher Education Homeland Security Consortium, Missouri Department of Higher Education Coordinated Plan Steering Committee, Missouri Department of Higher Education System Review Task Force, Missouri United School Insurance Council Board, and the United Way Education Impact Council.