Caption: North Country Community College President Dr. Steve Tyrell.
SARANAC LAKE – North Country Community College President Dr. Steve Tyrell announced today to the college community that the 2018-19 academic year will be his last as president.
Dr. Tyrell will step down in June 2019, at which point he will have been the college’s president for seven years.
“Given the work we have done together that led to strengthening the college on a number of fronts, I feel this is the right time for me to explore my next professional interest,” Dr. Tyrell wrote today in a memo to the college’s faculty, staff and administration. “I also felt it would be more helpful to the college to make this announcement at this time, rather than waiting until later in the year. With the positive momentum that we have collectively achieved in the last few years, making the announcement now affords the Board of Trustees and the college community a full year to conduct a successful search and hire a new president who can continue to help move our current strategic plan forward.”
A native of Mooers, Dr. Tyrell was named North Country’s sixth president in April 2012. During his tenure, Dr. Tyrell has been an especially effective steward of the college’s financial well-being, leaving it with one of the best fund balances in relation to overall budget within the state two-year college system. The college, the smallest of New York’s community colleges when he arrived, has also surpassed three of its peers in enrollment.
Moreover, a number of initiatives that benefit the residents of Essex and Franklin counties have moved forward or been enhanced during Dr. Tyrell’s tenure: the Second Chance Pell program, educating prisoners to facilitate their re-entry into their communities; the Bridge program, allowing high school students the chance to earn up to 30 college credits; the cooperative agreement with Paul Smith’s College, allowing NCCC’s two-year graduates to complete a four-year degree at a reasonable cost; the ongoing collaborative work with SUNY Potsdam to explore North Country’s presence on the Potsdam campus; and the college community’s work on developing effective shared governance, better integrating the college’s faculty and staff in the decision-making process. More recently, the college has launched a program designed to provide our counties with much-needed EMTs.
“Through some difficult times, we weathered enrollment declines and through hard work by faculty and staff alike, we have stabilized enrollment and significantly improved our overall fiscal position,” said Dr. Tyrell. “We were thus allowed to pursue new initiatives that we now believe will strengthen our position further as we move into the future.”
Among those new initiatives is the ongoing exploration of a proposed School of Applied Technology in Ticonderoga. A viability study on the project is set to begin in August and conclude this fall. The college has also successfully completed the first year of a meaningful and robust strategic plan. Once fully completed in the next two years, it will continue to solidify the college’s position with enrollment, academic program offerings and how best to serve the residents of North Country region.
Other ongoing initiatives that will help strengthen the college’s position include fundraising to support a slew of strategic initiatives, targeting new marketing efforts to strategically support the college’s branch campuses and new program development under consideration, a commitment to continue to advance shared governance and the expansion of the college’s current work with assessment of student learning.
“The North Country Community College Board of Trustees wishes, in light of Dr. Tyrell’s announcement that this will be his last year as the college’s president, to acknowledge his energetic and creative leadership over the last six years,” said NCCC Board Chair Steve Reed. “Dr. Tyrell’s forward-looking stewardship has kept the college in a fiscally sound position as it moves into the future with prudence and confidence. The Board of Trustees will now begin the process of choosing a new president who can provide the vision and leadership necessary for the rapidly changing landscape of education in the twenty-first century.”
While the final decision on selecting a new president rests with the Board of Trustees, the search process and the review of the candidates will involve all levels of the college community – administration, faculty, staff – and outside stakeholders, including representatives of the college’s sponsoring counties.
About North Country Community College: As the only public college located in the Adirondack Park, North Country Community College provides educational, cultural and recreational programming to a 3,500 square mile service area with a population of 90,000. The college maintains three campuses in Saranac Lake, Malone and Ticonderoga, New York; an extensive high school-based academic partnership; and online course offerings. North Country Community College is part of the SUNY (State University of New York) system. With 64 unique colleges and universities, SUNY provides learning environments for every type of student, every stage of life, and every kind of passion. For more information, visit www.nccc.edu.