At a recent Faculty and Staff Development Day, I shared with college employees that both my husband and I are beginning to have nightmares about my pending retirement. I think he is experiencing some angst about the growing list of home projects (long overdue, I might add) that I keep adding to “our” post-retirement plans. One of my biggest worries is about how I will ever manage to box up the items in my offices (I have one on both the Douglas and Sierra Vista campuses) that have been collected over a period of many years. It feels like this transition to post-Cochise College life is happening at warp speed.
Unlike me and my two immediate predecessors, Drs. Patton and Rehurek, Dr. Rottweiler will join the college having gained experience at institutions outside Arizona. Incoming president Rottweiler currently serves as executive vice president for academic services at Central Wyoming College, having worked at community colleges in Iowa and Utah. Dr. Rottweiler has participated on many statewide initiatives on community colleges, academic transfer, vocational-technical education, and the future of higher education. In 2006, he was recognized as one of Wyoming’s “40 under 40” (40 individuals under the age of 40 who are making a difference in Wyoming). His area of expertise is cultural studies and social mobility. Dr. Rottweiler spent a significant amount of time in Japan and produced a documentary film, A 20th Century Matsuri: The secularization of the Japanese Religious Festival. He and his wife Melanie, a first-grade teacher, have three children: Janelle, Keesa, and Devin.
Although Dr. Rottweiler and I have not yet had a chance for any lengthy discussion, I believe Cochise College and the communities we serve will quickly agree with the board’s decision. In fact, I have heard many positive comments about Dr. Rottweiler from community members and college employees who attended open forums to hear from all three highly-qualified finalists selected for interviews with the Governing Board. In the context of these same comments, the college Governing Board was also commended for its open process in soliciting public and college comments. Suffice it to say, the process worked well and in a timely manner.
As part of my comments on Faculty and Staff Development Day, I summarized some of the highlights of the past decade and my honor in serving as Cochise College president. Through the work of many, present and past, the college has managed to grow and mature significantly during that period of time. In looking forward to the next four months, my goal is to make decisions that will allow me to hand off the college to Dr. Rottweiler in the best possible position for another decade of growth.
Both Dr. Rottweiler and I know he will be stepping into an institution where both challenges and opportunities exist; that is part of the excitement of being a college president. And, although I will greatly miss serving as Cochise College’s president, let me add my voice to those who are looking forward to the new president’s arrival. I am confident that we have found the right person to build on past successes while providing his own vision and leadership to take Cochise College to its next phase of growth and service.
Welcome aboard, J.D. Now, if I can just get those offices cleaned out before July 1!