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Community Focused - Dr. Todd Holcomb Ready to Hit the Ground Running as President

posted on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 in  College News

For Dr. Todd Holcomb, the most important part of a community college is the “community.”

Whether it’s creating an inclusive campus culture or collaborating with business and industry leaders, community colleges are at their best when they not only understand community needs, but respond to them.

“I have a long history of collaborating and cooperating with entities outside of the college,” said Dr. Holcomb, the new president of Hawkeye Community College. “I’m going to be looking for those partnerships with school districts and with other higher education entities. Hopefully, together we can move the Cedar Valley forward and make it a great place where you can live and work.”

Dr. Holcomb began his higher education career as a hall director at Texas Tech University, where he also completed his master’s degree. While there he met Dr. Parker Young, who came to campus to speak on legal issues in higher education.

“At that point in time I said, ‘I’m going to go work for that man in the future,’” Dr. Holcomb recalls. True to his word, he became Dr. Young’s doctoral research assistant at the University of Georgia in Athens. His first work with community colleges came while at Miami University in Ohio, where he oversaw a commuter center offering support programs to the two-year regional campuses.

“It gave me a good understanding of the diversity of two-year students,” he said.

While at Iowa State University, he worked on dual enrollment efforts with Des Moines Area Community College and a learning communities initiative with Marshalltown Community College.

“I started getting more interested in working with community colleges,” he said. “I realized that community colleges represent the community.”

Before arriving at Hawkeye, Dr. Holcomb spent nearly a decade as president of Western Nebraska Community College. He feels this experience has helped him “hit the ground running” in his first few months at Hawkeye.

“I think Hawkeye is the right place for me because of the skills I bring to the position,” he said. “I’m very extroverted and outgoing, and I consider myself an educator with a slight bent toward business.”

Part of the business of running a community college means understanding its constituents, whether it’s students, parents, business leaders, or taxpayers.

“We should be responsive and be able to meet the demands of businesses and constituents on a regular basis,” he said. As he kicks off his first year at Hawkeye, he’s excited to get to know
more about the college community and the people whose lives it impacts. After just a few months, he’s already seen some things that make him excited for the future.

“In a recent Community College Survey of Student Engagement, 96 percent of our students said they would recommend Hawkeye to a friend or family member,” he said. “That’s a phenomenal number.”

Such a high satisfaction rate is a great starting point for a new president, Dr. Holcomb says, and he looks forward to building on that for the good of the community.

“I hope that Hawkeye is producing servant-leaders who are willing to give back to our community, help guide our community, and lead our community,” he said. “Hawkeye is well-positioned to do that moving forward.”

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