Dunn resigns as college president


A former K-State graduate, Dunn has accepted the position of associate dean and director of programs for The Global Campus at Kansas State.

The administration at SCCC will have different faces next year, as spring of 2015 saw the resignation of the president and two changes in dean positions. Changes in personel will also include the resignations or retirements of 18 employees.

Dr. Duane Dunn announced his resignation effective June 15.

The effect of his resignation is compounded by the retirement of the dean of academic affairs, Cynthia Rapp, and the resignation of Dr. Janese Thatcher, dean of career and technical education.

Dr. Todd Carter, director of research and assessment, has been hired to fill Rapp’s position. They have worked together for many years, according to Dunn, and “that’s huge… In my mind, it’s a perfect transition.”

While the Board of Trustees will not be appointing an interim president, a succession plan will be in effect which will recognize Dennis Sander, dean of finance and operations, as the acting president until a new president is hired.

The intent of the board is to have a new president in place by August, Dunn said.

In regard to Thatcher’s position, Dunn stated that they will not be filling that spot, for now, two reasons: 1) it will only be fair for the incoming president to establish their own organizational structure, “so we’re holding that off.” 2) finances. “We’ve lost state aid, so we have to wait to see what the budget comes up to,” Dunn said.

A former K-State graduate, Dunn has accepted the position of associate dean and director of programs for The Global Campus at Kansas State.

The Global Campus deals with anything online, outreach classes and classes offered for industry.

“My role is to work with community colleges, tech schools and other industries, identifying the needs that are outside of Manhattan and then try to develop and improve those programs,” Dunn said.

“It was totally unanticipated, frankly. It wasn’t something that if you would’ve sat down with me last fall and said, ‘What do you think the end of the year would be like,’ I wouldn’t have pictured this,” Dunn said.

According to Dunn, this will be his last career move. He saw it as a good opportunity to do something that isn’t what he already does and would still be able to keep the relationships and interactions with community colleges. “That was important to me,” he said.

Family was also an influential factor to Dunn deciding to take the position. His wife, Dr. Cindi Dunn, works for K-State, telecommuting from here for the last 11 years. Her job has grown to the point where she spends about three weeks of a month out in Manhattan.

This change will make things easier for both of them.

“I am really confident about exiting,” Dunn said. But there will be some challenges that he sees for the future of SCCC/ATS.

“The challenges of funding and expectations will require a lot of diligence on behalf of the staff and faculty­– making adjustments, whether it’s teaching styles, accountability measures or the curriculum,” he said.

Things change so fast that Dunn believes the pace of that change makes it difficult to keep up to date.

Higher education is changing a lot and receiving pressure from external groups; it’s a concerning factor for Dunn.

But the involvement from the community is incredible, in his opinion, and thinks that it will step up to the next level.

From his perspective, Dunn advises the new president coming in to get to know the students.

The new president will have to look at improving the organization, and in order to do that, he or she will have to be among the students. Another challenge for the new president will be balancing and creating relationships on and off campus.

“My advice would be, ‘Figure out your time management’, because you have a whole lot that is going to be expected of you, whether it’s reports, putting together meeting agendas, responding to state and federal reports, managing grants, to getting to know every employee and student by first name, if you can.’”

“We have an incredible campus and community atmosphere.”

“We have issues here, but there’s still an atmosphere that supports, accomplishes, where the faculty and students, knowing each other, say, ‘I’m proud of this student, look what he did.’ Those kind of things that make up a unique environment.”

The unique environment traces back to when Dunn first came to Seward. He grew up 60 miles from here, so he considered this area to be home. “I’ve always had a lot of respect for Seward, and familiarity played a big role as well.”

“This college is known for doing things right, so I saw it as a good first-community-college presidency for me, the next career step-up.”

The first semester for Dunn was a tough start at a campus dealing with the death of the former president. In those moments, Dunn didn’t want to implement any changes but rather a healing process. In the midst of raw emotions, Dunn’s theory was to “implement change through improvement rather than abruptly.” Because in that manner, one can look back in 11 years and see that the college is a different college. “I didn’t have to come in and say, ‘We’re going to be a different college, it was a gradual, improving process.’”

One of Dunn’s memories is when he first walked into his office and the thing that popped out to him was that the desk was clean. “It was completely cleaned off and I thought, ‘Wow, this is a great job. There’s nothing on the desk.’”

The previous interim, Dr. James Tangeman, had cleaned everything up for Dr. Dunn. So now his personal goal is to leave a clean desk for the incoming president.


As Dunn is coming to an end in his term, there are some things he has to wrap up, operationally. He’s working on a funding proposal to the board that will keep projects going in the future. “We’ll probably take another hit from the state funding, I anticipate a 2 percent reduction to occur again this year,” Dunn said.

Along with administrators, Sander and Dunn will be working up a proposal for that and everything that needs to be done for the next person who comes in.

The unique environment that is still portrayed on this campus as it did 11 years ago, “I didn’t develop that, I think it’s been like that from a long time before that and I really give credit to the board of trustees and community for having those high expectations,” he said.

Dunn really takes pride in the student body, and the attitude that the staff and faculty have. “The focus and decisions are always directed for the student.”

He is looking forward to being able to get started on some of the research writing he’s always wanted to do and never got around to do while being president. He hopes that his new position will allow him the extra time.

Dunn likes writing, and has a real interest in the generational issues, in regard to education, that are going on right now.

Dunn leaves with these final thoughts. “This really is a great college, and it’s been an experience getting acquainted with the students. I want the students to know that I am proud of them; this is the place to go to step forward in the career field.”