GCCC Selects Experienced Educator As Instructional Vice President
Dr. Bruce K. Exstrom arriving after community college leadership in both Texas and Nebraska
Dr. Bruce K. Exstrom, dean of instructional services at Coastal Bend College in Beeville, Texas, has been chosen as the new vice president of instructional services at Garden City Community College.
Exstrom, who is expected to start within the next several weeks, has served as the chief academic officer since August of 2010 at CBC, an institution of 3,700 students located midway between Corpus Christi and San Antonio.
He was chosen out of a pool of 40 to 50 applicants from across the nation.
“This is a very important position for our college and we are all looking forward to working with Dr. Exstrom as a key member of our leadership team,” said Dr. Herbert J. Swender, president.
“He will bring an impressive array of experiences and a thorough understanding of the community college mission in the 21st Century,” Swender added. “In addition, Dr. Exstrom is himself a community college graduate, and that only adds to the strong value of his perspectives.”
The new vice president earned his doctorate degree in 2003 at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, where he focused on administration in curriculum and instruction, as well as higher education leadership. He completed a master of arts in adult and continuing education in 1994, and a bachelor of science in business administration in 1983, both also at the University of Nebraska. His master’s degree included an emphasis in human resource development, and he previously earned an associate in arts degree, with business administration emphasis, at Northeast Community College, Norfolk, Neb., in 1981.
Exstrom will serve as one of three vice presidents reporting directly to Swender, under an administrative structure initiated by the GCCC president in July to help the college operate more effectively, grow as an institution and better serve students, the community and the region. The other two are Ryan Ruda, vice president of student services, and Dee Wigner, executive vice president.
The new vice president will oversee all technical and academic teaching divisions, Business and Community Education, Saffell Library, the Mary Jo Williams Comprehensive Learning Center, the Teaching and Learning Center, Project Destiny, workforce learning and distance education programs. The GCCC Adult Learning Center and all associated operations will also fall under Exstrom, including the GED and English as a Second Language Programs, the Refugee Center, the Migrant Family Literacy Program, IME Becas and KANCO.
Exstrom took a leadership role at Coastal Bend in merging workforce and academic departments into a single instructional unit. He also created a Faculty of the Year award to recognize outstanding teaching and learning, and oversaw the budget and operations for an instructional affairs department that employs 98 full-time faculty personnel and more than 100 part-time instructors.
He has been involved in grant funding leadership as instructional dean, worked closely with Coastal Bend’s continuing education division in creating customized training and workshops, and led the development of weekend courses, Internet-based degrees and dual enrollment as methods of creating an entrepreneurial collegiate culture.
During Exstrom’s tenure in Beeville, CBC has opened study opportunities in Puerto Rico and Spain, initiated online student evaluation of faculty, boosted enrollment in distance learning and dual credit programs, and organized an assessment system for student learning outcomes. While administering more than $2 million in grant funding, Exstrom has led efforts to enhance classroom technology, build developmental mathematics curriculum and increase student retention.
Before joining Coastal Bend, Exstrom served from July of 2008 to July of 2010 as acting president at Allegany College of Maryland, based in Cumberland, Md., after four years there in the position of vice president of instructional affairs.
He previously worked in 2005-2006 as associate dean of instructional affairs at Allegany, a multi-campus institution serving 4,000 credit students and 15,000 non-credit learners; four years prior to that as director of assessment and student learning at Nebraska’s Southeast Community College, Lincoln; and two previous years as a business administration instructor at SCC.
Exstrom began his collegiate teaching career as a business administration instructor-coordinator at Hamilton College, Lincoln, Neb., in 1997-99. He taught business and served as a tennis and basketball coach in 1990-97 at Lincoln Pius X High School, a 1,000-student private institution in Lincoln. Before he entered the education field, he worked in 1984-1990 with Massachusetts Mutual and Bankers Life of Nebraska, Lincoln.
“As a community college graduate, faculty member and administrator, I am committed to our mission,” Exstrom said, noting that he is anxious to get started at GCCC. “My passion for learning and changing lives will never waver.”
“Honest leadership is a hallmark of a chief academic officer,” he added. “The key to any transition is trust, honesty and commitment. People are the most important part of a college. The hard work and ingenuity of faculty and staff working together will accomplish many goals.”
In addition to his professional career, Exstrom has provided community service as a credit union board member, United Way campaign chairman, Salvation Army board member and finance chairman, arts council board member and director, and chamber of commerce committee member in the areas of education and legislation.