Dr. Lenny Klaver used his farm background, time spent at Wayne State College and varied work experiences to appeal to the audience at a Northeast Community College presidential candidate forum on Wednesday.
Klaver is one of three final candidates vying for the role of ninth president of the college. Each candidate has two public forums in the theater of the Cox Activities Center on the Norfolk campus.
The theater was about three-fourths full at Klaver’s first forum. A few people also participated via video conferencing from Northeast’s remote campuses at South Sioux City, O’Neill and West Point.
He shared his background in his opening statement, which he described as broad and extensive. Klaver has been president of North Central Missouri College since May 2016. He also has served in the roles of tenured faculty member, vice president, athletics director and vice chancellor in numerous states throughout his career, including at his alma mater of Wayne State College.
Klaver said he also has about 20 years of experience in strategic planning. At North Central, for example, he has facilitated new academic and extracurricular programs and helped grow enrollment by 7.5% through the development of “PLAN 2020.”
“I think what I bring is the ability to take a college in a next step in a new direction. … Not only have I lived the effort on three campuses, I’ve done it for some nonprofit organizations,” he said. “I have a method that’s very comprehensive and inclusive.”
The method he’s developed involves receiving feedback from the community, brainstorming ideas from that feedback and organizing them into main groups, he said.
He also shared his viewpoints on what makes a college successful. Regardless of the organization, Klaver said three elements make a strong college: access, excellence and impact.
After his statement, he answered audience questions from Northeast faculty and staff members about his opinions on various aspects of the college and leadership, including improvements he’d make to Northeast, managing change and prioritizing technology needs.
Faculty member Anthony Beardslee asked what Klaver has done to reconcile a divide that tends to happen between faculty and administration on campuses. In Klaver’s response, he described efforts to create and cultivate a shared governance council of faculty, classified staff, students and himself.
This allows people from different areas of the college to exchange ideas, plan shared events and feel more unified, he said.
“We talked about success, we talked about resolving issues quickly. … Being positive can go a long ways,” he said. “There’s no one on campus in a position that’s more important than anyone else.”
Northeast administrators encouraged attendees to provide feedback on the forums by visiting paulygroup.com/NECCSurveys.aspx. The next forums will be Monday, Oct. 7, for Dr. Charles Nwankwo and Tuesday, Oct. 8, for Dr. Leah Barrett at 11 a.m. and 3:15 p.m.