VERSAILLES, Ky. (Nov. 20, 2013) – Dr. Michael B. McCall, founding president of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS), announced last week that he will retire Jan. 15, 2015, after 16 years leading the system that was created in 1997.
“I have been privileged to work with a dedicated Board, outstanding cabinet, committed college presidents along with extraordinary faculty and staff,” McCall said. “Together we have built a comprehensive two-year college system that is the envy of the nation. I am extremely proud of the work we have accomplished to enhance the educational attainment in the state. The last 15 years as president have truly been the most rewarding of my career. I believe now it is time to complete my tenure and for the System to begin the transition to new leadership.”
McCall will remain as president until a successor is named and in place to ensure a smooth transition between the current and future administrations. During the next month, Board of Regents Chair P.G. Peeples will develop a presidential search process and work with a search firm to develop a plan and timeline for a nationwide search.
“I am truly saddened by President McCall’s announcement to retire. It will be a tremendous loss to both KCTCS and the Commonwealth,” Peeples said. “Because of his leadership, vision and management skills he is leaving the organization in a very strong position, which will allow us to continue on the strategic course of being the nation’s premier community and technical college system.”
Early days of KCTCS
In 1997 the Kentucky Postsecondary Education Improvement Act (House Bill 1) created the Kentucky Community and Technical College System by joining the 14 community colleges of the University of Kentucky with the 15 technical institutes in the Kentucky Workforce Development cabinet under a new system. This created the ninth, unique public institution, which today serves 96,914 students, making it the largest provider of postsecondary education in the state. Shortly after Gov. Paul Patton appointed the first KCTCS Board of Regents they launched a national search to select the System’s founding president. McCall, a champion of community college education was chosen in a unanimous vote on December 3, 1998.
“I am as proud today as I was 15 years ago to have been a member of the board that enticed Dr. McCall to come to Kentucky to lead what was then the new community and technical college system,” said Martha Johnson, first KCTCS Board of Regents chair. “With experience, energy and passion, President McCall has built a system of 16 colleges that are nationally recognized for their excellence. His understanding of the connection between education and economic development, along with his drive for KCTCS to make a difference in people’s lives, have forever improved educational access and opportunities for all Kentuckians. Although he will be missed, the foundation is firmly in place to continue the System’s outstanding progress.”
McCall’s first challenge was to develop a community-driven effort to consolidate the 29 separate colleges and institutes into 16 comprehensive community and technical colleges. This entailed developing the initial infrastructure to support a statewide system that included creating an information technology infrastructure and administrative systems; establishing personnel rules for six different groups of employees; and building new financial and accounting systems. Additionally, the System had to obtain accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools for the newly consolidated colleges.
“KCTCS is one of the greatest accomplishments of the 1997 Postsecondary Improvement Act and is an unqualified success due to the leadership of Dr. McCall,” Gov. Paul Patton said. “Few things in life work out exactly as you expect, but KCTCS has exceeded all of our expectations thanks to Dr. McCall and the outstanding team he has built.”
McCall’s devotion to two-year colleges and his vision for KCTCS set the course for the System. The mission of KCTCS has always been to improve the quality of life and employability of the citizens of the commonwealth by serving as the primary provider of:
♦ College and Workforce Readiness,
♦ Transfer Education and
♦ Workforce Education.
♦ In just 15 years KCTCS has become the number one provider of workforce and postsecondary education in the state.
Under McCall’s leadership KCTCS has flourished and become the place where higher education begins for many Kentuckians. Nearly half of Kentucky’s postsecondary education students are enrolled at a KCTCS college.
Today, the 16 KCTCS colleges at more than 70 locations offer 700 programs in high wage, high demand fields, including 77 online credentials.
“Dr. McCall’s achievements as president of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System are only outweighed by his commitment to improving the quality and access to education for all Kentuckians—despite their age, economic status or geographic location,” said Gov. Steve Beshear. “Community colleges play an integral part in Kentucky’s economy by providing the skills and education necessary to create a highly-trained and productive workforce. I thank Dr. McCall for his dedicated efforts to enhancing and growing our state’s first-rate community college system and wish him the best of luck in all his future endeavors.”
Other accomplishments during McCall’s tenure:
♦ Increased enrollment 109.7 percent.
♦ Served and changed the lives of more than 500,000 Kentuckians.
♦ Serves 6,204 businesses and trains 61,929 employees annually.
♦ Increased the number of certificates, diplomas and degrees awarded by 300 percent (2001-2012).
♦ Completed 45 capital projects totaling approximately $500 million, creating access to higher education throughout the state. There is a KCTCS location within a 30-minute drive of 95 percent of all Kentuckians.
♦ Worked with the General Assembly to champion revolutionary transfer legislation, which has eased the process for KCTCS students transferring to the state’s four-year public institutions. This legislation has become a national model.
♦ Established the North American Racing Academy (NARA), the first college-affiliated horse racing academy in the United States. Students from across the state, country and world travel to Kentucky to study at the NARA under the tutelage of Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron.
♦ Launched the Kentucky Coal Academy, which has trained more than 55,000 new and incumbent miners for work in more than 70 coal companies.
♦ Created the Automotive Manufacturing Technical Education Collaborative, a multi-state collaboration of community and technical colleges providing ongoing training for automotive technicians and engineers to equip them with the advanced skills they need to have successful careers in a constantly changing and globally competitive workforce.
♦ Created an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) Degree in Fire/Rescue Science Technology through the Kentucky Fire Commission, which is part of KCTCS. The Kentucky Fire Commission trains 80 percent of Kentucky-trained firefighters.
♦ Integrated the Kentucky Board of Emergency Medical Services (KBEMS) into KCTCS. KBEMS certifies first responders and emergency medical technicians. Additionally, it provides licenses to paramedics and ambulance services and establishes standards for the education and training of emergency medical services personnel.