College presidency life goal for Ohio provost Kay Adkins

Published 2:01 am Saturday, October 25, 2008

Editor’s note: This is the final story in a series of stories on the five semifinalists for the presidency of LBWCC.

Dr. Patricia Kay Adkins has said her life has been geared toward the opportunity to one day be a community college president. She may soon get that opportunity at Lurleen B. Wallace Community College.

Adkins, who is currently the provost at Columbus State Community College in Columbus, Ohio, is one of five semifinalists in the running to fill the opening for president at LBWCC. The five candidates will interview for the job Monday, where three of the five will be selected as finalists who then will interview Postsecondary Chancellor Bradley Byrne Wednesday.

“I decided early on in my career that I eventually wanted to be a community college president,” Adkins said. “Throughout my career, each position that I have assumed has given me extra responsibilities that I believe can help get me to that point. I’m looking for a quality school and this just happens to be the right opportunity at the right time.”

Adkins is a product of the community college system, earning her associate’s degree in 1982 from Shawnee Community College in Illinois. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Southern Illinois University and earned her Ph. D. in educational administration from Illinois State University in 1999.

After earning her doctorate, Adkins became the associate vice president of educational and student services at St. Petersburg College in St. Petersburg, Fla. She was promoted to CEO of that school’s EpiCenter campus in 2002 and remained in that post until 2006. In 2006, Adkins moved into her current position at CSCC.

In her resume, Adkins described her current position as, “planning, organizing and directing the educational functions of the college, as well as student services, business and industry training, multicultural affairs and K-12 initiatives.”

“In all of the positions I’ve had, I’ve had to reach out to internal and external constituents to gain support for a new service, or program that I was building,” Adkins said. “I’d want to build consensus and help develop quality programs and services to meet the needs of the community.”

CSCC has more than 23,000 students on its campuses and an operating budget of more than $100 million. As provost, Adkins has implemented a number of programs, including the creation of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, which provides programs and services to CSCC’s 6,200 minority students, and the creation of an Enrollment Management Committee, which helped lead to a 7 percent increase in enrollment for the spring 2008 quarter.

After growing up in rural Illinois, Adkins believes she shares some of the same values that are held by people in the South.

“I know that a lot of people hear Illinois and think that it’s a northern state,” Adkins said. “But I grew up in southern Illinois and that’s a very rural and agricultural area. The values I learned growing up there are very similar to the culture and values in the South.”

Adkins added that if she becomes president at LBWCC, she will do her best to incorporate a variety of viewpoints into forming a vision for the college.

“A vision is something that we’d have to build together,” she said. “If I’m named president, my calendar for the first few months will be filled with just getting out and meeting people. I want to do a lot of listening, listen to what (LBWCC) has done in the past and what it would like to do in the future.

“A community college is really the hub of a community and touches all sectors. I would need to understand what has already taken place and how we can build on it and move forward.”