Dr. Jessica Clark will become Northland Pioneer College’s new Vice President for Learning and Students Services (VPLSS) on July 1.
Dr. Clark, currently Social Sciences and Education division chair at Western Wyoming Community College in Rock Springs, received a unanimous recommendation for her appointment following on-site visits in late March by three finalists from a nationwide search.
“I’m honored and humbled by this opportunity. I know the search committee had several amazing applications to review, and feel fortunate to have been selected as the ‘fit’ – because NPC felt like home from the moment I set foot on the campus in Show Low,” Clark said. The on-site visit included time on the Show Low, Snowflake and Holbrook campuses for meet-and-greets with community members and staff, plus a tour of the Whiteriver Center.
“I’m thrilled. This is a real positive for the college,” NPC President Mark Vest said when he announced Clark’s appointment to college employees. “We had a one-hour conversation during her visit that neither of us wanted to end when it did. We could have kept talking most of the afternoon about her ideas about ways she could help all of you do your jobs better; her ideas about working to resolve issues that we have at the college. Her enthusiasm and energy are infectious,” continued Vest.
“NPC is already a 21st century school with innovative faculty and staff. So, what I see as opportunities are really only ways to keep NPC moving forward, to keep the college relevant and connected with the service area” notes Clark. “I absolutely love the idea of working with a group that is dedicated to embracing growth and change.”
“My visit to NPC was amazing, and so natural. I literally felt at home,” adds Clark. “Everyone was so welcoming and supportive. It is clear that NPC is a community, and one that I am proud to join.”
Clark has begun “staging” her Wyoming home for sale. “I wanted to move on that as fast as possible so we can start looking for a new home in the Show Low area,” Clark explains. Both Vest and interim VPLSS Rickey Jackson, who has a 90-minute one-way commute each day, are anxious for Clark to be on board.
Clark’s family is also excited about relocating to Arizona. Her husband, Dr. Will Clark, is a wildlife and fisheries ecologist who can’t wait to start exploring the region. “Together, we are the proud parents of two beautiful girls: an intelligent and self-confident seven-year-old Ocean Maria and a rambunctious and amusing two-year-old Rain Lily. These three are my everything,” beams Clark.
“I’m an avid reader and explorer. There’s nothing like taking a good book and heading off for an afternoon hike, or hopping a plane to Europe.” With an extensive background in history, her favorite places are historical museums – from the rural county museums to the larger Smithsonian ones. “To be honest, I can’t wait to start exploring the rich cultural and social history surrounding NPC,” say Clark.
Clark will be receiving a graduate certificate in community college leadership from the University of Wyoming this spring. A “planner and doer,” Clark has worked extensively with faculty in creating and redesigning Guided Pathways; re-structuring Western’s Honors Program; and oversaw development of online courses across multiple disciplines. She has worked with regional colleges and universities on establishing 2 + 2 articulation agreements and with K-12 schools on building partnerships and creating pathways.
She also has experience working with the National Alliance for Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP), the Higher Learning Commission (NPC’s accrediting agency) and the Alliance for Innovation and Transformation (AfIT).
Several of Clark’s articles on German-Russian immigrants on the Northern Plains have been published in national publications. She contributed a chapter to the forthcoming book, History and Memory in German Russian Country soon to be released by North Dakota State University Press, as well as her own book, We Didn’t Know Better: Growing Up German Russian on the Northern Plains, under review by NDSU Press. She is a frequent presenter and roundtable participant at national and regional conferences.
The VPLSS position became vacant in July 2018 when Mark Vest advanced to the presidency. Jackson, who was dean of Arts & Sciences, agreed to fill in while a national search was conducted to fill the chief academic officer position.
Northland Pioneer College serves the residents of Navajo and Apache counties through four regional campuses and five centers with a variety of educational options for academic, career and technical and personal enrichment. NPC supports each student’s educational goals through affordable tuition, small class sizes and caring, professional instructors. For more information about NPC programs and services, visit www.npc.edu or call (800) 266-7845.
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