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Looking at other community colleges’ executive structure

By themselves, numbers sometimes don’t tell the whole story. Lately, I’ve been looking at the executive structure for WCC, and wondering why the hell WCC needs so many Vice Presidents. Looking at other nearby community colleges show that most – (except Oakland CC) – don’t carry nearly as many Vice Presidents on their payrolls.

Another way to compare WCC’s executive structure to its counterparts is to look at what other community colleges deem worthy of including in their executive structures. For this comparison, I looked at 11 institutions:

  • Grand Rapids (GR)
  • Henry Ford (HF)
  • Jackson (JC)
  • Lansing (L)
  • Macomb (Ma)
  • Monroe (Mo)
  • Mott (Mt)
  • Oakland (O)
  • Schoolcraft (S)
  • St. Clair County Community College (SC)
  • Washtenaw (W)

Universal elements of executive structures at Michigan community colleges

All 11 institutions had the following three positions, under one title or another.

GR, HF, JC, L, Ma, Mo, Mt, O, S, SC, W

Provost/Vice President of Instruction/Chief Academic Officer
GR, HF, JC, L, Ma, Mo, Mt, O, S, SC, W

VP of Finance
GR, HF, JC, L, Ma, Mo, Mt, O, S, SC, W

This position has several titles – VP of Finance, VP of Administration, VP and Chief Financial Officer, etc. At three institutions, the VP of Finance also oversaw a range of other functions besides Finance. They included some combination of Administrative Services, Advancement, Auxiliary Services, Facilities and Information Technology.

Common VP positions

GR, HF, JC, Ma, Mt, O, W

VP of Human Resources
HF, JC, Ma, Mt, O, S, W
In the institutions where HR is not overseen by a Vice President, a Director or Executive Director is most often in charge.

VP of Student Services
HF, JC, Ma, O, S, W
Washtenaw is the only community college to have an Executive Vice President of Student Services.

VP of Information Technology
JC, O, S
In the institutions without a Vice President of Information Technology, the function is overseen by a “Chief Technology Officer” or a Director. In WCC’s case, IT is overseen by a vendor.

Uncommon VP positions

VP of Marketing/Communications
O, W
Washtenaw’s VP of Communications recently left. In all other colleges, this function is handled by a Director.

Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs
L, O

Associate Vice President for Workforce Development
Mt, W

VP of Legal Affairs
All other institutions have either a General Counsel, or they maintain outside counsel only.

Vice President of Economic and College Development

Vice President of Strategic Enrollment Management

Associate Vice President of Facilities Development and Operations
Washtenaw is the only community college among this group to have a dedicated AVP to Facilities. Henry Ford puts its VP of Finance in charge of its facilities, but this is an additional responsibility. In other institutions, this is a director-level function.

The WCC Board of Trustees needs to monitor VP positions carefully and insist that they be returned to the appropriate management level at the earliest possible opportunity. Further, the Board should develop a policy regarding the creation and elevation of positions that carry the title of Vice President. This will help to restrict the proliferation of Vice President positions at WCC in the future.

Photo Credit: Mikele, via Flickr