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Future president says he'll draw on HCC's past

April 22, 2002|BY ANDREA ROWLAND

andreabh@herald-mail.com

Hagerstown Community College's incoming President Guy Altieri said Friday that he will look to the past to lead the college into the future.

"I am a strong believer that good leadership must combine both memory and vision," Altieri told about 40 students and faculty and staff members at HCC.

Altieri, who will replace HCC President Norman Shea in June, plans to meet with community and college leaders to gain insight about the school's past in order to better plan for its future, he said.

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He will first "spend an awful lot of time listening" to learn what HCC programs have proven most beneficial and what new programs are needed to best meet the changing needs of students and others in the community, Altieri said.

He plans to meet with Washington County Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan to discuss how to better inform high school students and their parents about opportunities at the community college, Altieri said.

He will continue to strengthen HCC's ties to the community by getting involved in civic organizations, he said.

"You not only have to be a campus leader, you have to be a community leader," said Altieri, 51, who chairs the education committee for the Chamber of Commerce in Ann Arbor, Mich.

He has spent the past 15 years as an administrator at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor. Altieri now serves as executive vice president for instruction.

Teaching is his first love, he said, and he plans to remain connected to educators and students at HCC through informal meetings and, eventually, by teaching a class or two.

"I see him speaking the truth when he says his heart is in teaching," said Marge Nikpourfard, director for developmental education at HCC.

Altieri's extensive teaching background and participatory management style make him a good match for HCC, Nikpourfard said.

"He is who we need as this time," she said. "I'm very excited that he's going to be our president."

Student Amber Small said Altieri was receptive to student concerns - including their requests for a campuswide e-mail system - when he met with students during his interview process.

"He seems very real," Small said.

HCC Student Government Association President Matt Seifarth said Altieri has proven himself a good listener.

"To see that trait come out right away is outstanding," Seifarth said.

Altieri, a technology enthusiast, said Friday that making sure all students have access to the Internet and e-mail will be one of his top priorities when he takes over at HCC.

Strategic planning will ensure the college can support its growth, Altieri said.

"Plans are very much like babies," Altieri said, "they're easier to conceive than to deliver."

Altieri said he will rely on a reflective decision-making style - studying issues, seeking advice and analyzing situations - before making decisions with a "blend of poetry and policy."

It takes artistry to develop a vision and strong policy-making and leadership skills to make it happen, he said. A good college president is both a mechanic and artist, he said.

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