Miles Community College will welcome the second of three finalists for the vacant president’s position to campus on Thursday.
Spencer McNiven, Vice President of Operations and Student Affairs at Lincoln College of New England in Connecticut, will be introduced to the community at an open forum Friday beginning at 5:30 at MCC.
A Montana native who grew up in eastern Montana, McNiven is excited to be a finalist and is looking forward to his visit to Miles City.
“For me, this would be an opportunity to come back home,” McNiven said. “Living out east gives you an opportunity to appreciate where you came from. I’ve been around and done a few things, and now it’s time to come back home and let my kids grow up in a similar situation I grew up in.”
MCC has struggled with declining enrollment the past few years due in no small part to the energy boom in eastern Montana and western North Dakota. McNiven said bringing those numbers back would be a challenge he is qualified to accept.
“A lot of my focus over the past 10 years has been in enrollment growth,” he said. “I know that’s one of the biggest challenges MCC has, so I feel my experience especially in building growth through online programs and distance education is something I can bring to the table. Once we get that student population to increase, we open up opportunities for many other things...MCC isn’t just another rural community college for me. This really is home, so for me the ability to help improve, build and give back to the area where I consider home would bring a great sense of pride and responsibility.”
McNiven directly manages and provides leadership for all aspects of the Student Affairs departments in his current position. He assisted in the transition period of a college on the brink of bankruptcy with new ownership, new president, the rebranding of the school and the development of online programs. He stabilized student population, increased the number of students in the residence halls and built relationships with businesses to increase revenue by partnering to better utilize institutional resources. McNiven also restructured the athletic department to create a competitive team and a recreational league resulting in an increase in resident students.
McNiven holds an undergraduate degree in Business Finance from University of Phoenix alongside a Master’s in Business Administration with a Leadership Emphasis from Grand Canyon University.
He has worked as a leader in higher education for the past 10 years, and as the Utah Campus Manager, McNiven was one of the key contributors of the enrollment growth that Grand Canyon University experienced during 2007-2009. McNiven has served on numerous campus committees and boards. His community involvement includes being the Committee Chair of Boy Scouts of America, Assistant Scout Director, Cub Scout Director and President of Young Men’s Organization.
“As a native Montanan growing up only a few hours from Miles City in Melstone, Spencer is familiar with our western heritage and the values of a rural community,” said MCC Human Resources director and search committee member Kylene Phipps. “He brings direct student affairs management and leadership experience at the collegiate level. Residing in different locations across the United States, he brings a variety of leadership experience.”