A new era at Miles Community College began today, as the school welcomed its new president to his first official week in the position.
Dr. Stacy Klippenstein, who accepted the position in November, previously served as vice chancellor of student affairs at Montana State University-Billings. He said he’s excited to begin this new chapter, and plans to use these first few weeks to learn his way around.
“When you start anything new, there’s always a lot of learning that needs to take place,” Klippenstein said. “That’s what I’m attempting to do the first week, just get a feel of who’s who on campus, what the major issues are, what the good things are we need to celebrate, that kind of thing. And I’m looking forward to meeting the students when they come back next Monday.”
In previous administrations it’s been a bit of a long process between when a president is hired and when he or she begins comes on board; Klippenstein said his close proximity to Miles City coupled with a very understanding previous employer has made the transition a lot quicker.
“Location was number one; I didn’t have to worry about a big move,” he explained. “My wife is still in Billings, and we are empty-nesters, so we didn’t have to worry about bringing children over. Plus, I wanted to be here by the time the students got back and got going, as well as the faculty. January 6 made perfect sense. It is a quick turnaround, but the people at MSU-Billings were phenomenal, totally understanding, and everyone has been great here at MCC in helping me get set up.”
Klippenstein earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Montana State University-Billings; a master’s of education in student affairs administration from Montana State University-Billings; and a doctorate in higher education leadership from the Nova Southeastern University.
As vice chancellor at MSU-Billings, Klippenstein was responsible for the daily management and leadership for the Division of Student Affairs as well as fiscal management for the division budgets. He was responsible for all undergraduate enrollment functions and creating a strategic enrollment management plan as well as developing support services as part of the comprehensive community college mission.
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He plans on utilizing that enrollment experience immediately.
“The big thing for me right away will be a review of the strategic enrollment plan that we’re currently at for spring,” Klippenstein explained. “Then we’ll take a look at summer and fall semester enrollment. That’s the big thing that will be on my mind. Then we want to take a look at statewide issues. Then we need to take a step back and review when we should begin a process to look at our vision for MCC through 2020. Where do we really want to be in the next six years?”
Since announcing he would take over the helm at MCC, Klippenstein said he has been inundated with well wishes from the Miles City community. Calling the community’s involvement in maintaining MCC’s commitment to education “impressive,” he’s convinced that continued commitment bodes well for the school looking forward.
“This community has been phenomenal in welcoming me,” he said. “The amount of messages I’ve received from people in the community, as well as working with local realtors on a house and the Board of Trustees, they’ve all been absolutely wonderful to work with. They’ve really made me feel like I’m home, and that’s what I really enjoy.”
Speaking of housing, Klippenstein’s wish to get to know the students may end up being more in depth than initially thought: His temporary digs are over in MCC’s residence hall.
“I have a feeling I’m going to get to know a lot of kids,” he said, laughing.