Anderson Named ICCB Director

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Published on June 11 2013 3:09 pm
Last Updated on July 14 2013 4:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

The Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) has named Karen Hunter Anderson, Ph.D., as its new Executive Director. The ICCB’s current President and CEO Geoffrey Obrzut retires at the end of this month. Dr. Anderson will begin her new assignment on July 1.

“Dr. Anderson is an exceptional individual, has extensive experience in the Illinois Community College System and has earned the deepest respect from our Colleges, the Trustees, and most importantly the students who have gotten to know her," said ICCB Chairman Alexi Giannoulias. “There were some great applicants, but ultimately my board unanimously selected Dr. Anderson because of our utmost confidence in her leadership abilities and educational background.  She will be an outstanding Executive Director.”

Dr. Anderson currently is the Vice President of the ICCB. She is the first ICCB staff person to be selected for the permanent position of Executive Director. The office’s title has been changed from President and CEO to Executive Director effective on July 1.

“I am honored that the Board chose me as its new Executive Director,” said Anderson. “The work of our community colleges is vital to the educational and economic health of Illinois and it is my privilege to help lead the community college system in its mission.”

Serious issues face Illinois community colleges. “Dr. Anderson has significant experience with some of the most critical issues our system will face during the next several years such as remediation, accountability, student completion and advancement, campus safety, and program and standards alignment,” said Giannoulias.

Dr. Anderson has worked closely with many sectors, organizations, and committees of the community college system. She has also connected with such state and national groups as the Illinois Business Roundtable, the State Chamber of Commerce, Women Employed, Jobs for the Future, and the Center for Law and Social Policy. As part of the ICCB executive staff she has developed critical relationships with the General Assembly, the Lieutenant Governor's Office, and the Governor's Office.

Dr. Anderson is a staff liaison to the Illinois Council of Community College Presidents, serves as staff to the P-20 Council, serves on the Joint Education Leadership Team, and assists with the implementation of the Illinois Board of Higher Education’s (IBHE) strategic plan, "The Illinois Public Agenda for College and Career Success", and she was instrumental in developing the ICCB Latino Advisory Committee.

“With Karen’s leadership, I believe the ICCB and the system have every reason to look forward to a bright future in the years ahead,” said Obrzut. “I am confident that her abilities as a manager, educator, and most of all, leader will make her shine within this new role.”

Dr. Anderson joined the ICCB in 1999. Since then, she has served as an administrator for nearly all the Board’s functions in academic affairs, workforce development, adult education, education technology, career and technical education, and institutional research and policy studies.

Prior to her work at the ICCB, Dr. Anderson was the principal and president of Ursuline Academy in Springfield; provost, registrar, and acting president of Springfield College in Illinois; assistant professor of English at Milliken University; and a professor and coordinator of the Bilingual Business Studies Program at Midway College.

Dr. Anderson received her M.A. in English and Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition from the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky. She speaks four languages.

The Executive Director reports directly to the Board and serves as the chief community college system representative working with the Office of the Governor, the Illinois General Assembly and its various legislative committees, the Illinois Board of Higher Education, and other state agencies.

The ICCB is the state coordinating board for community colleges. Illinois is home to 48 community colleges in 39 districts and has the third largest community college system enrollment in the nation.