Southeast Arkansas College is beginning a search for a new college president by contracting with the Association of Community College Trustees to build a profile to attract candidates. This development comes as Southeast Arkansas College President Stephen Hilterbran has announced plans to retire on Jan. 1, 2018. Hilterbran earns about $181,863 per year.


SEARK College Trustee Paul Bennett said they will be running advertisements nationwide in conjunction with the profile, which will be posted to the college’s web site within one week.


“We anticipate receiving high-quality candidates for what we believe is a prestigious position in our community,” Bennett said. “We look forward to hosting candidates for the jobs on our campus in November.”


Bennett said the college will be paying about $25,000 to ACCT for its work in building the profile. The profile will detail the pre-requisites for the job and will state the deadline to apply, he said. College trustee Marc Oudin said community colleges routinely employ ACCT to search for a college president.


ACCT is a non-profit educational organization of governing boards, according to its website. It represents more than 6,500 elected and appointed trustees who govern more than 1,200 community, technical, and junior colleges in the United States and beyond, according to the website. Hilterbran said he is not involved in the search process. He advises his successor to understand budgets and interact with people related to economic development.


“With the Go Forward Pine Bluff renovation of the city bringing it back to where it wants to be and with the Pine Bluff Rising, the person might want to tilt toward community involvement,” Hilterbran, who has a doctorate degree in education, said.


Energy Security Partners announced in 2016 that it plans to open a $3.7 billion natural gas-to-liquids facility in Jefferson County. Hilterbran said he expects his successor to prepare students in these kinds of jobs.


“That will present some opportunities for this college to help provide skilled labor in welding, electrical and mechanical skills,” Hilterbran said. “There will be a lot of contractors and auxiliary services swirling around that. We need to see what they are.”


Hilterbran used to be vice chancellor for student affairs for Baton Rouge Community College in Louisiana from 2003 to 2011. Hurricane Katrina pummelled Louisiana in 2005, destroying buildings. As a result, Baton Rouge Community College began offering a construction management degree. He suggests his successor to be similarly mindful of changing occupational needs and to take action accordingly.


“As this new company moves in and Pine Bluff gets stronger and attracts new industry, I think something in that area will help a lot,” Hilterbran said. “Our state and the nation is a little behind in its skilled labor force.”


Hilterbran said he expects his successor to strengthen nursing and allied health programs as well.