Twenty-two years ago, Steven Bloomberg made the decision that one day he would become the president of a college. Now, he’s one of four finalists in the running to become president of Southeast Arkansas College. On Wednesday at SEARK’s Welcome Center, Bloomberg not only answered several questions from attendees, but also discussed what he hoped to achieve if selected president.
“I’m passionate about students,” he said. “I’m passionate about service to others, and I’m passionate about making a difference in people’s lives — that’s why I’m here today. That’s why I want to be the next president of SEARK, because the next president’s job will be to do just as your current president has done, and that is to put people in positions to succeed… .”
Bloomberg is the executive vice president at Oklahoma City Community College in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Prior to becoming the executive vice president, he served as vice president for community development at the college. Bloomberg received his bachelor of arts in business administration from the University of La Verne in California, a master in education from West Texas A&M University and is currently working on his doctorate in higher education leadership from American College of Education in Indiana.
During the forum, Bloomberg was asked about his management style and decision-making skills, business experience and previous accomplishments. In addition to questions about his higher education experience, the forum allowed attendees to ask questions, including, but not limited to, remedying remediation, strategic planning, student enrollment, and community and faculty engagement.
“The things that I want to do are things that are going to make a difference here,” he said. “When we talk about revitalizing the college, it starts internally because each one of you in this room is a stakeholder. Every stakeholder in this room is important in the mission of this college… .”
Bloomberg also discussed what he hoped to achieve in his first 100 days if selected president, which included building partnerships with integral parts of the community.
“I want to establish relationships with the Pine Bluff School District — I think that’s important,” he said. “I want to establish relationships with Mayor (Shirley) Washington and Pine Bluff Rising. I believe this college will be a major engine in the revitalization of Pine Bluff, and the only way I know how to get out and do that is talk to people.”
As a part of his first 100 days, Bloomberg assured faculty that he would have a one-on-one with each of them to discuss their concerns and questions as it relates to the future of SEARK. He reminded those in attendance that he was a man of action and not words, which would be seen by all if hired to be the next president.
“The strategic plan is in its last phase,” he said. “If I’m selected as president, we will have the opportunity to talk about what the next five years is going to be. So, one question I’m going to ask you is the two words: what’s next?”
As a certified economic developer, Bloomberg said that his experience would help in continuing to build SEARK as a premiere institution in southeast Arkansas.
“I think in that role, I can position this institution to help students more and to help the community more,” he said.
Feedback forms were provided to those in attendance, which will be given to the Board of Trustees for further review as a part of the presidential search process. Hazell Reed, who attended the first open forum, said he enjoyed being able to hear candidates speak about their plans for the future of SEARK.
“I think what he said was good,” Reed said of Bloomberg. “Some of the things he said were consistent with what the other presenter said. However, he just expressed them in a different manner, like working with the faculty, being involved in the community, etc.”
As a pledge to faculty and staff, Bloomberg reiterated that he wouldn’t make changes to the college without their input and support.
“I’m not going to walk in and change things the next day,” he said. “I’m only going to change things that we’re ready to change. If we as a college community are ready to embrace different things, then I promise you, I can lead you there.”
The remaining presidential finalist, Paul Hutchins, will participate in an open forum from 8:30-9:30 a.m. today at the Welcome Center Training Room on campus.
Residents are encouraged to attend the forum or contact the ACCT if they have any questions and suggestions.
For more information, contact:
•Narcisa Polonio, Executive Vice President for Education, Research and Board Leadership Services, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-276-1983 (mobile)
•Julie Golder, Board Services Coordinator, email@example.com, 202-384-5816 (mobile)