By BOB OLIVER
DEARBORN — The Henry Ford Community College Board of Trustees believe their new president has the experience to lead them into the future.
Board President Pamela Adams said the board met with their lawyer Tuesday to discuss contract parameters and expect that negotiations will begin sometime this week or next.
The college announced two weeks ago that it had decided on a new president, Stan Jensen.
If a contract agreement is reached, Jensen will be the seventh president in HFCC history and would replace outgoing president Gail Mee, who has been working under a contract extension since her contract expired at the end of December.
Jensen was previously the president and CEO of Colorado Mountain College, where he worked for more than four years before resigning in December.
He was chosen by the HFCC Board after a vote on April 3. Adams said Jensen was selected as the next president because of his history with college administration and experience with budgeting and fundraising.
“He has a broad background and a vast array of experiences that we were looking for and need at HFCC,” Adams said.
In his time at CMC, Jensen helped the college found the Isaacson School for New Media, offer its first bachelor’s degrees, and build a new academic center. CMC is ranked first in Colorado and 17th in the nation for student success, as measured by graduation and transfer rates. Both the graduation and transfer rates grew under Jensen.
As an administrator Jensen focused on strategic planning for college growth, program development, resource development, strategic technology adoption and leadership.
While at CMC, Jensen negotiated and signed a contract with the natural gas utility company SourceGas to build a compressor station in Spring Valley, Colo., on leased college land. The contract drew criticism from many people involved with the college, including its board of trustees, who declared the lease invalid and are currently in litigation with the gas company over the matter.
Months after signing the SourceGas contract Jensen resigned, receiving a reported $500,000 severance package from the college.
“Some are suspicious of his departure, but we had our firm do an investigation into it and they told us that Jensen had done nothing wrong,” Adams said. “We asked Jensen and his story was the same as the investigators and board members at CMC that we talked to so we decided to move ahead and are happy with our decision.”
Adams attributed Jensen’s departure from CMC to changes in that college’s board of trustees.
“There was a turnover of board members after the November elections and there was a difference in opinion and philosophy,” Adams said. “The new members wanted to head in a different direction.”
With the issue of his departure from CMC settled, Adams said that the board is ready to look to what Jensen can bring to the college.
“We hope the negotiations can happen fast so he can start as quickly as possible,” Adams said. “We have many important decisions, including budget decisions, coming up that we would like him to be involved with.”
There is no set date for when the negotiations will be complete but Adams said that Jensen is excited to come to HFCC and start working.
(Bob Oliver can be reached at [email protected].)