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BEND, OR -- The first of three finalists for president of Central Oregon Community College is in town, taking part in interviews with students, staff and the community. Dr. Kimberlee Messina visited the Bend campus on Monday. She meets with the three other campuses Tuesday. In Bend, she heard a lot about the school's technological advances, "There’s been a lot of questions about online education, which I find really interesting and tells me there’s a lot happening in that area. There’s a lot of dialog, a lot of, perhaps, evaluating ‘where do we go from here with that?’ Sounds like kind of a hot topic."


Dr. Messina is the interim President of Foothill College, but says she’s ready to move out of California to a school that stands out in its community. "I would like to be somewhere that was more open to collaboration between the different colleges in the systems, and not so regimented and regulated like California has become. And, frankly, it’s just so congested that, being at a community college and trying to work with the community, there’s so many colleges that there’s not a clear definition of who your community is."


She'll visit the Prineville campus Tuesday, 1:45-2:15 p.m. Then the Madras campus, from 3:15 to 3:45; and the Redmond campus at 4:30. She'll be in Room 306 of Building Three from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Dr. Messina tells KBND News multi-campus schools aren’t new to her, "I started my career at Santa Rosa Junior College, which was a college very much like COCC that had a single college but we also had campuses extended outside. So, it’s something that I’m very familiar with. There are challenges with that, for sure. You want to make sure that you’re offering the most that you can in a very accessible way for students. But, I think it’s just evidence of the commitment of the college to the entire community."

Dr. Tod Treat, from Washington, will be here later this week, visiting Bend's Boyle Education Center from 5-6 p.m. Thursday, and the other three campuses on Friday. Dr. Laurie Chesley, from Michigan, is in town, next week. Current President Dr. Shirley Metcalf retires at the end of the school year.

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