Garden City Community College Interim President Ryan Ruda announced a string of staffing shake-ups in an email to GCCC employees Wednesday, including the return of two of the three suspended IT technicians, several promotions and the demotion of the college’s Vice President of Business Affairs.
The following changes took effect Wednesday: Network Manager Andrew Knoll and PC Technician David Larsen were reinstated to the Information Technology department and answering work orders; Director of Facilities Derek Ramos’ title changed to dean of physical planning and facilities management, momentarily including supervision over the IT department; Debra Nicholson was named interim chief financial officer, replacing Glendon Forgey, who will instead “(work) on special projects and (assist) the college with various tasks;” and Dean of Institutional Effectiveness Jacque Messinger’s title changed to Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness, according to Ruda’s email, which was forwarded to The Telegram.
“We are in the people business, and we want to put the best individuals in positions to best serve the students and community,” Ruda said in a press release. “These changes are a step in our efforts to keep the focus on students here at the college.”
The email also said GCCC is accepting applications for the director of human resources position, which former Vice President of Administrative Services Emily Clouse vacated this month, and that Ashley Salazar, academic dean for National American University at GCCC, will be the college’s director of public relations, starting Monday,
“I’m very excited to come back and work at GCCC again. It’s a great opportunity for me and for my family right now,” Salazar said.
In a college hierarchy organizational chart Ruda included with the announcements, the college president presides over vice presidents of instructional effectiveness (Messinger), instruction and student services (Ruda), and business affairs (Nicholson), alongside tertiary leaders such as the athletic director, dean of physical planning and facilities management, director of human resources and director of public relations.
The college’s three deans will report to Ruda through his vice president role. The vice president of administrative services position appears to be eliminated altogether.
Knoll and Larsen’s reinstatement at the college answers weeks of dispute over their suspension. They and IT Coordinator Andy Gough were placed on suspension with pay July 20 amidst an investigation by the college into unauthorized monitoring of employee email accounts. At the time, GCCC attorney Randy Grisell said college officials decided to suspend the department’s employees not as punishment or accusation, but to keep them wholly separate from the independent investigation.
The suspension faced immediate and persisting community criticism, and for the last couple of months, dozens of students, staff and community members have worn stickers broadcasting their support for the department at GCCC Board of Trustees meetings. Temporarily replaced by a makeshift department, the employees’ absence has caused a backup of IT issues throughout the college and less frequent access to support for students, faculty and staff.
Larsen, speaking for himself and Knoll, said he did not know why Gough had not been reinstated and directed further questions to Salazar, who did not return calls seeking comment about the IT staff situation.
Messinger said in an email that her duties would not change under the new “vice president” title and that many colleges have similar positions. She said she would still oversee the college’s accreditation, planning, research and assessment to measure the effectiveness of teaching. More than anything, she said, the title change recognized the importance of institutional effectiveness at GCCC.
“...this is not a new position. It is an elevation of the existing position recognizing the pivotal role it plays in the overall organizational structure of the institution,” Messinger said in the email.
Ruda, Ramos, Nicholson and Forgey did not respond to calls or emails requesting comment.
Contact Amber Friend at firstname.lastname@example.org.