Three finalists recommended for St. Cloud Technical College presidency

Posted: February 27, 2006

Contact: Doug Anderson, doug.anderson@so.mnscu.edu, 651-201-1426

The names of three finalists for president of St. Cloud Technical College have been submitted to the chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, James H. McCormick. The candidates are Joyce Helens, Shari Olson and Luke Robins.

The finalists were recommended by a search committee chaired by Jim Johnson, president of Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical.

Joyce Helens has served as executive director of the University of Alaska Corporate Programs since 1999. Previously, she was the associate dean for instruction and dean at the University of Alaska Anchorage; president of Peninsula College in Port Angeles, Wash.; executive dean of Collin County Community College, McKinney, Texas; and director of instruction and Maywood Park Center Campus at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham, Ore. She is completing an Ed.D. in higher education administration from Portland State University and has a master's degree in English from Portland State University and a bachelor's degree in English from St. Martin's College in Lacey, Wash. Helens also is a candidate for the presidency of Central Lakes College.

Shari Olson has served as vice president, outreach and planning, at Northland Community and Technical College since 1995. Previously, she was an educational consultant who worked for Migrant Head Start, Tri-Valley Opportunity Council in Crookston, Early Childhood Training Center at North Dakota State University in Fargo, Burleigh County Housing Authority in Bismarck, N.D. and Northland Community College; director of faculty for early childhood education at the United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck, N.D.; director of Bright Beginnings at McCook Community College in Nebraska and instructor or teacher at various schools and colleges. She holds a Ph.D. in higher education leadership from the University of North Dakota and a master's degree in education and bachelor's degree in home economics education, both from North Dakota State University.

Luke Robins has served as vice president for instruction at National Park Community College in Hot Springs, Ark., since 2000. Additionally, he has been executive vice president of the college since June 2005. Previously, he was dean of instruction at Eastern Idaho Technical College in Idaho Falls; and a faculty member and coordinator of student outcomes assessment and coordinator of the Writing Center at Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne, Wyo., and an instructor at three community colleges. He holds a Ph.D. in community college leadership from the University of Texas at Austin, a master's degree in English at Illinois State University and a bachelor's degree from Wheaton College in Illinois.

The new president will replace Joan Volkmuth, who is retiring. Chancellor McCormick, along with one to three members of the Board of Trustees, will conduct interviews with the finalists. McCormick will make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees, which could act on the recommendation at its regular meeting March 22. St. Cloud Technical College serves more than 4,800 students in credit-based courses annually and offers a wide range of educational programs and delivery options.


Minnesota's 31 state community and technical colleges, and universities serve more than 430,000 students across the state.