Board of Trustees Names Sixth CEO of Montgomery College

Nunley Blends Vision, Leadership, Expertise and Experience


ROCKVILLE, MD – The Montgomery College Board of Trustees named Dr. Charlene R. Nunley as the College’s sixth Chief Executive Officer during a public announcement on November 10, 1998. The selection, announced by Dr. Mary E. Cothran, Board Chair, concluded a seven-month national search that began in April.

According to Cothran, selecting a leader to head its organization is one of the most important jobs a board of trustees can undertake. And, because Montgomery College has been blessed with an outstanding president for the past 20 years, selecting a new president was no easy task, she says.

"We sought a president who was truly a leader, who could build consensus, inspire and motivate, someone who was bright, full of new ideas and energy, and committed to the unique mission of community colleges," said Cothran. "We sought an individual who could bring the changes needed in the next millennium and who could, at the same time, help keep the College on the course that has led to so many remarkable achievements - model partnerships with the school system, collaboration with business, keeping current with technology, and most importantly, ensuring that each student had the best possible opportunity to succeed. We came to the unanimous conclusion that the best person to lead Montgomery College into the next century is Dr. Charlene R. Nunley, who has been serving as MC’s Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer for the past eight years."

The MC Board of Trustees, aided by the American Association of Community Colleges Trustees’ presidential search experts, commissioned a Presidential Search Advisory Committee. The 27-member committee included College and community leaders, with representatives from major community organizations, MCPS, business, and College faculty and trustees. Focus groups were also held to solicit information on the qualities to be sought in the new president and, in late summer, the review of applications began.

More than 40 national applicants were screened by the committee; and 14 candidates were invited to interviews in September. The committee recommended the three finalists to the Board. The finalists underwent two days each of campus visits with faculty, staff, and students, and then final interviews with the Board. The Board carefully considered information and input from many sources, as well as the candidates’ impressive accomplishments. From that group of finalists, Dr. Nunley emerged.

"Being selected through a national search and through a process that involves colleagues and peers, students, community leaders, and trustees – most of whom know you and your accomplishments directly – is an overwhelming honor," said Nunley. "It creates in me an enormous sense of responsibility to use every strength I have to work with this College and its community to shape an outstanding future for Montgomery College."

In her current role, Nunley administers a $110 million budget, and provides academic leadership for three campuses serving 20,000 students each semester, a Continuing Education unit now enrolling 18,000 each year, and more than 1200 employees.

Her distinguished career in educational administration includes academic administration, planning, finance, budgeting, and resource development. She has served as Acting President, Professor of Business Administration and Economics, and as Vice President of Planning and Advancement, where she directed the College’s first multi-million capital campaign and secured matching funding from the Montgomery County government. She has also worked closely with MCPS to minimize remediation, and with the University of Maryland to develop linkages between high school and the state’s universities.

Under Nunley’s leadership, MC faculty and staff have enhanced critical thinking activities, overhauled the general education curriculum, obtained public and private support for College initiatives, adopted a student success model, and initiated the new Information Technology Institute.

"Dr. Nunley has served the College with extraordinary distinction, and has been an instrumental part of each of the college’s successes and with its many partnerships with business, education and government. She has the great respect of our faculty and staff, our elected officials, MCPS leaders, members of the business community and higher education colleagues throughout the state, region and nation. She is well-versed on virtually every area facing community colleges in the future including funding, technology, distance learning, academic issues, and community involvement," said Cothran.

Prior to Montgomery College , Nunley served as Director of Institutional Research at Howard Community College. She holds the M.Ed. degree in Higher Education (Pennsylvania State University) and Ph.D. degree in Educational Policy Studies (George Washington University). Dr. Nunley’s term begins January 1999.


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