Anoka presidential candidates had problematic backgrounds

Looks like Anoka-Ramsey Community College and Anoka Technical College attracted some candidates in its $62,000 scrapped presidential search that MnSCU could have found potentially problematic.

Check out these newspaper articles on two of the semifinalists:

  • Ronald Erickson, president of Hocking College:

A mess at Hocking College

President might quit unless board of trustees stops its ‘relentless challenge’ of his leadership

(June 20,2010)

  • Constance Mierendorf, senior adviser at Hudson County Community College in New Jersey:

Ex-Sussex County college president files lawsuit on being dismissed in ‘witch hunt’ college board meeting

(October 21, 2010)

(Troubled relationships with past boards — whatever the reason — is often a warning flag to potential future ones.)

Then there’s Alex Kajstura, provost of the Norfolk campus of Tidewater Community College in Virginia. Looks like he has been gunning for presidencies at Brookhaven College in Texas, South Piedmont Community College in North Carolina, and last year at Tallahassee Community College in Flordia, judging from a quick search.

What does that say? Does it make it look like he’s just looking to get out of Tidewater — no matter where? Not enough focused interest in Anoka? Does it look a little desperate?

In any case, I guess MnSCU spokeswoman Melinda Voss comment that “sometimes, there’s just not a match” appears all too true.

(Thanks to MPR’s Paul Tosto, who found many of these links.)

  • Educator

    Regarding the swipe at Kajstura, Isn’t applying at multiple places what people do when they are job searching?

    • Anonymous

      At my worker-bee level? Sure. Those starting out? Sure. At the working-executive level? Hmmm, not so sure. I don’t meant to be too harsh, but it strikes me as a little indiscreet. It’s a tricky issue, of course. But it’s been said that it’s possible to apply to too many positions. Makes you look like you just want to leave your old job. I think MnSCU would want someone who really wanted to be the face of Anoka — and not just the face of any college that’s not Tidewater. But I’m not MnSCU. I asked, but got no real response beyond what I’ve printed. Your point is fair one, though.

  • Educator Too

    @ Educator: Good point. Having spread out his applications a bit, Dr. Kajstura now has other options. Had he put all his eggs in the Anoka basket, he may well have missed out on being a finalist elsewhere. One can always withdraw from opportunities for which one has applied. On the other hand, would Brookhaven be willing to take Dr. Kajstura’s application now and interview him for the job if he had waited until Anoka was completed? (Rhetorical question, by the way.)

    • Anonymous

      A valid point when considering the standard application process. But does a college presidency stand outside of that process?

      • Educator Too

        Taking Bernaldo’s comments at face value, I see the broader perspective now. One can certainly give off direct and indirect signals that s/he is invested in the process and the position. It sounds like some of the Anoka vibes were suggestive of a negative impression. Then there’s that old saying that if you’ve nothing else to talk about, you can discuss the weather. I suppose a finalist should have much more on his/her mind than the temperature outdoors, eh?

  • Anonymous

    During his tours of the Anoka Tech and Anoka-Ramsey CC campuses, Dr. Kajstura kept talking about the weather and how cold it was and how much snow was still on the ground. He kept saying that he had never experienced this kind of weather and that March was supposed to be “spring time” and it was still winter here! A lot of folks who met him cam away believing that he just wants to be a college president some where, some day, but – would leave Anoka for another college presidency as fast as he could get out.

    • Anonymous

      Bernaldo, your comment — “A lot of folks who met him cam away believing that he just wants to be a college president some where, some day, but – would leave Anoka for another college presidency as fast as he could get out” — is what I had in mind when I wrote the post.

      • Anonymous

        ALEX – I certainly hope that you understand that I was seconding your point, not disputing it. I was with him on the tour at Anoka Technical College and heard from two associates at Anoka-Ramsey that he made essentially the same comments there. I was simply adding a first-hand account to reinforce what you had – correctly, in my opinion – concluded.

        • Anonymous

          Oops — sorry I worded my reply badly, Bernaldo. I did indeed understand that, and meant to agree with you. You expressed what was going through my head at the time, so we’re on the same page.