Riverland’s goals for the coming year

Published 9:53 am Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Column: Kent Hanson, President’s Column

I am excited to be spending the next year as Riverland Community College’s interim president.  I see Riverland as a college with unlimited potential while serving three impressive campus communities and the surrounding region.  One thing that I noticed immediately upon my arrival is Riverland’s overwhelming dedication to student success.

Kent Hanson

With the academic year just beginning and the nationwide search for Riverland’s new permanent president moving forward, I felt this was an excellent opportunity to introduce myself and my plan for Riverland this year.

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I have been working in education for 21 years. I served as provost and vice president for academic and student affairs at Northland and spent 12 years at Northwest Technical College where I served as radiology program director from 1991-99 and health and human services dean from 1999-2003.  In addition, I was an adjunct faculty member at Park University and the University of Minnesota-Crookston.

Some of my major goals for Riverland this upcoming year include:

• It is important to me that I acknowledge and continue the great work already being done at Riverland.

• I will facilitate Riverland’s transition to a new president. My main goal is to maintain trust and enthusiasm through stability and consistency in leadership. To do this, I want to stay connected to communities we serve. I want to hear from you about issues that we should address that will continue to build a strong foundation for the new president. I plan on scheduling my time among all our campuses.

• I plan to explore resources that will help us develop a strong enrollment management plan.  We have experienced declining enrollment over the past year.  When I look at our college’s potential, I want to make sure that we are doing everything we can to maximize our efforts for recruiting and retaining students.

• I want to make sure that we remain good partners with our system colleges and work collaboratively to better serve the region.

• We need to strengthen branding at the Owatonna campus and clarify the partnerships with other institutions.

• We need to focus on our student success measures and move the dial in a positive direction. Specifically, areas that I would like to see improvement are in retaining students, successful degree completion or transfer, and related employment of our graduates.

• I also want to make sure we maintain a strong financial position moving into the future.

• Finally, I recently hired Mary Davenport as a vice president of academic and student affairs to help us realize these goals. Since the position works so closely with the college president, the position will be on an interim basis to allow the new Riverland president the freedom to hire the permanent vice president.

Overall, my main goal is to help develop trust, comfort, enthusiasm, and optimism as we move forward and hire the next Riverland president (as opposed to anxiety and uncertainty).

I am thrilled to be here and look forward to serving you!


Kent Hanson, Riverland Community College interim president, holds a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and a Ph.D. in educational leadership from the University of North Dakota, and a Master of Science degree in Human Resource Administration from Central Michigan University.