Clovis Community College picks Rowley as president

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Clovis Community College Executive Vice President Becky Rowley, left, receives congratulations Wednesday from President John Neibling, center, and Board Chair Charles Guthals on being chosen as the next president of the college. Neibling is retiring in August.

Liliana Castillo

The Clovis Community College board of trustees Wednesday selected Becky Rowley to replace John Neibling as college president.

Neibling is retiring in August after five years as president.

Rowley, CCC’s executive vice president, was elected by a 5-0 vote. She was the only person considered for the job, said Board Chairman Charles Guthals.

“I have no reservations about Becky’s ability,” Guthals said. “Becky brings a lot to the table with experience, she is well-known in the area and state, she is from a well-known local family and she is well-versed in college life.”

Rowley, 46, has been at CCC for 19 years —12 of those as executive vice president.

“She is a good person to have at the helm because of her passion and capability,” Guthals said.

Rowley will be the fourth president of the college.

“I’m excited and I feel a sort of overwhelming sense of responsibility,” Rowley said. “I’m honored at the trust from board.”

Neibling is retiring to move back to Arizona and be near his first grandson. He makes about $144,000 a year.

“I think she will do a wonderful job,” Neibling said. “She has done an excellent job in her role as executive vice president. As the retiring president, it’s a good feeling to know CCC will be in the hands of someone as capable as Becky Rowley.”

The board and Rowley will be negotiating a new contract over the next month for approval by the board at their next trustee’s meeting May 4.

Rowley’s salary is now about $126,700 a year.

Rowley was a finalist for the position when the board conducted a national search for a president in 2005 that resulted in Neibling’s selection. She served as interim president during that time.

Rowley said one of her current points of focus will continue with her when she steps up to the president roll. The college is in the middle of the accreditation process and Rowley is the chairman of the accreditation board. She said she plans to retain the position while making the transition to becoming the president.

Rowley said she plans to improve on morale campuswide.

“Everyone knows our budget has been cut. All community colleges around the state are facing cuts. It gets tough,” she said.

Rowley said she plans to balance budget cuts with essential services.

“We’re not in some kind of survival mode,” she said. “We have the ability and plans to set up new initiatives.”

Rowley said the college can receive additional funding through grants and federal programs.

“It’s important to keep our services at the same level,” Rowley said. “We have to maintain the same quality that we have.”

Rowley said she knew wanted to go into education at age 15. A high school English teacher challenged her to read as much as possible.

“She had the ability to instill the desire to learn new things and explore new things and expand your own horizons and I realized how important that is,” Rowley said.

Rowley holds a doctorate degree in English literature. She was hired as a full time English instructor at CCC in 1993 and began teaching dual-credit and Internet Television courses.

Rowley continues to teach two dual-credit English classes.