After five years at the helm of Clovis Community College, President John Neibling is retiring in mid-July. Neibling was selected as the third president of the college in April 2007. Neibling has worked in education administration for more than 25 years. Neibling holds a doctorate in educational administration and supervision from Arizona State University, as well as degrees in English from the University of Kansas.
CCC’s Executive Vice President Becky Rowley has been selected to replace Neibling and she will assume presidential duties in mid-July.
What would you consider your largest contribution to CCC during your time as president?
I believe my biggest contribution during my time as president of CCC has been to provide a steady hand during a very difficult time. First of all, I started at CCC at a time when we were still losing enrollment because of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission scare. Just when that was over, we started losing funding from the state. There were some sleepless nights, but we got through it.
How do you reflect on your time at CCC?
Being president of CCC has been the most satisfying experience of my professional life. The faculty and staff have been wonderful. On a personal note, Clovis is the friendliest place I have ever lived, and, although I am not a native, I have come to appreciate the toughness and resiliency of the “east-siders” that I have come to know and love.
What are some things that you accomplished during your time as president that you are proud of?
It may seem like an odd thing to say, but I am proud of the way that we have cut the college’s budget. We have cut the college’s budget without laying-off a single employee or implementing furloughs, as has happened at other schools. We have been able to do this by cutting non-essential expenditures and, fortunately, by having key retirements and resignations. Throughout my entire time at CCC, we have not cut a faculty position or an instructional program because of our decline in funding.
I am also proud of being involved in the construction of the Bonner Nursing Education Building, completed in 2010, and the Sisler Allied Health Building, currently under construction. Both of them are buildings that will have an impact on the health and well-being of the community for many years to come.
What are some issues that you were able to work through?
I have already mentioned the biggest issue that we have had to face at CCC — the budget cuts from the state. A related issue that I have been working on for the past year is the restructuring of the state’s funding formula. The way that this issue is decided by the Legislature could have a profound impact on higher education in New Mexico, and Clovis Community College, for many years. It is probably the biggest issue to come down the pike in 30 years.
After five years as president, what do you see in CCC's future, both short-term and long-term?
I think that CCC’s future, both short- and long-term, is very bright. We have a great faculty and staff who understand the mission of the college and who work hard to accomplish it. We also have a very supportive community. Both of these factors give me optimism. Really, my only worry is the one I have already mentioned, the restructuring of the State’s funding formula for higher education.
What are your plans for retirement, besides spending time with your grandson and children?
I have no immediate plans for retirement. I may have a chance to do some consulting with other community colleges, but I am not in a hurry to do it. After July 15, I hope to get in some fly-fishing in Colorado and then get relocated to Arizona to spend time with two of my kids and the new grandson.
— Compiled by CNJ staff writer Liliana Castillo