COD chairman: Enrollment, presidential search among top issues
The newly elected chairman of the College of DuPage board of trustees says declining enrollment and the search for a new president are among the top issues facing the school.
Frank Napolitano was unanimously elected to lead the panel that oversees the Glen Ellyn-based school during an organizational meeting Thursday night.
Napolitano had served as acting chairman of the board since mid-January, when Deanne Mazzochi stepped down from that position. Mazzochi, who is a state representative, resigned from the board Feb. 21.
"I appreciate the board having the confidence in me to continue in this role," Napolitano said.
Two new trustees -- Annette Corrigan and Maureen Dunne -- were sworn in at the start of the meeting. Before their election in April, both said falling enrollment is a challenge.
More than 26,000 full- and part-time students are enrolled at COD, but there were 29,108 attending the school in spring 2015.
"I definitely think the enrollment is the biggest area of improvement for us," Napolitano said.
He said COD can attract more students by continuing to offer quality programs and "fantastic opportunities."
"I think the college has a unique opportunity to lead among other community colleges in the state because we have such a broad offering of curriculum and continuing education," Napolitano said.
He said Corrigan and Dunne both have "some great ideas" to improve enrollment.
Dunne, for example, said programs need to be designed to provide students with the skills they need for jobs that will exist in five or 10 years. In addition, she said, there are opportunities for COD to offer more online classes.
Corrigan and Dunne also said the school should offer more programs for students with developmental disabilities.
Napolitano said another important issue is the search for a new president.
Members of COD's search committee are scheduled to meet behind closed doors Saturday at a Lisle hotel to interview candidates, Napolitano said. The panel then will make a recommendation to the board of trustees.
Trustees are expected to meet in closed session Monday to select the finalists.
The names won't be made public until all of them are contacted and asked if they want to remain in contention. Napolitano said candidates are given a chance to withdraw "because a lot of them hold current positions."
Napolitano said the board is hoping to begin meeting with the finalists in May. Trustees have yet to decide if public forums will be held to introduce the finalists.