Administrative problems haven#039;t impacted LBWCC
Problems in the administration of Bishop State College in Mobile and Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa have obviously attracted statewide attention, but the retirements of respective presidents Yvonne Kennedy and Rick Rodgers have had little impact on Lurleen B. Wallace Community College, its main campus in Andalusia or satellite campuses in Greenville, Opp and Luverne.
“We don't have any of those problems,” Dr. Edward Meadows, president of the south Alabama school, explained, referring to a series of apparent financial and personnel issues that led to accrediting concerns at Bishop, credibility problems at Shelton and leadership at both.
“The two foundations at our college are highly supervised and are providing students scholarships as originally intended,” he said. “Both are good, sound foundations led by competent individuals and groups. We've had no problems and we anticipate no problems.”
Other than one audit finding, in fact, has the school encountered even the slightest managerial or leadership flaw over the past 10 years.
“We've had a very, very clean record here,” Meadows said. “And having that one finding is not bad within itself because it helps a capable business office and staff to find and resolve problems.”
The issue related to the Aztec software purchase and management authorized by former chancellor Roy Johnson.
“It has been corrected,” Meadows said.
The Andalusia president, suggesting statewide publicity caused by alleged improper actions in the chancellor's office, questionable hiring practices system wide and control issues at Bishop and Shelton has tainted genuine process in areas of workforce development and student service, sees a return to credibility for all schools in the system.
Recently appointed chancellor Bradley Byrne, a former state senator and onetime member of the state board of education, will do a good job, he said, and is already putting people back in place.
He cited the new leadership team at Bishop and development of standard guidelines and procedures for school foundations as examples.
While Meadows didn't make light of the negative statewide publicity, he did point out differences he said were important in getting the proper messages out to students, alumni and the general public.
“It is regretful,” he said of recent news, “and I imagine it will continue with us another two years or so while things to get back under control. But it's the local community and the local media that matters most to us.
“We depend on the local media to get our message out, to help us build support and to recognize the good work that is going on. Knowing the communities where we have campuses are behind us enables us move forward.”
The state board of education authorized development of the college in 1967, named it after former governor Lurleen B. Wallace in 1968 and moved to its now160-acre Andalusia campus in 1970.
Douglas MacArthur State Technical College in Opp opened its doors in 1965 and the two institutions merged in January 2003.
The Greenville campus was built in 1992 with classes first held in the fall of 1993.
A 30,000-square foot technology center nears completion and work has just begun on a new conference center.