In a message to the NHTI community earlier today, Dr. Gretchen Mullin-Sawicki, president of NHTI, has announced she will be leaving the college later this spring. She has served as president of NHTI, Concord’s Community College, since 2019.
“It has been an honor serving as president of NHTI, and I am grateful for the opportunity to lead this institution and contribute to the community,” said Dr. Gretchen Mullin-Sawicki. “This past year has caused me, like many, to assess the most compelling needs in my life. This reflection has brought me to the decision to relocate to be closer to family.”
Dr. Mullin-Sawicki said she is especially proud of several key advances the college has made in recent years. These include developing a robust five-year strategic plan which is well on its way to achieving its key performance indicators; receiving commendation in 2020 for the fifth year accreditation report from the New England Commission on Higher Education; and supporting the Concord region by turning half of the college into an Alternative Care site for overflow Concord Hospital patients at the height of the pandemic. The college also strengthened its financial position by moving the arts programs from an offsite leased location to NHTI’s Farnum Hall and built a partnership with The Boys and Girls Club of Central New Hampshire in the operation of the Mary Stuart Gile Early Learning Center on campus.
Mullin-Sawicki praised her colleagues and NHTI students for their hard work and commitment. “None of our achievements would be possible without the stellar teams of administrators, faculty, staff and students of NHTI who daily fulfill the college’s mission to create a caring culture, foster innovative teaching and learning, and support economic mobility to meet the needs of a diverse community,” she said.
Looking at challenges still facing the institution, she cited stewarding the college to emerge successfully from the pandemic, accelerating innovation as the postsecondary landscape continues to evolve, and helping those among the Granite State population who face barriers to access postsecondary education.
In working with Mullin-Sawicki on her transition, Community College System of NH (CCSNH) Chancellor Mark Rubinstein said, “I thank Dr. Mullin-Sawicki for her leadership during a uniquely challenging time in the college’s history. Particularly in response to the pandemic, she made remarkable contributions to the college and its community. Leadership has to be responsive to the moment, but has to remain anchored by mission and focused on the direction that best positions the college for continued success in the future. I appreciate Dr. Mullin-Sawicki’s work towards those ends.”
In the near term, Chancellor Rubinstein will serve in a dual role and lead NHTI for an interim period that is anticipated to be approximately six months while the CCSNH board of trustees develops a plan for a search process. The interim appointment was supported unanimously by trustees.
“Since being appointed Chancellor of CCSNH, my goals have been to learn more about the work of each our colleges and to identify ways for us to work better together as a statewide system,” said Rubinstein. “Dr. Mullin-Sawicki’s decision creates an unexpected opportunity for me to learn more about our work from the institution’s vantage point, including understanding how those system and regional efforts affect the campuses. I have no doubt that there are some elements of the work we do that are best done locally by a college fully embedded in its community, while other parts of our work can benefit from collaboration across multiple institutions. The opportunity to look at these efforts from both sides of these discussions should help me to better understand what it is that I am asking of each of the institutions, and to more fully appreciate the operational impacts of these initiatives.”
The CCSNH system office is located on the campus of NHTI. Katharine Shields, chair of the CCSNH Board of Trustees, expressed satisfaction with the arrangement. “Having Dr. Rubinstein step into this role on a temporary basis offers several advantages. It will offer continuity at a time when higher education is still addressing ongoing elements of pandemic-impacted policies and operations. It provides a dual lens for the Chancellor that will create an important awareness of operational needs at both the college and system level. And Chancellor Rubinstein has more than demonstrated the thoughtfulness and depth of his commitment both to our mission and to CCSNH’s role as a statewide system that requires shared approaches to our work. I am confident he is up to the task and that this will yield important benefits in the long term.”
Mullin-Sawicki’s last day with NHTI will be March 24.