Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Wright finalist at Wisconsin college

By Denise Smith Amos
Enquirer staff writer

Ron Wright, president of Cincinnati State Technical and Community College since 1997, is one of two finalists for the top job at a larger community college in Madison, Wis.

The Madison Area Technical College serves about 50,000 full-time and part-time students on five campuses.

Along with Wright, the college also is considering Bettsey Barhost, president of a community college in Waterloo, Iowa, for its president's job.

Wright will be in Madison Wednesday and Thursday, meeting with college leaders, students and with community members at a public forum.

If he is offered a job and accepts it, Wright will be leaving a growing community college.

Cincinnati State has increased enrollment and programs offered in recent years. Next month the school will open a $50 million Advanced Technology and Learning Center, which will house its growing culinary arts and technology programs.

The school recently reported a 9 percent rise in its early fall attendance of full-time students to 8,472. Including part-timers, enrollment swells to 16,000, said Wright.

Wright said he is seriously considering this offer because Madison is a bigger school, tackling some of the same challenges he has faced at Cincinnati State.

Madison's business and governing leaders have more broadly embraced its community college as a source for work force development than Cincinnati has, Wright said.

"We have not, here in Greater Cincinnati, come to understand the tremendous economic impact of a community college if used effectively, especially in training a work force," he said.

E-mail damos@enquirer.com

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