Congratulations to Shouan Pan on his new job as head of Mesa Community College. Now that we have the celebratory niceties out of the way let’s tell it like it is, company lines aside.
There is nothing easy about the job Pan has taken. This responsibility is one far larger than Pan or any of the other four candidates passed on have ever spearheaded.
While Wayne Giles and Bernie Ronan were perched atop the MCC nest as glorified babysitters over the past year, Pan’s supervision of the roost will be a far greater challenge.
Following last year’s firings of MCCD presidents Larry Christiansen and Homero Lopez, District Chancellor Rufus Glasper received harsh criticism for what many called a lack of control over his constituents.
Since that time Glasper has appeared to make concerted efforts to establish recognizable authority over the district.
For Pan, an articulate speaker, the challenge is to remember the number one most important goal of the position, improving the educational experience for the students at MCC.
Above all else a president’s job is to act in a way that represents the best interests of their students.
As part of a poll conducted by the Legend in November, we found that less than 1 percent of students knew who Bernie Ronan was during his time as acting president.
For someone who wished to attain the position as president of the college, perhaps a higher degree of notoriety is necessary.
It is important for Pan not to make the same mistake.
A president should meet their students, shake their hands, and be a recognizable face on campus.
That isn’t to say Pan should learn the name of every one of the 25,000 students on campus, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt him to try.
In his 19 years as president of Mesa Community College, Larry Christiansen became a well-known figure in the college community.
He made himself known to students and despite his firing and several admitted blunders, Christiansen led with his students in mind.
While it is important for Glasper to unify his colleges, it is equally important for Pan to remember that he is the leader of MCC.
He has been entrusted to make decisions based on the best interest of the school and its students and it is vital he utilize that opportunity.