CONCORD, NH — When Community College System of New Hampshire (CCSNH) Chancellor Ross Gittell leaves to take over a new position in higher education outside of New Hampshire, a familiar face will assume temporary day-to-day leadership in Concord. Dr. Susan Huard was selected by the CCSNH Board of Trustees to serve as Interim Chancellor when Dr. Gittell departs this spring. Huard is expected to serve for approximately one year while the Board conducts a search for a permanent replacement.
“During these uncertain and challenging times, it is critical for CCSNH to have a leader with proven skills who can guide the college system,” said Jeremy Hitchcock, Chair of the Community College System Board of Trustees. “Susan’s exemplary leadership as the President of Manchester Community College and her expertise in key aspects of NH’s educational and workforce landscape gives us complete confidence that the system will be in very capable hands.”
Dr. Huard retired from MCC in December, after nearly a decade of a distinguished tenure at MCC marked by consistent growth of student enrollment, increased graduation rates and an unprecedented expansion of programs. She ushered in a number of new programs at the Manchester campus in coordination with NH employers, including the launch of a new HVAC/Electrical Technology facility, and a partnership with Eversource which enabled the college to meet workforce needs in the utilities sector. During her tenure, she also was called upon by the trustees to serve as interim President of Great Bay Community College during a search for a permanent replacement in 2018.
“Susan stands out as an exceptionally capable leader who is deeply familiar with the operations of individual campuses and the workings of our system leadership, and I am confident she will lead CCSNH well during the next phase of the system’s evolution,” said CCSNH Chancellor Ross Gittell.
“The success of community colleges is due to leaders who constantly ask themselves, “What else can we do for our students and for our community?” said Huard. “This question will be the underpinning of every decision we make to see the system through these turbulent times.”
The Community College System Board of Trustees has also named Dr. Brian Bicknell President of Manchester Community College, effective immediately. Bicknell had been in the post on an interim basis since January 1. A search for a permanent appointment resulted in the selection of Bicknell as the unanimous choice. “We quickly saw that Brian has proven his ability to take charge, act quickly, work well and effectively with senior system leadership, be empathetic to staff, faculty and students and to adjust course as needed in these ever-changing circumstances,” said CCSNH Board Chair Jeremy Hitchcock. “The board felt it was important to have permanent leadership in place as soon as possible given these unique circumstances, and we were pleased to see such a strong recommendation from the search committee.”
“I’m honored by the vote of confidence from the CCSNH trustees,” said Bicknell. “The coronavirus pandemic has created a number of urgent challenges, and I am deeply proud of MCC’s service to our students and the community.”
Before becoming interim President, Bicknell served as Vice President of Academic Affairs at MCC for three years. He led a variety of initiatives working closely with faculty and staff and colleagues across the Community College System. During this time, the graduation rate at MCC more than doubled. Bicknell understands the challenges that MCC faces and is poised to continue building upon institutional successes.