The Connecticut Board of Regents selected a leader Wednesday for the state’s soon-to-be-merged community college, a medical doctor from Minnesota State Community and Technical College.
Dr. John Maduko will start in his new position as president of the Connecticut State Community College on June 3. His annual salary will be $300,000, according to a Wednesday news release.
The hire marks an important step in a merger of 12 Connecticut community college campuses, which began about five years ago. The merger has been controversial, particularly among faculty who questioned early on whether it will achieve its promised savings and whether the plan for staffing the newly merged system was sufficient.
The merged college will have more than 32,000 students, according to the news release. It’s set to open in July 2023.
Maduko has a doctor of medicine degree from St. Matthew’s University School of Medicine and a Bachelor of Science in biology at California State Polytechnic University Pomona. He’s served as vice president of academic and student affairs at Minnesota State Community and Technical College since 2019.
“Together, we will write a new history, one that celebrates meeting the needs of students and the surrounding communities, embracing enrollment challenges, maintaining institutional and academic integrity and fulfilling the college vision for students’ success while adapting … to new opportunities,” Maduko said Wednesday.
Maduko has previously worked at several colleges including North Central Texas College District, Rasmussen University and the National Paralegal College, among others.
The Board of Regents’ search advisory committee had a nationwide search for the candidate. The advisory committee consisted of more than 40 students, faculty, staff and administrators, among other groups.
“My first step is [to] connect with the people of CT State, to be present to really avoid leading from behind the desk and seeing the progress and the challenges,” he said Wednesday.
In addition to leading the college through the start of the merger, he’ll also have to contend with declining enrollment, worsened by the pandemic.
“We have to be more aligned with going to them as it pertains to what we can offer to help them get to their ultimate destination,” he said.
He added that the school will need to be “data driven” with regards to demand.
Gov. Ned Lamont, who spoke at the press conference, referenced the need for more skilled workers to join the workforce and the training they receive at Connecticut’s community colleges.
“We’ve got more jobs than we have people training for those jobs,” Lamont said.
Cheryl DeVonish, Norwalk Community College chief executive officer and chair of the search advisory committee, said Maduko stuck out in the applicant pool because of his previous work on equity. Norwalk’s community college is a Hispanic-Serving Institution, so it was important for her to find someone with focus on equity for those students.
“Having Dr. Maduko serve as president of Connecticut State Community College will be impactful to the region,” said Dr. Richard Munassi, one of Maduko’s longtime friends who attended Wednesday’s press conference. “His initiatives focused on workforce development and reskilling, innovation and community engagement will set a new bar for similar systems throughout the country.”