By Kathryn Kelman/editor-in-chief
Allen Goben is no longer serving as NE Campus president and is not employed by TCC, said communications and external affairs vice chancellor Reginald Gates, who did not provide a reason.
“It’s a personnel matter, so I am limited to what I can respond to,” Gates said.
When reached at home Aug. 21, Goben told The Collegian he was notified at approximately 4 p.m. Aug. 20, the first day of the school year.
“This came as a complete and utter shock,” he said. “It was unexpected.”
Goben said he had received “fantastic” evaluations from the college and had no forewarning or knowledge of his departure.
“I’m just trying to figure it out, and I really don’t have any further comment,” he said.
This comes as the campus prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary this fall, which Goben played a leading role in planning.
Goben began his tenure at TCC after former Chancellor Erma Johnson Hadley announced in July 2014 that he would replace retiring NE president Larry Darlage. Goben officially started at the college Sept. 2 of the same year.
He brought 25 years of experience in education to the campus, previously serving as an administrator, coach, college recruiter, counselor and faculty member.
At the time of his hiring, former Chancellor Erma Johnson Hadley told The Collegian Goben stood out because of his background at other colleges and national organizations.
“I liked the fact that he had a short stay with the Western Governors University in Missouri because they do a lot of things that I know TCC is looking at doing in the future, such as competency-based degrees,” she said.
Provost Elva LeBlanc announced the appointment of retired TR Campus president Tahita Fulkerson as interim NE president starting Aug. 27.
Fulkerson said she has been committed to TCC, its mission and its students for years having started as a part-time teacher at South in the ‘70s.
“I have loved our students and the efforts that they are making to improve their lives since,” she said. “So it’s been great fun for me to be back.”
Having always had a great deal of respect for the work that has been done on TCC campuses, Fulkerson said she intends to support the ongoing projects and help accomplish the good that has already been planned for the campus while serving as NE interim president.
“I have spoken with campus leadership, I had two conferences with vice presidents and I have another meeting with a vice president tomorrow,” she said. “I am making a list of things that are important to them and I have homework to take home tonight to do some reading. So I will just try to be the kind of help that good work requires.”
As for her own plans for NE, including celebrations for the campus’ 50th anniversary this fall, she said she hasn’t had enough time to think about that yet, but will meet with the committee of people working on the celebration as soon as she can.
Fulkerson imagines she’ll be in the role of interim campus president for three months because the last time TCC had to select a campus president, it took about three months.
Until a new campus president is appointed, her goal is to make work continue as it would have, she said.
“They I don’t think will feel pain about it or concern about it because their lives will be unchanged as students. The lives of our faculty will be unchanged, the lives of our staff,” she said. “So we are going to go ahead, business as usual.”