Jan Clayton, the new interim president for NE Campus, is excited for the goals and progress set in place for campus developments being pushed forward through her and the leadership team’s efforts.
As the spring semester began, Clayton explained that she has three main campus goals related to mission alignment. She hopes to expand communication engagement.
During president listening session set up in December for students to meet and interact with Clayton, she has realized that students want to be heard.
“What I get from those meetings is that there’s a need for even more communication,” she said. “So, I think there was communication in the past, but what I’m picking up on is people are hungry for more.”
To maintain transparency, Clayton began sending weekly emails in December called the “President’s Blog.” There, she details her week to NE employees about the meetings and actions she has taken for the college.
“I just want to let them [NE employees] know this is what your leadership is doing on behalf of you and students and the campus every day, and just to give them some insight into that,” she said.
Clayton accepts that balancing the needs of the campus is all part of the president’s job. Instead of coming at each problem with the mindset of “figuring it all out,” she says addressing the problems in keeping communication open with students helps support the campus.
“I look at it as if we’re creating space where people feel like they can be transparent and open and speak their needs and their priorities,” she said. “My job is to hear all of that, synthesize that, talk about that with all the stakeholders and then figure out how we can respond.”
Since joining in early November, she explains that she has felt nothing but welcomed by NE.
“I really enjoy the opportunity to be back here at Northeast again. The faculty, the staff, the administrators, the students – everybody has been gracious and welcoming,” she said. “I really feel like I have been pulled right into the community.”
Terri Ford, assistant to the president at NE, has explained that the transition into Clayton’s leadership was smooth.
“Dr. Clayton is a very good, excellent leader,” she said. “What I do is just keep continuing to forge those relationships and share governance to make sure that the institution’s goals are just steady as we go.”
Prior to becoming interim president, she served as the vice president of student affairs both at NW and NE Campus.
“I feel like the campus is either expanded or I just missed it,” she said. “I’m in buildings now that have floors that I never got a chance to walk down. I’m meeting even more people, and it’s probably the role that’s afforded me this opportunity.”
Ford’s job requires that she be prepared for problem solving and management skills, and she said she always comes prepared on campus for what the day may bring her.
“I just take each day as it comes and as it unfolds,” she said. “My expectation is at the end of the day we’re going to be successful, regardless of what that may look like. We had situations that come up, and I’ve managed through those situations as assistant to the president.”
Clayton and Ford are looking forward to new developments on campus and ways to celebrate the programs offered, including the future science labs.
The leadership team on NE have been working with Perkins and Will, a Dallas based architectural group, to develop the foundational plans for a new science building that would expand the amount of lab space on campus.
Clayton explained that a while ago, they began assessing the trends of the campus based on numerous categories, such as the growth of student numbers, workforce trends and service region which told them there would be growth of 3,400 students in the next five years, estimated.
“There’s just excitement around that idea of a new building on campus, and what that will do for the student experience and how it also allows us to continue to focus on growth of enrollment of students by having more spaces to teach them,” Clayton said.
Ford is most looking forward to seeing students grow into the new spaces and enjoying the opportunities laid out for them following the establishment of the labs.
“What I look forward to is students graduating because that’s success, [and] students coming back because we want them to return,” she said. “The college has a cadence and so on, and I look forward to that.”