Af­ter 10 years, CSM pres­i­dent says it’s time to step down

Search for new col­lege leader un­der­way

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU jan­fen­son-comeau@somd­news.com

Bradley Got­tfried said it is with mixed feel­ings that he has de­cided to step down as pres­i­dent of the Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land. Af­ter 10 years at the school’s helm, he said he wants to step back from the de­mand­ing role and work to­wards im­prov­ing his com­mu­nity as a pri­vate cit­i­zen.

“I love what I do, and I think I’m pro­duc­tive, and I think I’ve done good things for South­ern Mary­land, and that’s go­ing to be hard to walk away from,” Got­tfried said. “Not so much the po­si­tion, but the abil­ity to do good things in the com­mu­nity, that’s what

I’m go­ing to miss.”

Got­tfried, 67, an­nounced his plans last week to re­tire ef­fec­tive June 30, 2017.

Got­tfried came to CSM in Au­gust 2006 from Sus­sex Com­mu­nity Col­lege, where he had served as pres­i­dent since 2000.

Got­tfried said that while his health is still good, he finds he has less en­ergy to meet the de­mands of the job now than he did 10 years ago when he came to CSM as its fourth pres­i­dent.

“When I have three of these [15 hour] days, back to back to back, I don’t bounce back as fast as I used to, and so I’ve tried to make use of my time in a more strate­gic way, but the re­al­ity is that’s an­other tell that my body is telling me this is tak­ing its toll,” Got­tfried said.

He said it takes a lot to over­see a col­lege spread across three South­ern Mary­land coun­ties.

“This is a very com­pli­cated or­ga­ni­za­tion. It’s prob­a­bly one of the most com­pli­cated col­leges in the coun­try be­cause we have three of ev­ery­thing. Even Prince Ge­orge’s [Com­mu­nity Col­lege], they’re much larger than we are, but they only have one cam­pus, one set of county lead­ers, one cham­ber of com­merce, one bud­get,” Got­tfried said.

Out­side of his du­ties as pres­i­dent, Got­tfried has pub­lished sev­eral books on the bat­tles on the eastern theater of the Civil War, and pro­duced de­tailed maps of bat­tle sites. Got­tfried said he hopes to de­vote more time to writ­ing both his Civil War books and also to try his hand at fic­tion.

“I’ve got a lot of writ­ing projects,” Got­tfried said. “But for me, that’s not enough. It’s the need to make a dif­fer­ence in so­ci­ety, that’s what drives me, and that’s what’s go­ing to make me happy in re­tire­ment.”

In par­tic­u­lar, Got­tfried said he would like to work with non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tions and higher ed­u­ca­tion con­sult­ing.

“The bot­tom line is, I will con­tinue to be ac­tive in the com­mu­nity. South­ern Mary­land is my home, we’re go­ing to con­tinue to live on Cobb Is­land, and I want to con­tinue to be en­gaged in help­ing the com­mu­nity in what­ever way I can,” Got­tfried said.

Dur­ing his decade-long ten­ure, Got­tfried has spear­headed the ef­fort to ex­pand the col­lege with a fourth re­gional cam­pus in Hugh­esville, which is cur­rently un­der con­struc­tion, and has ex­panded CSM’s part­ner­ships and ar­tic­u­la­tion agree­ments mak­ing it eas­ier for stu­dents to trans­fer to four-year col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties.

Got­tfried has also ex­panded dual en­roll­ment pro­grams with lo­cal high schools, al­low­ing high school stu­dents to take col­lege classes for credit.

Mary Krug of Dunkirk be­gan serv­ing on the CSM Board of Trustees in 2006, the same year Got­tfried ar­rived at CSM.

“As new as he was, I quickly found out that he fig­ures things out pretty quickly,” Krug said.

Krug said Got­tfried was a very ca­pa­ble ad­min­is­tra­tor who knows how to work with the board, the com­mu­nity and oth­ers.

“He is an ex­tra­or­di­nary per­son. He leads with a strong hand but a gen­tle touch. He al­ways lis­tens, and his leav­ing is a huge loss,” Krug said.

He said that dur­ing his ten­ure, he has been most proud of forg­ing con­nec­tions with the com­mu­nity and en­hanc­ing the col­lege’s im­age within South­ern Mary­land.

“I’d like to be­lieve, if there is one thing, that the way in which the col­lege is viewed by the com­mu­nity has been en­hanced,” Got­tfried said. “We’ve al­ways been a won­der­ful in­sti­tu­tion to get an ed­u­ca­tion, we’ve al­ways pro­vided won­der­ful ser­vice, but I think we have, by my 11th year, we have stepped it up with the level of stu­dent achieve­ment and stu­dent suc­cess.”

Got­tfried, the proud prod­uct of a com­mu­nity col­lege him­self, has been a ded­i­cated ad­vo­cate of com­mu­nity col­leges, but said he still feels there is work to be done in demon­strat­ing that com­mu­nity col­leges are an eco­nom­i­cal op­tion for all stu­dents.

“The com­mu­nity col­lege mes­sage has not res­onated as far and as wide as I’d have thought it had,” he said. “My hope is that the next pres­i­dent will take us fur­ther so that it is an op­tion for ev­ery fam­ily, no mat­ter how af­flu­ent, no mat­ter what their con­di­tion is, or point of view on ed­u­ca­tion is, this is a place to get an out­stand­ing ed­u­ca­tion.”

There are still a few things left on his plate be­fore re­tire­ment, Got­tfried said. One of which is the open­ing of the first build­ing on the new Hugh­esville Re­gional Cam­pus, ex­pected to hap­pen in De­cem­ber.

Asked if he had any ad­vice for his suc­ces­sor, he said he would tell him or her to lis­ten.

“Lis­ten to your stu­dents, lis­ten to your staff, lis­ten to your fac­ulty, lis­ten to the com­mu­nity. They’ll tell you what needs to be done,” Got­tfried said.

A search com­mit­tee has been formed to find a new pres­i­dent, and can­di­dates are ex­pected to be in­ter­viewed in Fe­bru­ary or March, with the new ad­min­is­tra­tor ex­pected to start July 1, 2017. On­go­ing de­tails about the search can be found on the CSM web­site, www.csmd.edu/about/lead­er­ship/pres­i­den­tial-search/, next month.

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