The Illinois Community College Board has a new executive director.
Brian Durham will head up the board starting in December, taking over for Karen Hunter Anderson, 64, of Rochester, who is retiring at the end of November. Durham, 47, of Springfield, currently serves as the board’s deputy director for academic affairs. He’s been with the board since 2003.
His new position also will likely come with a hefty pay raise, from the $86,880 he’s making now to somewhere north of $150,000 in his new position. Though his contract is still being negotiated, the salary range for the new post was listed as $150,000 to $190,000.
Anderson’s salary is $190,282.
Matt Berry, spokesman for the board, said the salary range offered for the executive director’s job is in line with what campus chief executives are making in the community college system. The board oversees 48 colleges in 39 districts.
Board member John Bambenek of Champaign said Durham was chosen from three applicants, adding that he’s done “a great job, especially under the circumstances,” including the budget impasse that occurred in two recent years.
As for the pay raise, Bambenek said it “caught my attention,” but also said the new position comes with a great deal more responsibility, and the salary range is “not out of line” compared with other state government leadership positions. He also said that because it’s a public job and the pay range was posted, “your negotiating hand is somewhat diminished.”
Board Chairman Lazaro Lopez said Durham “has spent the last 16 years at the ICCB where he has been at the forefront of implementing policies to improve outcomes for community college students. The board unanimously selected Dr. Durham for his extensive community college experience and focused dedication to student success.”
Durham is considered a statewide leader in remedial education reform, the implementation of career pathways, expansion of apprenticeship programs, and the design of transfer programs, according to a news release from the board.
“His combination of educational background, innovative spirit, and leadership experience will serve the agency and the community college system well,” Anderson said.
Lopez said he’s confident Durham “will build upon the agency’s work to reduce remediation, connect education to employment, and ensure that Illinois remains a national leader in bachelor’s degree completion rates for community college transfer students.”
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