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Laura L. Douglas Approved as Next BCC President

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The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education today unanimously approved Laura L. Douglas, Ph.D., as Bristol Community College’s next president. Dr. Douglas will take the helm on July 1, 2017, as the College’s fourth president in its 51-year history. President John J. Sbrega will retire in August after serving the College for 17 years. He succeeded Eileen Farley (1979-2000) and Jack Hudnall (1965-1979), the College’s founding president.

"I welcome Dr. Douglas to Massachusetts and look forward to working with her when she assumes the Presidency at Bristol Community College," said Carlos E. Santiago, Commissioner of Higher Education for Massachusetts. "Her experience working in higher education in Iowa and North Carolina will be an asset to our system, allowing her to bring new perspectives and fresh ideas to the challenges we face here in the Commonwealth."

Joseph A. Marshall, RFC ’78, Chairman, Board of Trustees said that Dr. Douglas demonstrated a strong appreciation and value for diversity in its broadest sense during the intensive interview process that included a series of meetings led by the presidential search committee that included trustees, faculty, staff, alumni and students. “Her proven success has shown a true commitment to removing barriers and closing gaps throughout College constituencies and the community at-large. She will expand upon the innovative and visionary leadership that Bristol Community College needs for continued success and growth for the future.”

President Sbrega congratulated Dr. Douglas on becoming BCC’s next president, “It gives me great confidence that under Dr. Douglas’s outstanding leadership, Bristol Community College will continue, and further strengthen, its mission of bringing opportunity and access to life-changing education and career-ready training throughout the diverse communities we serve."

Dr. Douglas has served in her current role as Provost at Des Moines Area Community College’s (DMACC) Urban Campus in Des Moines, Iowa, since 2005. Rob Denson, President of Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) congratulated his colleague upon hearing the news. “Congratulations to Dr. Douglas for being named the new President of Bristol Community College,” he said.  “Dr. Douglas and her staff and faculty at the DMACC Urban/Des Moines Campus have achieved many milestones during her tenure including strengthening connections with diverse communities, added or grown in-demand programs such as Interpretation and Translation and Surgical Technology, and created new paths for Urban Campus students to either transfer or enter the workforce. Her initiatives have meant more opportunities for our students.” He added, “Dr. Douglas is the 14th DMACC employee who has moved on to become a college president. DMACC is larger than many colleges and universities across the country. Our culture, challenges and initiatives represent a good opportunity for Provosts to move on to become leaders at other institutions. We are proud of that leadership heritage. I’m confident her initiatives will offer excellent results at Bristol Community College.”

Prior to working at DMACC, she served as vice president for Instructional and Student Services & Chief Academic Officer at Randolph Community College in Asheboro, N.C.; an adjunct faculty member of Ottawa University in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in the summer of 2001; planner for the Office of Planning and Governance at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, Mich. in the late 1990s; and campus dean and head of campus at Sullivan County Community College in Toyama, Japan, in the later 1990s; among other positions. She is fluent in Japanese and Spanish.

Dr. Douglas earned a Bachelor of Arts in Social Welfare from the University of Southern Maine, Portland, ME; a Master of Arts in International Administration from the School for International Training in Brattleboro, Vermont; a Master of Arts in Higher Education and a Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Dr. Douglas’s family has strong ties to New England and Massachusetts including her grandfather, John F. Delahunt, who was born and raised in Fall River. She will be relocating to the region with her husband this summer.   

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