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The Lookout | February 26, 2021

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Webb Sharpe bids for LCC presidency

Webb Sharpe bids for LCC presidency

By Robin Morales
Associate Editor

LCC Executive Vice President Dr. Lisa Webb Sharpe answered 31 questions submitted from LCC faculty, staff and students May 5 during the first presidential candidate open forum.

Webb Sharpe was the first of four finalists for the position to be interviewed this week.

The two-hour forum was moderated online by LCC Dean of Health and Human Services Margie Clark. The submitted questions covered a range of topics, including parking, student support, online education and the college’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“One thing I’ll bring to the job is a passion for excellence,” Webb Sharpe said. “And helping to make LCC the absolute best college it can be.”

When asked how she will increase and stabilize student enrollment at LCC, Webb Sharpe said,

“We have to put our best foot forward in making sure we market our programs in a way that makes sense to the person hearing it and is relevant to the marketplace.

“Our enrollment has been declining since 2011 and it was starting to taper off in fall of ‘19 and spring of ‘20 … Now we are in danger again of having enrollment decline.”

Webb Sharpe also addressed the controversy concerning the college’s plans to build two new parking ramps downtown.

“With respect to the ramps, we should have talked to the community sooner,” Webb Sharpe said. “We didn’t talk to them soon enough. We acknowledged that and we commit to do better in the future.

“We’re going to keep pursuing the strategy we have right now with the two ramps because parking is the number one complaint from students on campus, and it has been for several years.”

Furthermore, Webb Sharpe addressed questions concerning the unique challenges faced by transgender individuals at LCC.

“The issues our transgender students and employees face are important,” Webb Sharpe said. “That is why we have increased the number of gender-neutral bathrooms we have on campus.

“I am co-chairing our preferred name initiative … we are committed to it and we are going to get it done.”

When asked how she plans to help LCC grow, Webb Sharpe said, “We grow by helping people understand the opportunities we have here … and (we) make sure we’re offering the right opportunities to students.

“Lansing Community College should become the hub in our region for talent.”

The LCC Board of Trustees will continue hosting candidate forums May 6 through 8, starting at 6 p.m. each day, by WebEx. The schedule for the upcoming forums is as follows:

* Wednesday, May 6: Dr. Steve Robinson; moderated by Bo Garcia.

* Thursday, May 7: Dr. Dale Nesbary; moderated by Tonya Bailey.

* Friday, May 8; Dr. Elaine Collins; moderated by Mark Cosgrove.

The Lookout will cover each of the forums and will publish an online story the following day about each of the candidates.

The new president will replace Dr. Brent Knight, who is retiring June 30 after 11 years at LCC.