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Moving up to president

May 22, 2012
Emily Siegmon - News Staff Writer , The Alpena News

ALPENA - Dr. Mark Curtis, vice president for academic and student affairs at Alpena Community College, recently was hired as the president of Great Basin College in Elko, Nev. Curtis will leave ACC after five years of service, but plans on finishing the rest of the month before beginning his transition to Nevada.

"This has been a goal I've had for quite some time. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure it's not a dream because it happened so quickly," Curtis said.

Curtis originally sent his application to Nevada in early March, and quickly received a phone call from a search consultant who interviewed him about the position.

"It moved very quickly, I expected these kinds of things to take six to eight months. My interview with the search consultant went well,. She seemed to be happy with my answers," he said.

After the initial interview, Curtis went through what he calls the semifinalist process phone interview.

"During the second week of April, I found out I was one of three finalists for the position," he said. "Before I made my trip out to Nevada, I started doing my homework and learned more about the institution and the state of Nevada in my spare time."

Curtis said the interviews went well, and he had time to ask questions about the college's finances and budget.

"When in a leadership role, I become more concerned about the financial health of the institution, and where they want to go in the future," he said.

After the phone interview, Curtis traveled to Nevada where he was interviewed by a series of small groups, including community members, staff and administrators. Then, he went on a college tour and met the current president and chancellor.

"The next day I had another interview with the search committee. Over 30 people were there and asked a series of questions, but it wasn't difficult," he said.

According to Curtis, Great Basin College covers 62,000 square miles of the state, and has the authority to offer bachelor degrees.

"The college has locations 436 miles away, it's a big operation. Part of the reason they liked me is because I had experience running two off-campus branches for Purdue while instructing," he said.

Curtis' influential background, responsibilities and accomplishments at ACC; Ferris State University; Millennium Plastics Technologies, LLC; Northern Michigan University; and Purdue University resonated well with Great Basin College. He currently is finishing his 41st year of full-time work, and has been working in an administrative role for the past 16 years.

"Two years ago I started looking seriously to become president. I've had a lot of good experiences. I've been working toward this for a while, and my experience at ACC helped prepare me for that. I'm going to leave a lot of good friends and colleagues here," he said.

Curtis will fly to Nevada during the second week of June to begin looking for housing, and will start his new role as president on July 1. As a result of his departure, ACC is in the preliminary stages of organizing and conducting a national search for a replacement.

Emily Siegmon can be reached via e-mail at or by phone at 358-5687.



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