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Nine-month search ends as college chooses leader

by Emily Walkenhorst | April 17, 2019 at 2:57 a.m.

A nine-month search for a new president has come to a close for Black River Technical College.

The community college announced Tuesday the hiring of Martin Eggensperger, a Randolph County native, as its new president, to be hired by July 1. Eggensperger is the current vice chancellor for academic affairs at Arkansas State University-Mountain Home.

The Pocahontas college's board of trustees voted unanimously Tuesday to appoint Eggensperger to the presidency, where he will be paid $160,000 annually, with an $18,000 yearly housing allowance.

Previous President Eric Turner was paid $144,854 annually, Human Resources Director Julie Eddington said.

Turner resigned as the college's president last July to become president of Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Mo.

Eggensperger, 52, will take the helm of a school that has struggled financially in recent years, operating with budget deficits.

More than that, the college has flooded twice in the past decade and faced an accreditation scare that only recently went away.

Two years ago its accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission, placed the college on probation for not meeting three criteria mostly related to assessing student learning, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette previously reported.

The commission, which is the accreditor of all Arkansas public colleges, lifted the probation Feb. 28.

College board of trustees Chairman Doug Cox said that, like other community colleges, Black River has "funding issues that we're going to have to tackle."

The college hopes to expand its presence in Paragould, where it has an existing satellite campus, through a nursing program, Cox said.

"He's [Eggensperger] got some visions for that that line up with what we're currently doing and would like to do more of," Cox said.

Eggensperger also has a background in technical education, which the college hopes to expand, Cox said.

Further, he has experience with the Higher Learning Commission assessment process, is from nearby Maynard, is acquainted with the state Legislature and is involved with professional groups across the state, Cox said.

According to his Web page at Arkansas State University-Mountain Home, Eggensperger earned a Bachelor of Science in mathematics from the University of Central Arkansas, a Master of Science in applied mathematics from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and a Ph.D. from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Metro on 04/17/2019

Print Headline: Nine-month search ends as college chooses leader


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