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Photo of Dr. Joe May

Contact: Ann Hatch

For immediate release — Oct. 8, 2013

(DALLAS) — Members of the Dallas County Community College District’s board of trustees nominated Dr. Joe May as the sole finalist for the position of DCCCD’s seventh chancellor, following a second round of interviews held in Dallas on Monday, Oct. 7. The nomination must be approved by a formal vote of the trustees, following a 21-day waiting period.
May, with the approval of his nomination, will fill the position when Dr. Wright Lassiter Jr. retires on Dec. 31, 2013, after 27 years with the district — serving two decades as president of El Centro College and seven years as the district’s chancellor. May currently serves as president of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System. He previously served as system president for the Colorado Community College System and president of Pueblo Community College prior to that position.

LCTCS provides strategic management and support for Louisiana’s 13 community and technical colleges, enrolling more than 101,000 students in associate degree, technical diploma and industry-based certificate programs. Those programs are aligned with business, industry and local economies across Louisiana; that network enables students to find good jobs and build careers. May began his administration at LCTCS in 2007.
Texas law requires a 21-day waiting period before a formal vote to approve the nomination can be made. Board members will take a public vote on May’s appointment during their regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 5, at 4 p.m. in the board meeting room (lower level) at 1601 S. Lamar St. in Dallas.
"Members of the DCCCD Board of Trustees, who as a group comprised the executive search committee led by Trustee Bob Ferguson, have worked diligently on this national search process since late spring, with the guidance of our search firm, Greenwood/Asher and Associates Inc., Academic Search,” said Jerry Prater, chairman of the DCCCD board of trustees. “We are confident that our nominee, Dr. May, has the experience and the vision that our district needs during these challenging times.”

Prater added, “We want the district to continue to grow and expand its leadership role among community colleges in this country — a precedent set by our current chancellor, Dr. Wright Lassiter. We are grateful to Dr. Lassiter for his leadership, his service and his lifelong commitment to students and higher education.”

“I look forward to working with the outstanding faculty, staff, administrators and students at each of the DCCCD colleges,” said May. “I am enthusiastic about partnering with some of the best business and civic leaders in the nation as we continue to build on DCCCD’s excellent reputation in academic and workforce areas. Returning to Texas and embracing the challenges that community colleges face across the state is exciting. Jobs, careers and college completion are critical to our success.”
May started his career in higher education in 1978 as an adjunct faculty member with DCCCD when Cedar Valley College opened. Based on that experience, May built on his belief that community colleges are the solution to the challenges that individuals, employers and communities face.

DCCCD’s new chancellor, who is a native of East Texas, was the first member of his family to attend college. He earned both his bachelor’s degree in social rehabilitation services and his master’s degree in counseling from Stephen F. Austin State University (Texas) and his doctorate in education from Texas A&M University-Commerce.

His higher education experience includes teaching at the community college and university levels, serving as an academic administrator in many different capacities and conducting higher education consulting for Best Associates, based in Dallas.

May’s leadership has led to a number of key accomplishments during his tenure at LCTCS:

  • The creation of Rebuilding America’s Middle Class, a national consortium of community colleges that is dedicated to ensuring that everyone has an opportunity to pursue the American dream. (May, as president of RAMC, was invited to testify before Congress in 2012 to share his views about improving operational efficiency and controlling the cost of college.)
  • The reprioritization of community and technical college offerings in Louisiana; community college graduates in the state now are surpassing university-graduate earnings by 8.6 percent.
  • An enrollment increase from 71,000 students six years ago to more than 160,000 students now (or more than 101,000 unduplicated enrollments).
  • The launch of Work Ready U, a program that increased the number of adults who are receiving basic literacy education and workforce skills by 49,000; Work Ready U provides knowledge and skills that are needed to succeed in today’s economy.
  • The creation of more than 35 separate pieces of legislation that have enhanced post-secondary education and workforce training for Louisiana residents.
  • Fundraising efforts to secure $600 million for more than 50 advanced technology centers throughout Louisiana.

An accomplished advocate, May also has been involved extensively in crafting community-college/public-private partnerships, which support economic development and job creation. He has provided consulting services for new community college initiatives in Japan, the United Kingdom, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

May is the current president of the National Council of State Directors of Community Colleges and RAMC, and is a member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, the National Workforce Solutions Advisory Board, Single Stop USA’s advisory board, COMBASE (and its current vice president), the ACT Workforce Council and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Metrics Initiative, among many other state and national organizations. He has written and presented a number of articles to audiences and groups across the U.S. as well.

May was named CEO of the Year for the Southern Region by the Association of Community College Trustees; received alumni awards from Stephen F. Austin State University and Texas A&M University-Commerce; is a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow; and has received multiple honors and awards from business, community and service organizations.

May’s return to Texas also means that he will be closer to his parents, children and three grandchildren.
DCCCD, the largest community college system in Texas, serves more than 83,000 credit and 20,000 noncredit students. The seven individually accredited colleges in the district’s system are Brookhaven, Cedar Valley, Eastfield, El Centro, Mountain View, North Lake and Richland — plus Dallas Colleges Online. Additional locations include five community education campuses in Dallas County, a District Service Center in Mesquite and administrative offices in downtown Dallas. DCCCD was founded in 1965 and has enrolled more than 2 million students in classes throughout Dallas County, plus distance learners from across the country and around the world.

The district will celebrate its 50th anniversary of student success and community service in 2015-2016.

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