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H IG H E R
RE VIE W
PROFILES IN LEADERSHIP
R ON A LD E. N ETTLES
President Copiah-Lincoln Community College
EDUCATION PH.D. IN EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI, 1994 M.ED. COUNSELING AND PERSONNEL SERVICES UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI, 1986 B.S. POLITICAL SCIENCE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI, 1983 PROFESSIONAL PATH PRESIDENT | 2008-PRESENT COPIAH-LINCOLN COMMUNITY COLLEGE EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT | 2004-2008 COPIAH-LINCOLN COMMUNITY COLLEGE DEAN OF THE NATCHEZ CAMPUS | 1997-2004 COPIAH-LINCOLN COMMUNITY COLLEGE DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT | 1994-1997 COPIAH-LINCOLN COMMUNITY COLLEGE STUDENT SERVICES PROFESSIONAL STAFF | 1986-1994 UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI SOCIAL
Institutional: @CopiahLincolnCC Institutional: www.facebook.com/ copiahlincoln Professional: www.linkedin.com/pub/ ronnie-nettles/10/165/100 Professional: @CLCCPresident
Q: Where did you grow up? A: I grew up in McNair, Mississippi, a small rural community in Jefferson County. Q: Signiﬁcant Other? A: Married to Rosie Jones Nettles (26 years) Q: Children? A: I have a 19 year old daughter named Jordan who is a National Merit Presidential Scholar at the University of Southern Mississippi and an 18 year old son named Brandon. He is a Pitts Scholar at Copiah-Lincoln Community College and on the tennis team. Q: In 25 words or less, can you explain what you do? A: I serve as President of Copiah-Lincoln Community College where I am responsible for all aspects of the college operation in a seven county district with three campuses and over 3,000 students. Q: What does your school do exceptionally well? A: For over 80 years we have provided college level academic transfer coursework and speciﬁc job skills training to prepare individuals for the workforce. We also provide a variety of training programs for local industries and recreational and cultural programs for the communities we serve. Q: What are the best traditions on your campus? A: The tradition that dates back the longest is the singing of the alma mater at Homecoming. There is also a long tradition of success in athletics with numerous team and individual state championships. Consistently we also have teams ranked in the top ten nationally for academic success. Q: What has been your proudest moment in your current professional role? A: Professionally it was having the opportunity in 2012 to stand on stage at the American Association of Community Colleges Presidents Breakfast with two Co-Lin students on the All USA Academic Team. There were only twenty students recognized nationally on the Phi Theta Kappa All USA Academic Team and Co-Lin was the only college in Mississippi to have a representative on the team and the only college in the nation with two students on the ﬁrst team. I was extremely proud of our students, our instructors and everyone at Co-Lin. Q: What is the most challenging issue facing the community college system today? A: The underfunding of community colleges continues to be a signiﬁcant challenge for our system. This underfunding has resulted in facilities that are in need of renovation and equipment that needs to be replaced. I am also concerned that our faculty and staff are not being paid at a level that is appropriate. However, the mid-level funding proposed by the community colleges and previously supported by the legislature would solve many of the challenges facing the community college system in Mississippi.
Q: Who was your favorite professor / instructor or class in college? A: I was a political science major as an undergraduate at Southern Miss and have always enjoyed the history and politics of our state and nation. My appreciation for the study of government was inﬂuenced by a gentleman named Joe Parker at the University of Southern Mississippi. He was my advisor and I think I took every class he taught. Q: What changes in Mississippi higher education do you anticipate over the next 10 years? A: First, the move to performance based funding will be a difﬁcult transition for colleges that have been funded exclusively on enrollment. However, I think it will be beneﬁcial in the long run and will allow colleges to further develop programs that provide positive outcomes and student success. I also believe that technology will continue to drive education in many ways. It has already inﬂuenced everything from the delivery of courses by instructors to the availability of online resources for students. Providing adequate and appropriate technology will have a signiﬁcant impact on Mississippi higher education budgets from now on.
PRESIDENT RONNIE E. NETTLES AT WORK IN HIS OFFICE IN THE J.M. EWING ADMINISTRATION BUILDING ON COPIAHLINCOLN COMMUNITY COLLEGE’S MAIN CAMPUS IN WESSON, MS
Q: An anonymous donor has just left $10 million dollars to your school. The only stipulation is that you must spend the money within 1 year. How do you spend it? A: Because of the nature and history of Co-Lin, I would spend it on infrastructure and facilities at the college. As a community college, we do not have large donors making contributions for construction of new facilities and we must depend on state bond funds and limited county support. $10 million dollars would go a long way toward bringing aging buildings on our campus back to life for our students. Q: Other than Mississippi Higher Ed Review, what news sources do you consult regularly? A: I read on-line state newspapers, Community College Weekly, and the Mississippi Business Journal on a regular basis. I also read many articles and other information through twitter feeds I follow. Q: What book(s) are you reading right now? A: I just ﬁnished reading Jon Meacham’s Thomas Jefferson:The Art of Power. I also read a lot of ﬁction books including almost all of the John Grisham and Greg Iles books. Q: What is your favorite movie of all time? A: The Shawshank Redemption Q: What is your favorite musical artist / band of all time? A: The Eagles
Q: What's the best thing you ever ate? A: Anything my wife cooks, of course. Q: What's your favorite getaway / vacation spot? A: My wife and I have a small camp on Lake Concordia in Louisiana. When there is a free weekend available, that is where we go. We also enjoy summer family vacations with our children. Q: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? A: I would be interested in a career in business. Q: What would people be surprised to know about you? A: I attended high school at Trinity Episcopal High School in Natchez where I was on the football team with New York Times bestselling author Greg Iles. Q: Name something on your bucket list, and tell us whether it has been crossed off yet. A: Traveling to Japan and it is off my list. I was able to go there on a study tour and it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. It made me add many more overseas travel destinations to my bucket list.
Q: What is the best advice you ever received? A: Something my dad told me once. “There is a difference between having buddies and having friends.You can trust your friends.” I was a teenager at the time and he was letting me know that I need to choose my friends wisely. Q: What is your favorite quotation? A: My mother gave me a Calvin Coolidge quote years ago that I have always remembered: “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated failures. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
Proﬁles in Leadership is a recurring feature of Mississippi Higher Ed Review intended to highlight and amplify the efforts of those who work in Mississippi Higher Education.
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