Sawyer Chosen as Macomb Community College’s Next Leader

Current provost and senior vice president James Sawyer was chosen by a selection committee to become the next preisdent of Macomb Community College this week. From left: Sawyer; Macomb graduate Dillon DeWitt, winner of a 2015 Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship; current Macomb President James Jacobs.

by BRYAN EVERSON

It’s not March yet, but the winner has emerged from Macomb Community College’s own Final Four.

On behalf of the school’s 18-member search advisory committee, chairman James Kelly announced this week the selection of James Sawyer, the college’s current provost and senior vice president, as its president designate.

The appointment is pending negotiation and approval of an employment contract by the board of trustees.

“Even with a competitive and qualified candidate pool, Dr. Sawyer was clearly the best choice.” said Kelly. “His long-standing experience with the college and community, as well as his solid background in business, will ensure a smooth transition with a knowledgeable leader ready to fully leverage Macomb’s strengths while effectively guiding the institution into the future.”

Boasting over a decade of experience under his belt at MCC, Sawyer previously served as vice provost for Career Programs and as dean of Engineering and Advanced Technology. Prior to joining Macomb, he accumulated 17 years of business experience in leadership positions in engineering, quality and operations.

Sawyer was chosen by the committee from a group of four finalists announced earlier this month. He was selected over the trio of David Bejou, dean of the College of Business and Social Services at West Virginia State University, Amy Lee Fugate, vice president for Academic Affairs at Flint’s Mott Community College, and Utpal Goswami, president of Metropolitan Community College-Maple Woods in Kansas City, Mo.

A national search began in September after the announcement that current president James Jacobs planned to retire from his post at the conclusion of this year. He was appointed MCC’s fifth president in July 2008, and possesses over 40 years of work at the college, having taught social science, political science and economics.

Macomb’s committee that ultimately chose Sawyer consisted of three members of the college’s board of trustees, five members from key sectors of the community, two Macomb Community College students and eight college staff members representing each of its employee groups. The board also utilized the services of R.H. Perry & Associates, a firm that specializes in assisting institutions of higher education in identifying and selecting leadership.

Sawyer, who has been leading Macomb’s cultural transformation from focus on student access to focus on student success, earned a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from Lawrence Technological University, and master’s in administration and doctorate in educational leadership from Central Michigan University.