Michael Ash Named 2018 CASE District VI Chief Executive Leader


SCC President Dr. Michael Ash will receive the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) 2018 District VI Chief Executive Leadership Award at its annual conference in St. Louis on January 29.

The CASE District VI Chief Executive Leader Award recognizes outstanding leadership and service in support of education. It is presented annually to an outstanding president, chancellor, head master or system head of a CASE member institution.

Dr. Ash’s list of accomplishments during his relatively short tenure at SCC is impressive.

Soon after arriving in 2012, Ash launched the College into an era of dramatic change. Working with SCC staff, area educators, and employers, he spearheaded the development of a comprehensive facilities plan, including the $27 million Building the Dream campus expansion initiative, its largest capital development project since the early 90’s.

The Health Professions Center opened in 2016, the Industrial Technologies Training Center opened last year, and the Hall of Sciences will open in August. In addition, Ash partnered with a local development group to erect the 4-story Blackhawk Tower residence hall in West Burlington with plans to expand in the near future. He is also working with Burlington area organizations to build an indoor sports complex.

Aside from facilities development, Ash and his team have launched initiatives that expand access to higher education through a number of new initiatives. Notable efforts include new athletics and international student programing, partnerships with area high schools to expose students to college, a focus on student success and retention, an outreach program called Education Changes Everything, and career training programs in support of area employers.

He also helped secure over $4 million for scholarships and program funding.

SCC Executive Director of Institutional Advancement Becky Rump says SCC’s recent resurgence is due to Dr. Ash’s vision and his ability to analyze a situation, assemble a team of good people and use data to devise an actionable plan.

“Thanks to Dr. Ash’s ability to share his vision with others, SCC has received considerable support from business and community leaders, as well as the general public,” says Rump. “People respond to a clear, bold vision – something we haven’t had for some time.”

Southeastern Community College Board of Trustees Chair Chris Prellwitz says that even in the face of cuts to funding and a state-wide slump in enrollments, Ash remains focused on students.

“We have had a number of challenging budget years,” says Prellwitz. “Yet Dr. Ash has shown resilience by doing his best with fewer resources and keeping what is best for students at the forefront. He is a compassionate, tireless leader and student advocate.”

SCC’s Dean of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Chris Sedlack appreciates Ash’s ability to resist short-term reactionary thinking, opting instead for long-term solutions.

“When other administrators might use a drop in enrollment as a rationale to enact spending cuts, Dr. Ash looks for opportunities to invest resources now that will result in future growth,” says Sedlack.

Dr. Ash says that while he is humbled by the honor, he couldn’t have done it alone.

“When I got here, I saw in everyone a lot of potential to drive positive change,” explains Ash. “People wanted to tackle our challenges and grow. All I did was let the cork out of the bottle.”

Rump says that Dr. Ash epitomizes his famous catch phrase, “I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. I’m saying it’s going to be worth it.”

“We may have had potential, but we needed a leader who would help us identify a common goal and get us all marching in the same direction,” says Rump.

CASE supports alumni relations, communications, development, and marketing professionals at educational institutions worldwide. The association provides networking, recognition, and continuing education for more than 64,000 advancement professionals at more than 3,400 colleges, universities, and independent elementary and secondary schools in more than 70 countries.

CASE District VI represents professionals and institutions in the Midwest region of the United States (Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming).

Learn more about case here: http://www.case.org/.

A file photo of Dr. Ash is available for download here: https://www.scciowa.edu/marketing/2018/photos/ash-michael-4x6.jpg

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