Dr. Glenn Coltharp, current Vice-President of Academic Affairs at Crowder College, as well as the third and sole internal candidate for the office of campus president, participated in an open forum last week on the Neosho campus. A crowd of Crowder faculty members, staff, students, board members and the public gathered for the event.

"There's good and bad about being the only internal candidate," Coltharp said. "There's the fact that you know me and then there's that you know me. On the other hand, I know you and I know you. A positive in being an internal candidate is that I've had time to see what works and what hasn't."

Coltharp has more than three decades of experience in the education field, ranging from teaching elementary grades to serving in administration the college level including at Crowder for the past seven years.

"I've been here for seven years. That's over 60,000 hours you've had to assess me. I am going to present information here today. I am going to tell you the Glenn Coltharp story."

Using a series of power points, Coltharp shared his history with those who gathered in The Wright Conference Center. Coltharp comes from an academic family. His parents, Dr. Forrest and Barbara Coltharp, attended the open forum. Dr. Forrest Coltharp taught as a mathematics professor for 31 years at Pittsburg State University and the couple has been married for 66 years. Coltharp's wife, Dr. Hazel Coltharp, is a math professor at PSU. His daughter, Dr. Jane Coltharp is also a college math professor. His son, Benjamin, will graduate from PSU and has been accepted into their graduate program.

Coltharp has a Bachelor's of Science in Education from PSU, a Masters of Science in Elementary School Administration, a Specialist in Education degree, also from Pitt State and a Doctorate in Education from Kansas State University.

"I believe it is important to express what you truly believe, not just what you think Crowder stake holders want to hear."

Coltharp outlined many of the goals he has if chosen to serve as the next Crowder College president. Some of the areas he ranks as important include campus safety, use of resources, marketing and student recruitment in two areas, vocational students who will move into the work force after Crowder and students who will continue their education at a 4-year institution. Another is alternate energy.

"Our MARET center has a great history with alternative energy and we need to enhance that."

Coltharp also touched on why he opted to apply for the presidential position, citing his experience at Crowder and pointed out that he wants to see the best candidate chosen, whether or not it is him.

Coltharp took questions from those present. One question addressed the fact that Coltharp currently resides outside of the Crowder district consisting of Newton and McDonald Counties and whether he would be able to fully participate in the community from his current residence in Asbury, Missouri.

"I think the thing is how involved the person gets with the community. I don't currently live in the taxing district but I do live in our service area. There are some relocation plans ahead, if I am chosen and the first step would be for me to get an apartment."

Three other candidates applied for the position. Dr. Julie Murray-Jensen has already accepted a position at Blackburn College, located in Carlinville, Illinois. The other candidates are Dr. Harold Arnett, Arkansas City, Kansas and Dr. Beatriz Joseph, San Antonio, Texas.

The Crowder College Board of Trustees expects to make a final decision by the end of 2018 with the new president to begin next year.