Dr. Lardner named interim VP

By Mitchell Roland - Staff Reporter

Highline officially has a in- terim successor for outgoing vice president Dr. Jeff Wagnitz.

President Dr. John Mosby announced last Friday that Dr. Emily Lardner has been named the interim vice president of Academic Affairs, replacing Dr. Jeff Wagnitz who is retiring at the end of June. Dr. Lardner's first day on campus will be Monday, June 10.

Originally, Dr. Mosby set out to hire a permanent replace- ment for Dr. Wagnitz, going so far as to have on campus fo- rums with finalists Dr. Thomas Broxson and Dr. Mahalazmi Gita Bangera. But he later said that neither candidate would have been the perfect fit for Highline, and that he would be hiring an interim replacement.

Dr. Mosby said that Dr. Lardner is thought of highly at community colleges in the state.

"Dr. Lardner comes highly regarded throughout our sys- tem and my higher education circles as a leader, innovator and comsummate profession- al," he said.

He said that Dr. Lardner will bring "Passion, innovation, strong understanding of stu dent success, great understanding and development of learning communities" to Highline.

Before coming to Highline, Dr. Lardner served as the vice president of instruction at Grays Harbor College. Dr. Lardner has a bachelor's degree from Augustana College and received her masters and doctorate in English language and literature at the University of Michigan.

Dr. Lardner said that working at Highline was an easy decision.

"Highline stands out in the WA system for its commitment to equity and student success," she said. "Highline has always been the college in WA most willing to try new strategies aimed at increasing student success."

Dr. Lardner said that she feels fortunate to be named as the new vice president.

"It's an honor to be invited to join the team," she said.

Dr. Lardner cited Highline's culture of collaboration, a "history of working to implement evidence-based practices that serve students," and how she is "impressed with the role students at Highline play in shaping their educations" as reasons that she was interested in the job.

Dr. Lardner said that academic affairs currently collaborates extremely well, which is enticing.

"Academic affairs is a big team, and everyone is playing on the same side, which is the side of students," she said. "That's a tremendous asset in any organization and in Highline, the sense of being on the same team is really strong."

Even still, Dr. Lardner said that there are areas that Highline can improve.

"Colleges can always improve the quality of the learning opportunities offered to students, and they can improve the support that's offered to the faculty and staff who are creating those opportunities for students," she said.

Dr. Lardner said that she is confident that over time "the Highline community will help me learn what needs to be improved, and why, and how to go about it."

Her appointment is for one year, and Dr. Mosby said that the search for a permanent replacement will begin in spring of next year after Highline hires a permanent vice president of student services in the fall.

Dr. Mosby said that having two interim vice presidents on campus will not be an issue.

"With the talented interim VPs we have at Highline, it won't be a problem," he said. "Colleges often have an interim or two at the same time."

Dr. Lardner said that while right now her focus is on the interim position, she isn't ruling out applying for the job when it opens.

"By next spring, when the permanent position is posted, the Highline community will know me better. I hope by then, based on my work this year, my application for the permanent position will be welcomed," she said. 

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