Kellogg Community College this week welcomed Dr. Adrien L. Bennings, who now leads the institution of higher learning as the College’s sixth president since its founding in 1956.
Dr. Bennings previously was Vice President for Finance and Administration at Clovis Community College in Clovis, New Mexico. The KCC Board of Trustees named Dr. Bennings as the new KCC president after conducting a national search in 2019. She formally began her responsibilities at KCC on Jan. 6, 2020, succeeding former President Mark O’Connell, who retired effective Jan. 5, 2020.
Throughout her first week, Dr. Bennings met with numerous KCC employees and community members and attended several campus events as she started to become acclimated to the organization and its leading role in providing accessible, high-quality education to people throughout Barry, Branch and Calhoun counties.
During an all-employee gathering on Jan. 8, Dr. Bennings presented her 90-day framework for advancing success at KCC by ensuring alignment of expectations, integrating early achievable priorities and generating additional momentum within KCC’s culture of continuous improvement.
“We’ve just begun the year 2020. In optical terms, 20/20 also is defined as perfect vision. Let’s make 2020 a year where we learn to see things through a different lens and a different perspective, but still in perfect alignment with the mission and vision of KCC,” Dr. Bennings said.
“When I wake up, I am dedicated to the mission of KCC because the mission of KCC aligns with the mission of Adrien Bennings,” she said. “Student success and student outcomes are important to me. At KCC, where we believe we can always improve, no matter what we’ve already accomplished, I will be asking what are we doing so every student has opportunities for success, and how does success look different for people on an individual basis, and what are those outcomes that signify success?”
Dr. Bennings, a former track and field athlete at the collegiate and professional levels, offered a metaphor of the baton on a relay team. As the baton is passed from one person to another while both are in motion, the act is a symbol of mutual trust, respect and accountability. Sometimes the pass is smooth and sometimes it is bumpy, she said, but it is always a sign of teamwork.
“Whether we are teaching our students to help them achieve their dreams, or working together as KCC employees or collaborating with our partners throughout the communities we serve, we are a team,” Dr. Bennings said.
Steve Claywell, Chair of the KCC Board of Trustees, said Dr. Bennings is a dynamic, enthusiastic leader who will boldly move KCC forward on a variety of fronts.
“To say Dr. Bennings has hit the ground running is an understatement,” Claywell said. “From the moment she arrived on campus, she has exuded an abundance of energy and focused leadership in every setting, from introducing herself to individuals to leading large sessions. The Board is truly honored and excited to have Dr. Bennings at the helm of this great institution.”
In the coming months, Dr. Bennings intends to focus much energy on building a strong network with community members and organizational partners; supporting the institution’s reaffirmation of accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission; bolstering the College’s effectiveness in providing equity and inclusion for students and employees; and further developing student pathways to degrees and careers.
Dr. Bennings earned a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from Texas Tech University, a Master of Business Administration from Wayland Baptist University and a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Development from Texas A&M University. Prior to serving as a vice president at Clovis Community College, she served in several capacities in the areas of human resources, administration, finance, instruction and small business development. Over the years, she also has served as a mentor and board member with several organizations.
Dr. Bennings currently lives in Battle Creek with her husband, Jonathan. They have two adult children.
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