Johnny Moore of W.V. speaks at COD President Open Forum

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Johnny Moore of W.V. speaks at COD President Open Forum

Alison Pfaff, Features Editor

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The first candidate to make his pitch to become the College of DuPage’s new president featured a pledge to support at least one initiative that would ease fears many students have about going into debt to get an education.

Johnny Moore, the current president at Pierpont Community and Technical College in W.V., spoke to community members at the open forum hosted by the COD Board of Trustees Monday. The presidential candidate shared his experiences as an educator and leader in the academic world and where he started.

Moore, who is vocal about free community college tuition, has 29 years of experiences in different aspects of higher education institutions, with 27 years at comprehensive two-year colleges. Moore, a first generation college graduate, has a Ph.D. in mathematics and has served in various roles in four different states.

In terms of the COD policy of dropping students for nonpayment for courses, Moore believes the best approach is free community college tuition.

“Fight like hell at the state legislature and get a free community college bill passed so you don’t have to [worry about it.],” Moore said.

Moore’s achievements in the academic world had very different beginnings.

“I only thought about going to college as an opportunity for me to continue playing the sport I love – basketball. My goal was to play in the NBA. And I know some of you are looking at me and saying, ‘Dr. Moore, you’re barely 5’10”!’ Well, it was my belief that I would grow another 6 or 7 inches like another former Arkansas young fellow, who you all love here on the Chicago Bulls, Scottie Pippen.”

Moore graduated from Philander Smith College in 1989 with a degree in mathematics.

Moore’s view on student success is individualized, with an emphasis on there being more than one right way to do things. He has 13 years of experience as the vice president of student services at other institutions.

“One of the things I’m going to say is this: there is no one-way model for student success,” Moore said. “We have 20 million students nationally in American colleges, and our students are coming to us more diverse than ever before in terms of age, ethnicity, race, family background. They come to us with their expectations as to what they think they can get out of college. And so part of our role is to . . . get around multiple pathways to help students to be successful.”

Moore believes building strong trusting teams in the senior and middle leadership levels has a key factor: communication and the drive and preparation for success.

“Part of my leadership style is about teams. I saw people doing outstanding things individually. You have pockets of people doing outstanding things all across the campus, but there was no unifying vision to connect all these parts. The very first talk I had with my staff I used a quote by one of my favorite basketball coaches, Bobby Knight. He said, ‘The will to win, everybody has.’ Everybody has the will to win. He said, ‘The key is the will to prepare to win.’ Sso the theme for the year in 2016 was ‘Preparing to Win.’ Every single talk I had with my faculty, staff, people in the hallway was [sports related.] Getting them into that mode of preparing to win. Anybody can win games. Great teams win championships.”

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