|Dr. Carol Eaton|
Dr. Carol Eaton’s first days on the job this week began with meetings among key Daytona State College administrators, staff and student government representatives, a whirlwind orientation befitting a new college president, and her own electronic embracing of the entire Daytona State College community.
Eaton’s calendar over the next several months is booked solid as she gets more acquainted with college operations and takes to the road to meet with local and state politicians, fellow presidents of area colleges and universities, institutional supporters, representatives of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the media and other constituents.
“I’m especially looking forward to working with the faculty, staff and students of Daytona State College, developing new educational partnerships and getting acquainted with all of our colleagues and friends who support the mission of the college,” Eaton said.
A community reception welcoming Daytona State’s eighth and first female president is planned for Friday, Sept. 2, from 5 – 6:30 p.m. at the News-Journal Center, 221 N. Beach St. in downtown Daytona Beach.
Half-way through her first day on the job Wednesday, Eaton reached out to the entire college staff and faculty via a campus-wide email, asking their feedback on what they believe are the best things about the institution and what they feel needs to change.
“I am excited to learn about all of the wonderful things at Daytona State and look forward to working with many of you,” she said, noting that she believes collaboration is critical to informed and effective decision-making.
During her first media interviews, Eaton spoke about the challenges facing community colleges, particularly with state and federal funding. “Funding for public higher education is threatened because of the national economy,” she said. “We must make the case that we are adding value, that when students complete their work at the community college or at the baccalaureate level, that they have some value they are going to add to the work force.”
She also suggested that community colleges are going to continue to struggle with students who seek access to higher education and training, but are not prepared for college-level work. “A number of students in junior and senior high school are not thinking about college or the world beyond that,” she said. “The community college system allows these students to have a bridge that gives them an opportunity to take on more personal responsibility and be successful.”
Eaton joins Daytona State after serving six years as president of Frederick Community College, Frederick, MD. While FCC did not offer baccalaureate degrees, she said she views Daytona State’s four-year degree offerings as another option for students that adds to the college’s core mission. She also indicated that she would like to strengthen Daytona State’s 2+2 partnerships with area universities.
“Students need to have a lot of choices,” she said. “There needs to be a lot of road maps for students to take, whether they be certificates, associate degrees, baccalaureate degrees or even master’s or doctorates. Community colleges have the responsibility to keep that road map open and to work with partners to see that students have those choices.”
She said she will approach educational partnerships with other institutions from a very collegial perspective. “There are plenty of students who need to have access to higher education. We don’t have to compete for them,” she said. “We need to figure out how we can have our own niche and find our own students that we can best serve.”
Eaton also has been president of Clinton Community College, Plattsburgh, NY, and vice chancellor for community colleges at the State Universities of New York (SUNY). In addition, she has more than a decade of faculty experience teaching mathematics and statistics. Her Ph.D., MS and BS are from SUNY Albany and she also holds an AAS degree from SUNY Cobleskill, which she touts as the degree for which she is most proud because it set her on a path toward more advanced degrees and professional opportunities.