Inside Columbia Magazine CEO Fall 2010 : Page 51

G e b C olumbia College has evolved so much in the past 159 years, it’s hard to put a label on it. And that’s just fine with college President Gerald Brouder. If you’re stuck, he’ll offer you his take: “We are very much a hybrid program.” The college has always found its niche in responding to the market. Chartered in 1851 to educate women because they weren’t allowed to attend the University of Missouri, Christian Female College offered a two-year junior college program for nearly 120 years. In 1970, a major revamping brought about a name change, coeducation and a four-year program offering baccalaureate degrees. When Brouder became the 16th president of Columbia College nearly 16 years ago, the hybridization began in earnest. Today the campus on Columbia’s R A l d R o U d e R President, Columbia College MiSSoURi HAll The campus boasts some new and renovated building projects for student services and athletic facilities. Groundbreaking on a $13 million science building is slated for 2011. Evaluation and quality assessment ColUMbiA ColleGe AT A GlAnCe north side serves as headquarters of a far-flung operation that offers associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Columbia and 34 other nationwide locales, an evening program and online courses. Students find flexibility in the convenience of either traditional semesters or eight-week programs. And with 18 nationwide campuses located on military bases, thousands of service members are fitting higher education into their lives, earning degrees with the Columbia College brand. “We’re on the cutting edge of delivery of education services,” Brouder says. “Our vision is to become a model for hybrid institutions like us.” Admittedly, the college’s phenomenal growth and expansion was not on the horizon when Brouder arrived on campus from across town where he had spent years as a University of Missouri administrator. He found a physical plant in poor repair, a victim of deferred maintenance that Brouder felt could no longer be deferred. “I’d call that the low point of my time here,” he says. “We embarked on a program of repair and rebuilding. We now have no deferred maintenance and we’re debt-free, thank goodness.” Founding year: 1851 Total enrollment: 29,475 Columbia enrollment: 1,200 (traditional day campus) Average tuition cost: $7,798 per semester Columbia employees: 450 Campus size: 30 acres keep Columbia College relevant in the marketplace, Brouder says. “We’re taking the lead in improving our product and rolling out new ones, such as a new master’s degree in military history that we’ll be offering soon.” The 67-year-old college president’s leadership style is one of working toward consensus. “I don’t suffer fools easily,” he says. “It’s not totally democratic. I hire the very best people I can. I make the charge very clear and then get out of the way and let them do what they do best. My role is to provide the necessary resources to let them succeed. “We do that rather well.” The college measures its success by looking at its strategic plan and gauging how it meshes with the transitional review process Brouder has started. Every five years, all processes — academic and administrative — are reviewed by an outside evaluator. Feedback gives the college leadership a reality check, Brouder says, and opens the way for decisions on program enhancement or elimination. As Columbia College grows its brand and improves its offerings, it helps the community, Brouder says, beyond the economic impact of its $100 million operating budget and $150 million in assets. “We are attracting companies and people to Columbia,” he says. “Keep your eye on us. We’re growing.” FALL 2010 I InsIde ColumbIa’s CEO I 51

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