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FM president keeping eye toward future

With new contract in place, Swanger looks ahead

June 29, 2009
By KAYLEIGH KARUTIS, The Leader-Herald

JOHNSTOWN - After his first two years, and with at least four more ahead of him, Fulton-Montgomery Community College President Dustin Swanger said while much has been accomplished, he is looking forward to meeting many more goals in the years to come.

Swanger, 48, was hired by FMCC in April 2007. His contract was recently extended by the Board of Trustees to 2013. Since coming on board, the college has developed a strategic plan that Swanger said has been instrumental in the recent successes of the college.

"The college community has embraced an attitude of continuous improvement," Swanger said of the college's faculty and staff. "We make tangible changes based on data and facts, and we get real results."

Article Photos

The Leader-Herald/Kayleigh Karutis

Fulton-Montgomery Community College President Dustin Swanger works in his office on campus Friday.

One of the biggest issues Swanger has had to deal with is housing for incoming freshmen. Freshmen coming from out of the area are required to live on campus for their first year, but Campus View, the college's on-campus housing, is full this year. Swanger said the waiting list for housing in the facility has grown to 31 students.

After several failed attempts at securing housing, the college is going into the fall with no additional student housing. Swanger said he believes it may cost the college some enrollment. He said he is determined, though, to make sure there is housing secured for fall 2010.

Swanger said he is "done with temporary" fixes and is focused on building a facility the college can oversee and manage.

With housing on the horizon, Swanger said there are several other issues he and the college administration are looking to address in the coming years. One of them is possibly placing requirements on students who are coming to FMCC from out of the area. By law, the college must accept applicants from Fulton and Montgomery counties, but with students coming from an increasingly wide area, Swanger said he hopes to look into having certain requirements for those students in the future.

Another area Swanger said he hopes to improve is services for those who are older than 45.

"We want to look at what we can offer those folks, whether it be a new skill or just some classes to enrich their lives," he said.

The college also will implement a new management information system, which will allow students to check their financial aid, register for classes and do a slew of other tasks online. The college's current system is about two decades old and the company that built it has gone out of business, Swanger said.

Looking back at his first couple of years at the institution, Swanger said he has enjoyed his time there.

"I love the community college atmosphere," he said. "It's focused on the needs of the community."

Vice President for Student Affairs Jane Kelley said she believes Swanger's presence at the college has helped bolster its enrollment numbers. While community colleges generally do better in a down economy, she said that isn't the only reason for the college's recent 8 percent jump in enrollment.

"He is a communicator," Kelley said of Swanger. "When he joined, we were able to put some major changes into place."

Kelley cited the revamped look of the college as one change that wouldn't have been possible without the support of Swanger.

"It's a really dynamic leadership team," she said of the administration. "It's exciting every day."

Recently appointed Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Greg Truckenmiller said working with Swanger has been a great experience.

"He has a good grasp on the issues that face us," Truckenmiller said. "He made sure our capital projects and maintenance received the attention it needs."

As the new provost, Truckenmiller's office is now next door to Swanger's, a change he said he was excited about.

"I enjoy working with him," Truckenmiller said. "He's got a great sense of humor, and he's very personable. He's one of the most down-to-earth [college] presidents I've met."

Kayleigh Karutis covers Gloversville news. She can be reached at gloversville@leaderherald.com

 
 

 

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