The announcement was made on Monday, but on Tuesday Dr. Kirk Lacy was introduced as the selection by Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian to lead Helena College as dean for at least the next 12 to 18 months. Christian is confident Lacey brings the right experience to the job.
“Doctor Lacy has been part of higher education in Montana or surrounding states for 20 some plus years,” Christian said. “We’ve worked closely with Dr. Lacy the past three years as a joint appointment between the commissioner’s office and the department of labor, where we’ve worked to synchronize workforce development with pipeline issues within higher education, making certain we’re educating students to fill workforce needs.”
Lacy has worked in all capacities of higher education and was previously at City College of Billings, MSU Billings and Chadron State in Nebraska.
“The thing I want to focus on right out of the gate is to spend a lot of time listening,” Lacy said. “Listening to the faculty, the staff, the students, so I can get a really good sense of where the college currently is, the direction the college needs to go to be able to then provide leadership to the common themes based on those listening sessions. To provide leadership necessary to help lead the college through the next extended period of time to make sure we’re fulfilling the important mission, vision and strategic planning goals that the college has set out.”
Lacy, who serves as Montana’s Director for Industry Driven Workforce Development Partnerships, comes to the job with a sense of purpose.
“I also believe that we need to stay focused on why we’re here and that’s to make sure we’re serving the vast array of learners that are out there,” Lacy said. “Everything from the high school students that are taking dual enrollment, to our students that are seeking career readiness preparation for a specific occupation, to the students who are seeking to transfer to one of the four year universities for higher levels of degree attainment.”
For now, the search for a permanent dean has been suspended. Lacy’s recommended appointment still must be approved by the Board of Regents.