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Louisiana Community College Leader to Return to the Classroom

by Scott Dyer

BATON ROUGE, La.

Dr. Walter G. Bumphus, who has served as president of Louisiana’s fledgling Community and Technical College System for the past five years, is stepping down to accept a teaching job at the University of Texas at Austin.

Bumphus guided the seven-year-old Louisiana system through the devastation caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita last year, but says the system has recovered to the point that his Jan. 15, 2007, departure should cause minimal disruption.

In all, 21,305 students, or about 40 percent of the LCTCS total enrollment, were displaced by Hurricane Katrina last year.

“There’s no way that I could have left right after Katrina, but I believe that things are on an upswing in the system and are back to some degree of normalcy in the New Orleans area,” he says.

Bumphus announced Aug. 4 that he has accepted a tenured professorship at UT’s Department of Educational Administration, with an endowed chair in the community college leadership program.

“It’s really a dream job. I didn’t seek it. As a matter of fact, I wasn’t seeking any job. They aggressively recruited me,” says Bumphus, who earned his doctorate at UT.

LCTCS was created in 1999, and Bumphus was hired a year later as chancellor of Baton Rouge Community College, which was rocked by financial irregularities in its first year.

Bumphus was promoted to system president two years later, after straightening out BRCC’s financial mess and establishing it as one of the fastest-growing two-year colleges in the nation.

During his five years as president, the system has developed new campuses at BRCC, Bossier City Community College, Louisiana Delta Community College and South Louisiana Community College.

Bumphus has also made strides in promoting diversity in major leadership posts.

When he first came to LCTCS, all but one of its seven chancellors were White males. Under Bumphus’ guidance, the system’s board has hired three female chancellors, two of whom are Black. In addition, a Black man, Dr. Alex Johnson, was hired as chancellor of New Orleans’ Delgado Community College.

Scott Dyer

 

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