A closer look at the Presidential candidates
by Matthew Fular | Editor-in-Chief
Dr. Sherry Zylka could be on her way to a homecoming of sorts. Placing in the top three candidates for the bid to be Schoolcraft College’s next President, Dr. Zylka may end up where her education first began.
Dr. Zylka is among the final three candidates looking to fill the role that Dr. Conway Jeffress has filled for the past four decades.
Dr. Zylka started her education at Schoolcraft College. Before she left Schoolcraft, she earned an Associate in Arts: Transfer Curriculum, and an Associate in Science: Natural Science Major. She then transferred to the University of Michigan Ann Arbor, where she obtained her Bachelor of Science as a Biology Major. By 1990, Dr. Zylka would complete her Master of Arts as Education Administration Major. In 2013, she would complete her doctorate at the University of Texas at Austin, earning herself a Doctorate of Education in Higher Education Administration in their community college leadership program.
Dr. Zylka has an extensive history working inside institutions of higher learning. Starting in 1979, she worked at Schoolcraft College in a multitude of positions of increasing levels of responsibility. She held positions in the Cashier’s Office, Purchasing, and Student Services Departments and served in those various positions until 1999.
Zylka carried on working at Schoolcraft and served the college as Associate Dean for Continuing Education and Workforce Development. She would serve in this role for a decade and accomplish a multitude of things for the college and community. For example, she managed a federal grant that offered STEM career exploration programs to middle school girls and underserved communities. This program would go on to win an Exemplary Program Award from the National Council of Continuing Education and Training.
Staying at Schoolcraft, Zylka switched roles again in 2009 and became the Dean of College Centers and Workforce Development and Continuing Education. In this role, she managed all aspects of operations at the Radcliff campus for both academic credit and non-credit courses. She was also responsible for all aspects of continuing education and workforce development at the main campus too. She accomplished much in this position before she moved on to work as an Intern at the American Association of Community Colleges in D.C. for nearly a year.
Returning to Michigan, Zylka became a Provost for Wayne County Community College District (WCCC). At WCCC, Zylka sought out and acquired grant funding, philanthropic sponsorships, and other alternatives revenue sources. Working with campus Presidents and being involved with community college engagement programs, Zylka served in a versatile role for the district.
Presently, Dr. Zylka serves as the President and CEO of Big Sandy Community and Technical College down in Kentucky. She has served there since 2017 and has helped the college and its students develop.
Dr. Sherry Zulka has served in a multitude of roles in her career. She has been a presenter at local, national and international conferences and has served on numerous boards and committees throughout her time in higher education. A few items worthy of note include her presentation “Workers in Transition…How Community Colleges Can Best Serve Their Needs” at the Michigan Occupational Deans Administrative Council Traverse City, MI in 2015.
She served on the 21st Century Workforce Initiative Steering Team in 2009 until 2011. Currently, she is a member of the American Association of Community Colleges Commission for Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity. The items listed only scratch the surface of what she has accomplished for her students and the colleges where she has served.
For more information regarding Dr. Sherry Zylka, please use the following link: schoolcraft.edu/presidential-search/dr-sherry-zylka
Your voice matters
All three candidates are scheduled to hold “Meet the Candidate” interviews open to community members, students, faculty and staff as a way to interact with and offer their comments on the college’s next president. Each “Meet the Candidate” session will be via video conference on the Zoom platform with Dr. Zylka’s is scheduled to take place Friday, June 26 from 3:45 to 4:30 p.m. If you would like to attend you can dial in at 881 3306 1356 using the password “Zylka” to join or use the provided link: us02web.zoom.us/j/88133061356?pwd=ZE52ZGlIY3lhVWIwTWxkNFF1amhEUT09.
The public also will have the opportunity to complete a survey regarding observations about the candidates’ strengths and concerns. The information will be compiled and submitted to Schoolcraft College’s Board of Trustees for their review before choosing the next President. If you would like to submit comments, please use the following link: conta.cc/3dWvT7j.