McDonald, who has been the vice president of economic development for the college since 1995, will serve as interim president after current President Craig McDaniel leaves his post to become assistant commissioner for the Technical College System of Georgia’s International Center in Atlanta.
McDonald said in an email issued to GNTC staff and students that McDaniel would use his experiences working at GNTC to influence and improve the Technical College System of Georgia.
“Commissioner Ron Jackson has asked Dr. McDaniel to use his expertise and vision to assist the Technical College System of Georgia to develop a methodology for our system of technical colleges to assist colleges and communities in other countries to enjoy the benefits of world class technical education,” he wrote. “This is a great opportunity for Dr. McDaniel and I am sure his new position will offer many challenges leading to a new level of success for our system of technical colleges.”
McDonald said his first order of business as interim president will be hashing out the college’s budget in the face of heavy funding cuts.
“We will immediately start planning for next year’s budget situation … we’re waiting to see what our state agency budget will be for next year,” he said. “We’re anticipating $1.4 million or so in budget cuts next year for our school.”
Though the cuts seem devastating, McDonald said he hopes all GNTC programs will continue.
He said there may be some exciting things on the horizon for the future of GNTC, including expanding the college.
“We have been working with the county commissioners in Catoosa County,” McDonald said. “We have some money appropriated to build a campus there. We hope that we are very close to an agreement to purchase the land and construct that campus in the near future.”
McDonald said GNTC’s mission hadn’t changed in all his years working for the college.
“Our sole mission is workforce development,” he said. “We help students prepare themselves for career development and possibly change careers if they feel that’s what they need to do. That’s very rewarding to work with all our students and our companies and other types of employers.”
Having worked closely with chambers of commerce throughout the college’s nine-county area, McDonald said he’s very business-focused and would continue to use that fame of mind during his interim presidency.
McDonald said GNTC would continue to advise, teach and challenge students to seek a successful career path for themselves.
“Everyone’s goal that comes here is to get a better job,” McDonald said. “It’s a little different than your traditional four-year college. Our students are very job and career focused in improving their situation for their lives.”