The Governing Board of the Maricopa Community Colleges has approved the appointment of Dr. Shari L. Olson to be President of South Mountain College (SMCC). The appointment comes after a national search that surfaced four strong finalists.
“Dr. Olson comes to us with a strong record of achievement and community college leadership,” said Chancellor Rufus Glasper, who recommended Dr. Olson to the Board. “I believe she will have an immediate positive impact both on the college and the growing communities it serves.” She will begin work at the college July 1, 2011.
Dr. Olson comes to SMCC from Anoka Technical College, Anoka, MN, where she was appointed Interim President in June 2010. Prior to her appointment, she worked as a system administrator for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in the Office of the Chancellor, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities and served on the education faculty at Bemidji State University, Bemidji, MN. She earlier served as President of Eastern Wyoming College, Torrington, WY.
From 1995-2007, Dr. Olson served in various leadership roles at Northland Community and Technical College, a multi-campus college in East Grand Forks and Thief River Falls, MN.
Dr. Olson also served as a faculty member at United Tribes Technical College, Bismarck, ND. While there, she developed an associate degree program in Early Childhood Education and completed her master’s degree at North Dakota State University with research on learning styles of adult students. Dr. Olson is a first generation college student and earned her Bachelor’s Degree, with honors, at the same institution. She earned her doctorate in Higher Education Leadership at the University of North Dakota.
Dr. Olson was selected to participate in the League for Innovation’s Executive Leadership Institute in Phoenix and the American Community College Trustees’ Leadership Academy, Washington, D.C. She also attended the National Institute for Leadership Development and Leaders for Change. She has received several awards, including the 2008 Exemplary International Leader Award from the Chair Academy and induction into Phi Kappa Phi and Phi Upsilon Omicron honor societies.