There are paintings of tall mast ships hanging on several walls in Steven Bishop’s office, a symbol of the OTC administrator’s new role.
Later this month, Bishop will take the helm of OTC’s academic ship as the fourth vice chancellor of academic affairs in the college’s history.
Bishop is replacing Shirley Lawler, who is retiring at the end of June, and also is turning the page to a new chapter in his career that began when he came to the college more than 20 years ago as an adjunct faculty member.
“I was in healthcare. I had no thought of going into education but OTC lost both healthcare instructors at the same time so I agreed to help out,” Bishop said.
In 2002, Bishop became dean of the allied health department and up until then continued to work weekends in hospitals.
“It was kind of hard to give up the medical career completely,” said Bishop, who also has been serving recently as interim dean of general education.
Bishop knows he is responsible for leading the college on a very important mission in the coming years and said he is ready to face the challenges.
“Completion rates are a national issue. A lot of students come in unprepared for college work but to fix that we can’t have a one-size-fits-all, cookie cutter approach. We have to tailor the approach for it to be effective for everyone,” he said.
If successful, Bishop said, the results “can have a positive effect on the community and other institutions in town because we are serving a niche that wasn’t being served before we got here.”
Bishop, 55, acknowledges that he is following some legendary academic leaders when he takes over. Having rubbed elbows with all of them has given Bishop some valuable insight.
Don Simmons, the first head of academics, taught Bishop the role of technical education and how it was just as important as general education.
Randy Humphrey, according to Bishop, stressed the importance of dealing with the details, while Lawler used her communication skills to show how much she cared for everyone she came in touch with.
Still, Bishop has his own leadership philosophy and he plans to use it when he takes over.
“I strongly believe in trusting those people to do what they do best. I want to give people the assistance they need to go do their job. Give them support and the tools they need to do a good job and you won’t be disappointed with the results,” Bishop said.
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