Dr. Warren Nichols was named College of the Mainland’s president on Jan. 30, 2017. He assumed his duties on Feb. 13.
Partnering with the community, staff and students is a priority, Nichols said. As part of this initiative, Nichols paid a get acquainted visit to the Education and Workforce Development Committee of the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership in late April.
"We have a great faculty, a great staff, and people’s hearts are in the right place,” stated Nichols. "I’m extremely interested in the CTE (career and technical education) component of our college. College of the Mainland was the first to have a process technology program. Our graduates, after 18-24 months, are making over $73,000 per year base salary in the plants. Our nurses have one of the highest first-time pass rates in the area. We’re very proud of what we do, but I don’t think we do enough.
"Our vision, our mission moving forward is to keep doing what we’re doing well and do it better. We really want to partner with our Rotaries, our chambers of commerce, our economic development units. When you’re trying to recruit new businesses, new industries, bring us to the table so that we can help make sure that when the employers are ready to be here that we have the qualified workforce,” Nichols stated.
He also pointed out that COM is a 50-year-old institution with many original buildings. To date there have been two failed bond referendums. Part of his job, as "the new kid on the block,” is make sure that the college will be successful when moving forward with another referendum.
Texas City is the home base for COM; however, Nichols wants to expand to "make sure that the full, comprehensive offerings are available in the north part of COM’s service area,” as well. One of the difficulties COM faces is that part of that service area is not within the college’s taxing district. He is currently working with area mayors and business partners to develop strategies on how to extend the college’s offerings as part of the college’s new five-year strategic plan.
Nichols added, "We are heavily invested in dual credit with our ISDs, but, again, we know that we need to do more with the workforce programs, the CTE. Honestly, that’s where we really ought to be concentrating the majority of our time and our effort in dual enrollment and dual credit. If you capture that workforce student who is interested in workforce programs rather than a university degree, those students come to us and stay with us. It’s a win-win-win all the way around.”
Nichols concluded his remarks saying, "Bottom line, we’re here to partner with you. We want to be a good community partner. We want to make sure that we are serving the needs of everyone, not just those who are closer to the main campus.
"Part of the reason I’m here, not only here with you in this meeting but with the college, is to make sure that you are getting everything that you need from us. Whether it’s working with our community partners to create internships or working with our ISDs on even greater ways to do business, we want to do that.”
A native of Fort Worth, Nichols is a former police officer who holds a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Houston. He graduated with his master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the University of Texas at Arlington.
Dr. Warren Nichols
College of the Mainland