The Southwestern Community College board of trustees approved Dr. Marjorie McGuire-Welch of Afton as its next college president during a special meeting, held electronically this morning at 8 a.m., in the board room of the college’s Administration Center. McGuire-Welch becomes the fifth president in Southwestern’s history.

McGuire-Welch, who worked at Southwestern from 1995 to 2006, replaces Dr. Barb Crittenden, who has been Southwestern’s president since 1996. The Southwestern board offered McGuire-Welch a two-year rolling contract at a salary of $175,000.

McGuire-Welch returns to Southwestern with more than 30 years of experience in education. Most recently, she was employed at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, where she has served as the vice president of academic affairs since June 2014.

Dr. Tony Cass, president of the Southwestern board of trustees, said the board is excited about the expertise McGuire-Welch will bring back to Southwestern.

“Once the board started deliberating, it was clear Marge was the ideal candidate for this position,” Cass said. “She has a well-versed resumé with years of experience in key leadership positions working for a variety of institutions, and yet she knows and understands Southwestern after teaching and working in college administration here for 11 years.”

McGuire-Welch began her professional career as a high school science teacher at East Monona Community School in 1987. She went on to teach high school science at Lenox Community School, 1988-94, and East Union Community School in Afton, 1994-95. She instructed college biology, chemistry, and physical science at Southwestern from 1995-2003. In April 1998, she was instrumental in establishing Southwestern’s Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) chapter and served as a chapter advisor for seven years. In 2004, McGuire-Welch moved into academic administration at Southwestern as the director of arts and sciences.

In 2006, McGuire-Welch was hired by Buena Vista University (BVU) as the Creston Center director. She was promoted to associate dean for graduate and professional studies in February 2007. Following her time at BVU, McGuire-Welch served as a dean for William Penn University until she moved into a vice president role in July 2012. She worked as the vice president for William Penn’s College for Working Adults until June 2014 when she was hired at Iowa Western.

McGuire-Welch said she looks forward to returning to the place where her career in higher education began.

“I am very excited to come full circle in my career and return ‘home’ to Southwestern Community College as their next president,” stated McGuire-Welch. “It is an incredible honor to be selected to succeed Dr. Barb Crittenden. I look forward to working with the college team and building upon the incredible work Dr. Crittenden has accomplished during her 24 years as president.”

McGuire-Welch earned a Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy studies from Iowa State University in May 2011. She holds a Master of Science degree in science education from the University of Iowa and a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology and chemistry from William Penn College.

Welch’s first day at the helm of the college will be June 28. Crittenden’s last day at Southwestern will be July 30.