The time to leave came sooner than he expected.
John Bowman informed the Board of Governors of the College of New Caledonia (CNC) on Friday that he would be resigning as president to take on a similar position at North Island College (NIC).
“The current president is retiring,” Bowman said later, “and she had only been there for four years, so it was sooner than anyone expected.”
After 15 years with CNC, including the last seven as president, Bowman said, “The timing was right.”
“I’m thinking in terms of the next 10 or 15 years of my life and my work. College presidents have a ‘Best before’ date, and while I haven’t reached mine here yet, maybe I would in five years, and there may not be somewhere else to go then.”
He said there are a lot of similarities between CNC and NIC.
“We are already collaborating with them in a number of areas, and I’m happy about that because it will let me keep in touch with what’s happening here.”
As well, he said, both schools are working strongly on Aboriginal and international education, as well as applied research. Both also have a central campus (CNC in Prince George, NIC in Comox Valley) and a number of satellite campuses.
“There is a also a similar program mix,” Bowman said, “although they’re actually doing more with online education than we are.”
His resignation is effective July 31, a date board chair Bob Murray will make it tough to have someone in place.
“We will start the search real quickly,” he said during a break in Friday’s board meeting, “although we won’t start it until we officially receive his letter of resignation.”
While the announcement was made Friday, Murray knew about Bowman’s intentions a couple of weeks ago.
“John gave me a heads-up, asking if I could write a letter of reference for him. It’s a tough thing to do, because you want to talk about how great a job he did, but then you’re going to lose him.”
He said it will be hard to find someone to fill the position, and he suspects they won’t have anyone in the position until January.
“We can backfill for a while – we’ve got great people here – but the problem with backfilling for too long is the stress it puts on everybody.”
Bowman agreed with Murray that he was leaving CNC in a good position as a school.
“We’ve got great people here, and I’ll miss them, as well as not being able to see the completion of some of the great projects we have started.”