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Harford Community College President Dianna Phillips resigns

Dianna G. Phillips has resigned as president of Harford Community College effective Monday, the Rev. Cordell E. Hunter Sr., the chair of the college’s Board of Trustees, announced.

Jacqueline Jackson will serve as the interim president and a national search will be conducted to find the next president of HCC, according to a news release from the college.

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“The Board sincerely thanks Dr. Phillips for her contributions to the College over the past three and a half years,” Hunter said in a prepared statement. “During her tenure, Dr. Phillips facilitated an inclusive strategic planning process, strengthened the College’s partnership with Harford County Public Schools, and fostered an optimal learning experience for students. We wish Dr. Phillips well in her future endeavors.”

Phillips became the college’s ninth president in 2016. Her salary was $210,000 at the time of her resignation, college officials confirmed in an email.

Hunter added that the college’s work will continue uninterrupted, using its strategic plan as a roadmap.

“We have the utmost confidence in the faculty, staff, and administrators of HCC, and will continue to support them as they work to secure the best possible future for our students, the College, and all of Harford County,” he said.

Phillips resignation comes about a month after three senior level administrators at Harford Community College were fired for “improper use” of their official email accounts, speculating about the employment status of other college employees.

In a Jan. 9 statement announcing the three administrators no longer worked at the college, Phillips said she learned of the incident Jan. 3 and immediately launched an investigation.

It’s unclear if Phillips’ resignation was related to the investigation and dismissal of the three senior administrators.

Jacqueline Jackson, who has worked at Harford Community College since 2017, has been named the interim president of the college after the resignation of Dianna Phillips was announced Monday.
Jacqueline Jackson, who has worked at Harford Community College since 2017, has been named the interim president of the college after the resignation of Dianna Phillips was announced Monday. (Robin Sommer/MidAtlantic Photographic LLC)

Jackson joined Harford Community College in 2017 with a variety of experience in strategic management issues, according to a bio from the college. She has been serving as HCC’s vice president for student affairs and institutional effectiveness; her salary in that role was $158,599.

Discussions are still taking place about additional compensation for Jackson during her role as interim president, Nancy Dysard, a spokeswoman for the college, said in an email.

Jennie Towner, the associate vice president for student development, will fill in Jackson’s previous role on an interim basis.

Jackson has worked to improve the onboarding experience for new students and develop more effective academic advising models that promote faculty engagement, has extensive experience in retention and completion planning, and Title IX policy, per the release.

In 2017, she was the recipient of the Innovation of the Year award from the League for Innovation in the Community College for her work on a team of colleagues that addressed achievement gaps in highly enrolled courses at Anne Arundel Community College.

Jackson earned her PhD with urban education with a concentration in higher education administration from Old Dominion University; she also holds master’s in college student personnel and counseling, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology, both from Western Illinois University.

Prior to coming to HCC, Jackson was a visiting assistant professor at George Washington University, where she taught full-time in the graduate program for higher education administration.

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She was also the founding Chief Academic Officer at the University of the District of Columbia Community College, and spent nearly eight years working for several national higher education associations in Washington, D.C.

Originally from Monmouth, Illinois, Jackson now resides in Havre de Grace with her husband Maurice.

The Board of Trustees is scheduled to meet Tuesday in Edgewood Hall.

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