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The head of an U.S.-run two-year college in Panama has been recommended to serve as executive dean of Carroll Community College.

Joseph F. Shields, a former Maryland resident and a former dean of continuing education at Prince George's Community College, was chosen because of his broad experience in education, said Barbara Charnock, chair of CCC's advisory board and a member of a search committee.

"He was highly recommended," Charnock said. "We chose him for onemajor reason. We thought he was probably the most broad- based (candidate). He will be a good ambassador for the college."

Frederick J. Walsh, president of Catonsville Community College, CCC's parent institution, has recommended Shields' appointment to the Baltimore County Community Colleges board of trustees.

The board is expected to vote on the recommendation at its meeting Wednesday. If the recommendation is approved, as expected, Shields will assume the position, which pays between $47,129 and $66,000 annually, July 8, Charnock said.

Shields, 57, was selected after a national search that drew more than 80 candidates. The Pennsylvania native has been executive officer -- a position similar to a community college president -- of Panama Canal College since 1989.

He will succeed former CCC Executive Director Elizabeth D. Blake, who resigned last fall. Her position was subsequently upgraded by the board of trustees to reflect the college's growing institutional maturity.

"Shields is a person who will leadus in independence," Charnock said. "He's worked in Maryland. He knows Maryland. He's aware of the political issues in Maryland and how education and politics are mingled."

Shields, in a telephone interview from Panama, said the opportunity to help establish CCC as an independent college was one of the factors that attracted him to the position. He left Prince George's Community College in 1989 for Panama for similar reasons.

"The opportunity in Panama was to establish anindependent Pan-American university," said Shields, a former high school principal and football coach. "We've made a lot of progress on that."

Operated by the Department of Defense, the Panama college isone of the oldest two-year institutions at an American military base, Shields said. During his three-year tenure, he has overseen the reorganization of the college's board of trustees, expansion of courses and increased contact with the military and business communities.

Shields said a Pan-American university should begin operation as a private institution in 1995, replacing the community college, which will cease to exist.

Prior to his tenure at Prince George's CommunityCollege, Shields served in several positions at the University of Maryland. He earned a doctorate in educational administration from the University of Maryland and a master's degree in education from West Chester State College in West Chester, Pa.

Robert Hardwick, executive assistant to the president at Prince George's Community College, described Shields as an "absolutely remarkable man" and said he considered CCC "very fortunate" to have him.

"He's a very gentle person,yet a very strong person," said Hardwick, who has known Shields for about 25 years. "He cares a great deal about the institution he's employed with and the community he lives in."

Shields said he also was attracted to the CCC post because it presented an opportunity to return home. He and his wife, Cathryn, lived in Maryland 24 years before they moved to Panama. The couple have two grown children who live in Prince George's County.

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