The move comes following increased pressure from community leaders and college faculty members who expressed displeasure with McNutt’s role as president of the college.
Mark A. Heinrich, chancellor of the Alabama Community College System, announced in a press release that McNutt would step down from her position at Bevill State and be placed on immediate administrative leave until her retirement becomes effective July 1.
“Dr. McNutt has given her professional life to higher education, and I'm very grateful for her service to Bevill State and the Alabama community college system,” Heinrich said Tuesday. “I wish Dr. McNutt and her family the very best in her retirement.”
Heinrich said he will assume full administrative responsibilities for the day–to–day operations at Bevill State until an acting president is appointed.
“I am in no rush to appoint a new president,” he said. “During this interim period, I want to take the time necessary to listen to our administrators, instructional staff, students and community leaders as we seek to continue the storied legacy of this great institution. The selection of a new president must be thoughtfully considered, and I plan to be very thorough and deliberate in this process.”
Last week, college staff members who wished to remain anonymous said they had been in discussion with the regional representative for the Alabama Education Association in an attempt to solicit a vote of “no confidence” from the group regarding McNutt’s job performance.
Jasper Mayor Sonny Posey also expressed the need for a change in the administration at Bevill State.
“It’s time for a change, and I don’t mean in a month or two or three,” Posey said last week. “I mean an immediate change in the administration at Bevill State.”
Posey and the faculty members pointed to enrollment numbers that have dipped to approximately half of what they were in 2010.
In fall 2010, the Jasper campus of Bevill State had 1,016 students registered. At that same time, the Sumiton campus had 1,389 students registered. For the spring 2014 semester, Jasper has 566 students registered and Sumiton has 895.
On Tuesday, Posey said he was satisfied with McNutt’s decision to step down.
McNutt, meanwhile, released a statement Tuesday afternoon.
“I believe that every decision I have made as president has been for the good of the college, and this decision is, too. It is beneficial to me as well, as I will now be able to focus on spending more time with my family,” McNutt said.
Prior to coming to Bevill State, McNutt served as president of Technical College of the Lowcountry in Beaufort, S.C., as chief instructional officer at Nashville State Technical Community College, and as interim president at Northeast State Community College in Blountville, Tenn.
She has also taught at both the collegiate and secondary levels.
“My professional life has been spent in education and I am very gratified that Bevill State has been a part of it. I am proud of all that I have been able to accomplish for the college’s students, employees and communities. I am especially proud of the student successes which have gained a regional and national reputation since I came here. This includes the success of several outstanding technical and transfer students and the selection of many Bevill students as Community College Academic Team honorees.”
Bevill State Community College maintains campuses in Jasper, Fayette, Sumiton and Hamilton, and has an additional instructional site in Pickens County.
“Bevill State has been providing quality educational instruction and training programs in West Central Alabama for many years,” Heinrich said. “The communities who have welcomed and embraced our institution share a common goal to provide all of our students with the skills and knowledge to compete in a world economy. As Chancellor, I am committed to guiding this beloved college through this phase of its history and leading the effort to secure an exceptional leader in its next dynamic president.”