Mark James, Metropolitan Community College
Mark James was appointed chancellor of Metropolitan Community College (MCC) in 2010 by a six-person board of trustees. The Board of Trustees primarily serves the Missouri side of the Greater Kansas City area: Clay, Platte, Jackson and Cass counties. A trustee is elected from each of six sub districts within the Metropolitan Community College District. Trustees are elected to serve staggered six-year terms.
In his role as chancellor, Mark James has worked to improve the College's security, culture, and public image through a variety of measures.
In an effort to promote diversity and inclusion among employees and students, Chancellor James has placed a focus on creating an environment that demonstrates civility, equity and mutual respect of each person. He has worked to provide an organizational climate where students and employees feel welcomed as integral parts of the MCC community Under his leadership, Mark James created a presidents' diversity and inclusion commission on all five MCC campuses and established the position of executive director of inclusion and engagement. The MCC leadership team has expanded to include varied cultures, values, and beliefs. Programming and training is being offered to MCC employees and students to further provide the MCC community with skills to operate in a multicultural environment.
In 2010, MCC was facing unprecedented financial challenges as the nation was experiencing the Great Recession. The College was in danger of exhausting cash reserves by 2015 and Chancellor Mark James successfully steered MCC through the difficulties by instituting zero-based budgeting, restructuring debt and benefit options, and streamlining operations on all five campuses, while maintaining a promise to not lay off employees.
He has also led branding initiatives such as the College's community and public outreach and revitalized the MCC Foundation Board of Directors by engaging Kansas City business and industry leaders to support and promote the community college. James has led efforts to transform MCC from being, “the best kept secret in Kansas City” to a highly visible college synonymous with quality, innovation and entrepreneurism. He has used the College’s rich history to crescendo credibility, awareness and support. Those efforts combined with the College’s strategic partnership with the World Champion Royals have brought the MCC brand into the homes and businesses of millions of Greater Kansas City residents.
In terms of safety, he implemented a mobile emergency notification system that sends text messages and emails to students. He also launched a campus police department supported by a dispatch center that is open 24-7. He has also overseen initiatives to help students and employees. For example, MCC now provides some mental health services including evaluations and testing, assessments, follow-up visits and therapy sessions in specific situations to assist students and employees.
Prior to joining MCC in 2009, Mark James built a career as a public servant that included nine years with the Missouri State Highway Patrol, four years as the director of the Missouri Department of Public Safety, and 20 years with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). He also co-owned Kearney Fitness Center from 2003 to 2007. The recipient of undergraduate degrees from both the University of Central Missouri (UCM) and University of Missouri-Columbia completing undergraduate studies.