Portsmouth resident Ross Gittell is taking the reins of the Community College System of New Hampshire at what he and others describe as a critical time for the system.
The community college system trustees announced the appointment of Gittell, a distinguished professor at the University of New Hampshire's Whittemore School of Business and Economics, to the post of chancellor Monday. He will take over Feb. 1 for Portsmouth resident J. Bonnie Newman, who has served as chancellor on an interim basis since August.
"I am tremendously excited at the opportunity to lead this vital organization at a time when the role of community colleges has never been more important," Gittell said. "Our ability to provide affordable and accessible programs of high academic quality, with strong ties and relevance to business and industry, is essential to ensure a competitive New Hampshire economy and broad economic opportunity."
His appointment comes at a challenging time for higher education in New Hampshire, where legislators passed a budget this year that cut funding to the university system by 50 percent and to the community colleges by 20 percent.