By Ray Castellano
Black Hawk College will transition into a new era when Doctor Bettie Truitt retires from her position as the college’s president on January 1st, 2018.
Truitt was hired as a mathematics instructor two weeks prior to completing her Master’s Degree at Iowa State University in 1989. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Iowa while teaching full time at Black Hawk College in 1998. She would go on to work with the Higher Learning Commission, after six years of working on her Ph.D., while continuing her career in an administrative position. She was named intern president at Black Hawk College in 2014. She became the sixteenth President of Black Hawk College the following year.
As President, Truitt is responsible for tasks that create forward thinking for the college, financial planning, maintaining accreditation, and personnel decisions. Growth has taken place on the Quad City campus in the form of the Gold Design Award winning Health Services Center. The Veterinary Sciences Center on East Campus has created career opportunities for students. Maximization of financial resources, whether through tuition or state and federal funding, have been instrumental in the growth of Black Hawk College. “I don’t take credit for anything singularly,” she stated. “I will remember the dedication of the employee community here to make the best experience possible for our students.”
The expansion of educational resources that has taken place over the last three years has led to the achievement of Truitt’s goals for the students of Black Hawk College. Through this expansion, “opportunities to help” have been given to students in the form of furthering education, better employment prospects, aiding in pursuing a four-year degree, and helping with the cost of college.
Students who are parents are also given the opportunity to set a positive example for their children. “Our focus,” she said, “has always been on creating those spaces to help students learn and that our employees feel safe, that our students feel safe, that everybody’s comfortable and that we have good, flexible learning spaces to help improve the teaching and learning of what happens at Black Hawk College.”
Truitt is passionate about what her team has built at Black Hawk College. “We’re always growing. We’re always having to learn ourselves and that’s what makes Black Hawk such a great place, so then we make it a better place for students to come and learn,” she reflected. When she retires, she plans on spending time with her husband and traveling to Belgium to spend time with her parents. She is proud of what Black Hawk College is and looks forward to retirement, knowing that the college that she has been a part of since 1989 has strengthened its’ ability to create opportunities for student success.
The college finds itself on the cusp of a new era as this fall semester winds down. Truitt hopes to meet the individual selected in the hiring process and aid that person in transition. The Board of Trustees oversees the hiring process of the next President of Black Hawk College.