It was announced over the summer that Dr. L. Michael McCloud would be the new Vice President of Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer at the college, filling the position left by Andy Anderson after his retirement in June 2016.
McCloud began his career in education as a teacher at North Kansas City High School before moving to Park Hill High School. McCloud then made his way into higher education at Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley as a professor. In his final five years at MCC, McCloud worked as an assistant dean and then main dean of instruction.
McCloud has since earned his master’s degree from Baker University and his Ph.D. from UMKC, but his own college experience started with Iowa State University. McCloud looks back upon his times at ISU fondly.
“I really enjoyed the professors [and] being connected to other people on campus,” McCloud said. “I had an opportunity to really kind of branch out and change the way I viewed my life because you got to see a lot of new and different people and live among them. It was a great time for me.”
One of McCloud’s specialties in his studies was medieval history. His choice to study the subject stemmed from his longtime interest in science-fiction and fantasy. McCloud’s fascination with knighthood led to studying the church and other related subjects.
“Really throughout the years, what real knighthood was [and] what that looked liked continued to be more and more interesting to me so as I evolved specialties in mythology through religious studies and the church, the idea of what a knight was [and] how we perceive them versus what the real history was continued to interested me and it slowly morphed into a specialty.”
McCloud said his main goals in his time as an administrator here will be building a sense of stability, building trust and helping make the college’s academics the best they can be. McCloud noted however that he believes the college is lacking one firm direction.
“I think community colleges often try to be everything to everyone and I think that is in some ways a failing because you never really polish up the things you do best and academics is one of the things that Johnson County is known for. I want to make sure that we put a fine point on that and that we become a beacon for academics in the Midwest.”