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FVCC President Appointed Board Chair of American Association of Community Colleges
Dr. Jane Karas is first Montanan to be elected board chair
Dr. Jane Karas, president of Flathead Valley Community College, talks about the affordable access to higher education during a Kalispell Chamber of Commerce luncheon in the Arts and Technology Building on campus. File photo by Lido Vizzutti | Flathead Beacon
 This summer Dr. Jane Karas, president of Flathead Valley Community College, will add yet another impressive title to her resume: Chairman of the board of directors for the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).

Karas is the first community college president from Montana to be selected as board chair and will serve a one-year term starting July 1.

AACC represents the nation’s almost 1,200 community colleges in Washington D.C., advocating for more resources and various policies to Congress and the White House.

For the past two years Karas has served on the executive committee of the 32-member board that she will now head. Karas also acted as the chair-elect of the board for the past year.

Upon assuming her role in Washington, Karas plans to shift attention to issues that she has already begun promoting here in Montana. These issues include “the importance of preparing globally knowledgeable students at every level; the need for vital and ongoing partnerships along the education continuum from K-12 to community colleges to universities and into careers; and the key role of community colleges in serving the growing health care needs of an aging U.S. population,” according to a press release from the college.

“I’m excited for the college to receive more visibility at the national level,” Karas said in a prepared statement. “This is also a great opportunity to be engaged at the forefront of community colleges as they continue to move into the future to better serve students.”

Karas has served as the president of FVCC for 12 years and before that worked as the vice president and dean of instruction and student services. Prior to joining the FVCC faculty, Karas worked for the Montana Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education as a gender equity coordinator and held several other positions there as well.

“Jane Karas brings an extraordinarily important perspective to policy discussion in the nation’s capital,” said AACC president and CEO Walter Bumphus, referring to the fact that Karas represents rural community colleges, a demographic often unheard in Washington.

“It is an honor to serve our nation’s community colleges and students … This year as AACC Board Chair, I will continue to expand the work that has been done by AACC to help our member colleges educate our citizens for the 21st century,” Karas said.
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