By Mayra Castro

Staff Writer

LBCC Vice President of Academic Affairs Gaither Loewenstein is among three finalists being considered by the University of New Mexico Gallup to become the branch campus’ new executive director.

Loewenstein said he is not currently engaged in a widespread job search and is happy with his position at LBCC.

“College administrators see opportunities at other colleges that might appeal to them and apply for the position as a means of learning more about the prospective opening. The course of going through the interview process can be a good learning opportunity,” he said, adding, “My wife and I have talked off and on over the years about the possibility of finishing my career in the southwest since the costs of living are quite low and the dry climate is good for my arthritis.”

President Eloy Oakley said he was aware of Loewenstein’s interest in UNM and approved his participation in the process for the reasons he cited. Oakley said, “I encourage all administrators to consider positions where they may fulfill either career or geographic desires.”

Loewenstein said, “I had a nice visit with the folks at the Gallup Campus and the administrative team at the University in Albuquerque and was able to share some of what I have learned with my deans team at Long Beach. Although it is unlikely that there will be an appropriate fit for me with regard to this particular opportunity, I found the experience itself to be worthwhile.”

As LBCC’s vice president of academic affairs, Lowenstein has served as the chief instructional officer of the college, while overseeing the college’s academic programs and deans.

Loewenstein resigned as president of Modesto Junior College in May of 2011 after unpopular employee reductions at the college and the discovery of controversial song lyrics that he had written and posted on his personal website.

Controversy followed him as he took his new position at LBCC in March of 2012, amid the college dealing with mid-year budget cuts, resulting in staffing reductions and eventually the discontinuance of 11 programs.

While 11 programs were discontinued, diagnostic medical imaging also was recommended to be cut but was granted immunity at the last minute.

William Stubblefield, 33, a diagnostic medical imaging major, said he would qualify to apply to the digital medical imaging program at LBCC in five weeks, but with reports among employees that the program is on the chopping block again, he is afraid he will not be able to continue at the college. He said, “If I would to have to take prerequisite and general eds at another college to get into their program, I would be wasting my time and money.”