By Mark Tullis | Posted - Apr 18th, 2024





Salt Lake Community College Search Committee Names Three Presidential Finalists

April 18, 2024, Salt Lake City, Utah

After an extensive national search, the Salt Lake Community College Presidential Search Committee has recommended three finalists to the Utah Board of Higher Education for the position of president: Joshua D. Baker, Ph.D.; Dean G. McCurdy, Ph.D.; and Gregory F. Peterson, Ed.D.

As part of its delegated duties and responsibilities, the Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) Board of Trustees named an 11-member committee in December 2023 to conduct a national search for the next president of SLCC in connection with Dr. Deneece Huftalin's retirement announcement in November 2023. The committee is composed of representatives from the Utah Board of Higher Education and SLCC trustees, faculty, staff, students, administration, and alumni as well as a community representative, Ross Romero, CEO of Inclusion Strategies and former Utah State Senator

The committee, co-chaired by Brady Southwick, chair of SLCC’s Board of Trustees, and Sharon Eubank, Utah Board of Higher Education member, spent several months soliciting input through public meetings and in-person interviews and conducted research to select finalists qualified to fill the president's role according to statutory criteria. 

“Our committee diligently evaluated an incredibly strong and talented applicant pool, and the three finalists each stood out as exceptional based on their community college leadership experience,” said Brady Southwick, chair of the SLCC Board of Trustees. “We are excited for the positive impact the next president will make at SLCC and in the Utah System of Higher Education.”

Applicants are evaluated for many qualities, including their academic credentials, leadership experience, community engagement and vision for the institution they hope to lead. Both internal and external candidates were considered. This search, as well as others in the past, was conducted on a confidential basis until finalists were selected.

The Utah Board of Higher Education will interview the following finalists (listed here in alphabetical order):

Joshua D. Baker, Ph.D., has more than eleven years of leadership experience in higher education and nearly two decades of experience in community colleges. He currently serves as president of Mountwest Community and Technical College in Huntington, West Virginia. Dr. Baker’s past roles include vice president of instruction at Pikes Peak Community College in Colorado and academic and campus dean at Bates Technical College in Tacoma, Washington. He has also held roles as assistant academic dean, faculty, coordinator, program manager and more. Dr. Baker holds a Ph.D. in Community College Leadership and an M.S. and a B.A. from Brigham Young University and is an alum of the Aspen Presidential Fellowship. He and his wife, Toni, have three children, two of whom are in college. They are avid hikers and enjoy exploring our amazing national parks.

Dean G. McCurdy, Ph.D., currently serves as senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at Ivy Tech Community College, the largest singly-accredited, comprehensive community college in the U.S. In this role, he has led statewide and campus teams across Indiana to increase student enrollment, retention and completions in partnership with state agencies, universities and employers. Before serving in a statewide role, Dr. McCurdy served as chancellor for Ivy Tech’s Kokomo Service Area, overseeing accomplishments that included the transformation of a campus and programs to meet workforce needs. Earlier in his career, he served as associate vice president at Kalamazoo Valley Community College in Michigan, where he founded and led a new workforce-focused campus and programs in partnership with community health organizations. Dr. McCurdy brings nearly two decades of additional experience from roles including dean, department chair, program director and award-winning faculty member. A first-generation college graduate, Dr. McCurdy holds a bachelor’s degree with honors in biology from Acadia University in Nova Scotia and a doctoral degree in biology from Carleton University in Ontario.

Gregory F. Peterson, Ed.D., has over 15 years of executive leadership experience in community colleges and has served as president at Chandler-Gilbert Community College since 2018. He has led key efforts in student learning and success, such as leading large-scale system strategies, implementing innovative transfer and workforce programs, launching the first community college Artificial Intelligence program in the nation and even presenting multiple times at the White House. Dr. Peterson holds a doctorate in educational administration from the University of Texas at Austin; a master’s in postsecondary education from Portland State University; and a bachelor’s in English from Brigham Young University. Passionate about community college access and success, he's engaged in many local and national organizations, including serving on the Governing Board of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU). As a first-generation community college student, Dr. Greg Peterson has a passion and commitment to the community college mission of access and success for all students. 

Next steps:

The finalists will be on SLCC’s Taylorsville Redwood campus on Wednesday, April 24, 2024, to meet with groups representing faculty, staff, students, trustees and administration. Each finalist will participate in a public forum on the afternoon of April 24, where attendees from SLCC’s community and the general public will have the opportunity to ask questions of the candidates.

Public forum schedule:

Salt Lake Community College: Taylorsville Redwood Campus, Rampton Technology Building (Room TB104), 4600 S Redwood Road, SLC, UT

  • 1:00-1:45 p.m. – Joshua D. Baker
  • 2:00-2:45 p.m. – Gregory F. Peterson
  • 3:00-3:45 p.m. – Dean G. McCurdy

Members of the campus community and public are welcome to attend in person or watch these sessions online. The forums will provide an opportunity for individuals to pose questions to the candidates. Questions can also be submitted ahead of time through an online form for facilitators to consider presenting to each candidate. All members of the campus community and the public are also encouraged to submit feedback via an anonymous comment online or by email at

For submission instructions, deadlines and to see information on the public forums and additional details on the three finalists, visit


On Friday, April 26, 2024, the Utah Board of Higher Education will interview each finalist in a closed session. The Board may convene a public meeting at Salt Lake Community College: Taylorsville Redwood Campus in the Student Center (Oak Room) at 4 p.m. that day to select the president. However, it may convene at another time, in which case a meeting will be announced at a later date.

Mark Tullis
About the Author

Mark Tullis - Mark is Co-founder and Editor of TechBuzz News. Born and raised in Ogden, Utah, Mark attended Weber State, Brigham Young, and Tufts Universities. He has been involved in tech, media, publishing and education since the 1980s. He enjoys spending time with his family, hiking, and playing the saxophone.



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