SOUTH BEND -- Anne E. Huot says she knows the challenges faced by first-generation college students, because she was one herself.
After growing up in Manchester, N.H., she and her six siblings were the first in their family to attend college.
"I had a really good adviser," said Huot, one of four finalists for the position of next chancellor at Indiana University South Bend. First-generation college students may not have the tools or family resources to ask for help, she said. "The institution has to find a way to bridge that," she said.
Her comments came Wednesday night at a meet-and-greet session on campus for the public that drew eight participants.
Huot since 2007 has served as provost and vice president of academic affairs at The College at Brockport, State University of New York, near Rochester, N.Y. It's a campus with 8,300 students, about 2,900 of whom live on campus.
She lived in a student dormitory during her first year at Brockport, an experience she said greatly helped her become part of the campus community.
Huot said she's actively worked to build relationships between campus and the Brockport community, and would do the same in South Bend.
In response to questions, Huot said a top priority would be interacting with employees and students, and getting to know people as soon as she started on the job.
"It would be hard for me to lead if I wasn't engaged with the people," she said. "I would spend a lot of time early on getting to know people."
Several people suggested IUSB needs to increase its profile in the community. A male student said more area residents would attend IUSB if they knew more about it.
Huot was trained as a scientist, earning a bachelor's degree in medical technology at the University of New Hampshire, and a master's in medical technology and doctoral degree in cell and molecular biology at the University of Vermont.
She served in several roles for the SUNY system administration from 2003 to 2007, including three years as executive vice provost and head of the office of academic affairs. She also served in leadership roles at the University of Vermont from 1990 to 2003, including as executive dean of the graduate college.
IUSB Chancellor Una Mae Reck will retire in June, as will Alfred Guillaume, the executive vice chancellor for academic affairs.
Huot said she considers it fortunate that the new chancellor will have the task of selecting the next executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, which is the chief academic officer. "The opportunity to hire that particular position is, frankly, what makes it an attractive job," she said.
Huot describes herself as a happy, optimistic person, but also driven. "If this opportunity works out for me, I will give all of myself to really help the institution go to its next level of quality," she said.
She was the second finalist to visit campus. The other two candidates will visit next week: Elrie LaBrent "Brent" Chrite on Monday and Barbara C. Jones on Jan. 31. They each will meet with the public at 5:30 p.m. in The Grill on their respective visit days.
For more details on the finalists, see: www.southbendtribune.com/news/sbt-four-finalists-named-for-iusb-chancellors-job-20130118,0,1116034.story.
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Staff writer Margaret Fosmoe: