On Thursday, November 7, 2019, the Southwestern Michigan College Board of Trustees held a special meeting to approve the final contract of Dr. Joe Odenwald, incoming eighth president of SMC.
At the October 21 regular meeting, the Board-appointed compensation committee delivered binders to the full Board which included data from two national sources as well as all of Michigan’s other community colleges and a “boiler plate” draft contract constructed by the college’s attorney.
Chairman Thomas F. Jerdon noted, “Board members have spent three weeks reviewing the report provided by the president’s compensation committee with the goal of crafting a fair and competitive contract. Odenwald’s contract provides for a base salary of $166,550, as well as health care, retirement contributions and other fringe benefits common to presidents’ contracts. This salary and benefits package is lower than national averages and completely in line with the State data, as well as being commensurate with local community colleges, paying a little more than Glen Oaks Community College and a little less than Lake Michigan College.”
The 3.5-year contract starts January 1, 2020 and runs through June 30, 2023 to align with SMC’s fiscal year. During that time, Dr. Odenwald will be eligible for salary increases at the same rate as other employees at the college.
Dr. Odenwald has served as SMC’s Vice President of Student Services since 2017, coming to Dowagiac after working as Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs and Student Services at Louisiana State University College of Engineering. Previously, he held several positions at Mississippi College, including Associate Dean of Students and Director of Student Life while teaching graduate courses as a member of the Adjunct Faculty. Odenwald earned his Bachelor of Arts from Louisiana College, a Master of Science from Mississippi College and his Doctor of Education from The University of Southern Mississippi.
Odenwald replaces Dr. David Mathews, SMC’s longest-serving president at 18 years, who is retiring at the end of 2019 after 22 years with the college.