A Q&A with Neil Matkin, Collin College district president

Neil Matkin is approaching five years of serving as the Collin College district president.

Neil Matkin is approaching five years of serving as the Collin College district president.

In April, Neil Matkin will celebrate five years of serving as Collin College district president. The college was named in September as one of the best colleges to work for, according to a new survey by the “Great Colleges to Work For” program. Matkin’s experience in higher education includes serving as the executive vice president of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System. Before that, Matkin was the president of the Central Campus of San Jacinto College and served in a variety of administrative and staff roles across the country.

Why did you want to be district president of Collin College?


I got here, and I felt like there was something very special when I came to interview as a semifinalist. …  When I got called back for the finalists’ interview and went through two or three days of interviews, I got to meet the folks on the different campuses and… [there were] very different personalities at the different campuses. But I enjoyed it. I liked the interchange, and I liked the way the board felt.

What are some of the responsibilities that come with your job?


We look at our tax rates to work with the board to make sure that we’re fiscally sound and pursuing fiscal practices. The safety of our students, faculty and staff is a solid responsibility that I take very seriously. … Everything we do, whether it’s budget or policy, or looking at getting into the housing business, even, we need to ask the question, “What impact does this have on students? What impact does this have on student outcomes?” So I think my main job is to keep us focused on what we’re here to do.

What is your favorite part about working for Collin College?


My favorite part is the fact that you can do a lot of things for a living, but in this job you get to change people’s lives. It’s not just changing a person’s life for the day—if a person comes to us and is able to achieve educational goals that they wouldn’t otherwise achieve, and let’s say their salary … moves from point A to point B, it doesn’t just impact their life, it impacts their children’s lives and their [grandchildren’s] lives. I’m hard-pressed to find another job where you can get to do that.

What are some important topics to address in the near future?


We are starting our two new bachelor’s degrees in January: bachelor of science in nursing and bachelor of applied technology and cybersecurity. Those will start in January, and we’re authorized by the legislature to offer three bachelor’s degrees. So we’re working on figuring out what the third one should be. … And then, we’re in the process of building two brand new campuses—one in Wylie and one in Allen. … We’re in the process of renewing our master plan and our strategic plan, so we’ll do demographic studies.
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