About Us

Candidate 4

Dr. Rick Pearce

Dr. Pearce currently serves as the Vice President for Learning and Student Success at Heartland Community College in Normal, Illinois. He has been in this position since 2012 and has overall responsibility for academic affairs, recruitment, admissions, financial aid, advising, career services, the library, counseling, TRiO, tutoring, disability services, the fitness center, childcare, faculty professional development, dual credit, student engagement, and two satellite centers. From 2009 to 2012, Dr. Pearce served as Vice President for Learning and Student Development at Illinois Valley Community College. Dr. Pearce has also served as senior staff with the Illinois Board of Higher Education and as a faculty member and administrator with Illinois State University and the University of Colorado at Denver’s International College in Beijing.
Dr. Pearce describes his leadership style as “collaborative”.  He explains: “I recognize that I have only one set of experiences and one perspective. But, by bringing together a group with shared interests, I bring to play the experiences and perspectives of others. Often, I still have to make the call. But I can do that confident that we’ve talked it through and have some consensus on next steps.”
Dr. Pearce cites as his favored accomplishment the creation of a running start program that allowed students to complete an Associate of Arts Degree while still in high school.  He also is credited with playing a central role in the recent revisions of Illinois’ Associate of Science Degree model, which will allow community college science students to complete their degree while remaining on track with their university counterparts.
Dr. Pearce has served as president of the Illinois Community College Chief Academic Officers and as a member of the Executive Committee of the Illinois Council on Continuing Higher Education. He is a member of the Illinois Board of Higher Education Academic Leadership Group, the Illinois Community College Chief Student Services Officers, the Next Step Partnership Council, the Illinois PARCC Implementation Team, the Finishing-Up Steering Committee, the Illinois Dual Credit Taskforce and the Illinois Articulation Initiative Implementation Advisory Council.
Dr. Pearce is a member the United Way of McLean County Collective Impact Council. He has also been active in the Coalition for Illinois High Schools, the Organization of Chinese Americans, the Great Plains LIFE Foundation Board of Directors, and the McLean County Unit 5 Citizens Advisory Council.
Dr. Pearce earned a Ph.D. in Educational Administration and Foundations from Illinois State University. He also holds a Master’s Degree in East Asian History, a Bachelor’s Degree in History and Social Science Education, and an Associate’s Degree in Secondary Education.

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