Seattle Colleges Chancellor Shouan Pan announced Thursday that he will leave his post Aug. 1, two years before his contract is up in 2024.
The college system’s board of trustees voted Thursday to terminate the contract early in agreement with Pan, who shared in March that he’d begun seeking jobs elsewhere. He was a finalist to lead Portland Community College this spring but was not selected.
“Given his professional goals and the impending close of the academic year, we collectively felt the time was right for the change,” the trustees wrote in an email to Seattle Colleges staff and faculty Thursday.
Pan has been the college system’s chancellor since summer 2016. As chancellor, Pan oversees the system’s three college campuses — North Seattle, Seattle Central and South Seattle. In addition, each campus has its own president. Before becoming chancellor of Seattle Colleges, Pan led Mesa Community College in Arizona.
“I have assured the Board that I will continue to work hard through my remaining time as chancellor to help Seattle Colleges advance its crucial work to reinforce its stability and sustainability,” Pan wrote to the advisory council via email, calling his time in the role challenging but rewarding.
His announced departure comes at a time of major turmoil for the Seattle Colleges system, as the set of three schools faces a multimillion-dollar budget shortfall. Efforts to close that gap have come under fire recently, after it was suggested four popular trades and technical programs may be shut down. The school recently announced those programs will continue to enroll new students at least through the next fiscal year, but signaled they could be back on the chopping block in the near future if there are not major changes.
Pan’s exit is one in a series of leadership changes across the state’s community and technical colleges. Fourteen other colleges are searching for new leaders this year, according to the trustees’ email, and the leader of the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, Jan Yoshiwara, is retiring this summer.
“You know this is a demanding role. Your engagement and insight will enhance the next chancellor’s success, as it has my own,” Pan wrote.
After Pan’s departure, an acting chancellor will take over and a committee will form to find an interim replacement.