BROOKSVILLE — Donna Burdzinski shifts around behind her desk in a big leather office chair bequeathed to her by her predecessor.
Just a bit too big for her, Burdzinski struggles to get comfortable.
"It feels a little bit different sitting in this chair," she says with a smile.
Different, but good.
After working with Pasco-Hernando Community College for roughly 14 years, and sitting across from the big chair on many occasions, Burdzinski was recently appointed to lead the college's North Campus in Brooksville, replacing former provost Stan Giannet, who was named provost of PHCC's new campus in Wesley Chapel.
"I am very excited," she said.
Burdzinski, 59, officially took over on July 1. She's studying up, learning the needs of the campus, meeting with community stakeholders and formulating goals.
"I need to know my job," she said. "I've talked to people, and they're like, 'Wow, you've got a lot of stuff on your desk.'
"I've been working," she said.
Burdzinski said she likes to keep busy.
"I'm not one for wanting to sit and just relax," she said.
In the early stages of her new job, she is trying to meet with every person on her staff. Internal feedback is of utmost importance to her.
"You can start down a path, but if you don't have the internal feedback it could be the wrong path," she said.
While Burdzinski is still learning the parameters of the position, she has identified one major area of concern: enrollment.
That makes sense, given her previous role as PHCC's dean of student enrollment and retention.
"We're way up from where we used to be," she said. "But we're down from where we were in the last two years."
After increasing more than 40 percent over the course of about four years college-wide, PHCC's enrollment has tapered off, she says.
She's looking at what she can do in the Brooksville area to pull enrollment up. One idea is to do more outreach, going into the community to recruit and distribute information.
Another way she wants to increase enrollment is by offering more courses that meet the needs of the community. One example: The North Campus recently began offering a paramedic program.
"We think that that's a really good prospect," she said. "We're going to be working on advertising that program."
Burdzinski says she wants to continue Giannet's extensive work with community members, strengthening partnerships as much as possible.
"He really has accomplished a good bit in the community," she said.
She said she's "anxious to be working with community partners."
Burdzinski started at PHCC's North Campus in 1997, when she worked as a case manager for a grant-funded program. She spent roughly eight years there before moving to the West Campus in New Port Richey as a dean.
"I learned a lot about the foundations of things," she said of her previous jobs.
Being appointed to lead the North Campus, she said, "was kind of a natural segue."
Danny Valentine can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848