Vice presidential hopefuls welcome questions at forum

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Curtis O. Hill candidate for vice president of student success answers questions today in an open forum in visual arts. Hill, vice president of student success at Paris Junior College in Texas, said it is important to know how to deal with people because some need a more hands-on approach.  He said he is good at reading people. Photo by Neven Jones

Curtis O. Hill candidate for vice president of student success answers questions today in an open forum in visual arts. Hill, vice president of student success at Paris Junior College in Texas, said it is important to know how to deal with people because some need a more hands-on approach. He said he is good at reading people. Photo by Neven Jones

Candidates for vice president for student success visited campus for personal interviews and forums.

By M.J. Callahan

mcallahan7@student.alamo.edu 

Three candidates vying for vice president for student success recently visited this college to be interviewed and to meet students, faculty and staff in open forums.

Curtis O. Hill, vice president of student service at Paris Junior College in Paris, Texas, came on Nov. 10.

Vice Presidential candidate Gregory McLeod speaks to faculty and staff Wednesday in room 120 of visual arts center about his experiences and strategic planning used in St. Petersburg College. McLeod is Provost of St. Augustine Campus and is involved in the community of St. Augustine, Fl., providing real world experience to the students with internships. Manuel Bautista-Macias

Vice Presidential candidate Gregory McLeod speaks to faculty and staff Wednesday in room 120 of visual arts center about his experiences and strategic planning used in St. Petersburg College. McLeod is Provost of St. Augustine Campus and is involved in the community of St. Augustine, Fl., providing real world experience to the students with internships. Manuel Bautista-Macias

Hill said in the open forum he not only worked as an administrator but also participated in the federal TRIO program, which assists college students with disabilities or from low-income, first-generation or disadvantaged backgrounds. He credits this program with showing him how he could change the life of a student.

Paris Junior College is not part of a district-based college system, but Hill previously worked at Tarrant County Community College from 2003-2010 and Dallas Community College between 1998 and 2002. Both belong to district-based college systems.

Hill said communication is a problem wherever he goes but it can be fixed with planning, reflection meetings, key-factors reports and in-service for student service.

Paris Junior College is home to around 5,500 students, far less than this college. However, Hill said coming from a small college gave him the opportunity to connect and interact with students by being the conduct officer or attending social events.

Hill, explained the difference between a manager, who deals with things and processes, and a leader, who deals with relations and people, hill said he is both.

“We may have the right people on the bus, but they might not be in the right seat,” Hill said.

Hill said much of a student’s success comes from the personal connection outside of the classroom, as well as support inside the classroom.

Greg McLeod, provost – executive director for St. Johns River State College in St. Augustine, Fla., came to this college Nov. 12.

He started as a developmental math adjunct at Durham Technical Community College in North Carolina but has spent the last four years at St. Johns.

In Florida, the 28 state community colleges answer to one district with one chancellor and trustees appointed by the governor. Each campus has its own identity, McLeod said.

Both Florida and Texas are under the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

McLeod said everything should boil down to the mission, vision and goal of the college and the success of the whole student.

McLeod said when stepping into a new position, he likes to listen and meet with everyone to hear all the different ideas.

McLeod said he likes his position in Florida, but leaving the state will provide new challenges and opportunities.

Peter J. Biegel, dean of student success at Florida State College, speaks to the faculty at this college about his experience as a faculty member. Biegel was the last of three candidates interviewed for the vice president of student success position.  R.T. Gonzalez

Peter J. Biegel, dean of student success at Florida State College, speaks to the faculty at this college about his experience as a faculty member. Biegel was the last of three candidates interviewed for the vice president of student success position. R.T. Gonzalez

The overarching search committee is composed of Tammy Perez, chair; Dawn Elmore, president of Faculty Senate; Lauri Metcalf, chair of American Sign Language and interpreter training; Martin Ortega, director of admissions and records; Karen Elliot, Student Government Association president; Analise Garza-Sengele, Staff Council president; Charles Hunt, coordinator of the management program in the business department; English Professor Patricia Portales; Lisa Alcorta, dean of student success; and Amanda Martin, Adjunct Faculty Council president. They will narrow down the applications for the position of vice president for student success from 15 to three and then set up meetings and open forums for the candidates throughout the week.

Peter J. Biegel, dean of student success at Florida State College at Jacksonville, came to this college Nov. 14. His campus is the largest in a district of 58,000 students.

Biegel said he has worked in the district and said he knows how districts operate. Colleges need to balance fun and education; faculty and academics should work with campus activities, Biegel said.

Biegel said he is ready to go to the next level and make a difference.

Those who took part in the interviewing and forums filled out a survey to let the committee know their anonymous opinion on the candidates.

The executive team will meet with the Perez chair of the committee to narrow down the results after the Thanksgiving holiday brake.

Vela and the executive team will narrow down the candidates before presenting a final choice to the board in December.

To give input on their decision, email Vela at rvela63@alamo.edu.

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