VP candidate is former student of college

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Dr. Juan Garcia, vice president for student success candidate, presents his plans for new student services Tuesday in Room 120 of visual arts.

Dr. Juan Garcia, vice president for student success candidate, presents his plans for new student services Tuesday in Room 120 of visual arts.

Garcia

Garcia

A new app will keep all academic information in the palm of a hand.

By Melissa Luna

sac-ranger@alamo.edu 

Dr. Juan Garcia, one of three candidates in the running for vice president for student success at this college, made it clear Tuesday his biggest goal is to help students start their academic career the right way by pushing a program he called “pro-active advising.”

Garcia has been vice president for student success at New Mexico State University-Alamogordo since 2012.

If selected here, under his leadership, new students will be assigned a trio of advisers who will help the student every step through their academic career at this college.

Each advising team will include an academic, financial aid and career adviser.

The goal is for the advisers to reach out to the student four times during the semester to follow up and see how the student is doing.

“This is a way for the college to approach students, instead of waiting for them to approach us,” Garcia said.

College leadership has learned that once the student approaches someone for help, it’s too late, he said.

Garcia said all proactive advisers will be trained in career development; developmental success; allied health; transfer and articulation; and retention and anti-drop out approaches.

Along with proactive advising, Garcia emphasized a new app idea just approved by his current college president to develop.

In the app, students can access all financial aid, academic and degree information.

Students will be able to view information such as course schedules, classroom locations, contact information for assigned advisers and what courses they should be attending the following semester.

Garcia asked Tuesday afternoon during an open forum, “As students, what do you expect from your vice president for student success?”

Several students emphasized to the need for more interaction between advisers and student body to ease the process of registration and financial aid.

Pre-nursing freshman Kylie Cott wants the chosen candidate to follow through with proposed plans, such as proactive advising and the student app.

“If we could choose someone who really wants to help students, then no one loses,” Cott said.

Liberal arts freshman Dwayne Hert has had a hard time talking to the right people during his first semester in college.

“My professors have been helping me as much as they can, but they can’t do everything,” Hert said. “It’d be great if we had a system like Dr. Garcia explained.”

“If I’m fortunate enough to come back to my alma mater, my door will always be open to students,” Garcia said.

Garcia, a first-generation college student, started his academic career at this college in the late 1980s.

Dr. Gerardo Moreno will conduct a student presentation and discussion 12:20-1:30 p.m. followed by an open forum 3:15-4:20 p.m. Thursday in Room 120 of the visual arts center.

Moreno, assistant vice president for student success at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, is the third candidate to visit this college.

Dr. Diane Walleser, vice president, enrollment management and student services at Columbus State Community College in Ohio, visited Thursday.

Email Tammy Perez, vice president search committee chair, at tperez@alamo.edu.

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