Laredo VP talks about his background, experiences and success initiatives during open forums at this college.
By Wally Perez
Dr. Vincent. R. Solis, vice president for instruction and student services at Laredo Community College, was the last of three candidates to visit this college June 7-9.
Solis and other candidates spoke to students, staff and faculty during open forums and met with administrators as part of the interview process for the position of vice president of student success at this college.
Dr. Lisa Alcorta, interim vice president of student success, is one of the candidates, as well as Dr. Billy C. Roessler, vice president of student services and enrollment management at North Central Texas College in Gainesville.
Solis said he has 24 years of experience in student services at not only community colleges, but also universities, such as the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas A&M University-Kingsville.
Laredo Community College consists of about 8,700 students, but Solis doesn’t see the increase in population a challenge to him.
Solis said this college already has a great team in place, and it would only be a matter of learning the systems the college uses.
“Being at a larger campus is actually one of the things that attracted me to this position,” Solis said in an interview.
Solis said he focuses on three pillars of student success, which include “the foundation,” “the first year” and “the game changers.”
“There are a lot of different services that are offered on a campus to promote student success,” Solis said.
Solis passed out a hardcopy list of 75 initiatives that he has helped implement or is in the process of working on at Laredo Community College during a presentation of his success initiatives.
Initiatives such as holistic advising, knowing how to serve multi-generations of students, first-year student focus groups and monitoring student expectations, levels of satisfaction, and educational outcomes on a systematic basis.
Solis said the language within an organization’s mission or vision statements is another aspect of this college he looked at to see if it was a position he wanted to vie for.
“Success boils down to this, large or small, it is about how you’re able to build relationships with individuals,” Solis said. “You have to take the time to build and invest in relationships with coworkers; if you expect to do things by yourself, it’s not going to happen.”
Solis said he fell in love with student services after working as a night supervisor in the student center at Texas A&M-Kingsville after graduating.
“I enjoyed working with students and seeing the impact of what we do has on them in terms of changing their lives,” Solis said.
He said he believes education is the great equalizer.
“I believe in the idea that higher education is going to be the civil rights issue of our era. Many institutions are pricing themselves out of the market and we don’t have the opportunity to access higher education,” Solis said.
“It’s a passion of mine. It’s something I look forward in doing every single day.”
Those who attended the forums were asked to fill out surveys on their opinions on the candidate they listened to. These surveys, along with the video recording of the forums will be presented to President Robert Vela, who will then make a decision based on the evidence presented.
Foreign language Professor Tammy Perez said Vela may make a decision within the two weeks if he wants to present the selection to the board of trustees at the next meeting in July.