Focus groups and visibility in student activities are ways the new vice president plans to acquire feedback.
By Wally Perez
After four searches, more than 250 applications and nearly two years, the position of vice president for student success has been filled.
Dr. Lisa Alcorta, former dean and interim vice president of student success, has been selected.
The board of trustees approved the selection of Alcorta July 26.
Foreign languages Professor Tammy Perez, search committee chair, said the position had been offered to two candidates in the past, but both declined for personal reasons.
President Robert Vela said the recommendation to hire Alcorta for the position was decided about a month ago and the decision was unanimous among the college executive team.
Vela said the process included looking at evaluations from open forums and considering input from key stakeholders — students, faculty, staff and administrators. He also discussed the selection with Chancellor Bruce Leslie, who had to approve the selection.
“There was a lot of discussion to make sure we made the right choice, that he or she was not only a great fit for this college, but also a good fit for the things we’re doing around the Alamo Colleges,” Vela said.
Vela said it was a difficult decision because at that level, the applicants came in with phenomenal credentials.
“At the end, the hard part was looking for an applicant that understands this college, and the relationship between this college and the Alamo Colleges,” Vela said. “It’s also important for me to have an administrator here that’s in it for the long haul, something like five to seven years.”
Vela said Alcorta being a former student and her understanding of the students here were important considerations when making the decision.
The other candidates included Dr. Billy C. Roessler, vice president of student services and enrollment management at North Central Texas College in Gainesville, and Dr. Vincent R. Solis, vice president for instruction and student services at Laredo Community College.
Alcorta said she was notified she was recommended for the position about two weeks ago.
“I was a little nervous to tell you the truth,” she said. “I was unable to meet the other candidates and wasn’t sure if I even wanted to know about them. They made it this far to make be final candidates and were all qualified for the position so I knew it would be a tough decision.”
Alcorta said she is excited to be at a level where she can help achieve Vela’s vision.
Although Alcorta has been in the position for about a year and a half, she said things will change for her now that she is no longer under the interim role.
“In the interim role I was still doing some roles that the dean (of student success) would do; I still oversee some departments and areas,” Alcorta said. “When Richard Farias became interim dean, I still needed to take some of those responsibilities to help out.”
Alcorta said she recently spoke with Farias regarding some strategic planning, which is key, which she hopes to develop in more discussion.
“In the interim role you’re kind of just getting your footing together, but now I feel more … not necessarily confident, but now we have pieces into place and we can move on to our next target,” Alcorta said.
Alcorta said upcoming challenges for her include making sure she is reaching out and engaging with students, working on increasing enrollment and ensuring Alamo Advise is in place, to name a few.
“We’ve been working on these already as well as trying to enhance our services more. It’s just now another page has turned,” Alcorta said.
Alcorta said she hopes to promote the voice of students, being a former student herself, by having focus groups with students, as well as faculty and staff to acquire input and feedback on how to shape their practices.
“I want to find out how we can improve programs and services by way of feedback,” Alcorta said. “It’s one of the things I’m looking forward to the most.”