De Jesus was the first in her family to attend college.
By Austin P. Taylor
As part of the hiring process for a dean of student success, Dr. Lisandra De Jesus discussed her past, present and future during an open forum Aug. 11 in the visual arts center.
She discussed falling enrollment, creating an easier enrollment process and improving the overall experience of both students and teachers.
De Jesus was the first child in her family to attend college. She attended the State University of New York at New Paltz by enrolling in an Educational Opportunity Program that sought to get inner-city kids into local colleges.
“No one I knew was able to help me. My parents couldn’t help me, and my counselor didn’t even consider the possibility of college,” De Jesus said during the forum.
This experience gave her the desire to help students learn the ins and outs of college enrollment. She said she wants to help first-generation college students ease into this often-intimidating world.
“I believe in what I do. This isn’t a job for me,” De Jesus said. “I’ve been there, I’ve done that.”
This led a general discussion of De Jesus’ past occupations in education.
De Jesus began as an academic adviser at Norfolk University. She has since worked as assistant dean of student services at Hillsborough Community College, assistant dean of students at HCC-Dale Mabry Campus and dean of admissions and enrollment at Albany Technical College. She received a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Florida.
The last position De Jesus held was at Albany Technical College, where was vice president and dean of student services. De Jesus streamlined the admissions and enrollment process by setting up a welcome center for returning and new students.
Before the forum, De Jesus presented a three-part plan to improve the student experience.
Her plan focused on improving and streamlining enrollment services, providing support to keep students in college and ensuring that they reach a level of completion that will give them access to an associate degree. De Jesus hopes this will produce graduates who are ready to enter the work force while pursuing higher levels of education.
De Jesus hopes to get students into clubs and other extracurricular activities. She also wants to assess students and courses and reward them for reaching certain milestones. Once students reach a certain number of credit hours, they would receive a reward.
What the reward is has yet to be determined
During the forum, Janae Johnson, coordinator of college risk management, asked De Jesus what she would do to build an environment of safety at this college.
De Jesus took this opportunity to address the recent implementation of campus carry.
The new policy allows those with a concealed handgun license to bring handguns to campus, except where prohibited by the college.
De Jesus believes the best way to ensure students are safe, with this new policy in place, is to host drills that emulate an active shooter scenario.
She believes that approach will teach students and faculty about the appropriate measures to take when faced with an active shooter on campus.
The position for dean of student success opened when Dr. Lisa Alcorta was promoted to vice president of student success July 26, 2016.
Dr. Raphael Turner, the other candidate for dean of student success, did not hold a presentation last week. He has already undergone this phase of the interview process.
De Jesus’ presentation was recorded for those who could not attend the session on Aug. 11. Her presentation, and those of the other candidate, can be found at http://www.alamo.edu/sac/DeanOfSS-Search/