Dean of student success candidate wants to enhance standards for student development

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Dr. Renee Thurston Moore, dean of campus life at University of the Incarnate Word, answers questions Nov. 9 in visual arts about her qualifications for dean of student success. Moore was the first of three candidates to be interviewed. Nicole M. Bautista

Candidate spoke on student leadership, pathways and campus carry.

By Austin P. Taylor

During an open forum set up as part of the interview process for the dean of student success position, Dr. Renee Thurston Moore was asked to weigh in on the current campus carry law.

“I recognize the right of citizens to bear arms. It’s a little frightening to me to know that sometimes an 18-year-old, an intoxicated 18-year-old whose frontal lobe isn’t fully developed, has a weapon,” she said.

The Texas Department of Public Safety requires that applicants for a concealed carry license be at least 21 years of age.

Moore stood before assembled faculty Nov. 9 in the visual arts center. The forum was open to the public, however, no students were in attendance. The audience was made up of fewer than 20 faculty members.

Moore is a veteran of the University of the Incarnate Word. She received her doctorate in organizational leadership from UIW.

Moore has worked at UIW for 21 years. She’s currently the associate dean of judicial affairs at UIW. Before holding that position, Moore was dean of campus life.

Moore graduated from the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va., and attended Howard University in Washington, D.C., for her Master of Education with a focus on student development.

“Community college is where I got my start … my first education job was in Killeen at Central Texas College,” Moore said, adding her supervisor at Central Texas College convinced her to go back to school and earn her master’s degree.

Moore cited her previous experiences working at community colleges as the reason she decided to apply for the dean of student success position here.

Multimedia Professor Bruce Davis Moore asked Moore to give her opinion on Alamo Pathways and Alamo Institutes.

Upon receiving some background information on the Alamo Institute and Alamo Pathways initiatives, Moore said she has not worked in a position that allowed her to experience such initiatives, at least not directly.

“I’m not on the ‘academic side’ of the house; however, there’s a real thin line there,” Moore said. “I do work with faculty sometimes on projects.”

Moore said many of those involved would travel abroad and take field trips to the state legislature.

Moore said, while her experience was tangential, the ability to collaborate with her peers would help reach her goals as dean of student success.

Faculty Senate President Julie Engel asked Moore about her experience with Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education standards, a guideline for creating standards in student affairs, development and services.

“Sometimes I consider them a stretch goal. Not because goals are so lofty, but because resources are short,” Moore said. “It shouldn’t be the stretch goal. It should be what’s baseline.”

Moore believes this college needs to focus on living up to the CAS standards.

Moore then spoke on her experience in setting up programs related to student activities.

She developed a leadership program for students she wanted to install as a required, one-semester course. Moore said she was never able to grow the program the way she initially intended because the district wasn’t in favor of the program.

So instead of creating a course, Moore and her team set up an extracurricular club. As student involvement grew, the club turned into a credited course.

Dee Dixon, coordinator of the MESA center, asked Moore to weigh in on the issues facing students today.

Moore mentioned obtaining the proper resources to help students manage mental health issues, manage their children and navigate Title IX.

Moore said she believes the solution is to examine the demographics of the campus and focus on what the student population needs.

Moore was the first in a series of forums with candidates for the dean of student success position. The other candidate was Dr. Tiffany Cox Hernandez, chair of the public policy and service department.

A third candidate, Annette Hackbarth-Onson, withdrew from the pool of candidates. No reason was given.

This is the third attempt at hiring a dean of student success. Two previous searches ended without hiring.

The executive team of this college hopes to present a final candidate to the board of trustees at the Dec. 12 meeting.


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