By Sergio Medina
Dr. Valschkia Dabney, vice president of the American Business Women’s Association Greenspoint Chapter, talked at an Oct. 5 open forum about her experience in working with employers to suggest to students what employment could be available to them once their degree plan is completed.
She spoke before an audience of nine in the Valor Room of the Victory Center.
She is one of four candidates for the position of dean of student success at this college.
The other three are Dr. Becky M. McBride, associate vice chancellor of student services at Fletcher Technical Community College; Dr. Vivian Miranda, director of student success at Maricopa Community Colleges, and Dr. Maria Oralia De Los Reyes, assistant dean at Texas A&M University-Kingsville.
Psychology Professor Thomas Billimek asked Dabney what she could do to encourage more students to apply for application technology courses and encourage students to follow a transfer plan beyond an associate degree to guarantee better chances of employment.
Dabney responded, “With our pathways, we always included information in terms of employment: What’s your earning potential? With that pathway — we called them GPSs — so we gave students guided plans of study. On the front: ‘This is what you’ll need to do academically.’ On the back: ‘this is your earning potential,” and a step further: ‘These are the employers that talked to us and agreed that you would be ready to work when you complete that degree.”
Professor Bruce Davis asked Dabney what experience she had tying student success programs into academic programs.
Dabney said faculty participated in academic advising at Lone Star College-North Harris Campus.
“At Lone Star College, we did encourage faculty to participate in the academic advising during peak registration,” she said.
By doing that, faculty could make students aware of courses, programs and degree plans offered at that institution, Dabney said.
“It would allow them to build a different type of relationship with the students, not just as a faculty member but as an adviser,” she said. “They could become a really good resource in and out of the classroom.”
Further, she said she has worked in a system where instructional and student services coordinated so that students could be aware of courses in demand.
“They (faculty and advisers) could collaborate on ways to recruit students to enroll in that course,” she said. “We as a team would sit down and have what I call a ‘curriculum and instruction meeting,’ that included advisers. They were able to collaborate and develop a pretty sound course schedule that would meet the demands of the students that we were serving.”
Dabney expressed her focus on students by saying this college should be a place where students learn about leadership, understanding themselves and the opportunities offered to continue their education.
She said the role of mentorship is an important role to get students to succeed.
Dabney has an associate degree in social science from San Jacinto College, a Bachelor’s degree in Communication from the University of Houston-Clear Lake, an MBA from the University of Phoenix-Houston Northwest Campus, and a Ph.D. in education administration from the University of Texas at Austin.
Bios for the dean of student success candidates can be found at https://www.alamo.edu/sac/calendar/2018/october/Dean-Open-Forums/
This college’s executive team are expected to submit a finalist to the board of trustees at the Oct. 16 board meeting at 201 W. Sheridan.
For more information, call Dr. Lisa Alcorta, vice president for academic success, at 210-486-0930.