Q. What will you miss most about TCC?
A. I’m going to miss the people of TCC. Over the years, the faculty have been exceptional and has responded to many changes and always put the students first. And the staff has risen to every challenge, no matter how out of the box the idea. They listen and then develop a plan to get it done — all with the goal of helping students.
I can’t even begin to express how much I’ll miss the students, because I know that one word of encouragement can change a life. It has been my privilege to offer that listening ear and help students navigate starting college and moving forward to four-year schools or the world of work. My passion has been mentoring students and faculty for 30 years and providing advice, counsel and help when needed. It has been an incredible journey.
Q. Tell me about your start at TCC and the positions you’ve held at the college.
A. I’ve held a myriad of positions at TCC, and since the beginning, I’ve seen myself as a builder. I enjoy taking an area and making it grow and become viable.
As a young respiratory therapist, I joined TCC as an advisory committee member for the Respiratory Therapy program in 1975. I was pregnant with my son at the time, and now he is grown and living and working in Colorado. I felt called to share my knowledge with others, and soon began teaching as an adjunct faculty member. I was named clinical coordinator and later program director for the Respiratory Therapy program in the early ’80s. In 1988 I became founding dean of the Health Professions division. In that role, I worked to add health professions offerings and get them accredited.
In 1999 I was asked to become the special assistant to then-President Deborah DiCroce. In that role, I worked on military programs and Workforce Solutions. Soon after I became vice president for Workforce Solutions and enjoyed building that area. I joined the Chesapeake Campus as the provost in 2003. I have so enjoyed growing the campus from 7,800 students to the 17,000 students we have on campus today. We built a curriculum for transfer and technical students, and using every square inch of space, and with faculty and staff support, we met the demand. Now we are waiting for the opening of two new buildings, an amazing academic building and a student center.
Q. What has been your biggest challenge at TCC?
A. When you grow at the pace we have at the Chesapeake Campus, the challenge was simply classroom space. But even with the growth, we pulled together and made it work. I give credit to our faculty who met the demands of increased class sizes and lots of space juggling with grace and patience.
I feel like I am leaving Chesapeake with a campus they can be proud of and with course offerings that are meeting the needs of the community. Students can come here for their first two years and then transfer for baccalaureate studies or prepare for work in fields, such as modeling and simulation, renewable energies technology, horticulture or automotive technology.
Q. What do you see as your greatest accomplishment?
A. My greatest accomplishment has been working with students to change the course of their lives. Three of my students from my early days as a respiratory therapy instructor are now on staff teaching at TCC. Seeing students grow and become productive citizens is what this work is all about.
Q. What words of wisdom to you leave students?
A. Focus on your dream, work hard, and do what it takes to reach that dream. It may take longer than you think, but it will be worth it in the end. Always put others first, and your life will be magnificent.
Q. Will you stay involved with TCC?
A. I hope to stay connected, as this has been my home for 35 years. I hope to maintain my association with the people here. I have a deep connection to those who have helped me over the years, and I hope to pay it forward.