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Member Spotlight

Steven Smith


Residence: Chaparral, New Mexico

Organization: El Paso Community College (EPCC), El Paso, Texas

Occupation: Vice President of Instruction and Workforce Education

First job: Assistant Hardlines Manager at Gibson’s Discount Center, El Paso, Texas (1980)

Favorite music: Classic and Pop Rock

Favorite movie: Shawshank Redemption

Favorite book: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Philosophy: As a former EPCC faculty member and dean and now a higher education administrative leader, I have to help provide the best education, support and resources for our students to ensure their success and commitment to life-long learning. My primary philosophy is to support innovative classroom and learning strategies to create and provide pathways for student success. With administrative oversight of instruction and faculty, I strive to promote a diverse and dynamic learning environment by encouraging faculty to engage with students and ultimately provide a great learning experience.

What got me interested in my work: I became interested in entrepreneurial activities at an early age by becoming a professional photographer. I then studied computer science and business in college. I enjoyed the college experience as a student and decided to stay in the education field by teaching computer science at EPCC. It is here that I have spent the last 27 years developing my interests in teaching and interacting with students, transitioning to instructional administration, and now building partnerships for workforce development opportunities in the El Paso area.

Success is... Seeing students walk across the stage to receive their degree at commencement ceremonies. Success is also having a supportive leadership team that is based on great relationships and a collaborative decision-making process with the same goal in mind…student success.

Pet Peeve: Negativity and resistance to change. As an institution of higher education, change is not only constant but also necessary to meet the needs and expectations of our diverse student population. Unfortunately, change generates drawbacks due to anxiety and discomfort.

Favorite Quote: "Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid."

Current Project: EPCC is working to scale-up existing student success projects based upon the outcomes of previous pilots. Developing strategies and pathways to increase enrollment and graduation rates is our top priority. Through the Pathways Project, we are clarifying paths for students, helping students choose and enter a pathway, helping students stay on path, and ensure that students are learning. Through the Workforce and Continuing Education area, we are also working to increase partnerships and build relationships with business and industry by bringing in grants that provide training for new jobs, upgrade skills, or industry certifications.

How has NACCE impacted your work? We have just recently become members of NACCE. We
became interested in NACCE after a site visit to the Maricopa Corporate Colleges. We are impressed with the approaches there, and are looking forward to the linkages and learnings that our involvement with NACCE will provide such as the webinars and the Leadership Institute.

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