The new president of Southwest Texas Junior College outlined his vision for SWTJC during his welcome to faculty and staff at the start of fall convocation on Aug. 21.
"It is an honor to represent this institution, and all of our faculty and staff," SWTJC President Dr. Hector Gonzales said. "You are the lifeblood of this college. You care deeply and you make a difference in the lives of our students."
Speaking in the Matthews Student Center Ballroom, Dr. Hector Gonzales said he believes SWTJC is ready to build on past accomplishments to continue helping more students succeed.
"We have done some outstanding foundational work over the past few years and were honored as one of the top ten community colleges in the nation," Gonzales told the faculty and staff. "Now it's time to build up."
Gonzales believes creating a culture where everyone knows their role and is focused on the same mission will lift SWTJC to the top.
"When I met some of the people from Valencia College, the first place winner of the original Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, one of the things I learned was that everyone at their institution, from custodians to faculty and administration, was on message," Gonzales said. "That is the kind of culture I want to create at SWTJC. A culture producing students who, when they leave us and go on to new challenges, will know that SWTJC has prepared them well."
One of the first things Gonzales implemented, during his time as president-elect, was a reorganization of the college's administration. "We have been asking our administrators to wear too many hats and this reorganization will streamline their focus," Gonzales said.
Under Gonzales' plan, the administration is headed by four vice presidents – academic affairs, student services, administrative services and finance. Associate vice presidents include institutional effectiveness, outreach, Eagle Pass campus and Del Rio campus.
The new organizational chart also includes three deans – college of liberal arts, college of applied science, adult basic education and workforce training.
Improved communications, internal and external, is another thing Gonzales said he will emphasize during his presidency at SWTJC.
"Internally, we all have to make an extra effort to engage our students both inside and outside the classroom," Gonzales said. For his part, the new president plans to hold informal monthly meetings with groups of students, faculty and staff.
Externally, Gonzales wants to increase community and regional awareness of SWTJC. "I want everyone to know us. I want to establish new relationships and reinforce and enhance existing ones," Gonzales said. "We need to know if employers value our product and that what we offer is meeting their needs."
In his concluding remarks, Gonzales said his goal is to see SWTJC become a "vanguard of student success."
"I truly believe our best years are ahead of us. We are poised for greatness and working together I know we will accomplish great things."
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