Rhine has more than 24 years of experience in student services and academic affairs at the community college and university level, most recently serving as interim vice president for student affairs at Northern Kentucky University.
On role of provost
Edna Baehre-Kolovani is president of all of the campuses for TCC. Each of the campuses including Chesapeake has a provost. The responsibility of the provost is to serve as the chief administration officer for the entire campus. So anything that happens here, I deal with it. I handle everything from academic issues, creating programs, student issues, space and facility problems, and community issues.
The number-one issue that is affecting us is the expansion of space. We had an enrollment explosion at TCC's campuses and have doubled our head count and full-time enrollment in the last 10 years. Just having the infrastructure to support rapid growth has been a great challenge and opportunity. There are a number of reasons for the rapid growth. The workforce is being redefined and businesses are looking for a more skilled workforce.
The community college in particular has seen growth because of the economic downturn. People are looking for more affordable ways to get their education and stay closer to home.
Hampton Roads is growing and, as a result, more people are returning to school. TCC's national reputation is becoming a first choice of students instead of a backup choice. Students are recognizing they can get a strong technical job with a two- year degree. It's convenient and affordable.
On working at TCC
I worked in higher education for the past 24 years. I spent the first 11 years in higher education at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio. It was a large urban institution and I loved it. Then I worked at a number of different universities, but eventually I decided to come back to a community college setting.
See, I'm a first-generation college student myself. I worked throughout my degree program and I relate to my students who decide to further their education while balancing life and family. I see myself in them. I hope they can also see themselves in me and achieve their goals. The reason I admire community colleges is because I can relate to the students as well as make an impact. I wasn't just looking for any community college to work for. I was looking for a progressive and innovative one. I found that in TCC. When I was interviewing for this position, I was drawn to Dr. Kolovani's leadership style and vision for TCC.
What I like most about my job is knowing that I have an impact on the lives of students every day. We work here and have jobs because we have students who are trying to make a better future for themselves.
On making changes
We just opened a new academic building on campus. We will be holding its dedication in November. We are also in the process of building a new student center, which will open in February. It's quite unusual for a community college to have a student center. We are in the final bid process for a parking garage that will go up in January.
The Virginia Community College System has given us top priority on getting approval to build a new STEM building. The General Assembly will make a decision about that soon. It's a great time for TCC.
We're not looking to implement any new programs. Our plan is to connect with business partners and identify the workforce needs. Not only will we identify the current need but the future needs as well. We want to make sure our curriculum is relevant. Our primary focus is on student success. While placing students first has always been our focus, we have realized we can do a better job of it. We are working on it by leveraging the new student center and creating a sense of community by helping to engage them on campus.
I just started this position on Aug. 1 and I've been attending a lot of community functions. Right now I'm trying to figure out what organizations I can best serve. I am involved with Civic Leadership Institute. I will be in the 2014 class.
My passion is working with projects that determine how education plays a role in economic development. It's not only about trying to figure out how we develop the workforce, but train the workforce of the future. This is important when a business is making the decision to locate in Hampton Roads. Besides looking at the cost of land, transportation and the ability to ship nationally and internationally, businesses want a higher education program that will produce graduates who will serve economic needs. I'm very interested in partnerships with economic development.nib