TOMBALL, Texas – Everything you want to know about Robbie Richard Rogers is etched on a plaque hanging from the walls of her office or sitting framed atop a flat surface. There is one plaque, however, that seems to sum it up. It reads simply, but mightily, “Believe in the Possible.” Those words fuel the passion that she and her colleagues bring to Lone Star College-Tomball’s Office of Student Success.
“I’m here to empower, encourage and motivate students,” Ms. Richard Rogers says about her mission as Director of the Extended Learning Center, one of the branches of Student Success and where she is one of the driving forces in a campus-wide culture that is increasingly student-centric.
“We help students define their end goal and help them plan the steps they need to take to get there,” Richard Rogers said in her contagiously positive and enthusiastic style. And that logical, straight-forward thought belies her simmering energy and conviction. Richard Rogers is a firm believer that every student can, and should, succeed and there is no doubt she will do whatever it takes to make it happen.
Many students need assistance beginning with the admissions process, filling out the college application and completing the enrollment checklist. Then, there are the elements of registration: choosing classes, planning a schedule. Some need tutoring, help with their study habits and making good use of resources like the library. Some students have difficult personal lives and financial problems that can make college seem out of reach. Identifying and overcoming these barriers and then keeping them on track is central to the Office of Student Success.
“We had a student referred to us because he didn’t have a textbook for one of his classes. Turns out he had been a member of the U.S. Armed Services and his veterans benefits hadn’t arrived. He was also having trouble adjusting to civilian life and coping with going back to school. We jumped in. Set him up on a daily planner, organized his life around his classes and study time,” Richard-Rogers said about her most recent and satisfying success story. And, yes, she got him the book.
There are a lot of students who need this kind of direct intervention and involvement and Ann Johnson, vice president of Student Success, oversees the LSC-Tomball operation that touches many aspects of student life. She and her staff are determined each student gets every opportunity to succeed. Like clockwork, they manage the interconnected parts that include admissions, financial aid, counseling and tutoring, as well as, student organizations and activities.
Staying current with best practices is vital to the success of her division. To that end, Ms. Johnson, who has 30 years of experience in higher education, was selected to teach at the 2018-19 Carolyn Grubbs Williams Mid-level Leadership Institute. The Institute prepares African Americans in community colleges for executive leadership roles in higher education. She is one of only 24 nationwide to be selected to the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Commission on College Readiness which helps to
identify promising best practices at colleges and K-12 districts that have demonstrated innovative solutions to improving college-attendance rates. Ms. Richard-Rogers, has been selected to attend the Institute.
Ms. Johnson’s division cultivates the desire to improve in all employees. Ms. Deirdre Hayes-Cootz, Assistant Dean of Student Success, is a specialist in data analysis. She compiles past student results into predictive data models that forecast a student’s potential and future performance. Ms. Hayes-Cootz just completed the 2018 Data and Analytics Summit, which bring together higher education professionals with an interest in using data to improve students’ experiences from first contact to career. The participants explored new ways to use analytics to help colleges direct the right help to the right students at the right time. Ms. Hayes-Cootz was also chosen for Lone Star College’s 2018-2019 Next Generation Leadership Academy Cohort. A highly selective leadership experience reserved for those considered to be among the campus’ best and brightest. Upon completion, members of the cohort join in the college’s planning, innovation and research-based growth and progress that is increasingly centered on student success.
Ms. Richard Rogers is looking forward to the Institute and the training that she can apply to the job she loves. You can’t help but believe her when she says without hesitation and assuredly which plaque is her favorite. “Do what you love and love what you do.” The experience of LSC-Tomball students is certainly the better for it.
Lone Star College-Tomball is located at 30555 Tomball Parkway, at the intersection of SH 249 and Zion Road. For more information about the college, call 281.351.3300 or visit LoneStar.edu/Tomball.
Lone Star College offers high-quality, low-cost academic transfer and career training education to 99,000 students each semester. LSC is training tomorrow’s workforce today and redefining the community college experience to support student success. Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., serves as chancellor of LSC, the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area with an annual economic impact of nearly $3 billion. LSC consists of six colleges, eight centers, two university centers, Lone Star Corporate College and LSC-Online. To learn more, visit LoneStar.edu.