1. You’re approaching your first anniversary as president of NRCC. How’s it going so far?
You might say I have a biased perspective, but I think things are going well. I am really enjoying the work along with different and new challenges and opportunities. I stay busy, busy, busy and enjoy the variety of activities. I am fortunate in that I have been here at New River for a number of years so I knew the people and the institution and did not have the added challenge of learning and adjusting to new faces, processes, etc. I am also incredibly fortunate to work with the people (faculty, staff, students) here at NRCC. I love coming to work each day!
2. What would you say has proven to be the biggest challenge you and your administration have encountered?
Let me first speak to my own challenges, and one challenge has been shifting and adjusting to the role as president, especially since I serve in the same institution where I began teaching as an adjunct faculty member. I have to think differently about what my new role is and be careful not to revert back to or insert myself in areas that are now someone else’s. For example, I had been the vice president for instruction and student services for the previous 10 years and before that had been an academic dean, so I have to be very careful that I don’t view everything through only an academic lens or that I don’t “meddle” in academic issues.
Another challenge for me has been, simply stated, time management—how to juggle competing priorities. We have a superb administrative team here at New River, so among us, we cover a lot of ground and responsibilities.
As I mentioned, the administrative team is really strong here: great breadth and depth of knowledge, skills, and expertise. As a team, we face the same challenges that our rural, sister institutions face: stagnant or declining enrollments, limited resources, growing student needs, increasing institutional priorities, etc. We have been working hard for quite some time on our student success initiatives and are managing a number of new initiatives. It takes that continuing teamwork among ourselves and across the entire college to keep us moving forward.
3. Can you briefly discuss some of the partnerships you’ve helped forge with the business community in the New River Valley and the impact those partnerships have had on the college’s Workforce Development efforts?
I think “partnerships” is the key word to describe the college’s work for the economic and workforce development efforts in the New River Valley. Since I previously operated mostly in the academic and student services areas of the college, I have been intentional this year in meeting and interacting with the business leaders and organizations. The college has joined both the regional economic development organization and the regional commission, and a college representative now sits on both of those boards. Similarly, I have accompanied the vice president for workforce development on industry visits, to regional meetings and economic development announcements; and the college hosts industry and business visits on campus. I’ve also supported the expansion of non-credit, short-term training programs. Everything we do (inside and outside of classrooms) is really about workforce development, so our focus includes relationships with public school and other higher education partners as well as businesses and industries.
4. Every college president has a particular skill or attribute they personally rely on more than any other. What would you say is your biggest asset?
I like to laugh! I consider myself a positive person, a “glass-half-full instead of half-empty” type of person so I want to work in a positive environment with positive-thinking people. I hope I can be viewed as a leader who can create that positive energy and atmosphere. I am also a person with a strong work ethic. Working hard and being positive have been assets for me.
5. Please tell us something about yourself (e.g., interests, hobbies, etc.) that our readers would be interested in knowing about you.
Basically, I am a pretty simple person, and I am married to the best husband in the world! I love my work, but I also love my life outside of work. I grew up in a small, rural community so you could say I’m a “country girl.” I enjoy people and all of the activities and benefits of small-town life. When I have time, I enjoy typical hobbies of cooking, baking, quilting, reading, spending time with family and friends, and other “country living” amenities. I am proud to be a community college graduate (Wytheville Community College), and I have had lots of wonderful opportunities for which I am incredibly thankful.
Featured image: Dr. Huber (2nd from right) enjoys talking with students in the NRCC Connection Center.
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