Last summer, St. Charles Community College (SCC) welcomed its fourth president in college history—Dr. Barbara R. Kavalier. With more than 30 years of experience in higher education, Kavalier has held a variety of leadership roles at some of the most successful community colleges in the nation.
Kavalier began her community college experience with the Dallas County Community College District, where she was employed for more than 20 years. She has held previous presidencies at Navarro College in Texas and San Jose City College in California. She served as a faculty member for the doctoral program in Higher Education Leadership at San Diego State University, was a Visiting Scholar at The University of Texas at Austin, and served for many years as an adjunct faculty with the Dallas County Community College District.
Dr. Kavalier received a doctorate in Educational Administration from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a nationally recognized researcher, author, and presenter on key issues in higher education and has published two books, The Entrepreneurial Community College and The Hiring Game.
Kavalier received the prestigious recognition as the first Senior Roueche Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the Houston Endowment’s Jesse H. Jones Fellowship and an Edmund J. Gleazer Scholar.
Kavalier is channeling her decades of experience and education to bring continued growth to St. Charles Community College. During her first year as President, the college completed the search process needed to fill two key leadership positions: Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, Dr. John Bookstaver, and Chief Information Officer, Chad Shepherd.
“The faculty, staff, and administrators at St. Charles Community College signify the soul of our academic enterprise. Consequently, the recruitment, selection, and development of employees represent a key aspect of positive change,” said Kavalier. “These extraordinary individuals have already left an indelible fingerprint on the organization and will continue to advance innovation and effective practices needed to meet the needs of our students.”
One of her first assignments as the new SCC President focused on finding a permanent home for the Nursing and Allied Health program, which had been leasing space from Lindenwood University.
“When I arrived in August 2016, the tentative plans focused on remodeling one of our existing buildings to accommodate this important program,” said Kavalier. “The plan proved a challenge in that it did not provide the additional square footage needed for growth or to meet the demands of business and industry.”
With support from the SCC Board of Trustees, the college decided to purchase One Academy Place in Dardenne Prairie. The facility includes the addition of 60,000 square feet and more than 10 acres.
“We now have room to significantly expand our Nursing and Allied Health programs and our Workforce and Technical training/programs to meet the growing demand for well-trained graduates,” said Kavalier.
SCC will host a dedication ceremony this fall, on September 13 for the new building.
“In addition to SCC’s focus on enhancing and expanding STEM programs and Workforce and Technical programs, we are excited about growing our online offerings,” said Kavalier.
This fall, SCC students will be able to complete their Associate Degree with an emphasis in business administration, banking/finance, or marketing—fully online.
“With the rapidity of change in technology, higher education most likely will discover new approaches for engaging students in learning,” said Kavalier. “Advances in virtual reality and the growing demand for students’ attention creates opportunities to innovate and reimagine the traditional classroom and how technology contributes to learning.”
SCC’s annual enrollment is approximately 16,000 students. While Kavalier said many SCC students are interested in obtaining the general educational requirements needed to transfer to a four-year institution; the college is seeing an increase in the number of students who are interested in one-year certificates that lead to a well-paying job.
“One of our most popular programs is nursing, where we typically have a wait list of students to get into classes,” said Kavalier.
Kavalier said students seem to be more financially savvy and many are focused on obtaining an affordable education, close to home.
“As such, the community college is well-positioned to meet their needs today and in the future,” said Kavalier.
The fall semester begins on Aug. 19 and includes an expanded and enhanced program of distance learning courses called, SCC Online.
“For students attending classes on our main campus, I would encourage them to check out some of our innovative offerings, including our Honors Program, Fine Arts, Computer Science, and Global Study opportunities, as well as a variety of student clubs and activities,” said Kavalier. “We also have focused efforts on developing courses and programs for the life-long learner, from literacy to personal enrichment classes.”
Kavalier also has an open door policy with students—and she welcomes them to stop by her office.
“When I have a chance to visit with new students, I always encourage them to identify a major or career path as soon as possible, to find opportunities to engage in campus life outside of the classroom, to become familiar with the wonderful support services we offer such as our ACE Tutoring Center, and to develop good study habits,” said Kavalier. “I also encourage them to stop by my office if they ever have a question or just want to visit about their educational goals.”
Kavalier said St. Charles Community College has a bright and exciting future ahead.
“With the purchase of our new building at One Academy Place in Dardenne Prairie, we have the opportunity to expand many of our programs and services,” said Kavalier.
Some of the new programs that will be developed include: Pharmacy Tech, Medical Coding/Billing, Medical Assisting, Agriculture, Culinary Arts, and Applied Engineering/Integrated Technology.
“We are also identifying strategies for better meeting the needs of all the communities in our service area, including forming partnerships with key education and business entities in Lincoln County and beyond,” said Kavalier.
For information about St. Charles Community College call 636-922-8000 or visit www.stchas.edu.