By Brianna Maestas:
Amarillo College’s newest leader is returning to her roots. On Sept. 1, Denese Skinner, vice president of student affairs, started her new position at AC—the college where she began her education.
“It is my privilege and honor to return to Amarillo College,” Skinner said, “I’ve gone full-circle from entering AC as a wide-eyed freshman on an athletic scholarship hoping to make it in the world, to a wide-eyed employee saying I am going to help my Badger brothers and sisters make it in our world.”
In a news release, Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart, AC president, described the change as a strategic move to help the college better support our students in their mission to graduate or transfer from Amarillo College.
Skinner’s position is new to AC and represents a division of the departments all formerly reporting to Robert Austin. The goal for the division is to “demystify the process for students,” Austin said.
Skinner will head up the student affairs division, which includes academic advising, career and testing services, disability services, student life, coaches and champions program, transfer program, new student orientation and peer tutoring.
Austin’s new position as vice president of enrollment management will focus on services that recruit new students and processes that help students navigate the enrollment process.
“Denese is wonderful. I’ve worked with her for several years, lovely person, very competent professional. I think she’s going to be a great teammate, I’m looking forward to working with her,” Austin said.
Skinner said her vision for AC is to insure a 70 percent student completion rate by 2020. She plans to do so by “enhancing the classroom experience through purposeful co-curricular activities and support services.”
“The position’s purpose is to facilitate the efforts of the departments within the division to collaborate with all areas on campus to ensure student success,” said Skinner, noting she will work “to help students improve their well-being and engagement, which impacts all areas of their life.”
Skinner said her goal for this upcoming year is to see all students, faculty and things who service them thrive. She wants students to be fully engaged in their AC experience.
“I want students to leave Amarillo College with their certificate or degree saying, ‘I cannot imagine my world without AC,’” Skinner said.