Aug. 29, 2012, 10 a.m.

Judy Hay

New vice president strives to build team, instill confidence in Student Services

Laramie County Community College’s new vice president of student services, who officially starts on Sept. 10, is new to the college and its people but no stranger to Dr. Joe Schaffer, LCCC president.

“Dr. Schaffer and I started out as lateral peers at what was then MSU-Great Falls College of Technology and is now Great Falls College Montana State University,” Hay said.

They had a solid working relationship, she added, which hopefully was one of the deciding points for Schaffer when he hired her. As Schaffer rose in the ranks, this relationship didn’t change, and it never lost the solid trust and respect upon which it was built. Hay said she believed their familiarity will be beneficial while she becomes acquainted with LCCC, its faculty, staff and students.

Further, their prior working relationship was one of the reasons Hay applied for the position at LCCC. The position will give her the ability to stay with a two-year institution but offers her a challenge because LCCC is a bigger college than her previous one. She said it was time to move on to a new challenge, as her team at Great Falls College MSU had made great changes and adjustments.

“Long—term, I envision a really strong student services’ arm of the college that is viewed as an equal partner with academics in ensuring the students who trust LCCC with their time, dreams and money are very happy with their experiences and what they gain in the process.”
Judy Hay, Vice President of Student Services

“They really don’t need me there. That is for sure. And I will say it has been a pleasure working with them,” Hay said. While she will miss those colleagues, Hay is looking forward to hitting the ground running at LCCC.

“I understand there has been some turnover in student services, and while some turnover can help us take advantage of opportunities to retool ourselves and change the ways we do things,” Hay said, “there is also a stability element that most of us need in order to feel we are working in an organization that we can trust to be consistent enough for changes to be implemented and take root.”

As part of her short-term goals, Hay wants to rehabilitate the sense of a team, while building a relationship on trust and understanding among the different entities in the student services areas. She also wants to look more closely at the experiences students have in her area and take this into consideration while retooling and, maybe even, restructuring student services. Hay said a survey of entering student engagement, which will take place this fall, will help in understanding what has been done well and where improvement is needed.

Hay said she was also unafraid to visit the college campus to ask and answer questions in order to achieve the goals she has set for herself and her new staff. “Long—term, I envision a really strong student services’ arm of the college that is viewed as an equal partner with academics in ensuring the students who trust LCCC with their time, dreams and money are very happy with their experiences and what they gain in the process,” Hay said.

This leads to the ultimate goals of achieving a higher student success rate in classes, in programs and the overall completion of their college degree.

While visiting the campus in July, Hay met with different teams, clubs and student organizations and had the first impression that student involvement on campus is pretty good. There might be room to grow and improve, but she won’t know for sure until she looks further into the issue.

One area of interest for her would be intramural sports, for which she said she has heard interest exist. “I am very interested in that and know that there is some work being done to identify what sports would be of interest to our students as well as where we have funding to support the activity,” she said.

Hay said students can expect from her to be very visible on campus, meet students around campus, attend Student Government Association meetings, “attend sporting events, cultural events, and other activities students are involved in.” Hay said staff and faculty can expect her to be a team player and build a strong team in her own area. She said her strengths and challenges will play a part in how she leads her team and how she will handle anything that might be thrown at her. She said she deeply cares about students, has always had a deep love for community colleges and always has been a straightforward and honest person, she said.

“I prefer to think of weaknesses as challenges because often our challenges are simply the downsides of our strengths,” Hay said.

At the beginning of May, the national search for vice president of student services began. Pauly Group Consultants and a search committee of 12 LCCC employees interviewed 34 qualified applicants and then narrowed their options.

With a 22-year background in higher education, she looked like a favorable candidate. She has a master’s degree in education, adult and higher education, a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Montana State University and a minor in special education from the University of Montana.

Hay was the assistant dean/chief student affairs officer at Montana State University since 2006. She has helped establish a centralized model for student advising that received accolades from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Another effect she had on Montana State has been helping create a one-stop shop for student services called “Student Central.”

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