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DCCCD administrators receive national awards

Special to The Dallas Examiner | 4/11/2016, 10:52 a.m.
Two Dallas County Community College District administrators will be recognized for their achievements and commitment to student success during Phi ...
From left: Dr. Jennifer Wimbish, president of Cedar Valley College, and Anna Mays, associate vice chancellor of Educational Policy for Student Success DCCCD

Special to The Dallas Examiner

Two Dallas County Community College District administrators will be recognized for their achievements and commitment to student success during Phi Theta Kappa’s national conference this month in Maryland.

Phi Theta Kappa is a prestigious international honor society for two-year colleges. It recognizes the achievements, scholarship and academic excellence of students at DCCCD’s seven colleges. PTK has 1,285 chapters on college campuses in all 50 states, U.S. territories and eight sovereign nations.

Dr. Jennifer Wimbish, president of Cedar Valley College, will receive the organization’s prestigious Michael Bennett Lifetime Achievement Award. The award is named for Dr. Michael Bennett, who served as a president of St. Petersburg College in Florida. It is presented to retiring college presidents.

Wimbish, who started her career with DCCCD in 2003, is leaving her post in August.

“This is indeed an honor,” she said. “It has been my pleasure to work with our outstanding advisors who have provided exceptional leadership for many, many years. Every year we have exceptional students who make my role of supporting them exciting and so rewarding.”

Wimbish is the former chief academic officer and interim provost at Lansing Community College in Michigan. She holds a bachelor’s degree in history education from Hampton University in Virginia; a master’s degree in guidance and counseling from Texas A&M-Kingsville; and a doctorate from Michigan State University.

She has been credited with making Cedar Valley an open access college comprising both urban and suburban communities. During her tenure, Cedar Valley was noted for its leadership in Texas Completes and its affiliation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Cedar Valley has more than 6,600 students. Last year, the school was awarded a $2.45 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Predominately Black Institutions program to boost its academic achievement. The goal is to remove barriers, push more Black male students into STEM courses, and improve graduation and retention rates. The grant will target 6,000 students over a five-year period.

Anna Mays, associate vice chancellor of Educational Policy for Student Success, will receive the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society’s Distinguished College Administrator award.

Mays is former vice president for student, services at Cedar Valley College. A strong advocate for the Texas Completes initiative at DCCCD, she urges students to either complete their degrees or certificates or transfer to four-year colleges. She has also been instrumental in the 60x30TX plan, which seeks to equip Texans ages 25 to 34 with certificates or degrees by 2030.

“It’s very nice because this award comes from the students, and that’s very important,” Mays said. “It’s one thing to be recognized by your peers. The students have to write those nominations, and they are careful about what they do and say.”

She credits her success to strong love for the students and organizational skills.

Mays is the former director and systems manager of Student Success Services in Dayton, Ohio. She received her bachelor’s degree in secondary education at the University of Arizona and a master’s degree in counseling at the University of Dayton.