El Paso Community College’s very own, Vice President of Instruction and Workforce Education, Steven E. Smith has received state-wide recognition for his dedication to higher education and outstanding leadership as the 2018 winner of the Carl M. “Cheesie” Nelson Administration Leadership Award.
Smith’s career began as a computer programmer where he later moved on to becoming a part-time instructor.
Steven E. Smith, EPCC Vice President of Instruction and Workforce Education.
Smith found the work in higher education to be rewarding enough for him to transition into doing it full-time.
Since then, he has dedicated 30 years of his career to influencing and improving students pursuing a higher education.
His current position, oversees instructional, workforce, and educational programs which include Early College High Schools, Teachership Academy, Student Technology Services and the Mentoring Program at all EPCC campuses.
The Nelson award which recognizes leadership, chose Smith amidst nominees from 50 community colleges across all of Texas.
Smith ensures that although he is given credit, he is not the only one in the trenches doing the difficult work and ensuring that all students attending EPCC get the education they deserve.
“At heart, I still consider myself a faculty member because that’s really where all the good work gets done,” said Smith.
A focus Smith and his department have is on student pathways.
They hope to help students decide on a major they would like to pursue as well as providing a clear path for them to achieve it.
The importance of this goal rose from the large number of students who are undecided and who have wasted time and money on unnecessary credit hours.
Given by the Texas Association of Community Colleges (TACC), the annual award’s purpose is to express the importance of higher education public facilities and improving the student’s education through legislative policies.
The award is one of many Smith’s career has granted him thus far. He is a recipient of the El Paso Energy Foundation Faculty Achievement Award, the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Excellence Award, and the Aristotle Award.
“Aside from the interesting name, what made this award stand out was that people felt it was appropriate for me to even be considered,” said Smith. “After all, not all awards focus on work solely done at community colleges.”
Smith’s career is one of many who bring a robust face to El Paso Community College and their impact in the Texas region.
El Paso is a strong leader in the state and it is important for the rest of the state to recognize the work and dedication that comes with that. It begins with the educated and therefore, the educators.