Highline College

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Better data, collaboration will help students, dean finalist says

Dr. Paulette Lopez

Marta Barlow Staff Reporter June 4

A candidate for the workforce dean says that a collaborative effort among faculty and staff, and more informative data, that will better assist students.

“My leadership style is one of collaborative, and equity-minded,” said Dr. Paulette Lopez, the dean for Workforce Education at Yakima Valley College and one of the finalists for workforce dean, who manages the professional and technical programs at Highline.

Dr. Lopez spoke on Thursday, May 28, at a workforce dean forum on Zoom.

To assist students and help them be successful, she said that it is a combined effort among everyone at Highline to listen to students, whether it is a meeting with a student or student surveys, to identify what it is students need.

Along with identifying what it is students need, Dr. Lopez would also like to make sure that the students know what resources are available to them by making sure faculty and staff know what resources are available and informing students of them.

“Part of that is having a conversation, collectively and making sure that we are all providing our students with the resources and if they are not, we are not, then we need to reassess that,” Dr. Lopez said.

When it comes to decreased enrollment in some professional and technical programs, she wants to look at more than just the enrollment numbers.

This means, “digging deeper into what the data says, not just by numbers, but also assessing our students,” Dr. Lopez says.

By looking at qualitative information and data given by the students, it will show why students stay and leave, and what Highline could do to keep students, she said.

This may also include looking at what is working and what is not in the programs and then adjusting some things to work better.

Dr. Lopez has been the dean for Workforce Education at Yakima Valley College for 12 years, and before that, was a faculty member at the college.

Highline has been a place she has wanted to one day work at because it is an institution that values equity diversity and inclusiveness, she said.

“I would love to be part of your communities, and help contribute to the collective vision on how we can serve our students, and our communities through equitable educational opportunities,” Dr. Lopez said.