BATON ROUGE, La - Today, Dr. Willie E. Smith was selected as the chancellor of Baton Rouge Community College (BRCC) by the Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS) Board of Supervisors during a special called meeting of the executive committee. LCTCS President Monty Sullivan made the recommendation. The recommendation was made after a comprehensive national search that included finalist virtual interviews with the search committee and videos with accompanying public feedback forms, which allowed students, faculty, staff, and community members an opportunity to engage in the process. Smith's appointment is effective immediately.
"On behalf of the Board of Supervisors, I want to congratulate Dr. Smith on his selection as the new chancellor of Baton Rouge Community College," said Tim Hardy, LCTCS board supervisor and chair of the search committee. "We were impressed with the overall pool of candidates and each finalist and we appreciate everyone's willingness to adjust to the revised process as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic." Hardy added, "Dr. Smith has led BRCC on an interim basis for the past 10 months and provided the college with great leadership and a vision for the college's future. In managing the pandemic's impact, Dr. Smith has kept students at the forefront. He also has appropriately challenged the faculty and staff to adapt and implement a plan that allowed the college to transition to new business and instructional delivery models. We believe Dr. Smith is the perfect fit for BRCC. He will continue leading efforts to deliver academic and workforce training in the Capitol region."
"First, I would like to thank the Board of Supervisors, the Search Committee, and Dr. Sullivan for entrusting me to be the permanent chancellor at Baton Rouge Community College," said Smith. "I am excited for this opportunity to continue to lead BRCC. I also want to thank all of our faculty, staff, students, and community partners who have supported me during my interim tenure. I am committed to the work we have begun to make BRCC a great place to work and learn. Looking forward, BRCC will continue to be a leader in providing innovative solutions that will support the needs of all our constituents."
Dr. Smith has worked in the Louisiana Community & Technical College System and its colleges for the past 19 years. He began his academic career by earning his Bachelor of Arts degree from Tulane University, where he attended on a full athletic scholarship. He earned his Master's in Public Administration from Troy University in 2001. Smith went on to earn his doctorate in Educational Leadership from Argosy University in 2014. Before serving as Interim Chancellor at BRCC, he served as Vice President for Training and Business Partnerships for LCTCS. While working at LCTCS, Dr. Smith also held the roles of Director of Manufacturing and Extension Partnerships of Louisiana (MEPOL) (2018-19); Acting Vice Chancellor of Workforce Solutions for BRCC (2018-19); Chief Executive Officer for South Central Louisiana Technical College (SCLTC) (2017-18); Vice President of Academics and Workforce Solutions at South Louisiana Community College (SLCC) (2016-17).
Board Lifts Institutional Aid Cap to Increase Student Access Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
During today's meeting, the executive committee also unanimously approved a resolution directing all LCTCS colleges to continue the extraordinary work of delivering on the two-year college mission for the people of Louisiana in these unprecedented times while taking the steps necessary to mitigate the immediate and longer-term impacts of the pandemic and the economic downturn on the delivery of education and training, to include but not be limited to, preparing for potential state general fund reductions in the fiscal year 2021, preparing for uncertain enrollment and operational changes that will likely impact revenue and expenses, and maximizing the institutional funds under the CARES Act.
The resolution requests each college explicitly to bolster efforts to provide college-sponsored institutional financial aid to students by authorizing the temporary elimination of the financial aid cap specified in LCTCS policy #5.025 for fiscal years 2020 and 2021.
LCTCS colleges are enrollment driven through tuition and self-generated revenues. As such, the impact from any potential budget reductions can be best mitigated through the measures directed in this resolution.
"Today's approval of this resolution by the Board accomplishes several things, but more importantly it allows colleges to remain competitive by providing aid to students who, because of the current circumstances, cannot afford to attend or continue college," said Board Chairman Stephen Toups. Toups added, "Secondly, we believe this will lead to increased enrollment and subsequently help offset reductions in state funds. We believe this is the most prudent way to continue delivering on the mission of access while also developing additional strategies to manage the challenges currently facing our colleges."