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CTN TO HOST VIRTUAL SPRING GALA
CTN’s virtual Spring Gala will be held on May 12th from 6-7 pm, and will feature a panel discussing the future of higher education Some of the possible topics the panel will cover include: “What are the challenges facing higher education, and what are some solutions? What is the value of higher education in the future? What is technology’s influence on higher education in years to come? How can institutions ensure that they continue to deliver to the student-consumer? What can be done about the often-prohibitive cost of higher education? How do colleges address the CoRequisite-Pathways movement within the 60x30TX Strategy?
The panel will consist of Dr. Robert Garza, President of Palo Alto College; Dr. Richard Solis, President of South Texas College; Dr. Richard Rhodes, Chancellor of Austin Community College; Dr. Plummer, Vice-President of Information Services, Planning & Strategic Initiatives and Assistant Vice-President of Strategic Initiatives at South Texas College; Dr. Hector Gonzales, President of Southwest Junior College; Dr. Tina Jackson, Assistant Commissioner of the Division for Workforce Education for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board;
Chris Nelson, Dean of Liberal Arts, South Texas College; and Dr. Stella Lovato, Vice President of College Services and Nursing Education and Interim Vice President of Academic Success, San Antonio College.
Linda Hagedorn, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs, International Programs, Student Services, Diversity, and Community in the College of Human Sciences and Professor in the School of Education at Iowa State University, will serve as moderator for the panel.
In addition to the panel, there will be video of students talking about the program’s impact and their plans as well as videos of CTN cohort 2021 faculty graduating from our professional development sequence to speak about the effects of our training on their teaching. The gala will end with a student musical performance.
For more information about the gala, go to
To register for the gala, go to
Dr. Robert Garza
Garza was appointed as the seventh president of Alamo Colleges District-Palo Alto College on July 25, 2018, by the Alamo Colleges District Board of Trustees. Originally joining the Alamo Colleges District in 1999, Dr. Garza held several positions during his tenure at Palo Alto College, including Dean of Community Development and Partnerships, Dean of Student Success, and Vice President of Student Success.
Within his first year as president, he led Palo Alto College toward being named a Rising Star of the 2019 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance in America’s community colleges, and celebrated the achievements of the Alamo Colleges District and its five colleges as a 2018 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award winner. Additionally, he spearheaded fundraising efforts for ¡Celebración! in October 2018 – Palo Alto College’s premier scholarship fundraiser – and raised a record $1.3 million in committed scholarship dollars for Palo Alto College students and employees.
In Fall 2020, Palo Alto College announced a new addition to the campus, the Rio Grande. When completed, it will be the largest multipurpose building that will promote collaborative learning and interactive instruction with its specialized program spaces. The Rio Grande will be home to advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence, robotics, cybersecurity, logistics, dental hygiene, science labs, criminal justice, and more
In December 2020, Palo Alto College was the recipient of an eight-figure gift from author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. This marks the largest one-time donation in the College’s history. Recognized for strong leadership and results, the College stood out among 384 organizations across the country.
Palo Alto College is committed to building a college-going culture in south Bexar County through existing programming and developing new and innovative ideas. Events like Eggstravaganza, a free egg hunt for south San Antonio families, and PACfest 2019, an official Fiesta® San Antonio event, for the community to come together and be part of the Palo Alto College family. Dr. Garza is a supporter of the community and is a firm believer that education starts at birth. Launched in March 2021, Educate South is a new community effort that focuses on beginning educational awareness at the earliest years of school by building public and private partnerships.
Dr. Garza was awarded the V. Ray Cardozier Alumni Excellence Award by the University of Texas, which honors a graduate of the doctoral program in higher education who demonstrates excellence in their scholarly/professional work. As an active member of the community, Dr. Garza serves as a board member for the Alamo Collegiate Network, Catch the Next, Inc., Hot Wells Conservancy, Mexican American Civil Rights Institute (MACRI), and Texas Vista Medical Center.
Dr. Garza holds a bachelor's degree from Texas A&M University, a master's degree in public administration from the University of Texas at San Antonio, and a doctorate in educational administration from the University of Texas at Austin. His dissertation focused on Faculty Perspectives in Online Learning, which included a study that utilized Interactive Qualitative Analysis to identify challenges in online education and capture faculty perceptions about online learning. (https://www.alamo.edu/pac/about-pac/leadership/office-of-the-president/)
Dr. Ricardo Solis
Solis is President of South Texas College and previously served as President of Laredo College, Laredo, TX, Executive Dean for Academic, Professional, and Technical Education at Gateway Community College, and Maricopa Community Colleges, in Phoenix, AZ.
Dr. Solis earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education Administration – Community College Leadership from The University of Texas at Austin; a Master of Business Administration in International Management from Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, CA; and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Economics from Trinity University in San Antonio. (https://admin.southtexascollege.edu/president/)
Dr. Richard M. Rhodes
Since joining the Austin Community College District in September 2011, Dr. Rhodes has worked to improve pathways into higher education, strengthen awareness of the community college mission, and give students the tools to accomplish their educational, professional, and personal goals.
A native of Alamogordo, New Mexico, Dr. Rhodes received his Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and Master of Arts in Educational Management and Development from New Mexico State University. He earned his doctorate through the Community College Leadership Program at the University of Texas at Austin, receiving its Distinguished Graduate Award in 2001.
His professional associations include Chair of the American Association of Community Colleges; Board Member of the Texas Workforce Investment Council; and Past Chair of the Texas Association of Community Colleges. Dr. Rhodes also is a Board Member for the Trellis Company, Chair of the Trellis Foundation, Vice Chair for the Capital Area Council of Boy Scouts, and Board Member of the League for Innovation.
Dr. Rhodes is active in the community, serving as Past Chair of the Board for American YouthWorks as well as serving on the boards of local Chambers of Commerce and Co-Chair of Communities in Schools Central Texas Leadership Circle and the Austin Area Research Organization.
Prior to joining ACC, Dr. Rhodes served as President of El Paso Community College for 10 years and as Vice President of Business Services at Salt Lake Community College in Salt Lake City, Utah, for seven years.
Dr. Rhodes is a Certified Public Accountant in Texas and New Mexico. He and his wife, Kate, have four children and nine grandchildren. Dr. Rhodes enjoys reading, golf, hiking, running, and spending time with his family. (https://www.austincc.edu/offices/chancellor/biography)
Dr. Hector Gonzales
Dr. Gonzales has served as President of Southwest Texas Junior College since 2012. Prior to that he was Chief Academic Officer & Chief Financial Officer and Director of Accounting and Controller for the college. He was adjunct faculty for Sul Ross State University for four years. He also worked Coleman, Horton & Company CPA's as a Staff Accountant & Auditor and for Tandem Petroleum Marketers as Chief Financial Officer
Dr. Gonzales is currently on the Board of Directors for the Uvalde Memorial Hospital and is a member of the Rotary Club International. He was also a member of the Lions Club International for seven years. He served as treasurer for the Uvalde Area Chamber of Commerce for three years and as director of the Uvalde Area Development Foundation for two years.
Dr. Plummer currently serves as the Vice-President of Information Services, Planning & Strategic Initiatives as well as the Assistant Vice-President of Strategic Initiatives at South Texas College and has over 18 years of higher education experience. He is the executive officer overseeing all information services and operations, including information technology and security, instructional technology, library services, centers for learning excellence, institutional research, strategic planning, institutional effectiveness, and accreditation. Dr. Plummer is responsible for aligning information services, learning support services, institutional and student performance and operations with institutional goals and objectives as they relate to the organizational mission. In previous higher education roles, he served as Dean of Administrative Services, Chief Project Officer and as Director over workforce training. In addition to higher education, Dr. Plummer served for over 20 years in the military as an Infantry Officer including a tour of duty in Afghanistan and worked as a Senior Business Analyst in a corporate environment.
Dr. Plummer has an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Texas A&M–Kingsville, an MBA and a BBA in Computer Information Systems from the University of Texas–Pan American.
Dr. Tina Jackson
Dr. Jackson currently serves as Assistant Commissioner of the Division for Workforce Education for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. In this role she works with all aspects of career and technical workforce initiatives and programs. She is the former District Director of Developmental Education at Collin College she worked across all campuses on issues related to developmental education, completion and pathways to careers. Jackson served as Associate Dean of Science Technology Engineering & Math (STEM) at Dallas County Community College District from 2016-2017. Tina worked as the statewide coordinator of Community College Programs at the University of Texas at Austin from 2012-2016. Helping to redesign developmental math throughout all 50 community colleges in the state of Texas. In 2013, Tina was named a Jackson Scholar by the University Council for Educational Administration. In 2012, Jackson was awarded a Community College Leadership Fellowship from the University of Texas at Austin. In 2012, she also received an award from the Association for the Study of Higher Education to continue her research on STEM Workforce Development in Community Colleges focusing on students of color. Jackson also serves as Vice President of Programs on the Texas Association of Black Personnel in Higher Education State Board. Dr. Jackson holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Science, a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Minnesota and a Ph.D. in Educational Administration from the University of Texas at Austin.
Dr. Stella Lovato
Dr. Lovato is Interim Vice President of Academic Success for San Antonio College. While serving in this interim position, she remains in her current leadership role as Vice President of College Services. Dr. Lovato began her long affiliation with SAC and the Alamo Colleges District as a student, earning an associate degree in dental assisting. She then embarked on an academic journey that ultimately led to earning a doctorate and becoming both a successful academic and administrative leader. She has served in numerous faculty and leadership positions at SAC, including as Professor and Chair for the Department of Allied Health and Kinesiology. She also has held a variety of institutional service roles, including as Coach for the 4 Disciplines of Execution, Vice President of the Faculty Senate, Chair for the Alamo Colleges District Chairs Council, and as a member of the Baldrige Committee, among many others.
She was appointed Vice President of College Services in 2016. She oversees such key functions and services as College Services, Risk Management, Campus Logistics, the College Budget Office, the Office of Technology Services, the Scobee Education Center, the William R. Sinkin Eco Centro, Integrated Planning and Performance Excellence, and the Office of Marketing and Strategic Communications.
Dr. Lovato earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Health Professions at Texas State University, a master’s in Education at the University of Texas at San Antonio, and her Ph.D. in Adult Professional and Community Education at Texas State University.
Dr. Christopher Nelson
Dr. Nelson earned his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Southern Illinois University in 2003. He began teaching at South Texas College in 2004, where he has worked since. He was awarded the classification of Associate Professor of Philosophy in 2009, and the classification of Professor of Philosophy in 2015. He served as Chair of the Department of History and Philosophy, from 2006 to 2009 and from 2012 to 2015, Assistant Dean of Humanities in the Division of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences from 2014 to 2019, and Associate Dean of Curriculum and Student Learning in 2019. He currently serves as Dean of Liberal Arts, Co-Lead for the College’s Texas Pathways Project Team, and Liaison to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. He has published numerous articles on various aspects of the philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard, as well as articles on the phenomenology of religious experience in the writings of William James, and the philosophy of education in the writings of Simone Weil.
Dr. Linda Hagedorn-Panel Moderator
Dr. Linda Serra Hagedorn is Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs, International Programs, Student Services, Diversity, and Community in the College of Human Sciences and Professor in the School of Education at Iowa State University. She is a prominent researcher in the area of community college student success with over 200 publications and presentations. As the Director of International Programs at Iowa State, she is also highly involved in international education. Dr. Hagedorn has extensive international experience beginning with her initial work in Vietnam as a Fulbright Specialist at AnGiang University (2003). She subsequently has been a researcher and collaborator in China, Russia, Korea, and Spain. She is on the advisory board of international universities in both China and Iran. As the past president of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) and Vice President of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), Dr. Hagedorn has a rich history of leadership. Included in her long list of funded projects, including the latest funded by the U.S. Department of State where she heads the American Cultural Center at Henan Normal University in Xinxiang China.