Dr. Colleen A. Smith began her tenure as Coconino Community College’s Fifth President on February 1, 2016. The District Governing Board chose Dr. Smith because of her extensive experience as a community college administrator and CEO. That experience, coupled with her years as a full-time faculty member at Western Wyoming Community College provided her with a comprehensive understanding of the complexity of higher education leadership, a passion for the mission of the community college, and the students and communities served by that mission.
Throughout her career, Dr. Smith’s focus on the students and her collaborative leadership style have served as the driving force behind learning innovations and success initiatives that effectively implement policy changes and launch new programs. She has successfully negotiated partnerships with Universities and Public Schools to provide smooth transitions for students, as well as with local municipalities for the development of mutually beneficial training facilities. Her in-depth understanding of both the national and state higher education environment, as well as her CEO experience with budgets and facilities have all contributed to the realistic and results-oriented approach she brings to leadership in the comprehensive community college.
Having served as a college President, a Vice President of Instruction, an Associate Dean, and a Division Chair, her support for both Workforce Education and Transfer programs has proven successful in many different arenas. Dr. Smith’s leadership has brought about enrollment increases (37% at one institution with dual credit and online enrollment increases of 47% and 64% respectively at another), increased local and state support, as well as successful fund raising for innovation in technology and new facilities.
Dr. Smith earned her Ph.D. from Texas Woman’s University and both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Texas A&M Commerce (previously known as East Texas State University). She has served the community college chair of the state-wide Undergraduate Education Advisory Committee for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and is past chair of the North Texas Community College Consortium. She has served on the Texas Association of Community Colleges Legislative Committee working with state officials and legislators, always increasing the community college span of influence in support of students. She has presented for national conferences on various aspects of the assessment of student learning and has served as a consultant for a variety of colleges and universities throughout the United States and also in Canada.
While in Wyoming she served as a member of the Consultant-evaluator Corps for the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools Higher Learning Commission, and she formerly served as chair of accreditation committees for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges visiting other community colleges. Her leadership has produced successful reaccreditation processes at her home college in both regions as well. She is Past-chair of the North Texas Community College Consortium Board of Directors, and served on the Executive Board of the McKinney Community Development Corporation. She has always served her home community, county and state in a variety of ways with organizations such as: Sweetwater (Wyoming) Workforce Investment Council, Southwest Wyoming Rehabilitation Center, United Way, Wyoming Commission for National and Community Service, Cisco Civic League, Humane Society, etc. A few of her honors and awards include: Kitty Winter Magee Distinguished Scholar Award (TWU), Woman of the Year Award, (Sweetwater County, WY), Distinguished Alumni Award (TWU), President’s Award for outstanding service as a Board Member of the Rocky Mountain Theatre Association (CO, ID, MT, UT, WY), and Extra Mile Award (WWCC).
In her spare time, Dr. Smith enjoys spending time with her family, reading, writing, hiking and camping.