by MATT MOLINAR/Opinion Editor
Bringing years of experience with community colleges, Dr. Ryan C. Gibbs anticipates progress for South Plains College as he enters his new position.
SPC’s new vice president for academic affairs began his career after graduating from Odessa Permian High School. He later attended Odessa College, before transferring to TTU, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in political science.
He later returned to TTU to earn a master’s degree in public administration. He also completed the Management Development Program at Harvard Graduate School of Education.
“I lived in a hotel right on Harvard Square,” Dr. Gibbs said. “We started at about 8 a.m. and finished at around 6 p.m. It was a lot of intense work. We had many presidents from different universities as guest speakers. The point of the program is to really give an in-depth study into higher education administration. It was one of the best things I have ever done. I really got the chance to pick the brains of some leading experts.”
For the past five years, Dr. Gibbs served as an assistant vice provost for undergraduate education at TTU, where he oversaw the Tech Transfer Acceleration Program, community college and transfer relations, among many other programs. He was responsible for the improvement of transfer agreements between TTU and other schools.
“The reason I was brought into that position was because of my past experience in community colleges,” explains Dr. Gibbs. “Tech is always trying to grow their transfer student enrollment, so they needed somebody in administration who had that background. My main responsibility was building relations between TTU and other institutions, and making the transition easier for transfer students.”
With this new position, Dr. Gibbs would like everyone to know that he can be available to listen to the needs of faculty.
He says the faculty of an institution is a main priority, and also believes that the students come first.
“SPC has a great reputation for being very involved within the student body,” Dr. Gibbs said. “That’s what I like about community colleges so much, and that is what initially drove me to come back to one.”
Dr. Gibbs says he does not want to begin making any changes without listening to what changes need to be made. From students to community members, Dr. Gibbs wants everyone who plays a role at SPC to know that he is ready for change to be made if any is needed.
“We don’t want to do change for change’s sake,” Dr. Gibbs said. “We want purposeful change that addresses issues, and then we can go on from there.”
Dr. Gibbs is married to his wife of 16 years, Raynie Gibbs, and the couple has three young boys. With his new position, he plans on relocating his family to Levelland from Lubbock.
“Gabriel is 10, Graham is 7, and Grayson is 3,” Dr. Gibbs says. “My boys are sports nuts. We’ve been season ticket holders for TTU since 1998. They are apprehensive about change but are excited about new opportunities. They keep me busy, but they are the best part of my day.”