As the vice president of learning and student success, Dr. Carol Green has one of the most demanding jobs on campus; she not only has to be a dogged advocate for the school but for the success of every single student.
To achieve this Green has to use her rare gift of being tough without being hard or unfair. But this is all in support of remaining true to her values, values that are the foundation for her work.
No matter whether the cause may be faculty and students’ rights, innovation in technology and teaching or fulfilling the standards of Pierce College, Green not only gives her time and skill to Pierce College, but also her full attention.
From a young age Green’s parents taught her the values of an education—creating a foundation for her future and sacrificing so she could attend the college of her choice. That college was a private liberal arts college. Despite the experience Green had at the college she still dropped out during her junior year.
“You can imagine how disappointed my parents were to open the front door and see me,” Green said.
After four months, Green started her educational journey again. She returned to the same college and with her advisor, she worked out a plan that allowed her to continue on to achieving her goal; her goal to be an educator.
It was through her parents that Green learned the value of education, but it was through her own experiences that she built understanding and compassion; an experience that taught her how to walk in another’s shoes.
While her husband was in graduate school she was trying to juggle her life. Green’s family was 3,000 miles away, they had three children and very little money and soon she had to quit her job to stay at home with her youngest, who was having a difficult time.
Green worked part-time jobs where she was either allowed to bring her youngest with her or work in the evening. Soon Green and her family had to go on food stamps and public assistance for medical and dental care, since there was never enough money.
“It was a very different experience for me and one that has played an important part in my formative development,” she said. “I know how it feels to have people stare at you in the grocery line as your bring out your food stamps, how tiring it is to juggle three children as you wait for hours for your turn to see the doctor or dentist. I know how much it bothered me to hear people talk about welfare fraud and how I felt.”
Looking back on the experience, Green says that she is grateful for the experience because it taught her about how changeable life is that anyone could be in the very same situation no matter their background or future. Through her hardship Green came into the frame of thinking that is it her responsibility to help people find the courage and hope to see the end of their journey, and that is what she aims to do every school year.
For the 2012-13 school year, Green plans to carry on the collaboration that has already begun among the three campuses, Puyallup, Fort Steilacoom and Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
“I understand the need for each of the campuses to feel unique and it is good to have school pride. But we must remember that we are part of a district and whatever we do needs to be considered in light of the impact it may have on the two other entities. “
It was because of this district unity that Green came to the Puyallup campus after being re-assigned. She admitted that she was nervous about the change but that there was no need to worry, that the transition has been a good one.
On Green’s computer she has a sign that reads, “Think Students… Then Decide.” This is the guideline that Green tries to follow in everything she does.
As the vice president of learning and student success, Green will do everything she can to improve student’s college experiences and help them achieve success. While effort is expected of Green for the school she expects effort from students in order to succeed.
“Your college experience may not always be easy. You will have to give up some things in order to study and attend class,” she said. “Don’t waste this time. If you’re not ready to be here you won’t be here. I’ve heard people say, ‘Students have the right to fail.’ I don’t agree with that. I believe students have the responsibility to succeed.”
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost
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