“The face of higher education is changing around the country,” said Dr. Bruce Exstrom, Coastal Bend College Dean of Instructional Services. “Students are coming to expect access to education seven days a week, 24-hours a day.”
Exstrom is chief academic officer for the college. He came to CBC with the experience of working in a multi-campus district in a rural area. His short term goals in his new role are to look at the courses offered at Coastal Bend College and assess how well they address the needs of today’s and tomorrow’s students; understand the different cultures of the college and bring them all together synergistically; and examine how the college’s programs meet the demands of local industry.
He looks at students with an eye for what education will look like in five years. Students have higher expectations for learning environments and technologies, according to Exstrom. Continuing to serve students will mean keeping the future in focus. More hybrid and internet courses are on the horizon for Coastal Bend College. More options for non-traditional students can be expected in coming semesters. Student retention and completion are also high target goals for the new dean.
“Community college students face a myriad of challenges. Even Coastal Bend College can be daunting so we have to assist with the initial enrollment and advising steps for students because it’s tough,” Exstrom said. He’s got some personal experience in that area. As a college freshman, Exstrom recalls being left to his own wits upon arriving at Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Neb., decades ago.
“I was a first-generation college student,” he explained. Neither of his parents attended college. Exstrom earned an Associate of Arts Degree at Northeast. He then went on to the University of Nebraska to earn a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and Finance; a Master of Arts Degree in Adult and Continuing Education; and a Ph.D. in Higher Ed Leadership. He has completed post-doctoral study in leadership in education at Harvard University.
He has been a business and accounting faculty member and worked as chair in assessment for six years at Southeast Community College in Nebraska. Exstrom came to CBC from Allegany College of Maryland, where he served as vice president of instruction and, later, appointed president of the college as he lead the college in transition from the former executive leadership to build a new team of leaders.
Exstrom’s wife, Dennise, is a longtime registered nurse and nursing faculty member at Allegany College of Maryland. The couple has four adult children: sons, Sean and Caleb, and daughters, Jada and Jennifer.
“I look forward to working closely with faculty and staff on many initiatives,” he said. Exstrom overseas academic and workforce instruction, learning resources, and prison programs. He is the last dean to come aboard during a time of new structure at CBC. Velma Elizalde, Ruth Cude, and Glynis Holm Strause round out the executive management team.
Elizalde, director of student services since 2005, was promoted to CBC Dean of Student Services a year ago. The
Mathis native is a Coastal Bend College graduate and holds a bachelors degree from Texas A&M University — Kingsville and a Master of Science Degree in Guidance and Counseling from Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi. She overseas admissions, athletics, counseling services, financial aid, housing, student life and TRiO programs.
Cude served as business manager before being promoted to Dean of Administrative Services. Cude is a graduate of Kansas State University. She earned a Master of Accountancy Degree from the University of Texas at El Paso. She is a licensed certified accountant. She came to Coastal Bend College in 2008 from El Paso Community College. Cude overseas bookstore operations, business services, computer and network services, telephone and mail services, maintenance and personnel.
Glynis Holm Strause, Dean of Institutional Advancement, is a longtime CBC employee. She began with college as a faculty member and continues today as an adjunct speech instructor. Strause, a George West High School graduate, earned a Bachelor of Science
Degree in Speech, Theatre, English and Secondary Education from Howard Payne University in Brownwood. She earned a Masters Degree in College Teaching from the University of Tennessee – Knoxville and has earned post-graduate credit in education and human resource development from Texas A&M University. She overseas continuing education, adult basic education, foundation services, grants and public relations.