Recognition For A Retiring Blinn College Vice Chancellor

Screen shot from the Twitter account of Blinn College district chancellor Mary Hensley.
Screen shot from the Twitter account of Blinn College district chancellor Mary Hensley.

Blinn College’s soon to retire vice chancellor of administration has received the state community college association’s highest honor.

That comes two days after Karen Buck was recognized by Blinn chancellor Mary Hensley during the board of trustees monthly meeting.

Dr. Hensley read a four minute list of accomplishments during Buck’s 25 year career as an administrator and staff member.

Buck, who leaves at the end of October, will not be replaced. Hensley announced last summer when Buck announced her retirement the following administrative changes:

Dr. Diane Lovell will serve as vice chancellor of student services, Jay Anderson will serve as vice chancellor of health sciences, technical education, and community programs, executive vice chancellor Leighton Schubert will add the supervision of campus and college operations to his current duties, Ted Hajovsky will serve as general counsel, and Marie Kirby will become vice chancellor for human resources.

Click below for comments from Mary Hensley and Karen Buck during the October 20, 2020 Blinn College board of trustees meeting.

Listen to “Recognition for retiring Blinn College vice chancellor Karen Buck” on Spreaker.

Blinn College news release:

Blinn College District Vice Chancellor for Administration Karen Buck has been named the 2020 winner of the Texas Association of Community Colleges (TACC) Carl M. “Cheesie” Nelson Award.

The Nelson Award is the most prestigious annual award presented by the TACC and recognizes the winner’s commitment to the mission of community colleges, support for student learning and success, leadership qualities, and involvement in community activities. The award is named after former Texarkana College President Carl M. Nelson.

“On behalf of everyone at Blinn College, we are excited to congratulate Vice Chancellor Buck on this tremendous accolade,” said Dr. Mary Hensley, Chancellor of the Blinn College District. “For the past 25 years, her leadership skills and dedication to students have played a vital role in Blinn’s success.”

Under Buck’s leadership, Blinn set enrollment records in every term throughout the 2019-20 academic year. Just as importantly, those students enjoy unparalleled success at Blinn. According to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, Blinn’s academic transfer rate of 45.9% ranks No. 1 in the State of Texas. No other community college in the state exceeds 40% and the statewide average is 24.1%.

A valued member of Blinn’s staff or administration since 1996, Buck has been a key leader in expanding Blinn’s technical and community education programs. During her tenure, she twice oversaw the relocation and expansion of Blinn’s credit and non-credit welding program in Brazos County. This August, this program moved into its new location at the RELLIS Agricultural and Workforce Education Complex in Bryan, a 38,000-square-foot facility that is a collaborative partnership between Blinn, The Texas A&M System, and the Texas A&M University College of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications.

This facility also will serve as home to four new Associate of Applied Science degrees that launched this Fall. Under Buck’s leadership, new credit degrees in carpentry, facilities maintenance, HVAC, and water purification were developed to provide valuable skilled trades training for the Central Texas region. These new degrees prepare students for high-skill, high-demand leadership positions in highly valued industry fields.

Buck’s many accomplishments also include:

  • oversight of Blinn’s campus planning activities in preparation for Hurricane Harvey in 2017,
  • development of new health science programs in Surgical Technology and Veterinary Technology,
  • a 300% increase in the successful procurement and development of Texas Workforce Commission Skills Development and Skills for Small Business grants over the past three years,
    a 26% increase in Blinn’s overall technical and career awards,
  • and the development of external partnership agreements with the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) Fire Recruit Academy, Police Academy, Forensic Science Academy, Industrial Fire and Occupational Fire courses, and online corrections officer certification.

In addition to these accomplishments, Vice Chancellor Buck played a vital role in Blinn’s transition of more than 2,200 Spring 2020 courses from a traditional instructional modality to an online format in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Once classes resumed, she created and oversaw a student outreach project in which approximately 90 Blinn personnel contacted 7,763 students by phone or text to see what challenges those students may be facing and how Blinn could assist them.

Buck recently announced her plans to retire at the end of the month.