Student success is new VP’s focus

Scott Behrens, new vice president of Enrollment Management and Student Services, said he plans to dedicate his new position at MCCC to ensuring student and community success (Photo by Noah Black).

MCCC is making changes to ensure a larger focus on student success.

With these changes, Scott Behrens has been hired as MCCC’s new vice president of Enrollment Management and Student Success.

Behrens replaces former VP Randy Daniels who retired Feb. 28 after 25 years at MCCC.

Behrens holds over 25 years of experience in the education field, receiving his bachelor’s degree from McDaniel College in Maryland before attaining his Master of Education degree at University of Arizona and his Ph.D. at the University of Florida.

Officially starting work at MCCC Oct. 19, Behrens has already begun working toward aiding students in their path to success.

“I was looking for something that is the right fit for my expertise, which is really growing enrollment and student success,” Behrens said. “I put student success first and that’s what I’ve always been about.”

MCCC President Kojo Quartey renamed the position from VP of Student and Information Services to VP of Enrollment Management and Student Success, with the duties  reworked from the previous position title of VP of Student and Information Services.

“If it had been the other position, I may never have applied,” Behrens said.  “It’s because of the changes that he made to the position and the title that really drove that job description, and, therefore, my interest.”

Quartey said that there were two rounds of candidate searches to fill the position.

“In the second round, Scott immediately rose to the top,” Quartey said. “A couple of words I remember about Scott when talking to his references were passion and compassion, and I appreciated that, that he was concerned about student success.”

Behrens said he is most looking forward to  helping MCCC’s students become more successful in everything they do.

“Number one is truly helping students to better their lives through education and therefore help the community, as well, to become a stronger community, a community that is appealing to businesses,” he said.

Aside from the main campus community, Behrens has also quickly familiarized himself with the different programs and services on campus.

“That’s how I spent my first days here, just meeting everybody that I can and talking to them and asking them how can I, my office, help to serve the students better?” he said.

Behrens said he wants to learn more about particular groups on campus as well, such as Student Government and other clubs in order to engage more with students.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the offices at MCCC are aware of the stress students are facing, Behrens said.

“We need to be ever more acutely aware that students have so much tugging at them right now,” he said. “I think one of the difficulties we have is that engagement piece. Obviously, when people are online and remote, we need to be making sure that we also take the time to really ask the question: ‘Hey, how’s everything going in life?’”

With the recent relocation of the Student Success Center to the Founders Hall, Behrens said he wants to encourage more proactive support for students, getting students help before they need help and assisting them understanding the support process.

He said one way he wishes to be more engaging is to contact students directly.

“I think part of it will be my own processes to truly engage students and send emails myself welcoming students to the college,” Behrens said. “One of the first things I did, and I know the other vice presidents here have done, I asked for a cell phone. I want people to feel free to engage me personally, tell me how things are going. I want to make sure that they’re aware in real time of those opportunities.”

Behrens said he wants to end the discouraging cliché college students often hear at orientations, “Look to your left and right, one of those people will not be here when you graduate. I want to change that saying. I want to change it to, ‘Look to your left, look to your right. Get to know these people. We’re all in this together and we’re going to work together so that everyone succeeds.'”