Cecil College names VP of academic programs
— For someone who says she stumbled into the field of higher education, Kimberly Batty-Herbert has had a steady climb through the ranks en route to her new position as vice president of academic programs at Cecil College.
Batty-Herbert, who spent the last nine years as dean of arts and sciences at South Florida State College, has been hired to serve as Cecil’s chief academic officer and a member of its executive leadership team. She has leadership responsibilities for planning, implementing and coordinating the educational programs of the college.
Looking to advance in her career to a vice president post, Batty-Herbert was attracted to Cecil for several reasons. In addition to being a small school in a rural community just like SFSC, it also offered her the opportunity to be closer to relatives in Charles County.
“My interview made me feel like not only would I have family in southern Maryland, I would have family at Cecil as well,” said Batty-Herbert. “I could see right away that people really appreciated and liked working with another.”
A native of western Pennsylvania, who is boldly displaying her Pittsburgh Steelers “Terrible Towel” in Baltimore Ravens country, Batty-Herbert began her college coursework at Butler County Community College while she was still in high school. She then headed southwest to Eastern New Mexico University, where she received a Bachelor of Science in communication in 1982 and a master’s in communication seven years later. Batty-
Herbert initially intended to use her education to be a television broadcaster but she ended up embarking on an unplanned path instead.
Shortly after earning her master’s, she began serving as an adjunct instructor at Eastern New Mexico University-Clovis, which later became known as Clovis Community College. Batty-Herbert was hooked right away. Not only did she enjoy the involvement with the students, but she knew community colleges were where she wanted to be. A first-generation college student from a blue-collar family, Batty-Herbert felt an instant connection with many of the people she was teaching and has been working at two-year schools ever since.
“It was just a great experience, and I realized this is what I want to do,” said Batty-Herbert. “I was always attracted to the community college, because I think we are more impactful in what we do for students by transforming their lives.”
She quickly went from part-time to full-time status at Clovis and spent nearly 15 years as the school’s program coordinator for communication, music, languages and theatre as well as an instructor of communication. While working at Clovis, Batty-Herbert continued her own studies and was awarded a doctorate in higher education administration from New Mexico State University in 2004. Shortly thereafter, she traveled southeast with her husband, David, and son, Braxton, and made the transition from faculty to administration by taking on the role of associate dean of academic affairs at Broward College. Following a three-year stint at Broward, she remained in the Sunshine State, where she took the next stride forward in her career to her final stop before Cecil, South Florida State College.
“It has been a series of small steps to Cecil,” said Batty-Herbert whose education and career have taken her on a journey of more than 4,000 miles from her childhood home. “Going from an associate dean to a dean to a vice president was just a natural progression, and everything I have done in the past has led me to this position. All the different committees I have served on, and all the roles I have had within an institution and a community have led me to this position and strengthened my background.”
Wherever she has worked and whatever positions she has held, Batty-Herbert has most relished the opportunity to impact students’ lives. Shortly before departing from SFSC, the students selected her as the adjunct faculty member of the year. She was mentor of the year at Broward and, though it has been about 10 years, she still keeps in personal contact with her mentee.
“Student-centered awards mean the most to me,” said Batty-Herbert. “When I know I have helped a student to succeed, that is my greatest accomplishment.”
Batty-Herbert also feels strongly about being involved in the community at large and has made a point to do so at each institution she has been affiliated with. Her Rotary club in Florida named her Rotarian of the year before she left, and she has already transferred her membership to the North East Rotary Club.
Batty-Herbert has a sign in her office that says “Listen,” and that is her first goal as she settles into her new role at Cecil. She said she is going to listen, watch and learn from the professionals and find out how she can support them and help grow what is already being done.
“I am a supporting cog in Cecil College and am here to back those assigned to my area,” said Batty-Herbert. “My primary responsibility is ensuring compliance with governmental regulations in education and to make sure our curriculum is appropriate, meeting the needs of our community and making students’ lives better.”
While the nuts and bolts of the position should be quite familiar, her greatest challenge thus far is learning the vernacular, which comes with a whole new set of acronyms, names and accrediting bodies that change from state to state and region to region. She credits her support team, and many others at Cecil, with bringing her up to speed.
In addition to the excitement for her new job, BattyHerbert is greatly looking forward to truly experiencing all four seasons for the first time in many years. She has especially missed fall foliage and spring flowers, and is even ready to endure a snowstorm as long her dog Fritzy can handle it.
While the duties of an executive level college position can pull one away from regular interaction with students, Batty-Herbert is determined to prevent that from happening.
“I love helping students, and I am going to try real hard not to get stuck in my office,” she said. “I still intend to be out there meeting students and continually learning how I can best serve them.”
Clerk of Court Charlene Notarcola administers the judge’s oath to Clara Eva Campbell.