Meet Rey Garcia: I Look Forward to Helping Next Generation of N.C. Community College Leaders

Rey Garcia

“After a 20-year career as President and CEO of the Texas Association of Community Colleges I took some time off to consider the next phase of my career,” says the professor of practice of community college leadership. “I could not think of a higher calling than developing the next generation of community college leaders.”

This is part of a series of profiles of faculty who joined the College of Education in 2017.

Rey Garcia

Title: Professor of Practice of Community College Leadership
Education: Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration, University of Texas at Austin; Master of Arts in Communication Studies, Baylor University; and Bachelor of Arts in Government, University of Texas at Austin.
Experience: President, Garcia Higher Education Consulting, Inc.; President Emeritus, Texas Association of Community Colleges; President and CEO, Texas Association of Community Colleges; Special Assistant for Education, Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Texas; Education Policy Specialist, Texas Senate Research Center; Director of Forensics and Faculty Member, Department of Speech Communication, Texas State University.

Why I Chose the College of Education: After a 20-year career as President and CEO of the Texas Association of Community Colleges I took some time off to consider the next phase of my career. I could not think of a higher calling than developing the next generation of community college leaders. I was drawn to NC State’s College of Education because of the close alliance with the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program. NC State and Aspen have forged a cutting edge leadership program focused on student success. Over the last decade I dedicated much of my time to advancing the student success agenda, so the fit with NC State was perfect.

Why I Chose the Field of Education: I started my career in higher education as a speech and debate coach at Texas State University. I decided several years into my work that I wanted to pursue a career in higher education administration. While teaching at Texas State I started and completed my doctoral coursework in higher education administration. During the course of my studies I focused on public policy and government relations. A number of events led to my appointment as an Education Policy Specialist for the Texas Senate Research Center, and then as the Special Assistant for Education to the Lieutenant Governor of Texas. This work allowed me to work with all sectors of education from K-12, to community colleges, universities, and health related institutions. An opportunity to lead the community college association became available and I had the honor to serve as President and CEO of the association for 20 years.

My Teaching Philosophy: I believe teaching and learning are interactive and mutual experiences for professor and student. My goal is to help students become critical consumers of research and information by exposing them to multiple perspectives and viewpoints on key topics and issues in their program of study. Future community college leaders will have to balance and evaluate multiple perspectives to make decisions for their institutions. Equipping students with basic information and critical evaluation skills will put them on the path to success.

How I Came to Develop This Teaching Philosophy: We always go back to our roots, and my roots are in argumentation and debate. The theory and practice of debate provides a framework for helping students view topics and issues from multiple perspectives to find workable solutions to problems.

Why I Do What I Do: I look forward to working with the students in the community college Ed.D. program and helping them become the next generation of community college leaders in the North Carolina and beyond. I also hope to bring my network of contacts and years of experience to enhance the relationship between NC State and the North Carolina community colleges by providing assistance and support in keeping with NC State’s land-grant mission.