HCC's Dr. Kurt Ewen honored with prestigious leadership award by TACC

Jul 25, 2022

Dr. Kurt Ewen, Vice Chancellor of Strategic Planning & Institutional Effectiveness, and Chief of Staff at Houston Community College (HCC), has been named recipient of the prestigious Carl M. “Cheesie” Nelson Award by the Texas Association of Community Colleges (TACC).

TACC is a nongovernmental organization that serves public community college districts in Texas.

The award honors the importance of administrative leadership at Texas community colleges by recognizing a vice president or dean who has demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities.

Since joining HCC in 2017, Dr. Ewen has worked to build out and implement a strategic vision for the college centered on community engagement and student success. He helped develop the college’s strategic plan, “Embracing Houston’s Future.” Further with other leaders, he created a set of nine personas based on the needs of actual students, which, when implemented in student strategies, helped HCC increase from 30% to 50% in first year students meeting the 15-credit threshold, important to student success.

Dr. Ewen was instrumental in the development of HCC’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), a focused course of action dedicated to improving student success and completion. The plan was intended to help 10,000 new students each year over the course of five years. However, the QEP developed by Dr. Ewen is surpassing that target, helping 16,000 students each year.

In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, he led a program known as H-Force, an effort to mobilize the college’s resources in conjunction with local education institutions, independent school districts, entrepreneurial organizations, and community groups.

Dr. Ewen was honored by the Aspen Institute as a 2020-2021 Aspen Rising Presidents Fellow, and recently established The Ewen Family Endowed Chairs for Teaching and Learning Excellence to give back to HCC.

Before joining HCC, Dr. Ewen served 16 years in administrative roles at Valencia Community College in Florida. He earned a Ph.D. in Leadership and Education from Barry University.

“Overall, Dr. Ewen’s contributions to HCC have greatly impacted both the experience of our students and the Houston community,” said HCC Chancellor Cesar Maldonado, Ph.D., PE. “By identifying ways to be more direct in helping students, he has made changing the lives of those in our community a top priority. His understanding and commitment to the mission of our college has resulted in significant improvements in student success, as well as investment in our faculty. I cannot think of another candidate that is more worthy of this esteemed award.”

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