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DELPS Alum Improves the Success of Community Colleges

Charles M. CookDr. Charles M. Cook is the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs of Austin Community College (ACC), and proud alum of the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies (DELPS) program.

After receiving his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas, Dr. Cook continued on to the University of Houston for his Master’s and Doctorate. “My prior experience with the UH College of Education and the many friends and colleagues I had who also attended the COE made it an easy choice for a doctoral program,” Dr. Cook says.

After graduation, Dr. Cook’s experience has included oversight of academic matters for Houston Community College, and work for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board on planning and policy issues for statewide community and technical college instructional programs and initiatives. In 2014, he was offered the position at ACC.

Dr. Cook and his team have made it their goal to broaden their offerings in order to close hiring gaps throughout the city. This is no small task, and thus, they are implementing programs to create Early College High Schools and Career Academies for high school youth, provide guided pathways for students to transfer into baccalaureate programs, provide accelerated programs for unemployed or underemployed adults, and help veterans transition skills learned in the military into academic credentials and civilian careers. Says Dr. Cook, “Perhaps the greatest lesson learned in COE graduate courses is that it’s a new challenge every day – you have to consistently read, research, and keep abreast of the changes that only accelerate with time.”

And if anyone is capable of completing this task, it’s Dr. Cook. “Throughout his career, Dr. Cook has been a champion for community colleges and the powerful and positive role they play in student success. In all of his work, he represents what our program values – energy, integrity, and a commitment to meaningful opportunities for all students,” says, Dr. Cathy Horn, Professor in the Department of Leadership and Policy Studies and Dr. Cook’s former colleague.

Dr. Cook credits the DELPS program for readying him to work in the field.  “The College prepared me for multiple roles – first as a teacher, later as an administrator at multiple levels, and then later as a leader and evaluator.”