Rhine Embraces Role as New Provost at TCC Chesapeake Campus

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rhine2By MJ Knoblock

Tidewater Community College (TCC) Chesapeake Campus has a new provost. She is Lisa B. Rhine, PhD. She started in the position on August 1, 2013, and is already settling in as a member of the Chesapeake community.

Rhine most recently held the position of Vice President for Student Affairs at Northern Kentucky University in an interim capacity. She previously served as the school’s Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs. At 47, she is an experienced professional who has worked in a number of progressively responsible positions at colleges and universities in the U.S. over the past 24 years.

She chose TCC Chesapeake because of its positive national reputation and the complementary leadership style of Edna Baehre-Kolovani, TCC’s president. Rhine also wanted an environment similar to the one she enjoyed early in her career while working at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio, for 11 years.

“I knew that I wanted to return to the community college environment — but not just any community college,” said Rhine. “Sinclair is a League for Innovation school and considered progressive, and I was looking for a community college that was growing, innovative and on the move.”

Although she has only been provost about two months, Rhine is already making an impact on the campus. She is working with Chesapeake Public Schools officials to grow the existing relationship between the two educational systems. One of her goals is to increase dual enrollment opportunities for students who want to integrate their high school diplomas with industry certifications.

Rhine also hopes to work with the leaders in Chesapeake’s business community to discover what their workforce needs are and how the college can develop a partnership with them that supports the workforces of today and tomorrow.

Part of Rhine’s long-term goal for TCC is to implement a greater consistency in policies and practices among all of the schools campuses without losing the value of their unique cultures.

“We are working to maintain the distinctive qualities of each campus while creating a common student experience, regardless of the TCC campus you attend,” Rhine explained.

Another primary goal is to improve student success.

“Placing students first has always been a focus for TCC, but we can and will do a better job improving the student experience so that students are retained and graduate at higher rates,” said Rhine. “All of the campuses are working to leverage their new student centers to create a sense of community, engagement and connectedness. Retention research shows that student engagement with faculty, staff and peers increases student persistence to graduation.”

Lisa B. Rhine, PhD, the new provost for the Chesapeake campus of Tidewater Community College, talks with students, from left, Joshua McCarter, Tina Harris and Raven Brinkley.

Lisa B. Rhine, PhD, the new provost for the Chesapeake campus of Tidewater Community College, talks with students, from left, Joshua McCarter, Tina Harris and Raven Brinkley.

Overall, there were 15,146 students at the TCC Chesapeake campus for the 2012-2013 school year, with 4,204 students enrolled full time. The combined TCC annual unduplicated enrollment was 44,393 for 2012-2013; 20,975 were full-time students.

The school’s enrollment continues to grow rapidly, and Rhine plans to foster that growth by making some adjustments to help the school become even better than it already is.

“We are doing a lot of great things at the Chesapeake Campus to support student success, but there are also so many opportunities, too,” she said.  “We have grown so quickly over the last 10 years that attention to infrastructure and systems have not kept pace. People were just busy getting the job done. We need to be intentional about implementing key actions that we know support student success and using data to make decisions about those actions we take; paying close attention to process improvement and quality service is a must.”

Rhine recently relocated to accept the position at TCC. Born in Brooklyn, New York, she grew up in a southern suburb of Dayton, Ohio, called Kettering. Her husband, Jim Rhine, and sons Alex, 16, and Ben, 14, joined her for the transition. They live in Great Bridge, and she enjoys the warm and inviting family-friendly atmosphere that the city has to offer.

“Chesapeake is geographically large, but it feels very small, interconnected and community focused,” said Rhine.

That she places a high value on education is evident through the several degrees that she holds.

Rhine earned a bachelor’s degree in rehabilitation counseling from Wright State University in Dayton in 1988, followed by a master’s degree in education, special education, in 1991. After completing a certificate in deaf studies from Sinclair Community College in 1996, Rhine went on to complete her PhD in educational administration from Capella University in 2004.

Her experience as a first-generation university graduate and a community college student who worked while pursuing a higher education provides common ground for many of TCC’s students.

“I can relate to our community college students who desire further education and see the value in its pursuit, but must balance multiple responsibilities and encounter obstacles when attending college,” said Rhine. “I hope they can see themselves in me, too, and know they can achieve their goals. TCC offers a quality education that is affordable and convenient. If students are persistent and stay the course, at Tidewater Community College, they, indeed, from here can go anywhere.”

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