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Atlanta Technical College president Dr. Victoria Seals on institution’s future

Dr. Victoria Seals (Photo Credit: Judith Pishnery)
Dr. Victoria Seals (Photo credit: Judith Pishnery)

Dr. Victoria Seals was named the president of Atlanta Technical College in December 2016.

She began her teaching career in Athens, Georgia. She was employed by Athens-Clarke County Public Schools for two years and Athens Technical College for six years. During her time in Athens, Dr. Seals also served as an assistant basketball coach for the Clarke Central High School girls’ basketball program and as a tutor/proctor for The University of Georgia Athletic Department.

Seals joined Gwinnett Technical College in September 2005 as an instructor for mathematics, advanced to Division Director for Arts and Sciences and was named Dean of Academic Affairs in 2011.  In addition to leading the growth of the Arts and Sciences Division, Dr. Seals helped guide Gwinnett Tech’s faculty and staff development program, as well as several student retention initiatives.

She is a member of Leadership Gwinnett’s Class of 2011 as well as the 2013 class of the Technical College System of Georgia’s Executive Leadership Academy. She is also an active member of the American Association of Community Colleges, American Mathematical Association of Two Year Colleges, Technology Association of Georgia, Women in Educational Leadership, and the Greater Alpharetta Technology Network.

Seals attended Spelman College, where she was awarded a B.S. in mathematics, and the University of Georgia where she was awarded an M.A. in mathematics, an Ed.S. in mathematics education, and an Ed.D. in educational leadership.

“As I transition into this exciting opportunity at Atlanta Technical College, I appreciate the confidence and support of Commissioner Corbin and the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) state board,” Seals says in a press statement. “I am proud to have served Gwinnett Technical College’s students and faculty for more than 11 years and to have been a part of the college’s growth, both in the addition of a new campus in Alpharetta and in the development of innovative programming and industry partnerships. At the same time, I am excited about the privilege to work with the Atlanta Technical College faculty, staff, students, and community. The college has an impressive heritage in serving students and forging business and workforce development connections. I look forward to what the future holds.

“Dr. Seals’ deep experience in education, especially at Gwinnett Technical College, which is one of the largest colleges in our system, is just one of the many outstanding qualities she brings to her new position at Atlanta Technical College,” said TCSG commissioner Gretchen Corbin. “Dr. Seals has long been a rising star within Georgia’s Technical College System and under her leadership, the Atlanta Tech team will continue to build on the great foundation that Dr. Thomas has laid.”

Here’s her interview.

What does the future of Atlanta Technical College look like under your leadership?
The future of Atlanta Technical College is very bright. I envision the college growing in enrollment, by retaining the students who are currently enrolled; by serving the students in our area high schools; and by connecting career opportunities for the unemployed and underemployed citizens in our region.

What are the top three goals you wish to tackle in your first year in office?
The top three goals I wish to tackle during year one are: 1) Improving the overall student experience; 2) Improving customer service to all stakeholders, and 3) Increasing fiscal stability for the college.

How does this differ from the current profile of the college?
Like any other college, there is always room for improvement. We must strive to be the best we can be in every way.

In terms of recruitment and retention, which poses the biggest challenge for ATC?
Regarding retention, our students want to take advantage of the opportunities we offer; however, most of them need some form of financial assistance to do so. For a significant population, the financial aid they receive still leaves a gap in meeting the full cost of tuition, fees, books, and tools.

Regarding recruitment, our system as a whole still faces the challenge of educating the public on the value of the credentials we offer. Many people still think of technical college as inferior to a four-year college. Our challenge remains in educating students and parents of the opportunities that exist at our college and the immediate connection to the career of their choice.

Why did you want to be president of ATC?
Passion! I love what I do, and I felt that I could help make a difference for the students, faculty, and staff of Atlanta Technical College.

How have you inspired confidence in current and seasoned staff members regarding the change in leadership?
I consider myself the ultimate coach and a team player. I use clear, direct communication, establishing the goals and direction of the unit. I solicit and listen to the input of team members, making sure that everyone feels valued.

How have you inspired confidence in the community regarding the change in leadership?
I have made it a priority to be present and participating in the community. Through individual meetings and networking at various events, I have taken opportunities to connect with our key stakeholders. Again, I focus on a clear message of being focused on providing the best educational opportunities and experiences for our students. I share my relevant work experience and achievements to demonstrate my passion and focus to our partners. The community has expressed full confidence in my leadership and continues to dedicate its support of the college.

What does it mean to be “presidential” when it comes to higher education?
To be “presidential,” in my opinion, means to be an advocate for student success, a champion for economic development, and chief fiscal manager.

What makes ATC exceptional?
For half a century now, Atlanta Technical College has been the bridge to connecting students and the unemployed [and] underemployed to economic prosperity. We are the first choice for many and the last hope for others. Our faculty and staff members have the ability to provide an opportunity to all, regardless of how battered or pristine they are when they enter our doors. Our dedication to transforming lives makes us exceptional.

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