New LFCC president ready to take command
Kimberly Blosser is hoping to stay awhile when she takes over as the new president of Lord Fairfax Community College in February.
“Because of my personal experience, and the difference community colleges make in students’ lives, affirms for me that this is where I want to spend the rest of my professional career,” Blosser said.
She knows it will be rewarding and challenging and anticipates the school’s budget will be a challenge this year.
“The governor’s proposed budget expanded Medicaid, which means we have to see how that filters down to the schools. Budgets are a huge issue for community schools,” Blosser said, noting that state cuts to funding hurt community schools and the students they serve.
“We serve a population that can’t afford to go to a four-year university. In the climate where we have to raise tuition, as price goes up we have to find ways to help people afford school,” she said. “I think what makes LFCC special is that we put our students first. In any consideration we ask ‘what is the impact on the students. Dr. Cheryl Thompson-Stacy made that a priority; we always think of how to reduce barriers to education.”
It is that commitment to the mission of the community college that helped land her the position.
“Dr. Blosser, currently vice president of Academic and Student Affairs at Lord Fairfax Community College, is an excellent choice to succeed Dr. Cheryl Thompson-Stacy as president. She is well respected in the Virginia Community College System and at LFCC. She understands the needs of our service area and will work hard to assure the students who attend LFCC get the best possible education,” said Fran Jeffries, LFCC Board Chair.
One way the school strives to help make education affordable is through the Lord Fairfax Community College Educational Foundation, which raises funds for scholarships, she said.
Another example how they have done this is by the use of electronic textbooks instead of the classic text books – saving students hundreds of dollars.
Blosser, the first in her family to attend college, understands the challenges faced by students, both traditional and non-traditional. She started down the educational path that many students take, and attended a four-year university.
She said it took her a year to realize what she thought she wanted to major in was not what she wanted after all. She moved back home and started taking classes at a local community college. There, faculty members were dedicated to helping Blosser succeed, and staff members were welcoming and supportive when navigating the admissions and enrollment processes.
“The community college was where I found my focus, and like so many other students, it was where I learned the skills needed to be successful in higher education,” Blosser said.
Now it is one of her missions to help others find that focus.
“Having children in school I see them, their friends and their parents trying to figure out ‘what is it I want to do in my life,'” Blosser said.
One of the most important things LFCC does from the beginning of a student’s time at the school is to help them understand their interests, such as health care, and what careers are available, such as becoming a medical lab technician.
One of those missions is also to serve non-traditional students. At LFCC, the average age of a student is 26. Some are looking to go into a new career and some attend non-credit classes to obtain certifications and courses required for, or needed to advance in, their existing jobs.
The school is increasing the number of online courses each year so that busy students can do the course work on their time.
“They have families, commitments and may not be able to get to campus every Wednesday for a course,” Blosser said.
She knows, however, that the upcoming year will also produce opportunities for the school’s advancement, mostly through projects and programs already started by outgoing president Thompson-Stacy.
“That was one of the reasons I was offered this job, so employees and faculty know we will continue advancing her work,” Blosser said.
One such campaign is to build the Eleanor C. and William A. Hazel Hall, a new building to house science, engineering and health professions programs at the Warrenton Campus.
Another is the recently signed memorandum of understanding with Shepherd University allowing LFCC graduates in the associate of science program to seamlessly transfer into Shepherd’s bachelor of science in chemistry program.