New Leaders, Renewed Focus

posted on Wednesday, October 28, 2020 in  College News

Meet the newest members of the Hawkeye Community College leadership team.

Dione Somerville, Ed.D.
Executive Vice President

Dr. Dione Somerville’s passion for education began with her own. As an undergraduate at Ohio Northern University, she ran cross country, sang in the Gospel Ensemble, acted in plays and musicals, joined the Black Student Union, and worked as a resident assistant. Dr. Somerville was the epitome of a well-rounded student, and the experience left her focused on helping students have the same experience.

“I loved being able to help facilitate success and positive outcomes,” she said. “I feel privileged to have a career that has been focused on student success and institutional success; I do believe those concepts are intertwined.”

Dr. Somerville came to Hawkeye in January 2020 as interim vice president of student affairs, helping create a new Student Affairs division before transitioning into the permanent role of executive vice president.

“I believe having a Division of Student Affairs is incredibly important for colleges and universities,” she said. “The college experience as a whole is an education experience – the curriculum, co-curriculum, and extracurricular experiences. Having a division that works in true partnership with Academic Affairs and other areas on campus helps yield meaningful educational outcomes for students.”

Dr. Somerville says she feels embraced by the Hawkeye campus and sees a campus willing to work together to serve the needs of students and the community. 

“I love that kind of environment,” she said. Her top priorities, outside of building the Student Affairs culture, are enrollment and diversity and inclusion initiatives. She is also leading the college pandemic response. 

“I believe that people I work with see me as approachable, inclusive, and engaged,” she said. “I’m excited about being involved in developing Hawkeye’s next strategic plan.”

Lynn LaGrone
Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs

Lynn LaGrone entered higher education following a career in broadcast journalism. After completing a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, she began teaching English composition. She dove head first into her freshman writing courses, a level of dedication and passion that would have a profound impact on students.

“A young woman contacted me some 15 years later to say my encouragement helped her land a career as a morning drive-time host,” LaGrone said. “Each time students reached out with a story of how a course changed their way of thinking or helped them find their way, I knew I made the right choice.”

LaGrone came to Hawkeye in August 2020 from Des Moines Area Community College, where she was district chair of humanities, Ankeny campus group leader for English composition, and an associate professor of English and literature. 

“Throughout each step of the interview process – from the search committee to the faculty, deans, and cabinet – the more I felt [Hawkeye] was right for me,” LaGrone said. “The open flow of questions, the transparency in the overall process, the feeling of shared pride in the college and President Holcomb’s positive, progressive outlook and leadership, all contributed to my interest and enthusiasm for the role.”

Her top priority as provost is to better understand college stakeholders and their needs while continuing to navigate the changes and challenges COVID-19 has brought to higher education.

“The pandemic has taught us how important it is to be a steward in bringing the college and community together, especially via our diversity and inclusion initiatives by how we can incorporate them beyond our curriculum and campus activities,” she said. “There are so many great opportunities to partner and share.”

Susan Hauber
Executive Director of Human Resource Services

Early in her career, Susan Hauber identified what she considered the essential components of effective human resource management: communication, teamwork, and problem-solving. They’re skills that have served her well.

“It’s my goal that employees feel heard, respected, and appreciated,” said Hauber, who joined Hawkeye as executive director of Human Resource Services earlier this year. “I want to convey that I’m collaborative and value teamwork. Most importantly, I want them to know that I’m sincere.”

During her first year at Hawkeye, Hauber is focused on increasing diversity recruitment, expanding employee professional development, and conducting an employee compensation and classification study. 

“Hawkeye’s strong commitment to diversity and inclusion is key to ensuring we as an institution represent the Cedar Valley community,” she said. “Workplace diversity through recruitment is essential to ensuring that Hawkeye’s employee population represents the community we serve.”

Hauber came to Hawkeye from Rochester, Minnesota, where she worked for the Olmsted County Human Resources department. Prior to that, she worked for several years in HR for the University of Minnesota medical school and the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse. An Iowa native, she’s excited to be back in the state and back in higher education.

“There is something to be said about the energy and overall culture of a college campus,” she said. “From the moment I stepped on campus, I knew Hawkeye would be a great place to work, and this has been reinforced with the resilience of how Hawkeye has responded to the pandemic crisis.”

Mary Pat Moore
Executive Director of Public Relations and Marketing

While Mary Pat Moore is new to the role of executive director, her career in Hawkeye’s Public Relations and Marketing office spans nearly two decades. During that time, the college has grown and evolved, as has the need for effective communication – especially in the digital age.

“The market is constantly changing as consumers have more choices and options than ever,” Moore said. “This work can be exciting, but it can also be very challenging.”

A big challenge for Hawkeye is maintaining a strong college brand in an ever-crowded higher education marketplace. For Moore, doing that comes down to lifting up and celebrating the success of Hawkeye graduates.

“It’s very rewarding to see the impact Hawkeye has on the lives of our students,” she said. “I am proud to have family and friends who have graduated from the college.”

Before joining college leadership, Moore served as director of the Public Relations and Marketing department. During that time, she led efforts to update the college logo, and to establish the RedTail Athletics brand for Hawkeye’s new intercollegiate athletic programs. 

As a member of Hawkeye’s leadership team, she continues to work on pandemic response planning and is involved in a college-wide effort to overhaul and improve communications, both internal and external. 

The needs of the college and the community are ever-changing, but Moore remains optimistic about the future for the college and the Cedar Valley. 

“I like to empower people to feel like they can do whatever they set their minds to,” she said. “I hope I have a positive influence on others that brings out the best in them.”

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