President Joyce Helens: A Look Back

Joyce Helens
July 26, 2017

As we close in on the beginning of fall semester at SCTCC, students aren’t the only ones with big change on the horizon.

President Joyce Helens is leaving her post at the college to take a position at Great Basin in Nevada, with Vice President Lori Kloos set to take over the Interim President position on Aug. 1.

As President Helens readies for her big change, let’s take a look back at SCTCC’s accomplishments with her at the helm.

Helens took the president’s position at SCTCC July 1, 2006, and since she worked to establish the college pillars and strategic plan, supporting students and the college.

Connections with community and area businesses have led to new program development at SCTCC, adapting to the ever-changing needs of the region. Health Information Technology was added in 2006; Health Data Specialist and Nuclear Energy Technician were added in 2011; and Biomedical Equipment Technology in 2014.

2010 brought about one of the bigger changes SCTCC has seen in the past 11 years: the move to a comprehensive community college. While the college had been offering the degree for years in collaboration with Anoka-Ramsey, it was time to have the SCTCC name on the degree our students were receiving. The college started offering an Associate in Arts degree in liberal arts in sciences in addition to its technical programs. 

Helens and the college celebrated the grand opening of the Health Sciences Building in 2011. The college renovated the space to provide simulation labs for our signature health care programs. The HSB provides a fully functioning dental clinic that offers service to low-income members of the community. There are also simulation labs for sonography and surgical technology; an emergency room and ambulance simulator as well as an on-road ambulance for training; and a variety of nursing simulation facilities.

The Medium Heavy Truck and Auto Body program areas were greatly expanded and renovated in 2012-13, with a renovation and expansion to increase capacity and meet the demand for workers in these areas.

At the same time, the college acquired and renovated the Heartland Building, with a new space for the Library and Campus Life.

Cooperation has been another hallmark of Helens’ tenure, working with other Minnesota State campuses, particularly St. Cloud State University. Shared resources include telecommunications systems, security, student housing, and curriculum. President Helens oversaw the move to a tobacco-free campus in 2010 and has continually worked to make SCTCC a community that values wellbeing and inclusion.

A lot has changed in Central Minnesota in 11 years, but Helens has consistently been an advocate for students and the college. With her trademark allegories and strong stories that emphasize the tasks at hand, she is able to unite people to work for access to a college education and a greater understanding of student needs.

Great Basin is gaining a great leader, and we wish Helens the best in her new position!

Kate Wallace
Posted in News, Only at SCTCC