With the top strategic goal of College of the Mainland (COM) being student success, the College is taking steps to further enhance students’ experience and will merge the Instructional and Student Services divisions into the newly formed Division of Academic and Student Affairs (DASA).

The Instructional and Student Services divisions serve a critical function in ensuring student success. And while the two areas collaborate, they still operate as independent units. COM administrators recognize this traditional higher education structure is misaligned with the realities of our students’ daily educational experiences inside and outside the classroom. By merging the two divisions, COM sees an opportunity to take a holistic approach to ensuring student success by connecting every student touchpoint from academics and support services.

Additionally, with the recent passage of Texas House Bill 8 (HB 8), which overhauled a more than 50-year-old community college funding model, the need for public community colleges to be able to meet the needs of a growing, diverse Texas workforce is critical. With the newly merged DASA, the College will be better positioned to effectively address regional workforce needs through innovative programming.

“This last fall, COM reached record enrollment, and we anticipate the College will continue seeing increasing growth,” COM President Warren Nichols said. “With this growth, in addition to the launching of several new programs, the need for these two divisions to work collaboratively to best meet the needs of our students is critically important. It’s in the best interest of our students and College.”

Pending Board of Trustee approval at the College’s regular January meeting, Vice President of Student Services Helen Castellanos Brewer will expand her role as the executive vice president of DASA.

Since joining COM in Aug. 2021, Brewer has leveraged her diverse community college experience into implementing and elevating many high-level college initiatives.

“Over the last few years, Dr. Brewer has successfully led multiple integrated Instructional and Student Services efforts at COM including dual credit, the implementation of the College’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) and the transition from a 16- to 8-week semester model,” said Nichols.

Brewer will begin her role as executive vice president on March 1, 2024.