(HARLINGEN) – Dr. Christine Carruthers has been at Texas State Technical College for nearly five years and has already made her mark, earning the 2017 Chancellor’s Excellence Award.
The TSTC Vice President of Enrollment Services said her career in student services started as what she thought would only be a six-month stint while she waited for her dream job.
“I was holding out for an outside sales position with Marlboro,” she said. “That was my dream job. Of course now I see it wasn’t a good personality fit and it would not have worked out.”
The 36-year-old’s career began at the University of Texas Pan American, which is now the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. She was there for 13 years working in student activities and conduct before finally being promoted to Assistant Dean of Students.
“My path didn’t go as I had planned, but I ended up finding my true passion,” said Carruthers.
The McAllen native began college as a student of architect before changing majors and graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business and marketing from UTPA in 2001. She continued her education receiving a master’s degree in adult education from Penn State in 2005 and a PhD from the University of Nebraska in 2014.
“I haven’t figured out how to leave college. And I don’t want to,” she said with a laugh. “My job is so rewarding and I love seeing students succeed.”
Carruthers said that in her years in student services her favorite parts are being able to implement an idea and see the immediate impact it has on her students and commencement.
“Being able to make a difference is what this work is all about,” she said. “And that difference is evident when you watch students walk across a stage in a cap and gown to receive their degrees. That final step is the reminder of why you do what you do.”
TSTC Associate Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management and Carruthers’ supervisor Rob Wolaver said he nominated her for her leadership and brilliance.
“Christine is one of the most dedicated and brilliant persons I have ever worked with,” he said. “She is so passionate about the students and truly excels as a leader. She is a jewel.”
Wolaver credits her leadership in their team as one of the significant parts of what helped them achieve their enrollment goals.
“Her leadership in our team is invaluable,” said Wolaver. “She deserves this recognition. She has been vital to the growth and transformation of this department and is always a team player.”
Carruthers will join the other 13 Chancellor’s Excellence Award recipients from across TSTC’s 10 campuses later this month in Austin at the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Awards dinner and celebration to receive her award.
Her family will be present to witness this honor.
“Things like this help me show my daughter examples of great work ethic. I hope this models what a good education and working hard can accomplish. I want her to always know that her possibilities and opportunities are endless.”
Carruthers said after returning from Austin she is excited to embark on new initiatives that are tailored to continue to help students learn.
“Not many places push the envelope when it comes to new and innovative initiatives like TSTC does,” she said. “But that’s what makes this a great place for students and an exciting place to work.”