Meet new EMCC President Scott Alsobrooks

New EMCC PresidenT Scott Alsobrooks gives remarks at an event introducing him on the Golden Triangle campus Tuesday. Alsobrooks is in his fourth week of office, and was announced as the institution's president in December 2018. (Photos by Charlie Benton, SDN)

Staff Writer

On Dec. 5, 2018, Scott Alsobrooks was announced as the new President of East Mississippi Community College.

Alsobrooks officially started his position in January, and comes to EMCC from Pearl River Community College, where he served as vice president of economic and community development. He has also served as director of workforce education and the Woodall Advanced Technology Center at PRCC. Prior to PRCC, Alsobrooks served as an engineering coordinator and instructor at the University of Southern Mississippi College of Science and Technology and Lean Enterprise Center. He also served as an operations engineer for Rockwell International at the John C. Stennis Space Center. He holds an associate’s from PRCC, a bachelor’s in industrial engineering from Mississippi State University and master’s and doctoral degrees from USM. He is married to Annabelle Alsobrooks and has a 15-year-old son, Ayden. Alsobrroks was selected from a field of five finalists following a nearly eight-month
search after the resignation of former EMCC President Tom Huebner. Randall Bradberry and Rick Young served as the college’s interim leaders.

The SDN caught up with Alsobrooks at a meet and greet event on the Golden Triangle campus Tuesday.

Q: Tell me a little about yourself.

A: “I am a community college product. I went to Pearl River Community College when I was a younger man en route to an engineering degree at Mississippi State University. I graduated from Mississippi State in 1989. As an engineering grad you get out and you think you’re going to do a lot of fun stuff, and I did, working in highly technical areas. I worked at Stennis Space Center and had a blast, great place to work, great people. The University of Southern Mississippi has a really strong presence at Stennis Space Center, and the door opened to go to work doing some engineering work with small or mid-sized manufacturers. That’s kind of what NAFTA really hammered, the small manufacturers, particularly in Mississippi. They were moving to Mexico, moving to wherever, and I was supposed to go out and train and help small companies survive, and that got me into education. I really fell in love with it, and I went ‘you know, I’m going to make a career out of this.’ I loved what I was doing in engineering, and I was still doing that, but helping other people succeed. It just stuck with me. I went and got a master’s degree at USM, and got a chance to go to work at Pearl River Community College as workforce director and had a great experience there. My boss, Dr. William Lewis, who was the president at the time, really encouraged me to go back and get a doctorate and pursue some higher-level leadership positions, and it really hit my heart. I did it, and kind of had a goal that I’d like to be a community college president. I can’t dream of a better place than East Mississippi Community College to land with my background and experience and what’s going on here. I think it’s remarkable, and just a good fit. I’m just excited to be here.”

Q: How have your first few weeks at EMCC gone?

A: “This is week four. I’m very excited about being here. The people are wonderful. I’m just getting to know the people here, the faculty, and the staff. Everybody’s good, and I’m just looking forward to working with our team.”

Q: What are some of your priorities as EMCC’s new president?

A: The Communiversity’s high on our list, great building. What a super asset to our community college. I’ve been to a lot of community colleges and a lot of universities, and you don’t see buildings like that on community college campuses. What a wonderful thing that this community has done in coming together and building that to support industries and training. What a marvelous opportunity. That’s high on the list getting that Communiversity up and running, you know, just stabilizing enrollment. We’ve been losing enrollment like a lot of colleges have done. It’s common during economic times that our prosperous. People work instead of going to school because they can find jobs easily. We’ve got to find a happy medium in enrollment, and work on that. There’s always going to be a challenge. I feel like as an engineer I’m a problem solver, and I like working on challenges. I think our team will too.”

Q: Is there anything you hope to bring to EMCC from your past experience?

A: We’ll build an early advisement system and process to help students determine what they want to do early, so that they don’t flounder around spending their money or wasting their financial aid, not doing what they want to do. We want to help students get on a pathway to success early and quickly, and get them out to the world of work or to a university, whatever their pathway is that they choose. We want to do that early. We want to do a really good job recruiting students. We want to get out and tell students about my message. The student
loan debt in this country is tremendous, and students who come to community colleges can save a lot of money. There are a lot of scholarship opportunities. Getting that through to the students here, and getting them out on their pathways is important. Those are the key things I want key things I want to work on and continue to build programs that are relevant to the industries here, be a pipeline for their workforce needs.”

Q: How do you feel being back in the Golden Triangle as an MSU alumnus?

A: “I’m a Mississippi State guy, Mississippi State fan. I love the university. It provided such a great education to me along my path. We love sports and arts, so we’ll get to do things at EMCC, and we’ll get to do things at Mississippi State. I’m just excited about that, being more involved in what’s going on here in the Golden Triangle.”

Q: Is there anything you would like to say to EMCC faculty and staff?

A: I would just like to tell them that I’m very excited to be here. I’m looking forward to working with them. It’s a family environment at community colleges. Mississippi has the best community college system in the nation. This could be the best community college in the state. We’re near the top now, and I think we’re heading that direction. I want to take us there.”

Q: Is there anything you would like to say to your student body?

A: “We’re here to serve them. We’re here to help them get over barriers, and we want to hear from them. You know, what are the barriers? What can we do to better serve them? Now when they get in the classroom with the teacher it’s on them. The impetus is on them to learn and do their work, but outside the classroom I want to uncomplicate the college process. I want it to be easier for people to get in here, get enrolled, and get in a program. I don’t want that to be complicated. I want to make all that as simple as possible. That’s what I want to tell our students. We want to do a good job serving them.”

Q: Is there anything you would like to say to the community at large in EMCC’s district?

A: By serving our students well and helping them succeed, we’ll be serving our communities well. I think our communities and our industries in our communities need educated people to work, to grow, and my best bet is we will be that partner. We will be the ones who help train and educate people to help get them out to work. I think community college grads want to stay close to home. We want to give them the tools to allow them to stay close to home and earn a good living here, build a home and be a prosperous member of the community.”

Q: What are your hopes for your time leading EMCC?

A: I hope EMCC continues to grow and prosper. I hope our students continue to do great things. We have students going to compete in Orlando in the quiz bowl. We have students going to compete in Phi Theta Kappa. Our SkillsUSA students have done marvelous things. Our sports teams have done really well. I want to see everybody do well."