HANCEVILLE, Ala. — Dr. Vicki Hawsey Karolewics, President of Wallace State Community College in Hanceville, Ala., has been elected to the American Association of Community Colleges Board of Directors. Her appointment to the 32-member board, which represents 1,108 two-year, associate degree–granting institutions and more than 13 million students, is for a three-year term.

Founded in 1920, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) is the primary advocacy organization for community colleges at the national level. The association has ongoing interaction with key federal departments and agencies including the U.S. departments of Labor, Education, Energy, Homeland Security, and Commerce, and the National Science Foundation. AACC supports and promotes community colleges through policy initiatives, innovative programs, research and information, and strategic outreach to achieve its mission to “Build a Nation of Learners by Advancing America’s Community Colleges.”

Dr. Karolewics is known as a visionary leader with an enthusiasm for innovation. She has transformed Wallace State Community College in rural Hanceville, Alabama into one of the top community colleges in the nation, twice recognized by the Aspen Institute as having among the best student outcomes in the nation, and ranked among the top colleges in the country for the health care graduates it produces by Community College Week. The Chronicle of Higher Education reported Wallace State as having among the highest graduation rates of the nation’s two-year colleges, and Southern Business and Development Magazine ranked Wallace State Top 3 in the South for workforce development. When the college joined the prestigious Achieving the Dream initiative in 2012, it was already recognized as among the most advanced community colleges in the consortium based on Dr. Karolewics’ commitment to excellence and positive student outcomes. Since that time, Wallace State has been selected as one of 19 institutions to participate the prestigious AAC&U Roadmap Project and one of 30 colleges named to the AACC Pathways Project. In 2016, the college was listed among Community College Week’s Fastest Growing Community Colleges in the U.S. with enrollments of 5,000 or more. It has recently been named a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education by the National League of Nursing, the only community college in Alabama to receive that distinction, and is one of only 180 All-Steinway Schools in the world.

A lifelong, passionate advocate for community college learning experiences, Dr. Karolewics’ 30 years of experience in the Alabama Community College System have provided her with a deep understanding of the needs of community college students and the opportunities that can be provided by the best institutions. Not only is she a product of community college education herself, having earned degrees at from Reid State Technical College and Patrick Henry Junior College before completing her bachelor’s from Troy University, and master’s and doctorate in Administration of Higher Education from Auburn University, but her professional experience also includes positions in various roles from support to instruction to the highest levels of administration.

Dr. Karolewics previously served on the AACC Commission on Economic and Workforce Development and was member of AACC’s 2014 delegation to the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics (WFCP) World Congress in Beijing, China. She was also invited to participate in the 2014 White House College Opportunity Day of Action and the Clinton Global Initiative.