PENDLETON --- Tom Lawrence spent the last five years as instructor and an administrator in the Business and Public Services Division (BPS) at Tri-County Technical College. He began his career in public administration, working 15 years in multiple roles with local California governments and the Department of Defense, but says his tenure at Tri-County has been the most rewarding. “I really enjoy my time in the classroom. I came from public service which I like but landing here was a defining moment in my career,” he said.
After one year as an instructor in the Criminal Justice program, he was promoted to lead the Public Services Department, a multi-disciplinary department comprised of Media Arts, Criminal Justice and Early Childhood Education. “As I took on administrative duties for the division, I was energized by positive changes in the classroom and on a broader scale by the diverse programs in the BPS division,” he said.
This semester he takes on a new challenge – in December he was named Dean of the Arts and Sciences Division. He succeeds Dr. Hap Wheeler who retired in December.
“Tom has exceptional qualifications, including extensive experience in higher education and public service. I am confident in his ability to provide strong leadership to the division and to the College as a whole,” said Galen DeHay, vice president. “Tom’s vision for the Arts and Sciences Division aligns with the goals of the College, and his passion for students and Tri-County is evident in all he does. We can rest assured that Tom will continue to advocate for our students’ needs, as well as the needs of our employees and the community.”
As BPS department head, Lawrence says he invested time building relationships with faculty and students and focused on bringing people together to find solutions.
“It’s critical to develop a strong network in order to be an effective leader. My new role is a big opportunity to leverage what I have done well in BPS,” he said. “I will take the lessons I learned in BPS and bring them to a larger scale in the Arts and Sciences Division. I plan to look for collaborative opportunities with the technical divisions and Arts and Sciences to strengthen our relationships,” he said.
He holds a B.A. in management from St. Mary’s College of California and a master of criminal justice degree from Boston University. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in leadership and organizational management at Indiana Tech. He has published on the need for organizations to develop global communication strategies and recently presented to an international conference on the complex intra-political and leadership issues attendant with U.S. foreign policy.
His contributions to the College community are wide ranging and include service on the faculty senate, appointment to the SACSCOC reaccreditation leadership team and development of several new degree and certificate programs.
He and his wife, Bridgett, have two children. They live in Greenville.