TCC alum steps into new position

By Kathryn Kelman/ ne news editor

NE Campus introduced a new director of recruitment, former TCC student Martin Pham, at the Feb. 23 board of trustees meeting.
Peter Matthews/The Collegian

To create more building blocks for students to be successful, NE Campus has retooled an old position.

“This college historically has not done a lot of recruiting work,” NE president Allen Goben said.

TCC has a districtwide team that does outreach, but they’re thinly staffed and only work with a small portion of high school seniors. There’s not enough capacity to reach all the students that one might reach, Goben said.

“We’d like to talk to all the seniors, not just a portion of them, and we’d like to work with juniors and even younger students than that if they’re interested in planning ahead and talking about college,” he said.

Martin Pham, a former TCC student and University of Texas at Arlington graduate, was introduced by Goben as the NE director of recruiting at the board of trustees meeting Feb. 23.

The new position is only on NE right now, and Pham attributes that to Goben, whom he views as a visionary.

“Just talking to him makes me feel sometimes like ‘I didn’t think about that,’” Pham said. “He’s already thinking like four or five steps ahead of anybody, and that’s something I like about him. He’s very student-focused.”

Goben doesn’t know whether or not other TCC campuses would be interested in introducing a similar position to their campuses, but at NE, it was something he considered a high priority so he took the initiative to make it happen.

“We’re focused on creating building blocks for students to be more successful,” he said.

Helping students plan out their career paths earlier in the process leads to greater student success because it helps them avoid making snap decisions and helps them come to college much more prepared, Goben said.

Unlike most colleges that take a sales approach to recruiting, Pham intends to use a student success and advising approach model and recruit students at an earlier age to better inform them about career pathways and services offered at TCC, Pham said.

“Not everyone knows about TCC,” he said. “When I go to present to students, students aren’t aware of what we have, so one of my tasks is to increase that awareness.”

Pham, who grew up in the DFW area, said when he was looking at schools, TCC wasn’t his first or even his second choice.

His focus on recruitment will be for NE and the surrounding service areas, but because it’s a new department for the college, there’s still a lot of work to be done, he said.

“One of my main goals is to help TCC be recognized as a first choice for higher education,” Pham said.

Despite about a 2 percent drop nationally, overall student enrollment for TCC has stayed between 50,000-51,000 for the last few years. NE tends to have the highest enrollment out of all of TCC’s campuses, Pham said.

Pham previously worked at the testing center on SE, then as an advisor on NE. He’s worked with the Chancellor’s Emerging Leaders Program and is still a mentor for the Men of Color mentoring program, Goben said.

“So he’s really just done all of this intensive interaction-type work with students helping them create successful plans and then follow through on those plans,” he said.

In addition to his experience, Pham has the right personality for the new position, Goben said.

“Martin is a real caring sort of person. He’s actually about as far from a salesperson as you can actually get,” he said. “His approach and his mentality seems to be more caring and nurturing and supporting people, just helping them, and that’s really what we want in this role.”