NORFOLK, Neb. – Northeast Community College has named two new deans to lead their respective academic divisions beginning this fall.
Jeff Hoffman, will assume the position of dean of health and public service, and Tara Smydra will be the dean of STAM (Science, Technology, Agriculture, and Math). The divisions are part of a realignment to provide strategic programming to meet students’ needs, whether it is direct entry into the workforce or transfer to a four-year college or university to further their education.
Michele Gill, vice president of educational services at Northeast, said the College is fortunate to hire two qualified individuals to lead the new divisions.
“Jeff and Tara bring a wealth of experience into these positions as Northeast continues to develop strategies in these particular areas to ensure our students are successful in obtaining their education while meeting the needs of the workforce of our 20-county region,” she said. “With excellent communication skills and the ability to build effective relationships, both are mission and vision driven and will have a deep understanding of the areas they will lead.”
Hoffman has over 20-years of experience in the area of secondary and higher education. Most recently, he has been serving as interim activities director at Norfolk Senior High School. Previously, he was the coordinator of the high school’s career academy. Hoffman’s higher education experience includes his work as department chair/associate professor of physical education and human performance at Hastings College; assistant professor of physical education and human performance at Central Connecticut State University and adjunct professor and assistant men’s basketball coach at Springfield College (Mass.).
"I am humbled and excited to join the Northeast Community College family,” Hoffman said. “As a student who attended Northeast straight out of high school as well as my time visiting as Career Academy Coordinator at Norfolk Senior High, I have always sensed a positive energy that comes from this college. I'm anxious to get started working with students, faculty, staff, directors and other new colleagues to help continue to provide opportunities for students to achieve their goals."
Hoffman earned his Doctor of Physical Education, with a concentration in Sports Psychology, and a Master of Science in Physical Education from Smithfield College and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
Smydra has served as associate dean of agriculture, mathematics and science at Northeast Community College since 2014. In the role, she collaboratively plans and schedules over 100 individual classes with an average of 300 course sections for 32 full-time faculty and over 30 adjunct faculty each semester. She has also worked on Northeast’s Nexus campaign to raise funds to construct new agriculture facilities on the Norfolk campus and has participated in building a strategic plan that is specific to College farm processes, initiatives and safety, among other initiatives.
“I am so appreciative of the opportunity to work with the Northeast team as the new Dean of STAM,” Smydra said. “I can’t say enough about how wonderful my time as associate dean has been and I am excited to keep moving forward with everyone in the tradition of excellence already created. I am thankful to work with an amazing team and division through this transition.”
Smydra earned a Master of Arts in Human Resources Management and a Bachelor of Science with a concentration in Human Resources management from Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa.
Hoffman and Smydra begin their appointments in July.
PHOTO IDs: Jeff Hoffman and Tara Smydra.