The Interview USA
Lone Star College
Vice President for Student Success

Bennie Lambert

Arguably the most important aspect of a college or university education isn’t any given piece of knowledge per se but how the overall experience can change and enrich a student’s life. They are gaining not only facts and skills but are also on a constant journey of discovery, coming in contact with new people and experiences that can shape the future pathways they’ll take. A great deal of this has to do with making connections both with faculty members as well as students from different backgrounds who can offer perspectives and life experiences they’d never encountered or considered before.

GoodCourse’s Co-host of The Interview Kitty Hadaway spoke to Bennie Lambert, Vice President (VP) for Student Success at Lone Star College (LSC) about how students can utilize the skills and passions they learn and develop through these new relationships they form at school into transforming their lives afterwards.

Bennie’s Journey

Kitty: What are your favorite aspects of working in Student Affairs? 

Realizing, after three decades in Student Affairs, that I’m not here by accident. I’m here with a purpose. The biggest difference to when I started is you can’t work in silos anymore. You have to partner with other members of the college community: faculty, staff, custodians, from the top to the bottom. You do that, and over time, they come to know you care. They see you walking around, you speak with them, you don’t ignore them — it’s amazing how that set of practices has enriched my life and enriched theirs also. It’s a win-win. People are out there looking for someone who can be a light to them. We try to make things easy and accessible for people who are on our campus for the first time. It’s doing little things that could make a big difference in someone’s life. 

When I first came to LSC, there were only three colleges. There are eight now, and I’ve been a part of all of them. We serve a great area and no matter where I am, I get to speak and be of service.

Kitty: How have you seen Student Experience evolve in your over-three decades at LSC?

Back in the day, we probably did a lot more hand-holding. Now, we meet them where they are. We don’t want to over-hold their hand. We want to nurture them and make certain they’re going in the right direction so that when they do leave, either for a four-year institution or into the workplace, they’re able to advocate for themselves due to their experience here. 

Kitty: How did COVID affect LSC, and what was its lasting impact?

COVID taught us a lot about the utilization of technology and how to learn fast or get out of the business, and there are practical applications and lessons from that that we still use today. We also found that when people don’t have the freedom to use their socialization skills, it’s a challenge. When we came back, there were many students and staff who hadn’t been around people for months — in some cases, a year and half or more — and it led to some psychological problems. But people really just needed to reconnect, so we made sure there were services and professionals in place to facilitate that. And that’s been a neat thing, coming back from something that none of us knew would ever happen. And I think a lot of people are back on their feet. Others still need our attention, and we’re giving it to them.

Kitty: What approaches do you take to foster a sense of belonging and inclusion on campus?

We run a lot of programs and events to encourage students from all of the different cultures who coexist at LSC — and we have students from over 80 countries on campus — to come together and learn from one another. For example, around Thanksgiving, we have an event called Friendsgiving. Students from all of these different places bring food from their homes and introduce their worlds to each other. Many students come from countries where they eat with their hands, and our other students joined in doing that. What it does is bring people together. And they got to share their lives and perspectives. This is a learning environment, and students have embraced that. I’m proud to be on a campus that is so diverse. 

We also do study abroad programs with students. They’ll be going this summer for six weeks to countries such as Greece, France, and Italy. There are very few community colleges that do that. And the students going have been studying the language of each of the countries for two and a half semesters. And that’s a beautiful learning experience. 

Kitty: Can you tell us of various ways your department helps increase active student engagement at LSC?

We like to think that we do a lot for our students. We have a Student Life building, which is state of the art. It’s filled with flags representing all the different countries our students come from. If a student comes in and doesn’t see their flag, they can let us know about it and we’ll get that flag. On the student services and student success side, one thing we’re really proud of is partnering with key faculty who are positive and excited about their subjects. They’re serving as sponsors for various clubs outside of the classroom that are related to those fields, for example the nursing club. It’s unbelievable how that’s attracted students in a fun but really life-changing way to various professions. Some have even changed their majors due to their professor’s involvement outside the classroom, helping them see how that profession works in the real world. We love our faculty who go above and beyond. We even have some students who work with NASA as a result of faculty connections. And that is really what it’s about. Helping students transform learning into living.

Curious to see what the future of training looks like?
Kitty Hadaway
Universities Lead
Kitty is passionate about using technology to create safer and more inclusive campuses, and is an expert on student engagement and delivering training at scale. Get in touch at to learn more.

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