When she was growing up, Dr. Kimberly Kelley wanted to be a therapist. “I wanted to help people. I am interested in what people have to say and I intrinsically like people…I thought if I could make people feel better…that would be a good thing,” she says.
Dr. Kelley’s career took a different turn of course, but as the new vice president and provost of the Rockville Campus, she does spend much of her day helping students, faculty, and the college community on issues big and small.
“A provost does a variety of things. I think about the welfare and working conditions of the faculty. And I am always thinking about the students,” Dr. Kelley says. Whether a student is concerned about his or her academic progress, or getting enough food to eat, Dr. Kelley says students can count on her office to help. “When you need something and you have no one else to call, who are you going to call? You can call the provost!” she says.
Five Fun Facts
Guilty pleasure: Watching Scandal and the old episodes of The West Wing.
Favorite book: The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
Dream dinner companion: Michelle Obama
Winning the lottery: “If I won the lottery I would set up scholarship for students at Montgomery College. I want to provide for the gaps for funding in higher education. We can’t take education for granted or that it will perpetually supported through county or state, even though they are wonderful. We can never give enough scholarships.”
Most people don’t know: Dr. Kelley was a competitive swimmer in high school and college and still swims four or five times every week.
Since she arrived on campus at the start of the academic year from the University of Wisconsin Parkside, Dr. Kelley has been busy getting reacquainted with Montgomery County where she grew up.
“One thing people know least about is my close interaction with the city of Rockville. I meet regularly with the mayor, attend council meetings, and I have presented three times before the County Council and planning committee in my first six months on the job,” Kelley says. “We are interested in creating a college town environment that is welcoming and well integrated into the community.”
Dr. Kelley says one of her biggest responsibilities is thinking ahead. “I help to think about the future and where do we want to go at Montgomery College to serve our students best,” she says.
One of the big areas she is thinking about right now is helping to create clear pathways for students to earn their degrees. That includes recognizing student success not just at graduation but at various points along the way. Recognizing the skills students gain as they go through a program may not only serve as motivation, it may help students gain meaningful employment.
As she learns more about what’s happening both in classroom and around campus, Dr. Kelley has been impressed by the active arts scene at the College. “The arts are such an important part of who we are.” she says. “And I am talking all the time about being sold out! We have unbelievable facilities here—several galleries and a fully equipped performing arts center on the Rockville Campus and the Cultural Arts Center on the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus.”
As she settles into her job, Dr. Kelley says she feels privileged to be at Montgomery College. “This is a community where everyone really cares and I am struck by it every day.”