Lancaster named dean of instruction at Jefferson Davis

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Mary Beth Lancaster was named the dean of instruction at JDCC. |                                                             Submitted photo

Mary Beth Lancaster was named the dean of instruction at JDCC. | Submitted photo

Mary Beth Lancaster remembers playing teacher as a little girl.

Lancaster, after completing more than 22 years as an instructor at Jefferson Davis Community College, was recently appointed as JDCC’s dean of instruction.

While she’s already been in the position for more than two weeks, Lancaster said she’s enjoying her new role.

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“I’m very honored to have the opportunity to be able to serve in this capacity,” she said. “Even five years ago, it wasn’t on my radar to enter the position.”

Lancaster said she was happy teaching, and when the position came open, she had to take action.

“I really discovered I liked being behind the scenes,” she said. “I like taking care of things for the faculty so they can do their jobs. I found that fascinated me, so when the position came open, I decided to apply.”

As the chief instruction officer of the college, Lancaster will be responsible for curriculum and teaching, faculty development and overall academic administration. She will also serve as the contact with governing bodies on academic matters, and will be involved in accreditation procedures.

Lancaster began her teaching career working at the success center at the college, and taught some classes. The center was designed for tutoring. At the time, JDCC had a literacy program, which was something Lancaster oversaw.

Lancaster came from a long line of educators.

“My grandmother was a teacher,” she said. “I remember we’d play teacher. I was lining up my baby dolls and stuff animals, and I would teach.”

Lancaster said she views teaching as a service unto others.

Lancaster said she enjoyed working in her many different roles at JDCC.

“I’ve been very fortunate to serve in many different roles,” she said. “If I were to look at the big picture, we’re like a family. We work together to provide services to the community. It’s a very rewarding job to work at the college.”

Lancaster’s appointment comes a couple months before the Alabama Community College System votes on final approval for consolidation for JDCC, Alabama Southern and Faulkner State Community College.

Lancaster said if the approval goes through, the colleges will go through the implementation phase.

“We don’t know yet exactly how everything will be organized,” she said. “Once final approval comes in December, we’ll work on that. Our goal is to make sure everything is seamless and smooth as possible for students.”

Lancaster, of Atmore, is married to Steve Lancaster, and they have three daughters, Paige, who attended JDCC as a dual enrollment student, recently graduated from Auburn University and is now a nurse at USA Medical Center; Bailey, who is taking dual enrollment classes at JDCC and is a senior at Escambia Academy; and Mary Thompson, who is a sophomore at EA.