(This is one of 20 profiles on the recipients selected by an anonymous committee out of an extensive list of nominees for the 2023 Rising Lincoln Leader Award. The Lincoln Parish Journal thanks Mayor Ronny Walker and the Ruston Chamber of Commerce for their support of this award).
Name: Lindsey Keith-Vincent
Employer: Louisiana Tech University
Title: Associate Dean for Research, Outreach, and Innovation in the College of Education and Human Sciences and Director of the Science and Technology Education Center (SciTEC)
How long have you lived in Lincoln Parish: 19 years
Civic-volunteer organizations: I am a member of Young Leaders United through United Way, Girl Scouts, Interim appointee for the Louisiana Environmental Education Commission, Governor John Bel Edwards’s appointee for the Louisiana STEM Advisory Council, Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum advisory board member, a charter member of the Krewe of Pomona, a Louisiana Tech University Young Lagniappe Ladies Member, a member of the Parent/Faculty Council (PFC) at my children’s school, and served as an RPAR soccer coach.
I have supported, encouraged, and advocated for innovative and gifted professionals and students in the College of Education and Human Sciences at Louisiana Tech University for almost two decades. Through listening, learning, networking, innovating, and securing resources; I help the individuals in our college and across the university lead impactful and essential academic, research, and civic-related efforts. Our College of Education and Human Sciences faculty and staff have secured over 10 million dollars in externally funded awards this year. Our college is second only to the College of Engineering and Sciences in receiving externally originated funding. More important than the funding secured through our Office of Research, Outreach, and Innovation is the direct impact of our faculty and staff’s work for humans in our state and beyond. Through the New Teacher Experience program, funded by the Louisiana Department of Education, hundreds of new teachers in Louisiana are assisted by developing affinity support groups to retain and encourage them. In addition, through the Science of Reading professional development initiative, thousands of K-2 educators will benefit from the instructional support modules co-constructed by experts on campus and around the country. The modules are being designed to ensure our youngest citizens can read, an essential skill for life. Our psychological services clinic in the Rawle Enterprise Center is a resource to Lincoln Parish and provides critical services such as screenings and counseling services. A concentration in Counseling Psychology is also now available within the Master in Counseling and Guidance program, thanks to departmental and college-level academic leadership. Given the mental health issues our region and country face, providing these types of supports is becoming increasingly important. Through Kinesiology, we have established health and wellness-related laboratories and academic programming to meet emerging needs in fields from human performance, learning sciences, biomechanics, and even Bulldog and Major League Baseball. Teams leading our centers, such as our Science and Technology Center, our STEM Collective for Innovative Stakeholders, and our Professional Development Institute on Blindness, have spearheaded outreach efforts and research projects that have led to presentations at the United Nations and resulted in national recognition for coding programs, workforce development, PK-16 outreach, and more. Collaborative interdisciplinary projects such as the NSF LSLAMP project, the Cyber Innovation Center Partnership Project ACCESS, the UTeachTech project, and engagement with organizations such National Girls Collaborative Project have been facilitated by our faculty and staff and helped provide access and inclusivity.
We are able to find ways to connect individuals who want to work towards life-changing opportunities to sources of support like industry, government, and community partners that can make it happen. Our college also serves as home to AE Phillips Laboratory School, a premier educational facility with outstanding and caring teachers who focus on academic performance and the holistic wellness of each kiddo that walks through the doors. Working to improve the educational environment, such as the outdoor learning spaces, celebrating AEP teachers as they design and implement innovative instructional practices, and finding ways to supplement support for arts and STEM creative programming is a great professional and personal joy. Every student in our nation deserves an elementary and middle school experience like the one offered by the team at AEP. Providing support and telling the story of those mentioned above are exciting benefits of my gig. These are in addition to the daily joy of teaching, encouraging, and supporting our Louisiana Tech University students, who are, no doubt, some of the very best and brightest adults in the country. I am grateful for my job as a cheerleader for the leaders and learners I serve daily. What better job is there than playing a small part in their big successes that make a difference in our community?
Donna Thomas, interim Provost at Louisiana Tech University, on Lindsey Keith-Vincent: Lindsey Keith-Vincent and I have been colleagues and friends for over 15 years. She has had changes in her titles and responsibilities, bur her passion for higher education and commitment to excellence have remained constant. Lindsey champions every project or cause like a true Bulldog! Dr. Keith-Vincent humbly considers herself “only” an advocate for students, faculty, and staff at Louisiana Tech University, but her unwavering support of others’ work is matched by her own creativity, dedication, and energy. She has initiated, earned, implemented, and completed grants and projects that brought millions of dollars in external funding to Lincoln Parish and beyond. Lindsey manages to prioritize her love for her family, friends, and work. She is a credit to all three.
Q&A with Lindsey Keith-Vincent:
What makes Lincoln Parish special?
The people in this parish make it special. People intentionally choose to be part of this community and serve in this parish every day. Being surrounded by supportive, encouraging, and determined individuals with a shared goal to make this place the best it can be entices me to stay here and raise my children. Without the support I was given when I came to Ruston, I would not be where I am today. Being able to extend opportunities to and bring others along to be part of solution-building for the next generation of Lincoln Parish leaders is as much an obligation as it is a privilege.
How do you see your role in improving Lincoln Parish?
As a connector and servant leader, I support those working hard to advance ideas and solutions to improve our community. The only way to ensure that our parish, state, region, and country are positioned to thrive in the ever-changing landscape of education, industry, and interconnectivity is for all of us to lean in and be part of the work. I am not an expert in all of these areas. However, I am open to listening and learning about how the experts think we should address these issues, and I am committed to finding ways to help them do it.
Who has played a pivotal role in your professional development and why?
I have been blessed beyond measure with a long list of individuals that have poured into me, from my parents and family to my friends and colleagues. There are so many from which I have learned and continue to learn. Listening and watching, I realize more about who I want to be and who I don’t want to be. Positive and encouraging, as well as challenging and discouraging experiences in my life, have all been sequenced in such a way as to make me more appreciative, humble, and aware. Being open to taking each experience for what it is and using it to learn something new is not something I have mastered, but I am trying to practice it intentionally. In this particular season of my life, the most potent and persuasive professional development leaders are the ones I work next to daily – trusted advisors who candidly share ideas for improving professionally and personally. A space where individuals feel comfortable sharing what is working and what is not is essential, and we encourage that level of openness in our teams in our CEHS. It expedites the improvement process and gets us to solutions that are better designed and can be implemented more quickly. Demonstrating mutual respect and valuing the opinions of all on the team is also a big piece of this design. Working for leaders who embody this approach has been a blessing in my work and life. I am also privileged to have professional and personal advisors at home. There is no shortage of recommendations for improvements or critiques from my candid crew. My children and husband keep me grounded, humble, and focused on what matters daily; they remain a source of consistent encouragement, support, love, and humor.
As my colleague, Sam Wallace noted recently, it is important “to connect the strengths of our past with future opportunities. We cannot be stagnant and do the same things that made us successful. We must change and adapt for the future without forgetting who we are and what has made us successful.” That embodies where I am and where I think many of the people of this parish are. It excites me to have the opportunity to be part of an organization that is a big piece of where this community is going! I appreciate the opportunity from the Lincoln Parish Journal to share these thoughts and celebrate the successes of our team. With so many outstanding nominations submitted for this recognition, being selected as a community contributor is even more special. It is inspiring to know that so many in our generation are doubling down on pouring into the community that has poured so much into us.