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Ware Returns to STLCC, Hopes to Provide Great Student Engagement

Keith Ware, Ed.D., knew he would return to St. Louis Community College. He just didn’t know when or in what capacity. But now he has his answer to those questions. Head shot of Dr. Keith Ware

In July, he returned to STLCC as vice president for student engagement and chief affairs officer at Meramec. Ware comes to the College from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, where he served as the deputy director for the East St. Louis Center. But prior to his time at SIUE, he served as the director of the African American Male Initiative, as well as an adjunct history professor at STLCC.

“This is actually where I got my collegiate start as a student, too,” Ware said. “And after I was here the first time as a director and professor, I knew eventually I would come back.”

One of his goals is to make sure students receive a top-tier experience during their time at STLCC. He recounts when he signed up to take a summer class shortly after graduating high school to get a math credit out of the way before heading to Southeast Missouri State. What happened next set the groundwork for who he was to become and what he wants current and future students to experience at STLCC.

His instructor at the time recognized that math was not Ware’s strong suit. But despite that, he took an interest in Ware and pushed him when he needed it and provided extra time to assist him. Despite the many years that have passed, the instructor’s impact was long-lasting.

“He was the first African American male teacher I ever had, and he made every class memorable,” Ware said. “I want students to feel the same way I did when that teacher took me under his wing. I want them to feel there is no better place to be and create a community-based relationship, so they tell their friends that the culture, faculty and staff here have their best interests in mind.”

Ware says another reason he took the position is the vast array of students who enroll at STLCC—from high school students to those who have been in the workforce for many years, and everyone in between.

"The duality of life experiences—not just learning experiences of students in the classroom, but also people that have vast life experience outside of it,” he said.

In just a few short weeks since returning to STLCC, Ware has found many people engaged, enthusiastic and energetic about the upcoming semester as he is.

“The people I’ve worked with so far are happy to be here,” he said. “It’s great to walk around campus and see people with their heads held high and excited to be on campus.”

Ware said he’s most eager to have a campus full of students again. “That and providing great student engagement and activities for those students,” he said.

He added that he doesn’t want his title of vice president to be something that makes him out of touch, stating he plans to have plenty of face-to-face time with students and staff, whether it’s around campus or in the office. “I have an open-door policy,” he said. “I want my office to be a place where people are comfortable to stop and talk about anything.” He will also be teaching a history class at the Florissant Valley campus.

Ware is married with two young sons, and when he isn’t on campus, he enjoys golf and reading in his spare time.

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