Lone Star College System: 20|20 The Vision for Achieving Student Success

Lone Star College System (LSC) is the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area, the 4th producer in the U.S. for associate degrees, and one of the fastest-growing community colleges in the nation.

By prioritizing student success through the cultural belief of “Students Matter, I engage and support each student to achieve their goals,” each campus reached transformative results.


In August 2015, Dr. Steve Head assumed the role of university chancellor. High on his list of top-line goals was to create a university culture that prioritized student success. The university needed to sustain a collaborative and cohesive student experience across six main campus locations, plus their associated center locations; build buy-in and alignment around five new strategic goals; and increase the quality in educational services and learning—all while growing at an ever-increasing speed.


The university activated Lead Culture, the firm’s comprehensive, integrated culture-shaping process.

The internal Office of Organizational Development collaborated with Partners In Leadership consultants. Together they designed the initial roll-out plan, and formed a Task Force to complete an anonymous survey prior to the launch, which included questions about the current state of the university culture.

They launched the Lead Culture program, which they called Lone Star College 20|20, with a two-day workshop, inviting leaders and employees from all locations to represent all levels of employees. Partners In Leadership led this initial group in the development of the college’s new six cultural beliefs, to guide and focus the change process.

To create continuous development after the initial launch and training, the university implemented the cultural changes in several capacities, including:

  • College Presidents and Cabinet Leaders used the cultural beliefs to communicate how to achieve best results for students.
  • Social media, videos, marketing, and other targeted campaigns were created to showcase desired behaviors and stories that represent the new culture.
  • Cultural beliefs were integrated into faculty development programs, leadership development programs, and employee learning experiences.
  • Lone Star College 20|20 award (one from each of the six campuses) presented at annual college‐wide awards celebrations to recognize employees who demonstrated the cultural beliefs in their work with excellence.


By prioritizing student success through the cultural belief of “Students Matter, I engage and support each student to achieve their goals,” each campus reached transformative results:

  • Lone Star College-University Park, led by President Dr. Shah Ardalan, is currently focusing on achieving a 50% graduation rate in the next three years. They are proactively reaching out to students who are at, or near graduation, to take the final steps to completion.
  • Lone Star College-Houston North, the future 7th college led by Dr. Quentin Wright, is being developed to bring together four of the current college centers into one college. The college will go live in fall 2019, and Dr. Wright’s vision is to build a student mentoring-culture that puts students first and leads to a 25% three-year graduation rate.
  • Lone Star College-Tomball, led by President Dr. Lee Ann Nutt, combined their GRIT initiative and Partners In Leadership’s The Results Pyramid® (an elegant, intuitive model that illustrates how to accomplish culture change quickly and efficiently) to shift beliefs around overcoming obstacles that get in the way of student success. Likewise, they saw a significant increase in the success rates of African American students in the EDUC 1300 course, in addition to receiving the largest amount of performance funding from the System-Office based on their performance on the eight Key Performance Indicators each college is charged with accomplishing.
  • Lone Star College-Montgomery created a data team to review and drive student success by using predictive analytics to drive decision-making and thereby improve student experiences and success.
  • The LSC-Kingwood campus was completely flooded during Hurricane Harvey and many buildings were closed. The President, Dr. Katherine Persson, led the college to offer online classes for the fall 2017 semester to meet students’ needs, which ultimately led to an increase in enrollment numbers.
  • Lone Star College-North Harris, led by President Dr. Gerald Napoles, collaborated with LSC-Kingwood in the wake of Hurricane Harvey to host many of their students while the buildings were being repaired. Ultimately, this allowed Kingwood to offer classes to many more of their students who needed a place to learn.


Lone Star College’s cultural efforts have brought national attention, including Partners In Leadership’s The Ozzies™ Gold Award 2017 in the education category for excellence in accountability, leadership, and culture.

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