New Appointments to SLCC Administration

Dr. Natalie Harder, chancellor of South Louisiana Community College, recently made two appointments to her executive team at the community college. In addition, a new dean of Nursing and Allied Health has been named. 

Dr. Willie Smith is the college’s Vice President for Academics and Workforce Solutions, Lana Fontenot is the college’s Associate Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement, and Dr. Rebecca Harris-Smith is Dean of Nursing and Allied Health. 

“These employees exemplify leadership and have proven track records of putting the success of students first and helping business and industry achieve their workforce needs,” said Dr. Natalie Harder, SLCC Chancellor. “The community college will grow under each’s leadership in their respective areas and we welcome each to their new roles.” 

Smith’s new position is a combination of positions he recently held – Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Vice Chancellor for Economic and Workforce Development. He provides leadership, management, and direction for the overall instruction and education for the college’s academic divisions and also facilitates economic and labor force creation in the area.

In his previous position, Smith in conjunction with the former Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, successfully led the substantive change merger for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges accreditation of the former Acadiana Technical College and South Louisiana Community College. He also created and developed SLCC’s Corporate College’s business and marketing plan to address the needs of businesses and industries. This initiative went from serving 200 non-credit and short-term training students to more than 1,200 students and bringing in $500,000 in revenue. 

He earned an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Argosy University in 2014, a master’s degree in Public Administration from Troy University in 2001, and a bachelor’s degree from Tulane University in Social Work in 1993. 

Fontenot, who also serves as Executive Director of the SLCC Foundation, is responsible for cultivating, securing, and maximizing non-state resources and overseeing internal and external communications. As AVC for Institutional Advancement, she oversees the offices of Communications and Marketing, Development, and Grants.  

As Executive Director of the SLCC Foundation, Fontenot has tripled the college’s endowment, doubled the assets of the Foundation within 18 months, increased scholarship giving tenfold, and initiated the first naming opportunity campaigns at the community college, resulting in nearly $500,000 in commitments. 

She earned a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2014; and a bachelor’s degree in Communication – Public Relations Concentration from UL Lafayette in 2006.

Harris-Smith leads the Nursing and Allied Health Division for the community college. As dean, she provides leadership in developing, implementing, and maintaining curriculum and programs including Registered Nursing, Practical Nursing, Certified Nurses Assistant, Patient Care Technician, Phlebotomy, Surgical Technology, and Clinical Lab Sciences. She also oversees screening and advisory committees and recommends full-time faculty and staff appointments.

Prior to joining SLCC, she served as Assistant Dean and Interim Director of the Entry Level Master program at the Charles R. Drew/Mervyn M. Dymally School of Nursing in Los Angeles, Calif. In addition, Harris-Smith – a native of New Orleans – taught for 12 years as a Nurse Educator in both the PN and RN programs at Delgado Community College. 

Harris-Smith earned an Ed.D from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. in 2015, a master’s degree in nursing from University of Phoenix in 2000, and a bachelor’s degree in Education from Dillard University in New Orleans. 

SLCC is a comprehensive community college that serves more than 11,000 students annually and operates campuses in Abbeville, Crowley, Franklin, Lafayette, New Iberia, Opelousas, St. Martinville, and Ville Platte.