A conversation with Ann Bieber of Lehigh Carbon Community College

Ann Bieber – Submitted

Ann Bieber is president of Lehigh Carbon Community College in Schnecksville, where she started her career 38 years ago. She began as a secretary and worked her way up to director, and then dean of continuing education, senior vice president of administrative services, interim president and now president.

As a returning adult student, she earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Cedar Crest College, a master of public administration from Kutztown University, and a doctorate of educational leadership and management at Capella University.

Outside of work, she enjoys baking, gardening and making wreaths, which she donates for fundraising events.
She resides with her husband, Matt, in Orefield.

LVB: How does Lehigh Carbon Community College get involved with the local business community? Does it partner with businesses in the region to prepare its students for potential careers?

Ann Bieber: The college’s dedicated workforce development department works closely with more than 150 companies serving more than 800 employees in career and certification training annually. Thanks to the governor’s funding, we were able to offer the first teacher in the workplace program providing an opportunity for teachers at several of our sponsoring school districts to spend full days at companies including B. Braun, Lutron, Mack Trucks, Coca Cola and Ocean Spray. The faculty heard from the company leadership and employees, and toured the facilities. Most said they had no idea that we had such robust and technical facilities with high employment needs in our area. The final day of the program at LCCC, participants shared ideas on how to bring businesses to the classroom and build employability skills into the education process.

LVB: With the cost of tuition continually on the rise and acquiring financial assistance becoming more burdensome, has LCCC seen a decrease in student enrollment over the years, or has it seen growth?

Bieber: LCCC’s enrollment has been increasing over the past several years. In 2017-18 the number of students increased by 3 percent. The 2018-19 enrollment numbers reflect a 0.9 percent increase in students for 10,056 total students in the credit programs. In addition, we served an additional 5,000 noncredit students in certifications and credentialing courses and programs. LCCC has been designated a Hispanic-serving institution because, across our six campuses, our Hispanic student body is 25 percent. Keeping tuition low remains very important for us to ensure it is under the Pell limits. We do not want finances to be a roadblock for any student. During the 2018-19 year, we provided more than $1 million in scholarships with total financial aid of more than $21 million.

LVB: What does the future look like for LCCC?

Bieber: Online learning will continue to grow. The Early College program, allowing college-ready high school students the opportunity to earn an associate degree with their high school degree, will continue to expand as we serve our sponsoring school districts. We have aligned our programs and services following a national model, Guided Career Pathways. Keeping students on the pathway requires keeping them fully informed and engaged with activities and services both in and outside the classroom. Our career services, for example, works closely with students on securing internships and preparing for the job market. We know the importance of embedding these services continuously throughout the student’s educational pathway.
We will also continue to be a leader in business training, working in partnership with area employers and the Workforce Board of the Lehigh Valley.