Meet Dr. Joe, New Vice Presdient for Academic affairs at Nossi!

Dr. Joseph Lucero MA, MBA, Ed.D., who prefers to go by Dr. Joe, is Nossi College of Art’s new Vice President for Academic Affairs. He accepted his position as Vice President for Academic Affairs at the start of the January 2022 semester and comes to Nossi with a rich history and background in academia.

Dr. Joseph Lucero, Vice President for Academic Affairs

Shelby Rehberger, Nossi’s new Social Media Content Coordinator, asked a few questions about Dr. Joe’s background, why he chose Nossi, what he has planned for the College, how boxing was part of his life, and you will never guess how much hair he has donated to an amazing non-profit, Children with Hair Loss.

JUMP TO LINKS: What Are You Most Excited About? | Sports + Boxing | Advice for Students | Giving Back

SHELBY REHBERGER: Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me, and taking the time out of your day for this. I know it’s busy starting at the beginning of a new semester and a new position because I am new as well!

Now that you’re officially in your role as the Vice President for Academic Affairs, could you explain what that role means for you and how you can help students moving forward?

DR. JOE LUCERO: I see my role as being someone who is supportive. I am here to support our program leaders, our faculty, and also be supportive for our students. I’m here to listen. I’m here to help resolve any issues that may come up. I’m also here to partner with each department to make sure their experience is a positive experience.

SR: That sounds great.

So, for my next question, I wanted to ask about the career path that brought you here. I saw you have several graduate degrees in psychology, business admin, and education. What lead you to the VP position at Nossi College of Art?

DR. JOE: When I first got my first master’s, it was in clinical psych. I was a psychotherapist. I worked with kids, adolescents, and their families within residential settings – which taught me a lot. It taught me to listen, be patient, and look for opportunities and for the good.

SR: That must have been difficult.

DR. JOE: Oh, it was a tough role and it helped show how many kids and students lack the resources needed to be successful. I’ve always been in a position where I wanted to help and have a bigger outreach, so that’s when I started looking at additional graduate programs. I thought,  how can I take my clinical skills and help people in mass outside of the clinical space.

SR: Outside of the clinical environment?

DR. JOE: Yes! I got an MBA with Keller Graduate School.  While pursuing this degree, I dipped my foot into the world of higher education. I started as an admissions rep and that taught me how to listen to students, and showed me how to be comfortable on the phone.

SR: Yeah. That’s a big soft skill.

DR. JOE: I agree. I also learned how to overcome resistance. I used my past experiences to help bring students into the program. That’s when I realized I’m better as an advisor in academics, so I transitioned into academic advising. I was still able to use my clinical skills to work with students while helping them earn their degree.

That started my path in higher education. I’ve been at various organizations, grew into new leadership positions, and I was able to mentor peers to better help students, too. My path has always been geared towards helping others. Now, it’s been geared towards helping students earn a degree and change their lives for the better.

SR: That sounds awesome. With your background in education and someone who spent a lot of time in an academic environment as a faculty member, support staff, and a student, what are you most excited about coming to a community like Nossi College of Art?

DR. JOE: I’m excited because I still have the ability to change students’ lives, and I’m still able to help students. I think schools like Nossi College serve a purpose for their students.

SR: It’s my first week as well here, and I’ll say my biggest fear has been learning everyone’s name so far because everyone knows everyone, and I don’t know anybody. I’m getting there… <Laugh>

DR. JOE: Well, you know, me, so! <laugh>

SR: Absolutely we’ll start here!

So Nossi College of Art is very different from my background because I went to big state schools. It is a big reason why I wanted to work here – the close-knit community. What attracted you to this position and this community? You mentioned earlier about their family values, can you elaborate on that?

DR. JOE: With the Nossi crew, it’s very family-oriented which I have really been enjoying. I appreciate that.  We bring a strong value to our students and to the community. That makes me excited. I’m able to work closely with a very good group of people.

It’s also a unique program because it’s the only private art college in the state. Students who look for the degree programs we offer, there’s a level of creativity and drive that makes learning very important to them. For me, I want to be part of that process. I want to be able to help students change their lives. Also, a lot of students we work with are first-generation, so I want to ensure they graduate and get to do something special with their lives.

SR:  So, I know we’re only a few days into the semester, but I heard that you’ve already been walking around and visiting classrooms. What have you noticed on campus while interacting with students?

DR. JOE: All the creative work surrounding the campus has been fascinating. I mean, everything that we see is from a student or faculty member. It’s not from a company. It’s not stock photographs, it’s all from our community. Plus, seeing the classrooms filled with eager learners to me was exciting, especially nowadays with the COVID disruption. (Nossi is actively watching COVID on campus and have updated our January Semester COVID policies here).  

SR: ­Absolutely. I completely agree. The first thing that I was really struck by when I came to campus was how beautiful it was. On my first visit, I was expecting more of the typical cinder-block-building type of school that I’m from. Even in a creative field, state schools are just normal facilities. This campus is a very beautiful, very well decorated facility.

I’ve just got a couple more questions to learn a little more about you. I read that you are a big sports fan and an amateur boxer and boxing coach. Is that true?

DR. JOE: That is very true.

Dr. Joe and Sports

SR: Can you tell me more about you got into that?

DR. JOE: Well, growing up in Chicago, it’s a big sports town, I just grew up being a Cubs fan, a Sox fan…

SR: That was my next question! What are your favorite teams?

DR. JOE: It’ll be the Cubs and the Bears. Okay, and the Bulls. Growing up in in Chicago, I was able to see Michael Jordan playing the 90s. Being a Chicago fan, I witnessed the first World Series in over 100 years. So it was a privilege.

SR: That’s awesome! Were you at the game?

DR. JOE: Not that time, I was in Maryland watching from a distance.

SR: I’m more of a football fan, but I remember when the Sox won the Series. That was an iconic moment in pop culture that reached everyone, fan or no. That’s amazing. Since you are from Chicago, how long have you been in the Nashville area?

DR. JOE: Been in the Nashville area for about a year.

SR: How do you like it so far?

DR. JOE: It’s been great. Great people! Wonderful.

SR: So, we were talking about sports and your familiarity with boxing…

DR. JOE: I got into boxing to stay in shape because I wanted to do something more than just go to the gym, be a gym rat, you know. So I got into boxing…

SR: …boxing is more dynamic than just a regular workout.

DR. JOE: It’s more dynamic, more focused on cardio, and as I quickly learned, there’s more to it than just punching. There’s a strategy and a science behind it.

SR: It’s a point game for sure.

DR. JOE: Exactly!

I got into boxing and that led to competitive boxing. My head coach realized I was actually a pretty good coach because I began helping other boxers train, both in terms of their workouts and in their matches. I was able to help other boxers get better and be safe in the ring. As I’ve gravitated more to coaching, I’ve realize it is very similar to education. I think there is some overlap in those two areas.

Dr. Joe (background left) standing alongside Reed, a boxer he coached, as she wins the 2018 Golden Gloves championship.

SR: That’s good to hear! So one last sport-related question before we wrap it up. I’m a pretty big Titan’s fan and we’ve got the number one seed in the AFC this season. Have you been keeping up with that excitement at all?

DR. JOE: I have kept up with it! I’m rooting for the Titans. I don’t have a team [in the playoffs] anymore, so its okay.

SR: I always say when the regular season ends, everybody can kind of reorganize and find somebody else to keep rooting for if their team doesn’t make the cut. Just because the season ended for my team doesn’t mean I’m not watching the playoff games.  <laughter>

DR. JOE: Exactly!

Advice for students

SR: One last question. As the new Vice President for Academic Affairs, if you could share anything with Nossi students, what would you want to say to them?

DR. JOE: My advice is that everybody graduates. I expect everyone to graduate, and they will hear me say that quite often in orientation. They’ll hear me say it throughout their semesters here. They’ll hear me say it at graduation. My expectation is that I expect everyone to graduate. I’m here to help overcome their own barriers to that point. You know?

SR: Absolutely. I love that. I think that is a great way to end. Thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it.

DR. JOE: Thank you. It was fun!

Giving back matters

At the end of the interview, I chatted a little more and Dr. Joe revealed a fun fact and sent us photos to prove it!

Vice President of Academic Affairs at Nossi College of Art

Dr. Joe is an avid supporter of the charity organization Children with Hair Loss. He revealed he grew his hair out to 24 inches to donate it. He’s done that amount of hair twice – over 48 inches!

In his own words, “I’ve worked with the Children with Hair Loss Foundation twice. It’s a great organization and what I like about them is that they don’t charge the recipients for the wigs they receive.”

Dr. Joe is an avid supporter of the charity organization Children with Hair Loss. He revealed he grew his hair out to 24 inches to donate it. He’s done that amount of hair twice – over 48 inches!

“I’ve worked with the Children with Hair Loss Foundation twice. It’s a great organization and what I like about them is that they don’t charge the recipients for the wigs they receive.”

Dr. Joe Lucero
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