Mentor, visionary and native Houstonian, Dr. Carolyn Lightfoot most impressive quality is her personal passion for her work and desire to both meet and exceed a high standard for service to students and the community. Gary McCormack, Vice President, Planning and Technology and Special Assistant to the President at the University of St. Thomas said “that Dr. Lightfoot’s intelligence, personality and experience enable her to establish genuine connections with constituents and that she is a rare individual whose honesty and personal integrity are evident in all situations.” Dr. Lightfoot presently serves as Chief Information Officer for Lee College. She oversees an annual budget of more than $5 million for the operation of Information Technology. As Chief Information Officer, Dr. Lightfoot is responsible for working with faculty, students and staff in development and implementation of the technology strategic vision at Lee College. Dr. Lightfoot is also a University Lecturer having taught Database Design and Logistics Operations in the College of Technology at the University of Houston Main Campus. Dr. Lightfoot previously worked for Computer Sciences Corporation as a Computer Scientist and Oracle Database Administration (DBA) for NASA Johnson Space Center Houston. She performed duties as the database administrator for various projects at Computer Sciences Corporation and for the Research Institute for Computing and Information Systems (RICIS) in collaboration with NASA Johnson Space Center and the University of Houston-Clear Lake. RICIS addressed research areas in software support systems, medical imaging and mission and safety critical systems.
Dr. Lightfoot is a recipient of the EDUCAUSE Jane N. Ryland Fellowship. Dr. Lightfoot and Lee College Information Technology Division were awarded the Association for College and University Telecommunications Administrators (ACUTA) Institutional Excellence in Information Technology award, ACUTA’s most prestigious award for excellence and professionalism in Information Technology for the Chambers County Community Network (CCCnet). She received the 2014 Distinguished Alumni award from the University of Houston Clear Lake. She is a recipient of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Group Achievement Award for Ground Systems/Software Production Facility Support for Space Station Freedom-Johnson Space Center. She was an honoree for the 2015 Educators’ Ball from the Ivy League Foundation of Houston. Also in 2015, she was invited to speak at the College of the Mainland Distinguished Women in STEM fields. She was highlighted in 2012 by the President of Lee College in the Lee College Report to the Community as one of top ten employees that go “above and beyond to motivate students to excel.” She is the Founder and Conference Chair of the Lee College Innovation in Teaching and Learning Technology Conference that provides a forum for educators to share effective and innovative teaching and learning models. The annual Innovations conference showcases and awards excellence and innovation in instructional technology that positively impacts student academic success. She is a member of the governing body for the annual Texas Technology Summit in Houston at NRG Reliant Center. She completed her Bachelor’s degree at the Texas A&M University-Central Texas (formerly University of Central Texas), Master’s degree at the University of Houston – Clear Lake, and Doctoral degree from the University of Houston – Main Campus.
In 2017, Dr. Lightfoot received the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) award that promotes and celebrate excellence in teaching, learning and leadership at community and technical colleges. In her NISOD statement she said, “her passion is to create and sustain engaging learning spaces, where students and faculty can easily communicate, collaborate and celebrate their amazing success! Empowering students for lifelong learning beyond the classroom requires team excellence, smart innovations, and analytical agility to drive forward mission-critical student success initiatives.” Also in 2017, Lee College Information Technology received the Cloud Leadership Award from E&I Cooperative Services. Dr. Lightfoot currently serves as an Advisor for the Monica Boyd Literacy Foundation whose mission is to improve the writing and math skills of elementary school children who are struggling in those disciplines. Dr. Lightfoot worked with the Urban League and Barrett Station Riley Chambers Community Center in Crosby Texas several years ago to develop computer training curriculum for individuals on welfare so they could be integrated into the work force. She has served as Chairperson of the Houston Space Center Oracle Users Group (HSC-OUG), selected as a Honorary Member of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, served on several church committees at Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church and worked as a Sunday School youth teacher, Co-Founder Thespians, Career Day Founder/Chairperson, Chair of the Mt. Zion’s Women’s Day Conference in 2012 and currently serves as a board member of the Mount Zion Community Foundation. For the past several years, she has taught teen girls each summer during Vacation Bible School (VBS).
She was elected University of Houston Clear Lake Alumni President in 1996 and served in various capacities including Membership Chair and Chairperson of UHCL Art Festival that recognized exceptional Art faculty. During her time as UHCL Alumni President organization funds went over $100,000. Dr. Lightfoot is a Lifetime Member of University of Houston Clear Lake Alumni Association. In the community, she currently serves on the Community Crime Watch Committee, Community Women’s group and has previously served as a board member of Bay Area Women’s Shelter in Clear Lake and Baytown. In her spare time, Dr. Lightfoot interests are art, jazz, interior design, TEDTalks, gardening and architectural and nature photography.