Dr. Paul Illich is the vice president of research, planning, and information technology at McLennan Community College in Waco, Texas, a position he has held for more than seven years.
He has played a key role in setting strategic direction for the college and establishing a data-driven culture that promotes the creation of empirically-based initiatives and programs in support of the college’s mission and goals. Prior to his current position he served nine years as the senior director of institutional effectiveness and planning at McLennan. Previous positions include postdoctoral research fellow and director of evaluation and research at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. Illich has coordinated the development of an innovative enrollment management model to drive course scheduling based on utilization trends, and has provided research and strategic consultation in support of securing bond funds for McLennan Community College, the city of Waco and other Texas community colleges. He also is extensively involved in the vertical alignment of education in the Waco community through his participation in the Greater Waco Education Alliance.
Illich is a recognized leader in data-driven decision making and analytical policy development. He was appointed to the Texas Association of Community College Metrics Task Force and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Community College Formula Funding Advisory Committee to assist in the development of an allocation system for a new performance-based funding model for Texas community colleges. Since 2006 he has served as the external evaluator for the National Science Foundation’s National Center for Optics and Photonics Education, providing oversight of evaluation activities, including national employer demand studies. Illich recently coordinated the attainment of a Greater Texas Foundation grant to support McLennan Community College’s participation in the “Achieving the Dream Initiative.”
He has more than 24 years of research and teaching experience at the community college, undergraduate and graduate levels. He has taught psychology and statistics at McLennan Community College, Tarleton State University and Baylor University in a variety of formats, including online instruction. He has published in education, neuroscience and experimental psychology journals. In 1995 Illich published a seminal paper that helped to set a new direction in the research field of neuropathic pain.
As the accreditation liaison, Illich directed two successful reaffirmation of accreditation visits for McLennan Community College. As a part of the 2012 accreditation process, he coordinated the development of a comprehensive student success initiative designed to improve student learning and course completion by enhancing a series of emotional intelligence skills. He has served as a reviewer and chair of multiple SACSCOC on-site and off-site accreditation teams.
Illich has a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Texas A&M University in College Station, an M.S. degree from Texas A&M University in experimental psychology, a B.S. degree in psychology with a computer science minor from Texas State University in San Marcos, and an A.A. degree from Blinn College in Brenham, Texas.
Illich is a dynamic and visionary leader who believes in data-driven decision making and in the value of creating a culture of opportunity, creativity and intellectual and personal respect. He is married to Gail Illich, a mathematics educator, and together they are the parents of three teenagers. He and his wife enjoy competitive master’s distance running, triathlons, biking, and trail running.