Texas Tech University


John Opperman, Ph.D.

Associate Vice President | john.opperman@ttu.edu

Dr. John Opperman serves as the Associate Vice President for University Outreach and Engagement at Texas Tech University in addition to his position as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the Texas Tech University System.

Prior to his current appointments, Dr. Opperman served as Interim President at Texas Tech University from January 2016 through July 2016.

Previously, Dr. Opperman was the Vice Chancellor for Policy & Planning from 2002-2016 and the Vice Chancellor of Administration and Finance and Chief Financial Officer from 1996-1999 for the TTU System. In addition to his positions at TTU and the TTU System, Dr. Opperman has spent more than 20 years in public service with the State of Texas, working primarily on issues related to higher education, public education, and state budgeting.

He has served as Director of Budget, Policy & Planning for the Governor of Texas, Budget Director for the Lt. Governor of Texas, and Director of the Senate Finance Committee in the Texas Legislature. He also has served as a special adviser to the Lt. Governor on public and higher education policy and the state budget, and most recently as a special adviser to Sen. Jane Nelson, Chair of the Texas Senate Finance Committee.

Dr. Opperman holds a bachelor's degree from Texas Tech University and master's degree and Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin.

John Opperman

Birgit Green, Ph.D.

Director | birgit.green@ttu.edu

Dr. Birgit Green serves as the Director of University Outreach and Engagement where she leads campus-wide initiatives that advance faculty, staff, and student engagement with communities. In her role, she collaborates with Texas Tech's colleges, departments, and administrative units to provide and support strategies that broaden and deepen faculty engaged scholarship. Prior to assuming this role in 2014, Dr. Green served as Director of Engaged Research and Partnerships under the Office of the Vice President for Research. From 1998 until 2010, Birgit was the Director of Community Outreach and Professional Development at Texas Tech's Division of Outreach and Distance Education (later University College), where she oversaw continuing education, personal enrichment, and professional development programs including conferences, short courses, workshops, and non-credit online classes.

Birgit has led and co-led several state- and federally-funded projects and initiatives that involved partnerships with two- and four-year institutions, business and industry, K-12 schools, nonprofit organizations and other communities. She is Texas Tech University's Representative to the Board of Directors of the Engagement Scholarship Consortium (ESC). She has served on the Executive Committee of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities' (APLUs) Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness, and Economic Prosperity (CICEP), and is a member of its Council on Engagement and Outreach (CEO). She is also past chair of the University Professional and Continuing Education Association's (UPCEA's) Community and Economic Engagement Network.

Birgit holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration, a Master's in Higher Education, and a Bachelor's in Business Administration from Texas Tech University.

Birgit Green

Sam Sumner, M. Div.

Assistant Director | sam.sumner@ttu.edu

Sam Sumner is the Assistant Director of University Outreach and Engagement at Texas Tech University, joining the department in July 2018. In his position, Sam works under the supervision of Vice Chancellor John Opperman, and alongside Dr. Birgit Green. Sam's primary duties are to assist Dr. Opperman and Dr. Green with the development of Outreach and Engagement initiatives, and to cultivate external community partnerships in collaboration with the Texas Tech faculty, staff, and students.

Sam has worked with community partnerships for over 25 years throughout the United States. Prior to joining Texas Tech, Sam was the Director of Emergency Services at the Tempe Community Action Agency where he provided direct oversight and management for the Community Action Programs including homeless prevention and services, health programming, food security programming, and unemployed & under-employment solutions. Sam also served as the Homeless Programs Manager. Through his roles at Tempe Community Action Agency, Sam partnered with Valley of the Sun United Way, various City of Tempe Departments, and a host of area non-profits including over 40 faith-based organizations.

Sam also served as a minister in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Maryland, and Arizona. He developed new ministries, outreach concepts, initiatives, and community partnerships to impact the surrounding communities. Some of the partners included State Farm Insurance Company, University of Illinois, Illinois State University, Arizona State University, University of Utah, Metro East Homeless Commission, the City of Phoenix, Area Agency on Aging, and the Phoenix MLK Celebration Committee.

Sam graduated from Morgan State University with a Bachelor of Arts, and acquired a Master of Divinity from Payne Theological Seminary. He earned a Certificate in Executive Non-Profit Leadership from the Arizona State University Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation.

Sam Sumner

Grant Gerlich, MA, MLIS

Community Engagement Manager | grant.gerlich@ttu.edu

In his role as Community Engagement Manager for University Outreach and Engagement, Grant is responsible for initiating and advancing collaborations across campus to plan, develop, and oversee engagements with staff and faculty in Education Services, Public Services, Special Collections, and The Remnant Trust. He publicizes and promotes use of the collections and services through new and existing exhibits and outreach activities including tours, presentations, public events, and sessions with constituents on and off campus.

Grant served in the cultural heritage field for over two decades as the director of several museums and board member of non-profit historical organizations. His involvement with these institutions has instilled in him the value community outreach and engagement. Before joining the University Outreach and Engagement team, Grant served as Senior Archival Associate at the Southwest Collection/Special Collection Library where he worked in collection processing and explored methods to improve student assistant training.

Grant is passionate about community outreach and engagement. When he is not walking his dogs around Tech Terrace Park, he serves as the president of the Tech Terrace UNIT Neighborhood Association where he is involved in a variety of community initiatives. Grant is a Certified Archivist. He has a Master of Arts in History with a concentration in Archival, Museum and Editing studies from Duquesne University, and a Master of Library and Information Science from Dominican University.

Grant Gerlich

Katie Howell

Section Coordinator | katie.howell@ttu.edu

Katie Howell serves as the Section Coordinator for University Outreach and Engagement. Ms. Howell is responsible for logistics and administration of finances for the department. She coordinates events by working together with university and community partners, and she uses her artistic talents for managing the website and social media pages, producing videos for Outreach and Engagement programs, and designing promotion materials for university and community outreach. Since joining in January 2019, Ms. Howell is the newest member of the University Outreach and Engagement team. She has worked at Texas Tech since 2015.

Ms. Howell is originally from Littlefield, Texas. She graduated from Texas Tech University in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts in English, Creative Writing, and before studying at TTU, she also earned an associate degree in music from South Plains College. In her free time she enjoys drinking coffee, making art, and spending time with family and loved ones.

Katie Howell

Kelsey Frazier

Graduate Assistant | kelsey.l.frazier@ttu.edu

Kelsey Frazier serves as Graduate Assistant for Texas Tech University Outreach and Engagement. Since joining the office in October 2017, Kelsey has been responsible for the production and publication of University Outreach and Engagement's newsletters and maintaining department's website. Kelsey assists with administration of the annual campus-wide Raiders Engaged assessment of faculty and staff outreach and engagement activities, she provides coordination and support for collaborations with community outreach and engagement partners, and works with academic and administrative areas involved in engagement and outreach. Kelsey serves in various administrative support roles as well.

Ms. Frazier holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Education, Grades 7-12. She is currently enrolled at Texas Tech University in the College of Education, Education Psychology and Leadership, Higher Education Master's program.

Kelsey Frazier