Archive for February, 2012

Update – February 27, 2012

on February 27, 2012 in Weekly Update | Comments Off on Update – February 27, 2012

Good Afternoon —

We are rounding out February with the kick-off of the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo (HLSR).  Even if you aren’t a rodeo fan, you can’t miss the energy and excitement that rodeo brings to Houston!  I attended the 26th Annual Career & Education Day presented by the Houston Hispanic Forum (HHF) on Saturday and heard from the HLSR representative that more than $10 million is given per year to support education in our region; these funds are mainly in scholarships.  This is amazing!  I also had the opportunity to hear Eva Guzman, Justice of the Texas Supreme Court, speak about education.  She challenged the audience of students (elementary, middle school, and high school) and their parents to choose education.  She focused on three themes: choices, commitments, and consequences. If we think about it, these three themes apply to many aspects of our own lives and work.  Spend a few minutes to think about these themes this week.

Today’s update is a multitude of links for you:

1. The presentations for College Community Day are posted at the following link:

2. To provide your feedback on College Community Day, please use this link: It will stay open through the end of the day on March 2nd (Friday).

3. During my presentation, I referenced how the economic and job forecast for Houston is improving.  If you are interested in seeing data on this forecast, please follow this link:

4. Recently, San Jacinto College and our college preparatory work made the front page of the College Community Times.  Attached is the link to this article:

Have a great week! 



on February 5, 2012 in Weekly Update | Comments Off on

Hello San Jacinto College —

February is here and what a busy month it will be!!

Since 1976, each President of the United States has officially celebrated February as Black History Month or National African American History Month, but the official celebrations date back to 1925 when Carter G. Woodson (founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History) conceived and announced Negro History Week. For 2012, the theme for Black History Month pays tribute to the ways in which black women have shaped the United States and its history. Watch for activities on each campus and pay attention to the local newspaper for upcoming activities and articles (there was a great one on Barbara Jordan last week).

I must mention the many other “special” days in February! For the football fans, you have the Super Bowl today and for those of us who aren’t into the game, the commercials and Madonna’s half-time show are sure to be a surprise! We have already “celebrated” Ground Hog’s Day, and Valentine’s Day and Presidents’ Day are just around the corner. The greeting card market is out of control this time of year!

And don’t forget College Community Day on Thursday, February 23rd. The day begins at the Pasadena Convention Center with coffee and beverages at 8:00 a.m. and the program at 9:00 a.m. We will spend some time reviewing our institutional data, including reports from the three campus data teams and the aSPIRE office. I will discuss results from an external perception survey and the college-wide results from the Organizational Wellness Instrument (OWI). The OWI is an internal survey focused on ten factors which have a significant impact on the workplace environment that supports and sustains happiness, creativity, and productivity. Both of these surveys were completed during fall semester. We will also have shout-outs for employees celebrating employment milestones with San Jacinto College. The afternoon sessions will be held throughout Central Campus. Like last year, these sessions will be focused on the College’s four strategic goals (Student Success, P-16 Pipeline, Workforce and Economic Development, and Our People). Throughout the day there will be activities for the College’s 50th Anniversary. Attendance is required for all full-time employees with a few exceptions for areas that are required to be open for college business. Leaders will report these areas and the affected people to their respective Strategic Leadership Team member. This “no-class” day has been built into the academic calendar and will not have an impact on the required contact hour time. Notifications will go out to students, but please be sure to communicate with them also. You will receive additional information on the day’s activities in the near future.

Speaking about communications with students, I had the opportunity to visit the College’s Call Center located on the North Campus. I spent time reviewing reports, listening to calls, and hearing from Call Center personnel about the issues they deal with on a frequent and not-so-frequent basis. I enjoyed my time with these staff members, and they are one energetic group! The efficiency and effectiveness of the Call Center have increased significantly with our new phone system and its enhanced capabilities and with the expanded functionality of the college website. As I observed operations, it became clear that this center is much more than a call center that just transfers calls; it is actually a contact center whereby callers are assisted with valuable and much needed information pertaining to many departments. In January, the Call Center or Contact Center had a call volume of 17,707  with 33% of the calls related to Enrollment Services, 8% to Educational Planning/Counseling, 16% to Financial Aid, 11% to Business Office, 3% Continuing Professional Development, and 2% Testing. Fourteen percent of the incoming calls were informational calls, with the remainder classified as miscellaneous calls. The Center continues to refine its operations, including reviewing, aligning, and identifying weak spots or pain points for improvements.

Also, before I move from this topic, I need to clarify one of my statements above, which said I was “listening to some calls.” As in most other call centers, ours has the ability to tape calls in order to review at a later time. This is done largely for quality control purposes (e. g., is correct information given out, is the employee courteous, etc.) and for training purposes. It also gives us the capability to follow up on suspicious calls. The taping of calls is not utilized in any other area of the College, but it is an important element in the Call Center operations for quality and safety reasons.

One of the College’s strategic goals is Our People. A key strategy of this goal is to create a culture which embraces high performance. Creating a high performance culture requires a system that clearly defines expectations, responsibilities, accomplishments and recognitions.

Last fall, the Board approved the purchase of a Human Resources technology platform that supports the accomplishment of the Our People goal. The Success Factors platform was selected because it has a comprehensive suite of modules, including goal development through Individual Performance Plans, performance management, learning management, compensation, succession planning, and recruiting. These modules will be rolled out in phases, and the College will build upon this platform in future years.

Our performance management process is instrumental in the achievement of the key strategies for Our People. Over the past years, it has been administered through the SOAR system, which, as you know, has quite a few limitations. The Human Resource (HR) and Information Technology Systems (ITS) departments have been working diligently to implement phase one of Success Factors. I am excited to announce that the College will implement the Performance Management module of Success Factors at the end of February.

While the performance evaluation document remains the same, the new system will improve the review process because the system is easier to use and more intuitive for the user. I think you will find it much faster in navigating the performance review system. Our goal is twofold: we want to reduce the time you spend on performance reviews and individual performance plans, and we want to improve the quality of our performance reviews by having a system that is easy to use.

System navigation training will begin for faculty this week and continue through February. Specific dates and times for faculty training will be announced by Human Resources early this week. Training for staff and administrators will take place in April, and that training schedule will be communicated by the end of March.

This is a condensed timeline, but based on the input I received about the SOAR system, I felt it was important to roll the new system out for the end-of-year 2011-12 evaluation cycle which begins in March. I am also aware of concerns about the timing of the evaluation cycle for faculty, and as always, we will review how it worked and make adjustments for next year.

It is important that each of us participate in this training because the 2011-12 performance evaluations will be completed using the new Success Factors system. This is an important step in our continuous improvement processes. With such improvements and changes, each of us must take an active role in understanding how to use the new system.

Have a great week!