Weekly Update – December 6, 2009

on December 6, 2009 in Weekly Update

Sorry for my tardiness in getting out this weekly update.  The weather has played havoc on my schedule.  I actually got “snowed in” in Dallas on Friday (I was there for a Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board meeting and all flights to Houston were canceled). Today, I went to Atlanta for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) annual conference, and I spent several extra hours in the airport due to some weather related issue. Oh well, better to be on the ground than in the air with weather issues!!

There has been a lot going on around the College these past two weeks!!  I attended events on all three campuses but wish my calendar would have allowed me to enjoy more of the activities.  The Messiah concert at South campus was fantastic, and if you missed it…you can catch it on Comcast channel 16 in Alvin. I also enjoyed the choral concert at North and a great performance of Santa’s Christmas Magic at the Central campus.  I observed amazing talent in students, employees, and community members, plus there were very few empty seats available in the audiences.   

At the North campus, students performed from Holst’s The Planets to celebrate the partnership San Jacinto College (SJC) recently established with the Houston Symphony.  SJC will enjoy a private performance of The Planets – An HD Odyssey at Jones Auditorium on January 22, 2010. In addition to Holst’s production, Duncan Copp has created an HD film of images from NASA and the Hubble telescope. Many of these images have never been released before. Watch for an email directing you to a website link to view a teaser for the program. 

At this special premiere, SJC will host a variety of guests including donors, friends, community leaders, elected officials, media, school district leaders, and SJC employees and SJC students. If you are interested in attending this special premiere, please contact your campus president: Allatia Harris at North, Neil Matkin at Central, or Maureen Murphy at South.  They are monitoring the interest in the concert and the distribution of tickets for those employees who are physically located at each campus. The only exception is for ITS personnel who should contact Rob Stanicic. Employees physically located in the Administration buildings (4624 Fairmont and the Annex) should contact Christopher Darville. We have a limited number of tickets available for employees and one guest but would like to accommodate as many as possible.  I have the expectation that every seat in Jones Hall will be full, so please only commit to this event if you are sure that you can attend.   All tickets are numbered and will be assigned based on RSVP’s.

Attendees will not be charged to attend the premiere on January 22nd, but we are accepting donations through the San Jacinto College Foundation (Foundation). We are using this opportunity to raise at least $250,000 in scholarships for a new “Promise for Their Future” scholarship fund. The initial funding will provide scholarships (tuition, fees, and books) for ten students beginning in the 2010-2011 academic year. A portion of this fund will be treated as an endowment (principle not touched) in order to provide scholarships in perpetuity.  Just last week, $15,000 was raised for this fund!!

Speaking about support for the Foundation and scholarship dollars for our students, last week, the Foundation received its largest individual donation in the amount of $100,000. This donor established an endowment because of the importance of the community college that he attended prior to earning an engineering degree and for the people who have worked for him who advanced their education through San Jacinto College!! 

As we wrap up 2009, I want to remind you that we will be kicking off College Community Week for the Spring Semester January 11, 2010. As in the past, this week will kick off the semester for faculty and administrators. As our keynote speaker that Monday morning, we welcome Dr. Janet Zadina, author of Six Weeks to a Brain-Compatible Classroom.  Her research on linking brain development to instruction is nationally recognized, and her previous work with our faculty and staff received rave reviews from those involved with QEP.

And on February 16, 2010, all employees will participate in College Community Day.  This day has been built into our academic calendar and will not interfere with instructional time.  Be sure you plan to attend this event focused on the future of our College.  We will examine the role that each of us plays in establishing and achieving a student success agenda.  Plus, I would like to have your input on the college’s vision, mission, and strategic plan.  More details will follow by early February but mark your calendars!!

Another new item for 2010 — I will be moving away from this weekly email and instead will be posting my weekly updates on a blog.  I have started updating the blog already, and you can begin reviewing my weekly updates there.  Here is the link: http://sjcblogs.sanjac.edu/chancellor/.   On the blog there are a few items posted such as the annual priorities. I intend to expand the supporting documents over the next few months. 

Lastly for today, I want to give you an update on annual priorities nine and ten.

Priority IX — Resource Development: Expand and implement systems for increasing financial resources to enhance student access and promote excellence in teaching and learning

The focus of this priority is expanding the procurement of strategic grant funding.  SJC has a robust grant program with $22.6 million in active grants and approximately that same amount in pending grants and those under development. These grants are from federal, state, local, and private sources.  Our challenge is to ensure that we pursue grant opportunities which enhance our institutional priorities rather than pursue opportunities that may not fit. While grant funding can provide dollars that are important for programs, they also come with a certain level of costs and reporting requirements which must be understood at the front end.  I believe these sources of funding will become even more important to San Jacinto College in the upcoming years, and this priority is designed to help us enhance our infrastructure and support mechanisms. 

Priority X — Foundation: Develop strategic focus and plan for private fundraising

The San Jacinto College Foundation was created in 1996 as a separate fundraising arm to support student excellence at the College.  The Foundation has approximately $5.6 million in assets and is governed by community leaders. The role of private fundraising continues to be an important resource avenue for colleges and universities.   Many of you are aware of several of the Foundation’s initiatives, and many of you have also participated in those initiatives.  This annual priority centers on developing a strategic fundraising plan for the Foundation.  The plan will address what is needed to expand private fundraising, including capitalizing on alumni, creating and developing prospects, and engaging a broader and deeper base of external donors.

Priorities IX and X are closely related. Through expanding and targeting our grants and private fundraising efforts, SJC will build resources and endowments to better serve the needs of our students. 

This next week will be a little hectic with finals and wrapping up the semester. Who can believe the semester’s end got here so soon?!! 



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