Update – November 1, 2018

on November 1, 2018 in Weekly Update

Good Afternoon San Jacinto College Community,

I hope all of you are enjoying this cool weather as we welcome the month of November!  This is a clear sign that the fall semester is ticking down for our students, faculty, staff, and administrators.  Speaking of “ticking down,” be sure to remember that we are “falling back” this weekend, and you should check the batteries in your fire alarms.

Today, I want to update you on our SACSCOC visit and call your attention to a couple of other important happenings next week.

SACSCOC On-site Visit – The College hosted a nine-member team (eight of whom work at peer institutions in our accreditation region and one is our vice president liaison from SACSCOC).  The team arrived Monday and concluded the visit this morning with an exit meeting.  The team toured each of our campuses and met with over 200 students, faculty, staff, and administrators.  They reviewed items from our off-site and focus reports and examined specific items required by the on-site committee review.   They spent quite a bit of time with faculty on our Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) “Thinking and Beyond,” which is focused on critical thinking.  The message that I heard from the committee members is that San Jacinto College is an outstanding institution, and each of our employees should be proud of the work that is going on here.  The committee had many positive comments about all aspects of this institution, our students, and our people.  We have a few items they would like us to consider on the QEP, and they have nine faculty credentials on which they have asked for additional documentation.   None of these items are substantive, and we will provide responses as required.  It feels like we should celebrate now, but the official vote of the SACSCOC Board of Directors will not occur until June 2019.  If you feel like stepping out of your office and high fiving someone or giving a little cheer, feel free to have at it!!  We will plan a college-wide celebration later once the official reaffirmation vote takes place next June. 

Important Date – Election Day (November 6th) – I voted earlier this week. While I stood in line, I thought about the other people in line with me. We were all waiting to perform our civic duty, to exercise one of our most precious rights as an American. A young man in line with me was voting for the first time, and his family was there to cheer him on as did the people working the election lines.  This action brought a smile to my face, especially in light of the vitriolic events that have occurred in our country over these past days combined with the many negative campaign ads that seem to be airing continuously.  Everyone wants to win this election, and Texas is an important state in the national picture. The purpose of these campaign ads is to win an election. It is not the mission of political campaigns to cause people to reflect thoughtfully; but, as an institution of higher education, that is part of our mission. Please encourage our students to vote, and also encourage them to respect opinions that differ from their own. We want our students and ourselves to listen carefully, to think critically, to reflect purposefully, and to vote our consciences.  When the election is over, the ads will stop. Thankfully! But what our students learn about civility, about civic responsibility, and about the importance of their vote will last a lifetime. I am counting on our San Jac employees to be role models for our students.

Important Date – Veterans Day (November 11th) – I went home to Kansas a few months ago, and my family was presented with a copy of a letter dated June 11, 1953, from my Uncle Bob.  It was written and mailed from Korea to his friend Vitus the day before Uncle Bob was killed in the Korean War. As I read this letter, I thought back to one of the first memories that I have from my childhood, and that is the memory of picking my Uncle Wayne up at the airport as he returned home to Kansas from his tour of duty during the Vietnam War.   Many of my family members have served in the military, and I am so grateful to each of them for their sacrifices.  Each of you know family members, friends, neighbors, or acquaintances who serve or have served in our armed services.  Next week our campuses will be hosting several events celebrating our United States veterans.  I encourage you to attend those activities, and I encourage you to thank a vet for serving our country.  More than 1,100 veterans are attending San Jacinto College this fall semester.  We are proud to be recognized again (for the sixth time) as a Military Friendly College and to work to support our vets as they achieve their educational dreams.  Take time to say “thanks” to a veteran, and to each of you who have served, I say “thank you!” 

The days of this semester are counting down, and everyone is feeling the pressure and the rush.  Through the next few weeks, encourage your students and fellow employees to take a few minutes to celebrate the many wonderful things that San Jacinto College has to offer and the many wonderful things Texas and the United States has to offer.  As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, it is truly a time to count our blessings.

Best,
BH

 

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