Weekly Update – June 23, 2009

on June 23, 2009 in Weekly Update

I hope you are enjoying the dry weather and still have green grass and
live flowers in your yard.  It’s hard to think about Houston and drought
in the same thought….but here we are! Interesting though, I just heard
on the news that there is a potential tropical depression brewing!

On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to attend a luncheon at Houston
Community College regarding the Houston Pathways Initiative (HPI). This
initiative partners with school districts and universities to facilitate
and track student success across educational segments. HPI is a
replication of the successful Cal-Pass project in California and one
recently introduced in San Antonio. The Houston Endowment is funding HPI
and the partners include The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board,
Houston Community College, San Jacinto College, the University of
Houston – Downtown, the University of Houston-Clear Lake, and six local
independent school districts. San Jacinto College will be working with
Pasadena ISD, Deer Park ISD, and Galena Park ISD on this initiative. You
will hear more about this in the future.

Our Student Development offices and your campuses welcomed hundreds of
students for the first student mandatory orientations.  From all
reports, it sounds as if the sessions went well and with good
attendance. As part of our institutional focus on being data informed,
we are capturing attendance, learning outcomes, and comments from
attendees; and as the fall semester and future semesters progress, we
will track the retention and persistence of these students compared to
past cohorts of new (first time in college) students. Thank you to all
who worked so diligently to make this initiative a reality!

Recently, several of us met with Harris County Transit (HCT) to discuss
the possibility of expanding metro service to include our Central and
North campuses. These discussions are in the preliminary stages with
much fact finding still needed. One piece of information that has been
requested is the completion of employee and student surveys. Please take
a moment to respond to the survey:
http://www.surveyshare.com/survey/take/?sid=86301l  It will take less
than five minutes and is mostly geared toward students but your input is
valuable. You will also receive a follow-up email from Teri Fowle asking
you to take this survey plus a similar communication will be distributed
to our students. It is important that you respond to this survey so your
voice can be heard.

On Friday, Governor Perry approved Senate Bill 1 (SB1), better known as
the budget bill. While he did use his line-item veto power, none of
those items appear to be related to community college funding which is
GREAT news. Additionally, there is some new legislation that may open
additional opportunities for San Jacinto College:

*There was an increase to the funding available to the Texas
Educational Opportunity Grant of $10 million which will increase aid
available to students state-wide.
*A new program is being introduced to fund enrollment growth in
nursing in the form of a bonus when nursing students graduate and
successfully complete the state exam.
*A new program is being introduced from the comptroller’s office
for workforce development initiatives.  The majority of the funds are
designated for new equipment purchases.
*A small amount of funds have been set aside to help those who
wish to pursue alternative teacher certification.

As we receive more information on how these and any other new
legislative decisions impact San Jacinto College, we will pass it on to
the appropriate areas.

I hope you have a great week ahead of you and thank you for all you do
to help students succeed in their goals.

Best,
Brenda

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