Weekly Update – December 13, 2009

on December 14, 2009 in Weekly Update

Good Evening San Jacinto Community —

Wow – what a week!!  I am sure that most of you feel the same way with the semester ending and the holidays right around the corner!!

I started out in Atlanta with several others from San Jacinto College (SJC) for the SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) conference. Our reaffirmation was announced officially on Tuesday morning at the annual business meeting.   It was great to hear our name announced in the group with no recommendations!!  I know you have heard it before, but I am proud of the work that went into our preparation. I made the comment to several colleagues that preparing for SACS was good for SJC because it really made us gain a better understanding of our mission and our work, including our successes and our areas needing improvement.  The one thing that is obvious to me about the accrediting process is that it isn’t a process that you go through once a decade.  Rather, we actually need to be “SACS ready” all the time.  A new function of the SACS process is the fifth-year report.  It is an interim report covering several of the core requirements and standards, and it includes a status report on the Quality Enhancement Project (QEP). While not as intensive as the 10-year report, it will still require extensive time and effort, and it is important not to receive recommendations.  Our report is due in 2014 so we will begin preliminary work in the near future. Two themes that were heard highlighted throughout the conference were assessment and learning outcomes. These will continue to be a focus during the reaffirmation process, and you will continue to see our focus on these areas intensify at SJC.

On Wednesday morning, I met with Dr. Bill Staples, President of University of Houston – Clear Lake (UHCL). I have had several discussions with Dr. Staples and the Chairman of the University of Houston (UH) Board of Regents about plans for the downward expansion of UHCL.  At this point, the Board and the UH System are planning to move forward with such a request to the Texas Legislature in 2011. My discussions with Dr. Staples have been focused on understanding their master and business plans for this expansion and the data to support the need. Our next meeting will include the presidents of several of the community colleges in the Gulf Coast region that will be affected by this expansion. If approved, the first freshmen would begin in Fall 2012 with an initial class of 300, expanding to 1000 in five years. As you hear about these discussions in the community, please don’t become over anxious. There are many steps that need to be accomplished before this request becomes reality, including legislative approval in an unstable economy. From SJC’s perspective, I plan to stay actively involved in order to protect our interests, strengthen our position in key areas, and collaborate on strategies that will ameliorate the impact of this on SJC.  San Jac has strong articulation and reverse articulation agreements and partnerships with UHCL. Those will continue, and Dr. Staples and I are committed to expanding and enhancing those agreements and partnerships.  I will update you on this topic in a few months.

 I ended the week with commencement.  I attended the Central campus’s commencement on Friday evening and two for North on Saturday morning. If you ever have any doubt about SJC’s mission and ability to change the future for students and their families, go to a graduation. Surely any member of the faculty, staff, and administration who attended got re-energized!  I know I did!  The challenge is how to make those numbers larger?!

Congratulations on another great semester!!


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