Weekly Update – June 13, 2010

on June 13, 2010 in Weekly Update

Hello San Jacinto College Community —

Another busy week….isn’t the summer supposed to be a slower time?  That is definitely a fallacy!

We began the week by welcoming home our National Championship baseball team, who took second place in the JUCO World Series!  I am proud of the coaches and players. They not only played hard and earned their wins; they also conducted themselves as gentlemen and represented our College with class and dignity! 

The Gator Baseball Team was recognized at the Board of Trustees meeting on Monday evening, as were the North Campus Debate Team and the Central Campus Steel Band and Choir. The Debate Team captured the national title and was recognized earlier this year, but at the board meeting they received a proclamation from Teri Neilson with State Representative Ken Legler’s office.  The Central Campus Steel Band and Choir recently completed a trip to the Virginia Arts Council’s Panorama Caribbean Music Festival, the largest steel pan festival in the United States. It was wonderful having such a diversified group of activities recognized on the same evening: what a clear demonstration of the opportunities available to our students – no matter what they are interested in pursuing.

Also at the Board Meeting, we enjoyed a presentation on the New Faculty Orientation (NFO). Over the past four years, the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) has coordinated the NFO, a nine-month program with bi-weekly meetings on Monday afternoons. Two of our new faculty members, Ava Lunsford and Brian Sanders, came forward and talked to the Board about the importance of this initiative and how it helped them connect with our college community and engage with us from the very start.  I was pleased to hear their comments about the NFO, and I was proud to hear one of the technical education faculty members state that he was delighted to feel included with the academic faculty and treated professionally.  He noted that this has not happened at other colleges where he has worked. Beginning this year, the NFO will continue with the nine-month program; plus, prior to the start of fall semester, it will include a week-long intensive session designed to integrate and engage new faculty into the San Jacinto College culture and community. There will be more communication with the deans and department chairs about the dates and times of the NFO.  It is important that all new faculty members actively participate and attend the NFO sessions.    

There were several agenda items at the Board of Trustees meeting, including the approval of our college Vision and Mission statements. These statements were drafted by the Board of Trustees and the Strategic Leadership Team. Then, following our College Community Day in February, the Planning Council was asked to review them as part of their work.  The Council completed their work and submitted a recommendation report which included adopting the Vision Mission Values Board Approved 6-7-2010without any changes.  Now that the Board has approved these statements, we will begin adding them to our college publications and website. They will be posted on my blog and are included below:

Vision

San Jacinto College will be the leader in educational excellence and in the achievement of equity among diverse populations. We will empower students to achieve their goals, redefine their expectations, and encourage their exploration of new opportunities. Our passions are people, learning, innovation, and continuous improvement.  

Mission

Our mission is to ensure student success, create seamless transitions, and enrich the quality of life in the communities we serve. 

This week, the San Jacinto College Foundation Board of Directors, our Board of Trustees, and the Strategic Leadership Team met to discuss strategic planning for the future of the Foundation.  The Foundation was created in 1996 and, over the last 14 years, has built its net assets from $296,889 in fiscal year 1997 to just over $5 million for this current year. However, I believe that just as we are pushing ourselves as a college community to focus our efforts and take San Jacinto College to the next level, I also believe that the Foundation must move to the next level as well.  As we view the challenges and opportunities facing us and the critical needs of our students and community, it is important that we focus our efforts and move forward imagining audacious goals and striving to reach them.

During the retreat, we reviewed the College’s four strategic goals; and we spent a considerable amount of time (nearly the entire day) reviewing current philanthropy trends; the Foundation’s vision, mission, and values; and our current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.  We also discussed characteristics of a high-performing board and what that would look like for the San Jacinto College Foundation. We ended the day by discussing overall goals and identifying our “Monday Morning Checklist” for immediate next steps.  In all, I was encouraged with the work that was accomplished and the commitment of the various constituent groups. As we move towards those audacious goals, it is going take a much broader group of supporters. Expect to hear more, as the Foundation Board continues to meet and execute their next steps.

On Friday, I met with the Strategic Leadership Team and we continued the process of developing the College strategic plan.  We are continuing to focus on the goals outlined at the College Community Day in February.  Remember those goals are:

  • Student Success – We provide high quality educational programs and support services to students that will increase the opportunity for students to explore, define, and reach their education and career goals.
  • P-16 Pipeline – We take an active role in supporting the P-16 (preschool through grade 16) pipeline throughout our service area in an effort to create career and educational pathways, thus providing for a sustainable community.
  • Workforce and Economic Development – We provide innovative and relevant solutions that strengthen our region’s economy and workforce competiveness.
  • Our People – We are committed to recruiting, developing, and retaining quality and diverse employees who are passionate about our educational mission.

We are currently working on each goal by developing strategies and actions to move us toward realization of these goals.  We are incorporating the work of various college councils, including Planning, P-16, Workforce and Economic Development, and Diversity. This has moved a little more slowly than I had hoped, but we are making considerable progress now. As this work continues to move forward, I will provide more information.

Also on Friday, I met with the officers of the Faculty Organization. We discussed a variety of concerns and agreed that communications throughout the organization need to be strengthened. Some ideas were presented on how improvements can be made for next year. We also discussed areas that need more consistent treatment and processes. Minutes from the meeting are being compiled and will be distributed.

As a last couple of items, as of Friday, June 11th, our enrollment for Summer I is up with our funded contact hours college-wide showing an increase of 18.3% and our unduplicated college-wide headcount up by 12.7%. Since this is a base funding year for the legislative session, these increases are extremely critical for us.   I know I am constantly encouraging you to consider how you can assist just one more student, and I want to continue to encourage that as we move through this very important base funding year.

We also received preliminary information about property tax funding from Harris County Appraisal District (HCAD).  As of the meeting on Thursday, overall property valuations are down 3.95 percent.  Although this is disappointing, it is better than the May preliminary information where it was reported that property valuations were down 4.06 percent.  These are still preliminary numbers and we will receive the certified numbers in August.  Our overall estimate is that the final valuations will be down between 2-3 percent over last year.  This is actually good news as we were quite worried how this would all shake out in our soft economy.  Conservative stewardship of our resources has provided us with some protection during these difficult economic times.  We will continue our good work for students and keep close watch on all resource avenues.

I hope you have a great week and manage to stay in air-conditioning through our Houston summer!

Best,

BH

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