Weekly Update – May 15, 2009

on May 15, 2009 in Weekly Update

I hope all of you got to enjoy a little of the cooler weather this week-end.

This past week included several celebrations – two graduation ceremonies for North Campus and the 30th Anniversary Reception for South Campus. This anniversary celebration was a great tribute to the successes of our youngest campus!! And for those of you who thought those pictures of the past wouldn’t come back to haunt you, don’t be so sure!

The week started off with a visit from 15 students from the Community College Leadership Program at the University of Texas in Austin. They spent the morning hearing a variety of presentations on master planning, budget, communications, QEP, Hurricane Ike, student support services, IT, and a variety of other topics. They split into three groups and spent the afternoon at the campuses where I am told they received red carpet tours. They will be writing a report contrasting what they saw and learned at San Jacinto College compared to Houston Community College, Temple College, and Texas State Technical College. I am sure that San Jacinto will be the highlight of the report.

The week also included news on the legislative front. At the State level, we are still concerned about proportionality. Even though an agreement was reached with the Governor through HB 2083, the Senate Finance Committee chose to leave HB 2083 as pending business on Monday. This allows Senator Ogden as committee chair to take up the bill for a vote at a later date (at the time of his choosing) or he can leave it to wither away. This is quite alarming. It is critical that community colleges secure a long-term solution on the proportionality issues. The Texas Association of Community Colleges (TACC) is working this issue, and upon their request, San Jacinto College was one of the first of the 50 community colleges in Texas to send a letter to Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst asking for his support to move HB 2083 forward. The next two weeks will be busy at the State level, and proportionality and a host of others issues impacting community colleges will be considered and voted upon.

At the Federal level, we received some good news. Congressman Olson testified on Capitol Hill in support of San Jacinto College’s request for funding for workforce training. Additionally, Senator Cornyn has indicated his support for this initiative. While the process for appropriations is long, these are two important milestones for this funding.

On Thursday, the Chancellor’s Cabinet met. This group consists of the Presidents, Vice Chancellors, Vice Presidents, and two officers of the three employee groups. We discussed a variety of items that we would like to address over the next few months. Among these are clarifying the roles and responsibilities of councils, committees, and task forces throughout the college and changing a few names along the way also; outlining stronger communication structures; and developing a college-wide calendar. We will work on these over the summer.

Friday wrapped up the fifth workshop on performance evaluation under the new performance management system. These workshops were mandatory for all leaders responsible for evaluating non-faculty employees during the month of June. The session reviewed the evaluation and validation process including the significant role of the College’s values in anchoring performance. I was especially impressed with the demonstration of the online system which is ahead of schedule by nearly one year. And Shanna Dement, Steve Trncak, and Susan Temple did an excellent job in presenting and answering questions.

Also on Friday, the votes for the May 11th board election were canvassed. At the June 1st board meeting, Ben Meador, Dan Mims, John Moon, Jr., and Wayne Slovacek will be sworn in. The terms are for six years except for Mr. Meador who will be serving an unexpired two year term.

Have a great next week.


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