Weekly Update – May 22, 2009

on May 22, 2009 in Weekly Update

This past week has been a whirlwind of activity in the legislative session. One area of particular interest was HB 2480. This bill, in its original form, would have allowed school districts to contract for dual credit with any community college regardless of service area. The Texas Association of Community Colleges (TACC) testified before the Senate Education Committee and requested that the bill be amended to allow a right of first refusal for the service area college. Unfortunately, when they testified there was only one Senator in the room and the when the quorum of the committee assembled, few were fully informed. During the week, TACC and the community college presidents and chancellors contacted their legislators to support an amendment based on the following concerns:

  • HB 2480 erodes community college service areas. Service areas were created to bring order to chaos and conflict between school districts and college districts. This bill would¬†bring back the chaos.¬†
  • HB 2480 undermines college efforts to build P-16 partnerships with their service area schools.
  • HB 2480 threatens the ability of colleges to build stable and predictable investments of taxpayer dollars in the development of dual credit programs.
  • HB 2480 can lead to unnecessary duplication of program offerings thereby wasting scarce funds.

This grassroots effort paid off, and the bill was amended to include language that requires the school districts to go first to their service area college in seeking dual credit and may only contract with another college if they cannot receive a satisfactory course from their local college. If any of your know Senator Mike Jackson, please thank him for his support. I had numerous discussions with him and members of his staff. They understood the issues and supported our position. The next weeks are critical in the Legislative Session, and there is concern that a special session will be called. Let’s hope not but more to come on this topic next week.

I also participated this week in the filming and voice over for the new student orientation program. This program will be rolling out in June and will be mandatory for all first time in college (FTIC) students. The focus is on student success, tips on being successful in college, a review of support services offered, and much more. Our focus must be on maintaining excellence while yet promoting and encouraging student success. A key component is helping to define what is needed to be successful. This orientation will allow students to understand what is available to assist them on their educational journey and will emphasize the active role that they must take — their success cannot be a passive activity. There has been a large group of student support and instructional personnel working on this program, and I want to thank each of them for their leadership and commitment.

I want to offer my congratulations to the North Campus Baseball Team who are in Grand Junction, Colorado right now preparing for the opening of the Junior College (JUCO) World Series. This is the 8th season out of the last 10 that the baseball team has qualified for the JUCO World Series. The tournament updates will be on the college website and the Rob Vanya will be sending reports to the media and to the college during the tournament which will be held May 23-30. Congratulations to the Baseball team for a successful season and best of luck in the World Series!

Leave a Reply