Weekly Update – June 7, 2009

on June 7, 2009 in Weekly Update

We made it through the first week of June, and now we are ready to kick off the first summer session on the 8th!  Faculty, have a great  summer session!! And to the employees in student services, business offices, financial aid, and enrollment management  – I know you are geared to support not only these summer students but also those students interested in beginning at San Jacinto College in the fall. Each one of us, no matter if you see direct student contact or offer support such as maintenance, security,  purchasing, payroll, and grounds keeping, plays a role in student success  – just remember that your smile, your offer to assist someone who looks lost, or your concern and answer to an “odd” question will make a difference for those students who might need a little extra attention and encouragement.

Last week was busy with more than a few meetings.  We started the week with the June Board meeting. Our four newly elected Board members were sworn in, plus the following officers of the Board were approved:  Marie Flickinger as Chair, Dan Mims as Vice Chair, Ben Meador as Secretary, and Larry Wilson as Assistant Secretary. During the meeting, the Board approved three-year contracts and a one-time $2,000 stipend for 45 Level 2 Distinguished Faculty Members. These faculty members have participated in the volunteer program for three years, have demonstrated and documented their exceptional performance, and have been recognized by a committee of their peers.

Additionally, the Board approved that the groundwork be completed for the issuance of $150 million of the general obligation bonds (these were approved by the voters in 2008). These bonds will be sold later this summer and will enable the College to continue to move forward with the construction program. Current work that is underway is largely related to infrastructure and design. The transportation center and allied health addition at Central Campus are under design as well as the student one-stop shops for North Campus and South Campus. Plus the end user groups for the science facilities (all three campuses) and the allied health facilities for North and South are kicking off.  These groups will be working throughout the summer designing standards, identifying needs, and visiting best practice facilities at other institutions. We also anticipate that the child care facilities for North and Central Campuses will kick off this summer; we are currently working through the bid, selection, and contract process. In the very near future, we will see a great deal of activity on the ground.

June 1 kicked off hurricane season, and the Board approved Construction Masters as a member of our hurricane response team. This allows us to begin working with Constructions Masters immediately following a disaster in order to get the college open as quickly as possible. The Board also approved the early renewal of our property insurance (coverage start date changed from September 1 to June 1) in order to ensure that we have a policy in hand prior to getting into the middle of hurricane season. We continue to build on what we learned from Hurricane Ike but are hopeful that none of that preparation will be needed this year!

Another meeting this week was with Constable Bill Bailey. He has “given” the San Jacinto College Foundation his Gumbo Gala as a fundraising event. This means that all the proceeds from this event will go towards scholarships. The Gumbo Gala will be held at the Pasadena Convention Center on September 15th.  More details will be coming from the Foundation office over the next few months.

My final meeting for the week was a presentation at the North Channel Chamber of Commerce Luncheon. I provided an overview of our college and college-wide services and highlighted specific programs featured at our North Campus. The group was very supportive and had questions on the legislative session, community involvement to help address student achievement gaps, and our commitment to student access (i.e. low tuition and fees).

As you are aware, the Texas Legislature ended its work this week. We are hopeful that Governor Rick Perry will ratify Senate Bill 1 which will approve a 4.7% funding increase for San Jacinto College – this is largely related to enrollment growth. Benefit dollars (proportionality) were also included in this bill for the next two years. Senate Bill 42 (SB 42) which would have provided a long-term solution to proportionality did not move forward. The Senate adjourned on June 1 sine die without considering it. This is very disappointing and many are upset with the Lt. Governor for breaking his word and not allowing a vote on this issue.  Thanks to all of you who made calls to Senators and the Lt. Governor. While we did not get the results we wanted, we did gain a new level of awareness.

Have a good week!

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