Chat with the Chancellor – Looking back and moving forward
“Chat with the Chancellor” is a column authored by Dr. Bill Lindemann, Chancellor of San Jacinto College. For questions, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 281-998-6160.
It’s a new year, and I am excited to embark on my final semester as Chancellor of San Jacinto College. As I look back on the Fall 2008 semester, I am reminded of why I chose to come to here, and am optimistic about what lies ahead. In the wake of Hurricane Ike, the spirit, determination and dedication of the students, faculty and staff at San Jacinto College, and the community as a whole, was both overwhelming and encouraging. 2009 is going to be a great year!
Another successful semester
The Fall 2008 semester began in August with enrollment numbers on the rise. Through a new shared counselor program, we were able to place 11 San Jacinto College counselors in 11 high school counseling offices in our district. These counselors are the direct connection between the high school student and San Jacinto College, and are an asset to the educational planning of students in our district.
We were just two short weeks in to the semester when Hurricane Ike struck the Texas Gulf Coast, but our college rebounded with a vengeance. The administrative team had our doors open for students two weeks following the storm, and instructional leaders worked tirelessly to develop a plan to help students successfully complete the semester. In addition, we were able to provide over three thousand students more than $4 million in federal financial aid on time.
In November we had our review with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), and received an overwhelmingly positive response from the committee. In fact, the committee chair commented that, “San Jacinto College is not only in good shape, but in good hands.” The review completed a comprehensive two-year self-study, which has ensured that we can continue to serve the citizens of our great community.
San Jacinto College students continued to flourish on all levels. At the December graduation ceremonies, San Jacinto College awarded 951 associate degrees and certificates of technology. This marks a 25 percent increase over Fall 2007. I applaud and congratulate these students on their outstanding accomplishments.
Finally, our enrollment for the Fall 2008 semester was over 24,000 students for the first time, an increase of about five percent from Fall 2007.
What this means for San Jacinto College and the community
I believe this confirms that San Jacinto College remains a storied figure in our community, continuing to help meet the needs of our citizens by providing an accessible and affordable education and workforce training. With an unstable national economy, many people young and old are looking to community colleges for additional training and education. I expect our enrollment to continue to rise in the wake of the current economic situation, and San Jacinto College will be prepared on all levels to educate and train our citizens to help them meet their goals.
As I mentioned in my previous two columns, we are seeing a variety of students on our campuses, and this is a welcomed sight. San Jacinto College is reaching out to the traditional student directly out of high school, as well as those millennials and non-traditional students who may be stepping foot on a college campus for the first time, or those who may be returning to college to receive training for a new career. We are only as successful as our students, and we’ll continue to strive to provide a top-notch college education for our students.
Where do we go from here?
Although we had another successful semester last Fall, we can, and will, continue to grow. San Jacinto College employs the brightest and best faculty and staff, each doing all they can to help our students succeed. It is because of them that we have continually been successful.
The Spring 2009 semester looks promising, as our counselors and advisors have been busy meeting with hundreds of students on all three campuses, helping them to enroll. Our professional development center has scheduled numerous training opportunities and workshops specifically for San Jacinto College faculty and staff to help them improve in their field, so that they can help our students thrive. The continuing and professional development division will remain at the forefront of workforce training, offering programs and courses for individuals to retain or advance in their jobs, or make career transitions.
You will see in the upcoming months and years new buildings, facilities and services as a result of the $295 million bond measure passed last spring. These will further enable our students to learn in top-notch facilities, especially in the fields of science and allied health. San Jacinto College will continue to be mindful of the difficult times many of our students are facing, and will help them receive the training and education they need and want to meet their goals, professionally and personally.