San Jacinto College graduate Chadwick Godfrey served as the official hairdresser for Maddison Lee, 2012 Miss Texas Teen USA. Lori Fitzgerald, Godfrey’s assistant, posed with them at the beauty pageant. Submitted photo.
This year, San Jacinto College has celebrated 50 years of providing quality, affordable higher education and workforce training that has enriched the lives of its students and the community. This is the fifth and final in a series of stories that highlight former and current students and employees, and community members who have built their success upon the foundation they received at the College. This installment provides a brief look at San Jacinto College from 2000, to the present, and into the future.
2000 and beyond: After 50 years, San Jacinto College continues focus on student success
Rob Vanya, July 31, 2012
PASADENA, Texas – As the 21st century dawned, new technology ushered in an unprecedented age of innovation and swift transition. Internet usage proliferated as dial-up service gave way to high-speed cable and wi-fi. Cell phones became ubiquitous, more compact, sleeker – only to be replaced by feature-rich smartphones offering Internet, video, camera, email, text messaging, as well as access to cutting-edge “app” stores.
Chat rooms were replaced by social media sites. MySpace burst on the scene, only to be outpaced by Facebook, which mushroomed into a worldwide phenomenon seemingly overnight. Compact, lightweight tablets brought touchscreen computing to users’ fingertips.
Not missing a beat, San Jacinto College kept pace with the swift transitions of the times, all the while remaining focused on the same goal that has been at its core since the doors opened on Sept. 18, 1961 – student success.
From the turn of the decade through today, the College has seen enrollment growth. This growth has helped add new programs and facilities which are equipped with the most advanced technology available, so that San Jacinto College students receive the best training in the region.
New facilities, new technology
New facilities during the early part of the decade included new fine arts centers for the North and South campuses, a new music building at the Central Campus, and Interactive Learning Centers (ILC) for all three campuses.
The centerpiece of each ILC was an open computer lab, equipped with advanced, high-speed desktop computers. These machines allowed students access to the Internet, and internal networks where students could register, make payments, change degree plans, search class schedules, and view grades and transcripts. In addition to an open computer lab, each ILC was equipped with multi-purpose classrooms that featured configurable technology that continue to provide efficient, high-speed learning resources more than a decade after installation.
Every ILC classroom is equipped with computers, a document camera, wireless Internet access, and video equipment. “This allows faculty to use the latest technology to support instruction,” commented Niki Whiteside, the College’s vice president for educational technology services. “Each classroom has a standard configuration for faculty, and a variety of classroom types also allow flexibility to meet student needs for different types of courses.”
An interactive television (ITV) classroom at each ILC enhances and expands educational possibilities. “ITV is a laptop computer classroom that has the added capability of connecting to other video sites at San Jacinto College, or to outside sites, to allow shared videoconference instruction, to bring in experts on a topic, for example,” Whiteside said.
Kevin Morris, who teaches real estate courses, says virtual education via the ITV technology takes some getting used to, but can be very effective. “ITV allows instructors to teach classes simultaneously at all three campuses,” he said. “Students attend the campus closest to where they live, which is very advantageous, considering today’s gas prices.”
ITV classrooms are equipped with large flat screens. Students can see, hear, and talk to one another and the professor, just as if the course were being taught in one large classroom. The instructor rotates among campuses so students have a live, on-site instructor every third class. “Most of the students enjoy this technology and appreciate being able to take classes at their home campus as opposed to travelling to another campus,” noted Morris. “It has been a big success for educators and students.”
As the new century advanced, San Jacinto College continued to upgrade and enhance facilities, programs, and resources to ensure students would be well trained and prepared to transition to four-year universities or challenging and ever-changing career fields. New buildings began popping up on campuses, thanks to a $295 million bond referendum that was overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2008. The libraries added 5,000 new e-books to their inventories to greatly increase the College’s expanding online learning resources, and the College began offering online tutoring services to students to help with topics such as writing and organizational skills. Student Success Centers began operations at all three campuses, offering free peer tutoring, counseling, career testing, and other helpful resources for students. An online bookstore was introduced, allowing students to order textbooks and study material over the Internet.
While the decade was one of rapid student growth and facility expansion for the College, it was also a period of significant reductions in state funding. The College streamlined efficiencies and processes to maximize its budget and reduce redundancies, and created a contact center to serve as a single point of entry for students. With student success at the heart of its mission, San Jacinto College enhanced its partnerships with independent school districts to create early college high schools, which allow students to take high school and college courses concurrently, graduating from college before earning a high school diploma.
In 2006, San Jacinto College joined Achieving the Dream, a national initiative that focuses on enhancing student success to at-risk students. Achieving the Dream efforts created by the College included advising triage centers, mandatory new student orientation, the Men of Honor program, and a student retention calling program. In 2011, the organization recognized San Jacinto College as an Achieving the Dream Leader College for demonstrating sustained improvement and accomplishments on key student achievement indicators.
“It was an honor to be named an Achieving the Dream Leader College,” said San Jacinto College Chancellor Dr. Brenda Hellyer. “The recognition we received last year is a true testament to the hard work and dedication of our faculty and staff, and the commitment of our Board of Trustees who have allocated resources to fund innovative projects to help students complete their courses and certificate or degree programs.”
Student success stories
By continually focusing on student success, San Jacinto College has helped thousands of graduates achieve their goals. “I would not say that San Jacinto College is in step with the times. I would say the College is ahead of the times,” remarked Jay Thomas, who earned an associate degree in theatre at San Jacinto College in 2007. Thomas went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts from the University of Houston, and now serves as the theatre arts director at League City Intermediate School.
Thomas said working in live theatre, doing video and film acting, and learning the technical side of theatre work at San Jacinto College helped him to grow as a performing artist. “Acting for the video camera is much different than live theatre, and it was challenging and rewarding to get experience in both fields,” he commented. “It also looks good on a résumé. It’s sort of like being a switch-hitter in baseball, which increases a player’s value.”
The well-rounded training he received at San Jacinto College has helped him as an educator. Under his direction, a group of his students recently produced a documentary style video dealing with the negative impact that bullying can have on young people. “Everyone who has seen the video is really impressed,” commented Thomas (shown in photo at left). “Doing video work and learning the technical side of theatre, in addition to doing live theatre at San Jacinto College helped prepare me for these kinds of projects.”
Well-rounded training as a student at San Jacinto College also helped Chadwick Godfrey to launch a successful cosmetology career. Godfrey earned an associate degree in cosmetology from San Jacinto College in 2008, and is the owner of Chadwick Godfrey Beauty, LLC.
“We have an unusual business model to say the least,” commented Godfrey. “I do not own any physical facilities. Rather, what we do is lease spaces at existing salons, then our team of talented beauticians and cosmetologists come in and literally take over a section of a salon for a few days to offer complete beauty services for clients during that span.”
In Texas, Godfrey and his associates operate mostly in Houston, Dallas, and Tyler. They also provide services for clientele in Chicago and New Orleans. Godfrey owns a home near Tyler, and also maintains a residence in Chicago. His progression into the field of cosmetology was a natural outgrowth from his career in the modeling and entertainment industry. Prior to returning to school in Texas, he was the director of artists for Aria/Ford Models in Chicago.
“Before returning to Texas, I asked several stylist friends and salon owners in Houston what college they recommended. Hands down the answer was San Jacinto College,” he said. “San Jacinto effectively prepared me to pass the state board exams and get started in the field. Many things I learned at San Jac I use daily in my craft, and I also enhance my skills via continuing education with Vidal Sassoon, Jamison Shaw, and Redken.”
Chadwick Godfrey Beauty, LLC is an official sponsor for Miss Houston, Miss Houston Teen, Miss Bay Area, Miss Bay Area Teen, Miss Kemah, Miss Kemah Teen, Miss North East Texas, Miss North East Texas Teen and ultimately Miss Texas USA, which is the precursor pageant to Miss USA and Miss Universe. Godfrey is highly regarded in the field for his cosmetology skills, and for his overall expertise. He served as a judge at the 2010 Miss Houston USA pageant, and also served as the official hairdresser for Maddison Lee, 2012 Miss Texas Teen USA.
San Jacinto College continued its tradition of athletics excellence in the 2000s. During the decade, former head volleyball coach Becky Lidolph was inducted into the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Volleyball Hall of Fame, soccer players Dane Richards and Eddie Campbell earned the national Player of the Year award, and former men’s basketball Head Coach Scott Gernander was inducted into the NJCAA Men’s Basketball Hall of Fame before notching his 600th career win.
In 2008, the women’s softball team earned its first-ever berth in the NJCAA national tournament, and finished fourth in the nation. That same year, the men’s soccer team finished as the national runner-up. In 2010, head volleyball coach Sharon Nelson was named the American Volleyball Coaches Association Southwest Two-Year Coach of the Year after guiding San Jac to a national runner-up finish.
From 2000 to 2010, the College’s baseball team advanced to the JUCO World Series eight times, finishing as the national runner-up four times (2003, 2004, 2010, 2012). This season, Head Coach Tom Arrington earned his 500th win as the head coach of the baseball team.
Plans for the future
As East Harris County continues to thrive, San Jacinto College will continue to meet the area’s educational and training needs of the future. The College purchased 13 waterfront acres along the Port of Houston to build a facility for U.S. Coast Guard approved maritime vessel operation training to prepare mariners for a rapidly growing industry.
To meet a shortage of trained workers in several high-demand career fields, San Jacinto College is launching three new degree programs beginning this fall: construction management, maritime technology, and dental assisting. These degree program, coupled with the more than 200 certificate and degrees currently offered, will allow San Jacinto College to continue to help meet the needs of industry partners in the Gulf Coast region.
“The work of community colleges across our region, state, and nation is more important than ever before,” commented San Jacinto College Chancellor Dr. Brenda Hellyer. “Despite the tough financial times we are facing, San Jacinto College continues to grow and thrive. Our challenge is to continue to generate greater returns for our community, even in difficult times. For 50 years, we have been committed to the success of our students. Our Board of Trustees, faculty, and staff members remain committed to meeting the needs of our students and the communities we serve for the next 50 years and beyond.”
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. The Achieving the Dream Leader College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of 30,000 students in more than 200 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career preparation. Students also benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $630 million each year to the Texas workforce. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.
For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150, visit www.sanjac.edu, or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SanJacintoCollege.