As we look toward the future at San Jacinto College, we build upon the past. We are making a difference in the lives of our students and improving the communities we serve. The College as a whole has made incredible progress over the last 10 years in helping students finish what they start. We have increased the number of certificates and degrees awarded over the last 10 years by nearly 170 percent — a great indication that our focus on student success is evident and persistent throughout our College.
The Aspen Institute recognized San Jacinto College as a top 10 institution in 2019 and awarded the College the Rising Star Award as one of the top five community colleges in the nation in 2017. This recognition is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our faculty, staff, and administrators. Whether in or out of the classroom, they make sure students are on a path to achieve their higher education goals. This honor is also the result of the strategic vision and focus of our Board of Trustees. It is also a testament to our students, who show up and put in the work to build better futures for themselves, their families, their careers, and their communities
There has been tremendous transformation in higher education across our state and country since I began my tenure as Chancellor more than a decade ago. Community colleges are at the front of that change, as more students are realizing the value of earning their certificate or associate degree. Keeping tuition rates low has always been important, and San Jacinto College is fortunate to have a Board of Trustees that is committed to fiscal responsibility and affordable tuition rates. We continue to prioritize and repurpose both operational and capital dollars to continue to build a sustainable fiscal model. We recently adopted a simple tuition plan without multiple fees that allows students to pay one rate per credit hour based on residency to better plan for their educational goals. Additionally, we have saved students millions of dollars in textbook costs through our Open Educational Resources program called Open Books.
We have also realized change on our campuses with the creation of new buildings and facilities that will enhance learning, plus significant renovations of older facilities to accommodate enrollment growth and new ways of managing teaching and learning across the College. These facilities are helping to meet the workforce demand in our region and provide an entry point to higher education for students who wish to transfer to four-year colleges and universities.
Through our work with our industry partners, we continue to lead the training efforts of our region by providing skilled workers to fill high-paying and high-demand jobs in the workforce. We have active advisory committees that are involved in both developing curriculum and making necessary curriculum adjustments so our programs meet the local workforce needs. Through these partnerships, we have increased the number of courses and programs — and ultimately graduates — in areas such as maritime, pipefitting and welding, construction, manufacturing, and health care to fill the skills gap in our region.
At San Jacinto College, our best asset is our people, and we continue to invest in them to ensure success. It is important that we continue to invest in initiatives that develop our employees into leaders and allow them to grow in their chosen career paths. We know our employees are the ingredient for the College’s regional competitive advantage. Our efforts are to recruit, retain, and develop the best!
As I have mentioned before, the accomplishment of our College goals and ultimately the success of our strategic plan will not happen without everyone’s involvement. It will take focus, hard work, and innovation on the part of all San Jacinto College employees and the Board of Trustees. It will also require that we continue to listen and respond to our community members. Together we will make a difference in the lives of our students and better the communities we serve.
Brenda Hellyer, Ed.D.
Chancellor, San Jacinto College