College honors Minnie Stevens Piper Award nominee, Excellence Awards recipients

03.01.2018 | By Andrea Vasquez

HOUSTON – San Jacinto College has announced its 2017-2018 Minnie Stevens Piper Professor Award nominee and the Faculty and Staff Excellence Awards recipients.

Dr. Carla Garrett, San Jacinto College North Campus college-prep writing professor is the College’s 2017-2018 Minnie Stevens Piper Professor Award nominee and Faculty Excellence Award recipient; Kevin Morris, San Jacinto College South Campus dean of business and technology is the College Administrator Excellence Award recipient; Debbie Simpson-Smith, San Jacinto College Central Campus department chair of education and Casey Prince, San Jacinto College Central Campus dietetics professor are College Faculty Excellence Award recipients; and College Staff Excellence Award recipients are Hollie Fulsom, San Jacinto College event planner; Loli Priddy, San Jacinto College Central Campus physical sciences senior administrative assistant; and Kate Carter, San Jacinto College North Campus provost’s office senior administrative assistant.

Criteria for the College’s Faculty and Staff Excellence Awards nominations include addressing the nominee’s last two years of work and service in the following areas: dedication, service and involvement in the College community; ability to serve as a role model and work collaboratively with others; contributions to addressing or meeting the needs of our students and/or our employees; and exemplary attributes or qualifications for the selection committee to consider.

Garrett has made strides in helping to shape the College’s student success centers serving on its respective advisory committee. One of her major roles working with the student success centers included developing and presenting tutor training workshops to faculty tutors teaching in the English, reading and writing areas. She has also served as a mentor to new part-time and returning faculty. Along with serving on two committees for the state’s College Academic Support Programs (CASP) organization, Garrett was also awarded a 2017 Observing Award which led to her receiving a resolution from Mayor Sylvester Turner’s office for making a positive different in the community as an outstanding educator and was the recipient of the 2016 Legacy Educator Award from her Iota Phi Lambda sorority. Within the last two years, Garrett has also published articles in the “Journal for Liberal Arts and Sciences” and the “National Journal of Urban Education and Practice.”

Morris continues to set best practices for administrative leadership across the College. Recently, Morris served as dean of business and technology at the South and North Campuses until the position was filled at the North Campus. As interim, he helped with the completion of the campus’ new Center for Industrial Technology, implemented new organizational structures with department chairs and their staff and helped department chairs move office locations to more centralized locations on campus to better serve students. Morris is also credited with implementing enrollment management strategies that lead to significant enrollment and contact hour gains. In 2017, he received the Don Roose Award of Excellence at the 41st annual Texas Real Estate Teachers Association (TRETA) conference for exemplary service to the association and its members. Morris also serves at the scholarship chair for the North Shore Rotary and is an advocate for a number of other San Jacinto College rotary scholarships.

Simpson-Smith is dedicated to mentoring her students and staff at the San Jacinto College Central Campus’s child development lab school. In the midst of facilitating grant projects, collaborating with institutional partners or advising students, she is known to put student and staff success first. The Central Campus’ child development program received national accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) through Simpson-Smith’s efforts compiling an 80-page report. Through the program’s partnership with the Children’s Learning Institute at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, she was also able to secure a $50,000 student scholarship donation. Simpson-Smith leads by example, encouraging faculty and staff to collaborate with their peers and other departments in order to provide students with the best practices in early childhood development education.

Prince is always open to new, innovative ways to engage her students. Within the last year, she has taken her dietetics technology classes to new levels by incorporating interactive digital quizzes and team work review puzzles for students using apps and computers. These new teaching and learning strategies have helped her courses maintain a 100 percent retention rate. Community involvement, especially in education, is also something Prince practices outside the classroom. She was selected as a mentor for the Performance Standards Project through the Independent Research and Mentorship class at Deer Park High School, where she works with and mentors a high school student who is studying the dietetics field and working on independent research projects with her guidance.

Fulsom’s attention to details and the College’s branding shines through in every event she manages. Each year the San Jac Certified alumna coordinates more than 60 individual and College-wide events. In addition to managing and collaborating with nearly all of the College’s departments, Fulsom worked with the purchasing department and campus event coordinators to develop a Request for Proposal (RFP) process for the College’s catering and event rental contacts that addressed College-wide and campus specific event needs. She also helped design a webpage for the College’s website for employees to reference when looking for a caterer for their event needs. Fulsom engages everyone she works with and enables them to visualize her creative, memorable event concepts in order to keep the College fresh, innovative and ahead of the curve when it comes to showcasing what student success looks like at San Jacinto College.

Priddy has been described as the foundation of the San Jacinto College Central Campus physical sciences department. On her own initiative, she created a part-time faculty binder with outlines processes and procedures that has since been shared throughout numerous departments and across campuses. This earned her an Honorarium from the College. She also created a standard for the incomplete grade process and a department enrollment spreadsheet to assist the department chair with enrollment analysis. In addition to using best practices and process development, Priddy also manages the department’s Facebook page and helps to promote STEM events, scholarships and enrollment payment deadlines.

Carter has contributed significantly to the College’s SmartStart project, taking on all of the associated administrative assistant responsibilities including taking meeting minutes, creating enrollment reports, scheduling rooms for SmartStart classes and creating process maps. One of her most important roles includes cataloging all faculty loads, which directly affects faculty compensation. Carter has been especially instrumental in the San Jacinto College North Campus’ annual Read Across America program. Through her leadership and assistance, employees have collected and distributed more than 4,000 books to students of all ages over the last two years. Currently pursuing a graduate degree in library science, it is no surprise that she is often sought out by many employees for her technical and computer expertise.

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, since 1961. As a fiscally sound institution, the College currently holds bond ratings of AA and Aa2 by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s, respectively. San Jacinto College is a 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence Rising Star Award recipient and an Achieving the Dream Leader College. Approximately 45,000 credit and non-credit students each year benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success. The College offers eight areas of study that prepare a diverse body of students to transfer to four-year colleges or universities or enter the workforce with the skills needed to support the growing industries along the Texas Gulf Coast. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.

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