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Tuesday, October 13, 2009 The Junior League of Houston Houston, Texas
An Address by Dr. Mary S. Spangler, HCC Chancellor Houston Community College held its 2009 State of the College address to underscore the progress HCC has made towards its vision for the future. Dr. Spangler highlighted the significant impact that HCC’s programs and partnerships are having on the community, workforce and economy of our city as well as the region. We all recognize education and training are the keys to our future.
Cover photo features HCC Central Campus, with the Learning Hub and Science Building in the foreground and the historic San Jacinto Building.
HCC is the Opportunity Institution
HCC is proud to be part of what makes Houston the opportunity city. HCC provides opportunity to students, to our community and to local business. HCC is the gateway to education, to jobs and to the future workforce of our great city. We are pleased to share with you highlights of the exciting progress we have made toward our vision for the future - to become the most relevant community college in the country, an opportunity institution that is essential to our community’s future success. The administrative team has been working with the Board of Trustees to improve enrollment, facilities, funding, and partnerships, as we work to fulfill our strategic plan for the future. There has never been a more important time for community colleges in our country’s history than now. At Houston Community College, we are redefining what a community college can be for our students, community, and local business. And that is evidenced in HCC’s record numbers • 65,000 students each semester • #1 in transferring students to the college of their choice • the largest number of exemplary workforce programs in the state, with 26 outstanding programs • more than $5.10 returned for every tax dollar spent • among the lowest tax rates and costs per credit hour, at $57 in the state. HCC is the opportunity that leads to more opportunities.
HCC Provides Opportunity for our Community
Because of their flexibility, high quality, affordability, and high economic impact on the communities they serve, community colleges have been advanced to the forefront of higher education in our country. In July, the President of the United States delivered a powerful address on the importance of community colleges in providing broadened access to higher education. We are here this morning to share how HCC is continuing to mature both for and with our community. This college is at the forefront of what is working in postsecondary education in America today. While we recognize we are making a difference to our community, to local business and to students across the greater Houston region, it’s important to update you on the recent recognition the college has also achieved nationally and internationally. The White House invited Houston Community College to be one of a select group of higher education institutions to host an event for its important national initiative on better understanding, reaching and educating the Hispanic community. The input gleaned from this cross-country effort will provide the foundation for the new Presidential Executive Order that will shape the White House Initiative on Hispanic Education. In addition, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton invited our participation, along with a handful of distinguished education leaders across the nation, in an education policy discussion at the State Department. It is important to note, HCC was the ONLY community college at the table for that conversation about how higher education can support and serve the interests of a strong U.S. foreign policy. While privileged to be recognized nationally and internationally, we remain committed to serving our local community through innovative programs and partnerships. Among these are partnerships with Houston ISD, BioHouston, Chevron Energy Solutions, Lumina Foundation, Gates Foundation, USAID, Higher Education Development, and the Association of Community College Trustees, to name a few. One exciting example is a partnership with the City of Houston and the Houston Dynamos soccer team that enabled HCC to reclaim 23 acres of previously unusable land worth tens of millions of dollars. Administratively, we have taken bold steps to reorganize and continue to decentralize the district, making the central office a service center to the six colleges located strategically throughout our community. This fall we launched a public information campaign which reinforces the themes of relevance, opportunity and being essential that are core to our vision. The campaign also reminds Houstonians and those in this region that they enjoy unparalleled access to one of the top two-year institutions in America. The campaign was developed to drive enrollment and encourage students to register for classes, while continuing to build the regard necessary for the institution to achieve its other very important short- and long-term initiatives.
HCC Means Opportunity for Local Business and the Economy
HCC is committed to maximize effectiveness, maintain stable tuition and fees, and decrease property taxes. To that end, we have implemented several major initiatives to enhance Houston’s regional economy and utilize our public resources wisely and strategically. First, through an innovative cost-saving initiative involving the entire HCC family, we have reduced operating costs over the last two years by $4 million and added revenue, including that from competitive grants, in excess of $14 million, all of which were derived without additional taxes, tuitions, or fees. The HCC Board of Trustees will return these savings to the taxpayers in the form of 1. reduced taxes and an increased household exemption for seniors of 11%, 2. dual credit waivers to 7,400 high school students (an increase of 54% over the same time last year) and 3. 4.2% raises to faculty and staff. All of these actions have the effect of improving the economy of Houston. Second, the HCC Board also commissioned an energy audit of 38 buildings and 2.3 million square feet of floor space to reduce utility costs and identified 28 projects that will save HCC approximately $1 million annually for each of the next 15 years. We are now implementing those audit recommendations and transforming HCC into a greener learning and working environment. Speaking of energy, I am proud to announce that HCC has just been awarded a $3.5 million grant from the Department of Energy to establish a network of educational, industry, and state partners to ensure the availability and effectiveness of solar installation training throughout the region. You will be hearing more about this important accomplishment, in the coming months.
Third, the HCC Foundation Board of Directors launched the Foundation’s “Opportunity 14” capital campaign, which raised $1.4 million in its first year alone. In addition, the Foundation received the largest single gift in the history of the college, $1 million, from the John P. McGovern Foundation. We are grateful to all of our donors who support community college education because of its significant value to the entire community. Another example of HCC’s innovative business partnerships is its collaboration with local businesses and organizations through HCC Partners for Jobs. HCC and community leaders joined with Houston-area employers to help Houstonians get training and education that lead to jobs. The collaboration was developed to heighten awareness of workforce training programs available through a community campaign. HCC and 11 partners are working together to increase awareness of the effort. The campaign has had a significant impact, with over 550,000 page views on the campaign’s microsite and a 14% increase in enrollment in our workforce programs.
We are also impacting the economy through our careful stewardship of resources. HCC’s tax rate of $09.233 per $100 of assessed valuation is lower than any of the other community colleges in the region. In fact, our board has proposed a still lower tax rate and will vote October 15 on that proposal, which, if passed, will be the fourth year in a row they have lowered taxes.* And to repeat, because it bears repeating, this year HCC trustees approved an increase in the system’s over-65 exemption – raising it from $90 to $100K. In case you want more evidence of this Board’s sound fiscal management, I offer the following proof of our financial strength as evaluated by Standard & Poors earlier this year: our rating was improved from AA to AA+. This bond rating denotes a very substantial level of confidence in HCC’s financial and operational excellence -- no small feat during this challenging economic period. We are proud of all these accomplishments and the role we are asked to play for our community. We will continue to strive for an unequalled level of educational excellence and be the standard by which all community colleges might be measured.
The HCC Board approved a $09.222 per $100 of assessed valuation on October 15, 2009
HCC Provides Opportunity for Students
HCC has placed a high priority on increased enrollment due to the value a higher education holds both for individuals and our community. Research indicates that a typical HCC student with an associate’s degree will earn more than double the salary of someone without a high school diploma at the mid-point of his or her career and 38% more than someone with only a high school diploma. Our total enrollment increased from 55,000 to 68,000 this fall, an increase of 24% in two years and the highest in our history. This academic year we are poised to reach 70,000 students. I am proud of our innovative partnerships in energy, health, and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs. In fact, the Chancellor’s Symposium, held October 16, is just one example of the sophistication of our faculty and the quality of instruction. This year the symposium focused on careers and education in energy and was held in Spring Branch. We hosted approximately 250 students from HCC and from Spring Branch, North Forest and Alief ISD’s. John Hofmeister, former CEO of Shell Oil, gave the keynote address, and because he was out of the country, Major General Charles Bolden, the new head of NASA, delivered a video welcome emphasizing the importance of science education. HCC was one of the original colleges awarded an Achieving the Dream grant by the Lumina Foundation in 2004. As a result of our accomplishments in assisting students from low income families in achieving greater academic success, this year we were selected as an Achieving the Dream Leader College and were one of only 15 colleges nationwide to be awarded a Developmental Education Initiative Grant by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, MDC Inc., and the Lumina Foundation for Education. We will receive $743,000 over the next three years to expand our programs to Houston students who need assistance.
The two most successful Achieving the Dream strategies HCC has developed and implemented include the Freshman Success Courses and Learning Communities. The first strategy teaches students cognitive strategies for academic success as well as the expectations and responsibilities they will face today as college students and later as employees in the workforce. Students who begin their HCC experience with this course have dramatically improved persistence rates versus those who started without it. For example, Hispanic students completing this HCC course improved their fall to spring persistence rates by 15.4%. This is one reason we are a lead college for Achieving the Dream.
The second strategy, Learning Communities, links two or more courses with coordinated learning objectives, strategies, and activities. This strategy has allowed new HCC students to gain a greater sense of both academic and social engagement, the factors most often cited in research as key to improved student persistence. African-American students in these courses had the highest gains in course completion rates - 14.1% higher than other African-American students in similar non-linked courses. And we are providing services in communities we are required to serve but that aren’t currently part of our taxing district. Spring Branch and North Forest are perfect examples. This year residents in these two communities petitioned the Board to annex these areas into the HCC District. The Board received 9,682 validated petitions from residents in the Spring Branch and North Forest communities, well over the 5,766 that were required. Over the last few years, we have worked with residents of both communities to hear what they would like HCC to bring to their communities. We are continuing to work with community leaders so these communities receive the same benefit as all the communities we serve. We have significant partnerships with school districts to provide Dual Credit and Early College Program opportunities for high school students. Our Dual Credit enrollment is up by 60% over last year, with 7,400 students. How exciting to see so many high school students getting a big jump on college credits. Beginning this year, students in Alief have been able to enroll at reduced tuition due to the successful annexation effort to incorporate this community into the HCC district, and 100 are attending ECHS! I know they are pleased. I am confident their parents are even more pleased! On the international front, we are leading the way in enabling students to participate as globally responsible citizens. With 6,152 international students, we are the #1 community college in the nation for international students. In a recent survey by the New York Times, HCC is the first of only two community colleges in the top 40 institutions of higher learning with the highest international enrollment. We are proud to participate in the Salzburg International Study Program and are pleased to have our 2009 participants here with us today. We have a partnership with the Saigon Institute of Technology and provide technical expertise to Riyadh Community College in Saudi Arabia. In addition, HCC is among five U.S. community colleges competitively selected and financed by USAID, the US State Department, and the Brazil Ministry of Education to develop job training programs to be used both here and in Brazil. HCC knows that there is a world of opportunity for our students, and we are proud to be able to help them broaden their minds and reach for their dreams.
HCC Provides Students with Opportunities through Expanded and Upgraded Facilities
Another significant priority for the institution has been to expand and upgrade facilities to better serve our students and the community. In 2003, HCC conducted an assessment of our physical learning environment. At that time, growth projections indicated that enrollment over the next 20 years would increase by 40 to 75 percent at some campuses and that population increases across the region would increase demand for facilities. As part of HCC’s vision for the future, the Board of Trustees initiated a comprehensive Capital Improvement Project to enhance student outcomes and meet the growing demand for postStafford Campus Learning Hub – Southwest College
secondary educational opportunities in the region. Throughout the process, HCC planned, leveraged resources by cultivating partnerships, and developed facilities to meet the various communities’ needs.
As of this past January, HCC celebrated the completion of three new educational facilities and the renovation of five existing buildings. In total, the CIP added 772,000 square feet to HCC’s existing 2 million square feet of educational space. More importantly, the project succeeded in creating enhanced and integrated learning environments throughout the district that serve the surrounding community and create new opportunities for all types of learners.
Felix Fraga Academic Center – Southeast College Northeast Campus Learning Hub – Northeast College
HCC’s Report to the Community: Capital Improvement Projects highlights the major facility improvements that not only fulfilled the original vision but also exceeded original expectations by creating enhanced learning environments throughout the Houston Community College District. We have just completed an assessment of the entire district’s physical infrastructure along with implementing an energy performance contract that will place us in a leadership position with respect to climate neutrality and sustainability as charter
Coleman College for Health Sciences
signatories of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. For the first time in the college’s 38 year history, we now have a complete
accounting in one document of our facilities: we have 22 campuses with 54 buildings enclosing 4.1 million square feet. Their total assessed value exceeds $720 million. Our master planners are now working with the six college presidents to develop a comprehensive master plan driven by the instructional program - that will chart our direction for the next 25 years. And a critical piece of that process will be to ensure our capital improvements are LEEDTM certified. In June 2008, I contributed a chapter titled “Community Colleges: The Relevant and Essential
Spring Branch Campus – Northwest College
Link” to the book—Letters to the Next President: Strengthening America’s Foundation in Higher Education. I identified nine key points that community college leaders needed to address because of our critical position in American higher education. It was not meant to be prophetic. At the time, the November 2008 election was still in the future, the economic collapse had not registered on the average American’s consciousness, and Barack Obama had not yet been elected President. So no one knew the next President would look to community colleges to drive American economic recovery or would set a goal that by 2020 America would once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. I believe at HCC we have accomplished nine of the nine items on my list. But to help have five million more Americans earn higher education degrees and certificates and ensure future generations will have our opportunities for a college education and success in the work force, we must now work to
Central Campus Learning Hub & Science Center – Central College
further enrich, expand, and deepen these nine items.
1. A regional and collaborative perspective The Achieving the Dream work we have been doing speaks more loudly than any other effort of the importance of a regional approach because when one of us succeeds, we all succeed. We are committed to accelerating student learning and student learning outcomes by sharing our best practices with each other. 2. An increased engagement with the corporate sector The successes of the Corporate College and the partnerships I reported on are indications that HCC’s stock has value. 3. Cross-cutting curricula focused on STEM The Chancellor’s Symposia on Bio-Technology last year and on Energy this year demonstrate to the community the range and depth of the expertise and ingenuity possessed by our highly educated faculty. They also show our students the multiple pathways to careers and higher educational pursuits through our educational and corporate partnerships. 4. A broadened global perspective Our reach has expanded as our international reputation and our international student body have increased. 5. Blurred segments along the educational pathway Our relationships with our feeder ISD’s and transfer institutions are being expanded and developed with the help of increased articulation agreements, P-16 councils, and new instructional configurations that offer our students access to the classes and programs they want when they want them.
6. A sequenced and aligned college-preparatory curriculum As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, we are demonstrating with data that we are moving the needle to help our students persist and reach their goals. The Houston Endowment has recognized our success and is funding the Houston Pathways project to help us expand on those successes. And with five Early College High Schools, it is clear that HCC is addressing the challenges head on. 7. An efficient use of existing resources The cost savings/revenue generating program is in its third cycle, has been written about in the Houston Chronicle, and has already saved the college $4 million as I reported today. 8. Succession planning for future leaders Our Leadership Excellence Institute and an adjunct faculty training program are in their second year. Our Department Chairs Success Program is just being developed along with plans for a mid-level managers project. 9. Increased financial support for students We awarded $30M in financial aid this Fall to 23,000 students. And the capital campaign for Opportunity 14 has begun in earnest!
I conclude my comments by stating for the record that Houston Community College is achieving our vision of being the “most relevant community college in the country.” This institution has come a long way. This is truly a significant and exciting time for us. We continue to enrich our community with record numbers of qualified, highly educated students as well as a significant return on the investment that has been made by the residents, small businesses, and companies in our service area. We look forward to continuing to partner with you to make Houston the opportunity city for the future. The journey is never over, and we will never stop improving access and quality instruction, or being Houston’s workforce engine for an ever-expanding economy. Thank you.
Houston Community College Board of Trustees 2009
Abel Davila, Chair, District VIII Neeta Sane, Vice Chair, District VII Diane Olmos Guzmán, Secretary, District III Christopher W. Oliver, Deputy Secretary, District IX Bruce A. Austin, District II Yolanda Navarro Flores, Immediate Past Chair, District I Richard M. Schechter, District V Dr. Michael P. Williams, District IV Robert Mills Worsham, District VI
Dr. Mary S. Spangler
Houston Community College Foundation Board of Directors 2009-2010
Ginger Renfroe Blanton, President Penny Butler, 1st Vice President Charles R. Bellomy, AIA, Secretary Cecilia Hernandez, Treasurer Sharon M. Adams Ambassador Christopher Ashby Travis C. Broesche Jesse Brown Judge Alfred J. Calloway Tony Chase William M. Coats Hank Coleman Marc Eckhart Harriet Foster Marc E. Grossberg John L. Guess, III Alan Helfman Dr. Harry D. Holmes Suewan Johnson Dr. Nicolás Kanellos Deborah Kearns Dr. Stephen L. Klineberg Alfred W. Lasher, III Gigi Lee Herman Litt Arturo G. Michel Michael S. Parmet Rao Ratnala Scott E. Rozzell Ali A. Saberioon Lina Sabouni Massey Villarreal E. W. (Bill) Wright, III Dr. Richard W. Yee
Diane Olmos Guzmán Richard M. Schechter
Dr. Mary S. Spangler Dr. Kelly J. Zúñiga
3100 Main • Suite 12B12 (MC 1148) • Houston, TX 77002 hccs.edu
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