Logistics program partners with Walmart on employee training project

Warehouse managers offered custom course to strengthen technical & leadership skills

Posed photo of nine people involved in the partnership
Lee College has partnered with Walmart to offer a customized logistics training program for managers at the company’s Baytown distribution center to improve their on-the-job skills and strengthen knowledge of what it means to be a logistics professional. Back row, from left: Donald Martin; Sergio Rangel; Kevin Ross; Pablo Reyes; Daniel Rexford, Logistics Program coordinator; and instructors Keith Coleman and Cornell Greene. Front: Jerry Duarte, Tatiana Mack, Amanda Erne, and Stacy Tucker.

BAYTOWN, TX — Daniel Rexford had been out of school for more than 20 years when he learned the Lee College Logistics Program was offering a training course specifically designed for him and his fellow managers at the Walmart Distribution Center in Baytown. The company would provide support to help established and up-and-coming leaders keep up with their full-time work while taking advantage of the new opportunity.

Within weeks of enrolling in the class, Rexford had more advanced knowledge of how rail, air, maritime, warehousing and e-commerce are used to meet key business objectives. He knew the importance of accounting for weather, vibration and other factors when getting a product from one point to another. He started looking at ways to optimize how freight was handled at the distribution center. He began to make plans to complete an Associate of Applied Science degree in logistics and supply chain technology at Lee College, and he persuaded his son to sign up for the training course and pursue a degree, too.

“You’re not just moving a box,” said Rexford, one of 17 Walmart warehouse managers who will be the first to graduate from the training program in December. “You’re learning how to move a box differently, in the face of different obstacles and to achieve different goals.”

It’s the primary lesson that Keith Coleman, director of the Lee College logistics program, intended to impart to his students when he designed and launched the Walmart training course: logistics encompasses a broad spectrum of transportation, storage and distribution activities that companies use to move products as cheaply and quickly as possible. With the development and implementation of new technologies, like drones and driverless vehicles, successful logistics professionals will need the vision and understanding to think beyond the traditional.

“In the military, the faster and more effectively you can move things, the more lives are saved. In the business world, money is saved — but industry executives are not trained logisticians,” said Coleman, a retired U.S. Marine Corps officer who has overseen steady growth of the logistics program at Lee College and will soon open a full-scale Logistics Training Center on campus.

“Logisticians see the whole picture,” Coleman said. “They create the game plan. They are the problem solvers. Being in this program allows these students to get hands-on and see a future for themselves. They’ll remember Lee College as the place where they got the training that made a difference.”

In addition to technical knowledge, the logistics training for Walmart managers also aims to help strengthen leadership and communication skills. Coleman frequently assigns role-playing exercises that simulate a wide range of on-the-job scenarios between supervisors and employees, as well as presentations that require students to dress professionally and practice public speaking. Many say their confidence and ability to guide and instruct others have improved as a result.

“When you come to work, you know who has been taking the training because you can see that we’re growing and learning,” said Jerry Duarte. “We’re using different terminology, thinking more quickly and being more creative.”

For Amanda Erne, getting back into the classroom for logistics training at Lee College made her realize that seeking additional education was long overdue. The encouragement from Walmart and camaraderie she and her colleagues in the program have built made returning to college less intimidating and more rewarding than she expected.

“We tend to have a more narrow view of our jobs; we know what we do, but we don’t know why we do it,” said Erne, who now aspires to a life-long career as a logistician — just like all the Baytown Distribution Center managers in the class. “This program has given us a wider perspective and deeper understanding of how logistics works.”

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Honors Program students and faculty present at national conference

BAYTOWN, TX — Imagine a place where tweed jackets, black-rimmed glasses and excitement for learning abound. Three Lee College faculty members and two Honors Program students immersed themselves in this culture of ideas during the 51st annual National Collegiate Honors Council Conference held this month in Seattle, Washington.

Honors Program presents at national conference
After earning selection from hundreds of applicants at colleges and universities across the country, a group of faculty and students from the Lee College Honors Program presented research at the National Collegiate Honors Council Conference held Oct. 12-16, 2016, in Seattle, Washington. Pictured (l-r): Instructor Jerry Hamby, students Mandy Ray and Drew MacKenzie, and instructor and Honors Program coordinator Georgeann Ward.

Instructors Georgeann Ward and Jerry Hamby, along with former students Drew MacKenzie and Mandy Ray, were invited to present a session on a unit that Ward and Hamby teach in the unique Honors course, “The Human Condition.” The seminar-style class combines the disciplines of English and Humanities, emphasizing open discussion and encouraging students to ask bold questions and engage in critical thinking about the world in which they live.

The Lee College group — which also included instructor and conference attendee Dr. Portia Hopkins — was selected to present from hundreds of applicants at colleges and universities around the country. Hamby and Ward discussed the pedagogical and logistic aspects of using experiential learning in their class, while MacKenzie and Ray discussed its impact on students.

“When I started the Human Condition, I thought I wanted to get my certificate,” said Ray, who is majoring in Drug and Alcohol Abuse Counseling. “However, after a month in the class, something in me shifted and I realized I wanted a degree — letters that would follow my name.”

A first-time participant in the conference, Hamby was most impressed by how well established and accomplished the Lee College Honors Program is in comparison to many other schools. MacKenzie shared similar sentiments after reflecting on his experience.

“I had never been to a conference like this before, so it was exciting to see such a community of scholars,” MacKenzie said. “To be welcomed into that community was quite an honor.”

In addition to presenting their work to colleagues and peers, the Lee College faculty and students listened to a keynote address by award-winning author Sherman Alexie, visited museums, took walking tours of downtown Seattle and absorbed as much information as possible on their four-day trip.

“Lee College provides amazing opportunities for students, showing them just how far their education can take them,” said Ward, who also serves as coordinator of the Honors Program. “I am grateful to have such a supportive administration that values student learning both inside and outside of the classroom.”

For more information about the opportunities available to students in the Lee College Honors Program, visit www.lee.edu/honors.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

LCHC looking for adjuncts to teach courses part-time

Job fair on Oct. 27 to find instructors for multiple disciplines in Huntsville & Navasota units

HUNTSVILLE, TX – With a growing enrollment of more than 1,200 incarcerated students pursuing associate degrees and certificates, the Lee College Huntsville Center is looking for new adjunct faculty to teach classes part-time at Texas Department of Criminal Justice units in both Huntsville and Navasota.

Potential instructors are invited to attend the Huntsville Job Fair to be held from 5-7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 27, at the Lee College Huntsville Center office, located at 168-C Col. Etheredge Blvd. Participants should bring their resumes to the fair to provide to human resources staff and current faculty, who will be available to answer questions and share insights from their own experiences in the classroom.

One of the oldest and largest prison education programs in the United States, the Lee College Huntsville Center needs adjunct instructors for a variety of fields, including: business management, biology, geology, natural sciences, developmental English and writing, development math, standard math, speech and art. Adjuncts will be assigned to teach students at the Eastham, Ellis, Estelle, Ferguson, Holliday, Huntsville and Wynne units in Huntsville, as well as the Luther and Pack units in Navasota.

Adjuncts who teach academic courses must have a master’s degree and 18 graduate hours in the discipline being taught. The positions are especially ideal for retired educators and professionals who want to continue using their skills and expertise to make a difference in their community. Data has shown that inmates who complete two years of college behind bars are significantly less likely to return to prison.

“It’s a good experience to see someone turn their life around through education,” said Ray Wright, a retired high school math teacher and administrator who has served as an adjunct instructor for the Lee College Huntsville Center for the last 7 years. “These students have excelled beyond my expectations; they are well-behaved and hungry for information, and they really want to be there. Education can help them get employment when they leave prison and be successful – something many of them have never been.”

For more information about working as an adjunct instructor with the Lee College Huntsville Center or the upcoming Huntsville Job Fair, contact the Office of Human Resources at 281.425.6875 or hr@lee.edu.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Lee to celebrate Dia de los Muertos with exhibit, reception & workshop

BAYTOWN, TX – Lee College invites the community to join its celebration of Dia de los Muertos, which will include an exhibit featuring original artwork created by students and a hands-on workshop that will give participants the chance to make their own art pieces inspired by the Mexican holiday.

Presented by the Visual and Performing Arts Division in conjunction with International Education, the Dia de Los Muertos Art Exhibit will open with a reception to be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 27, inside the Performing Arts Center gallery on campus. Houston-based artist Laura Lopez Cano — known for her work capturing the beauty, strength, elegance and pride of Latinas and all women of color — will also guide attendees through the process of creating their own holiday artwork. The reception and workshop are free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served.

Also known as the “Day of the Dead,” Dia de los Muertos is dedicated to remembering the lives and legacies of family and friends who have passed away. Students produced “retablos” — devotional artwork that stems from Latin American culture — as part of the holiday celebration. Their poignant, personal and colorful pieces will adorn the walls of the gallery through Sunday, Nov. 20.

“We’re honoring the past,” said Elena Poirot, an art instructor at Lee College. “Students chose what they wanted to do; some are traditional, some are non-traditional. We want people to come, enjoy, participate and learn.”

For more information about the Dia de Los Muertos Art Exhibit, reception and workshop at Lee College, contact the Visual and Performing Arts Division at 281.425.6821 or ddehoyos@lee.edu.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Lee prison debaters best Texas A&M at first-ever competition behind bars

Inmates beat Aggies in 3-2 vote at George Beto Invitational Debate inside Huntsville Unit

LCHC-A&M debate
Lee College Huntsville Center inmate debaters Troy Thoele, far left, and Craig Caudill, near left, accept the first-place and winners’ plaques from their coaches Jeremy Coffman and Adam Key as Texas A&M debaters Michael Buse, right, and Anthony Nguyen, far right, offer congratulatory applause. The first-ever George Beto Invitational Debate, held Friday, Oct. 7, inside the Huntsville “Walls” Unit prison, pitted the college’s inmate debate team against the team from Texas A&M.

HUNTSVILLE, TX — As they sat inside the chapel of the Huntsville “Walls” Unit prison awaiting the start of the first-ever George Beto Invitational Debate, the inmate debaters from the Lee College Huntsville Center considered the long odds they faced — incarcerated convicts with few academic credentials and limited access to news and information about the outside world, competing against the award-winning debate team from Texas A&M University.

But after both teams had laid out their cases for and against the resolution that Donald Trump’s Achilles’ heel is foreign policy, it was the inmates who defeated the Aggies in a 3-2 decision. To Craig Caudill and Troy Thoele, who debated for Lee College, the victory was reminiscent of David’s triumph over Goliath.

“I feel like I just made parole,” Caudill joked when Lee College was announced the winner and the entire chapel — inmates, wardens and correctional officers, spectators and even the students and coaches from Texas A&M — burst into enthusiastic applause.

“I’m a little overwhelmed. The level of intellect the team from Texas A&M had was amazing,” Caudill said. “Nobody expected us to win. But just because we’re in prison, it doesn’t mean we haven’t tried to change or don’t want to change. Debate has given us better cognitive thinking skills that we can use to function in a free world setting.”

For six months, the Lee College team trained as often as they could within the confines of their strict prison schedule: huddling together on the yard to sharpen their arguments, squeezing in extra practice during study hall in the unit’s education area and even facing off against coaches Adam Key and Jeremy Coffman, champion debaters themselves with nearly a dozen national titles between them.

“Eight years I’ve coached and this is about as proud as I’ve ever been,” said Key, a Texas A&M doctoral student and full-time speech instructor for the Lee College Huntsville Center who began recruiting students for the inmate debate team just one year ago. “I’ve never seen a group of debaters this motivated. They’ve picked up in a couple of months what others take years to learn.”

LCHC-A&M debate
Lee College Huntsville Center inmate debaters Troy Thoele, left, and Craig Caudill, right, argue their case at the first-ever George Beto Invitational Debate, held Friday, Oct. 7, inside the chapel at the Huntsville “Walls” Unit prison. The inmate debate team bested the speech and debate team from Texas A&M University in a 3-2 decision.

To ensure an even playing field for competition, neither team was given advance knowledge of the resolution to be debated. After narrowing down their topic from a list of five options, the teams were provided the same research materials and 30 minutes to prepare their cases before taking to the podium. Caudill and Thoele gathered in the back of the chapel with their teammates and coaches, scanning newspaper articles for information and bouncing ideas and potential angles around the group.

Lee College built their argument around Trump’s rise to the top of the Republican presidential ticket despite his controversial remarks, his unstable foreign policy approach that could jeopardize America’s relationships with other countries and inability to be a strong and respected leader. Michael Buse and Anthony Nguyen of Texas A&M argued that Trump’s primary weakness is actually his temperament, which has caused him to speak and behave in a way that has alienated women and minority voters and made him less likely to accept counsel from advisers.

A panel of five judges — Hassan Assad, a professional wrestler better known by the moniker “MVP;” Jason Bay, pastor of First Baptist Church Huntsville; Dessie Cherry, a former warden and retiree from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice; Allen Hightower, a former Texas legislator; and Raymond Middleton, a volunteer chaplain at the Walls Unit — ultimately decided the inmate debaters had best proved their case.

“The ability to be an effective communicator is key to your success in life,” said Assad, who was just 16 when he was sent to prison in Florida and served more than 9 years before being released. “People are going to judge you by the fact that you’re a convicted felon, but you have the opportunity to disarm them with your words.”

LCHC-A&M Debate
Hassan Assad, a professional wrestler better known as MVP, congratulates the Lee College Huntsville Center inmate debate team after their defeat of Texas A&M University at the first-ever George Beto Invitational Debate held Friday, Oct. 7, inside the chapel at the Huntsville “Walls” Unit prison. A convicted felon who served more than 9 years in the Florida prison system, Assad returned behind bars to judge the debate competition and encourage team members to continue pursuing opportunities to better themselves before release.

Though Caudill and Thoele were the only ones to take the debate stage, both described the Lee College victory as a group effort. The help of their teammates and coaches was invaluable, and Senior Warden James Jones and Assistant Warden Matt Dobbins of the Walls Unit were instrumental in making the debate program a reality behind bars. Even their fellow inmates throughout the prison were excited about the debate and offered the team words of encouragement and best wishes, they said.

“I’m proud of everybody,” said Thoele, one of more than 1,200 incarcerated students pursuing associate degrees and certificates through the Lee College Huntsville Center. “The entire unit supported us. Debating and taking college classes made me a role model and an example for other guys. I hope this motivates them to do something to better themselves.”
 
Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

 

Lee College adopts Drew Elementary as ‘College Bound’

Partnership expands commitment to create college-going culture throughout service area

BAYTOWN, TX – With the support and resources of Lee College and  the mentorship and involvement of dedicated residents of historic Barrett Station, every student at Charles R. Drew Elementary School in the Crosby Independent School District has set their sights on achieving a new goal for the future: attending college and earning a degree.

Rooty Rebel at Drew Elementary
Lee College brought Rooty the Rebel, the Runnin’ Rebels Basketball Team, the Rebel Heat Dance Team and a host of faculty, staff and administrators to Charles R. Drew Elementary in Barrett Station for a pep rally to kick off the new “College Bound School” partnership. As part of the effort, Lee College will provide Drew with support and resources to help ensure every student goes to college and earns a degree.

Lee College has adopted Drew Elementary as a “College Bound School” as part of the Cradle to Career Network, an ongoing effort to create a college-going culture for local youth by engaging all members of the community in providing wrap-around support as students transition into college – from schools and educators to non-profit organizations, health and human services agencies, business and industry, local government and residents at large.

“Congratulations on being future college graduates! We stand together as a community committed to you, and you have to be committed to excellence in everything you do,” DeDe Griffith, Interim Vice President of Instruction, told hundreds of cheering Drew students at a recent pep rally held in their gym to kick off the new partnership between the college and elementary school.

At the rally, Rooty the Rebel, the Runnin’ Rebels Basketball Team and the Rebel Heat dancers showed off dazzling dunks and delivered special performances. Crosby ISD Superintendent Keith Moore, Lee College President Dr. Dennis Brown and other administrators and faculty offered words of welcome and encouragement, and enthusiastic students – all clad in red T-shirts emblazoned with “Lee College” and “Future College Graduate” – raised their hands and voices to pledge to go to college.

“We are so very excited to have you as part of Lee College,” Brown said. “If you put forth the effort, you will be a success story. All of you can walk across that stage and receive that college degree.”

For the College Bound partnership, Lee College will provide Drew Elementary with regular programming and opportunities to help students and their families learn more about the value and importance of higher education. Students at every grade level will learn about science concepts from college faculty, and the Lee College Mobile Go Center – a 42-foot, air-conditioned trailer outfitted with high-speed Internet, satellite dishes, remote printers, laptops and LCD televisions – will visit the elementary campus each month. On board the center, students will learn about the wide variety of rewarding and interesting careers available to college graduates and have access to a library of more than 500 e-books on science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics.

Parents at Drew Elementary will also be involved in the effort, participating in a common reading program and receiving guidance and information about how best to prepare their children for college success.

“You’re part of a team and you’re part of a family,” said Drew Elementary School Principal Walter Berringer. “We have an obligation to each other to make sure we’re successful. We have to make great decisions and work as hard as we can every single day. There is no doubt in my mind that we are going to start college, and there is no doubt in my mind that we are going to finish college.”

As he looked at the sea of red tees and smiling faces at the pep rally kick-off, Jerry Bluitt realized he had come full circle. An alumnus of Drew Elementary who was instrumental in helping get the College Bound partnership in place, Bluitt retired from a 30-year career as an IBM engineer and returned to his native Barrett Station to help usher the historically African-American enclave into a brighter and better future. The program will help recreate the loving and unified family atmosphere he remembered and benefitted from as a child, he said.

“After they saw the model, the community said it was long overdue,” said Bluitt, who has helped raise support for and awareness of the College Bound School and Cradle to Career Network programs with faith-based organizations and local businesses in the area. “For our kids to be successful, we’ve got to shape them in good and positive ways. We have to walk with them.”

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Senior Adult & Travel Program to showcase new 2017 tours

Free event on Oct. 18 will detail trips to Switzerland, Italy, Cape Cod, New Mexico & more

BAYTOWN, TX – After whisking travelers away this year to Cuba, France, the Canadian Rockies and the Grand Canyon, the Lee College Senior Adult & Travel Program invites the community to learn more about its next round of tours: excursions to Switzerland, Italy, Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, Cape Cod and its Islands, and Santa Fe and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Cuba trip in 2016
The Lee College Senior Adult & Travel Program whisked participants away on an unforgettable tour of Cuba in 2016 that included visits to Old Havana and cultural sites throughout the country. A free showcase of the tours planned for 2017 is set for Tuesday, Oct. 18, in Tucker Hall on the Lee College campus.

The Travel Showcase of 2017 Tours will be held 5-7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 18, in Tucker Hall on the Lee College campus. Program Manager Lynne Foley and Collette Tours will provide in-depth presentations on each trip, including a review of daily itineraries and information about costs and registration. Admission is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served.

For 28 years, the extended travel offered through the Senior Adult & Travel Program have provided more than 1,500 adults with the opportunity to journey to different regions around the globe — from the United States and Mexico to England, Scotland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, China, Australia and more.

“Group touring is a way for adults of any age to experience with enthusiasm the wonders of the world,” Foley said. “We do the planning and execution of details,  and you can be comfortably and safely escorted by myself and our trusted travel vendor managers to a destination of your dreams.  We encourage you to stretch your imagination and join us one of our many yearly adventures as you explore the world with Lee College and new friends.”

On the 10-day Alpine Lakes & Scenic Trains tour set for May, travelers will experience Switzerland and Lake Como, Italy, complete with wine tastings; an island dinner; rides on the Golden Pass, Glacier Express and Bernina Pass trains; a cruise on Lago Maggiore and the Lake Como Ferry; and visits to Lucerne, Zermatt, Mt. Matterhorn and St. Moritz.

Travelers on the seven-day National Parks & Wild West tour in June will explore Yellowstone and Grand Teton, Old Faithful geyser, Salt Lake City, Park City, the Olympic Village and the National Museum of Wildlife Art. They will also enjoy a recital of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, a cruise on Jenny Lake and an authentic chuck wagon dinner.

The tour of Cape Cod & The Islands in August will take travelers to Nantucket and its Whaling Museum, Hyannis Port, Martha’s Vineyard, Boston, Plymouth Rock and Newport, R.I.

In October, travelers will embark on the seven-day Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta tour, featuring sunrise and midnight balloon launches; an adventure drive along Route 66; a culinary class and dinner at the Santa Fe School of Cooking; and visits to the Museum of Nuclear Science and History, Old Town Albuquerque, the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center and Turquoise Trail.

Online registration for the 2017 tours will open at 7:30 a.m., Wednesday, Oct. 19. Travelers can register in person beginning at 7:30 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 20, at the Center for Workforce and Community Development at 909 Decker Drive in Baytown.

For more information about the Lee College Senior Adult & Travel Program and the upcoming Travel Showcase of 2017 Tours, contact the center at 281.425.6311 or visit www.lee.edu/workforce.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.