Lee cuts ribbon on expanded nursing complex

Funded through bond approved in 2013, expansion project completed on time & on budget

Lee College cuts ribbon on McNulty-Haddick Nursing Complex Expansion
Lee College administrators, Nursing Program faculty and nursing students gather in the new lecture hall inside the McNulty-Haddick Nursing Complex Expansion during a ribbon cutting and open house held Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017. The expansion project was funded through a bond approved by voters in 2013 and focused on meeting student and faculty needs, including new classrooms and a new student lounge and computer area.

BAYTOWN, TX — Students in the Lee College Nursing Program now have a renovated and revamped facility on campus to train and prepare for rewarding careers on the front lines of patient-centered health care – complete with new spaces to learn and practice critical professional skills, and connect with classmates and instructors.

Lee College administrators, students and faculty came together Tuesday, Oct. 24, with members of the Board of Regents and local health care community to cut the ribbon on the McNulty-Haddick Nursing Complex Expansion, which was funded through a $40 million bond overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2013. The project was completed on time and came in just under its original $6 million budget.

“We know how important nurses are; they’re essential to health care. Nurses are where the rubber meets the road,” said Pete Alfaro, chairman of the Board of Regents, in thanking citizens for supporting the bond referendum that made the expansion possible. “Property taxes, student tuition and fees and state funding do not cover everything. We are grateful for what the community did for us. We want to give every student and faculty member at Lee College the very best.”

At the expanded McNulty-Haddick Complex, there is a new lecture hall that seats 105 students; additional classrooms that can also be used for lab spaces and give faculty and students a variety of ways to interact and enhance instruction; and a new lounge, computer area and outside patio for students to connect with each other and review materials in close proximity to their classrooms and labs.

The Clinical Lab and Simulation Center inside the complex – a replicated hospital setting where students practice their professional skills with high-fidelity mannequins that sweat, bleed and even give birth – has been expanded to add an area dedicated specifically to pediatric care. Through a donation to the Lee College Foundation and grant funding from the state’s Nursing Innovation Grant Program, the Clinical Lab and Simulation Center have also received new mannequins, supplies and equipment that will allow faculty to teach clinical application in each nursing course throughout the program curriculum.

“This project focused on fulfilling the needs of nursing students, faculty and staff,” said Dr. Tracy Allen, director of the Nursing Program. A Lee College alumna herself with more than 20 years of experience in the field, she praised the previous nursing directors — many of whom attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony — who taught her how to be a professional and set the solid foundation upon which the program continues to build today.

“We share that same commitment to student success and to the nursing profession,” Allen said. “Lee College nursing graduates are some of the best nurses I know.”

With a strong reputation for its challenging and relevant curriculum that prepares students for the realities of modern health care, the Lee College Nursing Program emphasizes practical experience. From their first semester, students are required to spend time in both traditional classes and the laboratory and hands-on clinical environment. They are also encouraged to become lifelong learners and continue their education beyond the associate degree.

Since the expansion of the nursing complex was completed, students have particularly enjoyed using the lounge area to hold study groups and unwind together from the rigors of their coursework.

“We want to express our gratitude. Your financial resources have been to good use,” said Danyel Browder, a Level 3 student and president of the Lee College Nursing Students Association, at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “This new addition has made us really proud to say we are nursing students at Lee College.”

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 15 school systems. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Risk Management Institute hosts free Distracted Driving Course, open to public

BAYTOWN AND LIBERTY, TX — Distracted drivers are responsible for approximately nine deaths and more than 1,000 injuries each day, according to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis. In efforts to educate the community and provide greater insight into the consequences of driving while distracted, the Risk Management Institute at Lee College will provide a free Distracted Driving Course. The National Safety Council Distracted Driving Course, provided by the National Safety Council, will change drivers’ behavior and attitudes about distracted driving. The course intends to decrease the number of vehicle collisions in the community. The course is free to attend and open to the public, including employers, employees, students, adults, and young drivers.

The Risk Management Institute will hold the class at both the Baytown and Liberty locations.

Baytown, Texas:
Date: Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017
Time: 8 a.m.-12 p.m.
Location: Phyllis Davis Room, 909 Decker Drive, Baytown, TX 77520

Liberty, Texas:
Date: Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017
Time: 8 a.m.-12 p.m.
Location: Lee College Education Center – South Liberty County, Room 122, 1715 TX-146, Liberty, TX 77575

Seating is limited, and registration is required. To register for the class, call 281.425.6311 or register online at www.lee.edu/rmi/.

This course is informative and engaging, and has an interactive format to educate participants about the science of distracted driving, myths about multitasking, impact of distracted driving, financial and legal ramifications, state and federal laws, and much more. Companies with employees who operate vehicles, as well as parents with driving-aged children, are encouraged to attend.

A certificate of completion is provided after successfully completing the course. This training is not admissible for ticket dismissals.

“Reading or sending one text is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field at 55 mph, with your eyes off the road” – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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 15 school systems. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Lee to host ribbon cutting, open house for expanded nursing complex

McNulty-Haddick Nursing Complex
McNulty-Haddick Nursing Complex

BAYTOWN, TX — Lee College is preparing to cut the ribbon and open the doors to the newly expanded McNulty-Haddick Nursing Complex, where students train for careers as competent and compassionate nurses ready to provide patient-centered care and be part of an interdisciplinary healthcare team.

The McNulty-Haddick Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony and Open House will be held from 4-6 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 24, at the complex on campus. Attendees will have the opportunity to tour the revamped and renovated facility, which was designed with student feedback in mind.

There is a new lecture hall that seats 105 students; additional classrooms that can also be used for lab spaces and give faculty and students a variety of ways to interact and enhance instruction; and a new lounge, computer area and outside patio for students to connect with each other and review coursework in close proximity to their classrooms and labs.

The Clinical Lab and Simulation Center inside the complex — a replicated hospital setting where students practice their professional skills with high-fidelity mannequins that sweat, bleed and even give birth — has been expanded to add an area dedicated specifically to pediatric care. Through a donation to the Lee College Foundation and grant funding from the state’s Nursing Innovation Grant Program, the Clinical Lab and Simulation Center have also received new mannequins, supplies and equipment that will allow faculty to teach clinical application in each nursing course throughout the program curriculum.

“We are able to simulate any patient scenario in a safe practice environment,” said Dr. Tracy Allen, director of the nursing program and a Lee College alumna. “The students are able to gain the nursing knowledge and skills regarding patient care necessary to function as a nurse in today’s professional 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 15 school systems. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Lee College Huntsville Center inmate debaters top Wiley College

After beating Texas A&M last year, inmate team wins again at invitational behind bars

Craig Caudill and David Mains cross-examine Wiley College debater Andre Earls
Lee College Huntsville Center inmate debaters Craig Caudill (center) and David Mains (right) cross-examine Wiley College senior debater Andre Earls (left) during the second annual George Beto Invitational Debate held Friday Oct. 6, 2017, inside the Huntsville “Walls” Unit prison. The inmates won the debate in a vote of 4-1, claiming their second victory against a free world college after beating debaters from Texas A&M University last year.

BAYTOWN, TX — Despite besting Texas A&M University last year in the first George Beto Invitational Debate inside the Huntsville “Walls” Unit prison, the inmate debaters from the Lee College Huntsville Center went into the second annual Beto invitational with the Great Debaters of Wiley College this month feeling just as much the underdogs.

But the judge’s ultimate 4-1 decision in favor of Lee College — which argued against the resolution that “online education detracts from the college experience” — said something else: they may be locked behind bars without access to the myriad academic and cultural resources of the free world, but these inmate debaters should not be underestimated.

To ensure an even playing field for competition, neither Lee College nor Wiley College 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.

Craig Caudill and David Mains, who debated on behalf of the Huntsville Center team, built their argument around several key points: that the college experience is subjective and means something different to every student; that online education can contribute to the college experience by helping students become more independent and responsible; that online education can make the college experience more accessible to more people; and that online education can be a valuable supplement to the traditional on-campus experience.

The LCHC debate team and Dr. Dennis Brown, with awards
The Lee College Huntsville Center inmate debate team celebrates with Pres. Dr. Dennis Brown (center) and coaches Jeremy Coffman (far left) and Adam Key (far right) after winning the second annual George Beto Invitational Debate, held Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, inside the Huntsville “Walls” Unit prison, against the Great Debaters of Wiley College. At the first Beto invitational held last year, the inmate debate team earned a victory over Texas A&M University.

“It’s overwhelming; you never know how a debate is going to go,” said Caudill, who also debated for the Huntsville Center team against the Aggies. “We were a little nervous because we’re outside of our normal routine, and the topic was outside of our wheelhouse. But we went with what we had, used our passion and our heart, and with the help of our coaches we got the win.”

Unlike last year when they had only six weeks to get ready for the debate against the Aggies, the Huntsville Center debaters had a full year to practice their debate skills, polish their deliveries and embrace the lessons learned from their victory the first time around. Senior Warden James Jones also agreed to allow the debaters to spend Friday and Saturday evenings at the unit in preparation for the invitational against Wiley — and national champion coaches Adam Key and Jeremy Coffman joined the team as often as possible to serve as their opponents and offer more seasoned competition.

“Debate has gone from being an extracurricular activity to something they actually build their lives around,” said Key, who pursued Wiley College for the team’s next opponent given the institution’s pioneering history in debate.

A small historically black college in Marshall, Texas, Wiley earned international recognition in 1930 when its team participated in the first interracial debates in history against the University of Michigan and Oklahoma City University. In 1935, Wiley debaters won the national championship against the all-white team from the University of Southern California. Their story was chronicled in the 2007 film, “The Great Debaters,” starring and directed by Denzel Washington.

“These guys are good enough that I could take them to any tournament in the world, but I can’t because of who they are,” Key said of the inmate debaters, likening their experience to those of Wiley debaters who were routinely denied the opportunity to compete because of their race. “In eight years of coaching, I’ve never been as proud of any group as I am about this one. Win or lose, that will never change.”

Though they lost, both debaters from Wiley College said the experience of participating in the George Beto Invitational behind bars would stay with them for life. Freshman Rahmane Dixon said she felt honored to play a role in showing the world that inmates can acquire superior communication skills and offer something valuable to society, and senior Andre Earls even counted the debate against the Huntsville Center team among the highlights of his seven years of competition.

“This event is a representation of the power of speech and debate,” Earls said. “It means so much to me because that’s what debate is supposed to be: accessible to everyone. I’m cherishing the moment and I feel good for having been a part of it.”

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 15 school systems. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

For fifth time running, Lee College named an Aspen Prize Top 150 U.S. Community College

$1 million prize for community college excellence recognizes outstanding achievements

Aspen Top 150 LogoBAYTOWN, TX — Lee College was named today as one of the top 150 community colleges in the United States eligible to compete for the $1 million 2019 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance in American community colleges.

This is the fifth consecutive time that Lee College has been selected an Aspen Prize Top 150 Community College from a pool of nearly 1,000 public two-year colleges nationwide.

“Everything we do at Lee College is centered on serving our community and providing a quality education that empowers our diverse students to confidently navigate their futures,” said Pres. Dr. Dennis Brown. “Our recognition as a Top 150 Community College and eligibility to compete for the Aspen Prize is a testament to the leadership and commitment of our Board of Regents, and the value and impact of the work that our talented faculty, staff and administrators do for our students everyday. We truly believe that every Lee College student can be successful.”

Awarded every two years since 2011, the Aspen Prize recognizes institutions with outstanding achievements in four areas: exceptional student outcomes in student learning; certificate and degree completion; employment and earnings; and access and success for minority and low-income students.

Lee College will move forward to the next round of the competition for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence by submitting an application to be reviewed through a rigorous evaluation for a spot on the top ten Aspen Prize finalists list. After the top ten finalists are named in May 2018, the Aspen Institute will then conduct site visits to each finalist and collect additional qualitative data. A distinguished Prize Jury will select a grand prize winner, finalists with distinction and rising stars in spring 2019.

Estimates from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce suggest that out of the 11.6 million jobs created in the post-recession economy, 11.5 million require at least some college education. The vast majority of students who enroll in community colleges do so because they believe that post-secondary education will provide them a path to rewarding work, stable employment, and family-sustaining wages.

“Especially in the current social and economic climate, it is exceptionally important that our nation’s community colleges develop the diverse talent needed to fuel democratic engagement, social mobility, and economic opportunity and growth,” said Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. “Through this competition we’re working to inspire other institutions across our country to ensure more students succeed in college and their lives beyond those campuses.”

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 15 school systems. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu/

Foundation looks to gala to help students persist

Postponed after Harvey, Foundation Gala now set for Nov. 10 at Sylvan Beach Pavilion

BAYTOWN, TX — After making its own generous donation this semester to help Lee College students affected by Hurricane Harvey afford the costs of tuition, textbooks, transportation, food and even home repairs, the Lee College Foundation is preparing to host its annual gala in November and raise funds to ensure students can continue their education and finish what they started.

“Helping our students to recover quickly in order that they may focus on their education is in keeping with our board’s mission,” said Jennifer Marcontell, chairwoman of the Foundation Board of Directors. Board members make decisions for and lead the activities of the foundation, including raising outside funds to fulfill student needs and awarding scholarships to thousands of deserving recipients.

“Our first priority is to our students and their education,” Marcontell said. “Education creates opportunities and opens doors. We want this for as many young people as possible in our community.”

To date, 174 students have received financial assistance from the college’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, established shortly after the storm reached the local area. Contributions from the foundation and corporate and individual donors have been used to pay Fall 2017 tuition bills, purchase textbooks lost or washed away in floodwaters, buy gas or bus fare, and help fix home damages.

“It’s really about persistence,” said Pam Warford, executive director of Foundation and Resource Development. “Many of our students get started on their education but run into financial obstacles that take them off course. Donations to the foundation enable them to persist in their classes until they earn their degree or certificate.”

Now, the board is hoping for another record crowd at the 32nd annual Foundation Gala set for Friday, Nov. 10, at Sylvan Beach Pavilion. The gala, which was initially postponed out of respect for those who suffered losses in Harvey, is the premiere event to raise money each year for scholarships and other forms of student support.

“Our foundation, from the generous support of our gala, creates opportunities for students who may not otherwise have them,” Marcontell said. “We expect some effects from the recent storm setback, but we know that our patrons look forward to this event each year and will continue to support our efforts as they can. We all benefit when our students succeed.”

As chairwoman of the board, Marcontell’s goal is to provide encouragement and experience for her fellow “incredibly hard-working members.” Additional officers also elected to serve in 2017-18 include Judy Wheat as vice-chairwoman and Gilbert Santana as treasurer.

“I believe in education and I believe in Lee College,” Marcontell said. “I believe that the work we do to support our students in receiving an excellent education will benefit our community for generations to come.”

For more information about the foundation or to purchase tickets for the 32nd annual Lee College Foundation Gala, contact Warford at 281.425.6361 or pwarford@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 15 school systems. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Senior Adult & Travel Program hosting showcase of tours for next year

Free event will detail 2018 trips to Australia, Portugal, California, and New York

Cape Cod trip group photo
More than 70 travelers stop for a picture during the sold-out Lee College Senior Adult & Travel Program trip to Cape Cod and the Islands in August, which include guided tours and visits to Boston, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. The program will host a free showcase Tuesday, Oct. 10, at Tucker Hall on campus to highlight new tours planned for 2018, including Australia, Portugal, California and New York.

BAYTOWN, TX — For first-time participants Barbie and Gerry Plocheck, the allure of taking a trip with the Lee College Senior Adult & Travel Program was simple: all the arrangements for transportation, accommodations and activities would be made for them — they needed only to pack their bags, board a charter bus in Baytown and head off on their August adventure to Cape Cod and the Islands.

Senior adults can learn more about following in the footsteps of the Plochecks and dozens of other happy travelers at the 2018 Travel Showcase set for 5 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 10, at Tucker Hall on the Lee College campus. Program Manager Lynne Foley and representatives from Collette Vacations and Premier World Discovery will detail all the trips planned for next year, including Australia, New Zealand and the Fiji Islands; Portugal, the Estoril Coast, Alentejo and Algarve; the Pacific Northwest and California; and New York City and the Hudson Valley. Refreshments will be served.

“We’ve traveled a lot on our own but we’d never traveled on a completely guided and arranged group trip,” said Barbie Plocheck, who especially enjoyed the walking tour of Boston’s historic sites, spending time on Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, and having the chance to get acquainted with new friends. She and her husband are already thinking about joining the upcoming trip to Australia, a destination on their bucket list.

“It’s much easier; you don’t have to make any decisions, and there is always someone there to call on if you need something,” she said. “They choose outstanding places, and we saw all the highlights we would have wanted to see had we planned it all on our own. It was perfect.”

Though DeAnne Duvall and her husband, Les, have been retired for 5 years and taken trips together with the Senior Adult & Travel Program, she thought the Cape Cod tour would be a great time to reconnect with her girlfriends. Like her, many of the people she met had previously traveled with Lee College and were eager to do it again.

“Everybody was extremely positive and fun. They want to travel and have someone else do all the legwork,” said Duvall, a former teacher who appreciated how Foley and the tour guides made everyone feel safe, comfortable and welcome. “I loved that all we had to do was get on the bus and go. They made sure we were all taken care of, and there were no worries about booking an airline ticket, finding places to park, making hotel reservations or anything like that. We’ve had nothing but positive experiences.”

For more information about the 2018 Travel Showcase or getting involved with the Lee College Senior Adult and Travel Program, contact Foley at 281.425.6311 or lfoley@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 15 school systems. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.