Lee hits record-high enrollment with 7,280 students

BAYTOWN, TX — A record-setting 7,280 students are pursuing associate degrees and certificates this fall at Lee College, marking a more than 5 percent increase from the previous year and representing the highest ever enrollment since the college was founded in 1934.

Preliminary headcount data from the 12th day of class also shows that the fall 2016 semester is the second consecutive fall semester that enrollment at Lee College has increased. Slightly more than 6,900 students were enrolled in fall 2015.

In addition, Lee College leads all community colleges in the state in the growth of contact hours — the number of hours that students are scheduled to receive instruction. More than 1.22 million contact hours have been counted this fall, an increase of 19.5 percent from fall 2014. Contact hours are the basis on which the state Legislature decides how to fund community colleges.

“Everyone played a role in helping us achieve these milestones,” said Pres. Dr. Dennis Brown, who touted the enrollment increase in an address to faculty and staff as they prepared to welcome students back to campus for a new academic year. He also noted that the college had received reaffirmation of its accreditation for the next 10 years by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, a major accomplishment and campus-wide effort that required the college to demonstrate compliance with 95 different standards.

“We continue to grow, and we continue to proudly serve the students and communities in our service area,” Brown said. “In every way and always, what you do makes a difference.”

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 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 named AACC Award of Excellence triple-finalist

President, faculty, staff & industry partner presented with honors at convention in Chicago

AACC 2016 Annual Convention
Lee College was recognized at the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Annual Convention, held April 11, 2016, in Chicago, for being an Awards of Excellence finalist in three categories. Pictured, from left: Dr. Charlene Dukes, chairwoman of the AACC Board of Directors; Vera Walker, student support adviser; Dr. Cathy Kemper-Pelle, vice president of Learning; Dr. Daria Willis, dean of Academic Studies; Dr. Dennis Brown, president; Paul Guilfoyle, ExxonMobil North American Growth Project; Treva Brown-Askey, chairwoman of Developmental Education; Dr. Christina Ponce, vice president of Student Success, Workforce & Resource Development; DeDe Griffith, director of Student Success; Dr. Walter G. Bumphus, president and CEO of the AACC; Connie Tilton, ExxonMobil Baytown Area Public and Government Affairs; and Debi Jordan, executive director of the Center for Workforce and Community Development.

BAYTOWN, TX — Lee College received national recognition as a 2016 American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Award of Excellence finalist in three categories: Exemplary Board/CEO, Faculty Innovation and Outstanding College/Corporate Partnership.

Nearly 1,200 community colleges are members of the AACC and eligible for the Awards of Excellence. Finalists and winners for 2016 were presented with their awards in April at the association’s Annual Convention in Chicago.

The Exemplary Board/CEO award recognized the collaboration and working relationship between Pres. Dr. Dennis Brown and the Board of Regents for promoting effectiveness in governance. Treva Brown-Askey, chairwoman of Developmental Education, was a finalist in the Faculty Innovation category for demonstrating leadership in the development and implementation of a campus program that had a positive impact on the learning experience for students. The Outstanding College/Corporate Partnership category recognized the collaboration between Lee College and ExxonMobil for demonstrating success in advancing the mission of the institution, economic prosperity of the community and learning excellence.

Lee College won the AACC Award of Excellence for Student Success in 2015 for its work to engage the entire campus and community in creating a college-going culture that ensures a successful student experience from high school through higher education. Lee College was also one of four national finalists for the 2015 Award of Excellence in the Exemplary Board/CEO category.

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 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 ranked among Top 50 Best Value Community Colleges of 2016

National ranking follows college being named an AACC Award of Excellence triple-finalist

BAYTOWN, TX — Lee College is one of the country’s Top 50 Best Value Community Colleges of 2016, according to a list compiled and recently released by Value Colleges, an independent online guide that examines value and affordability in undergraduate and graduate college education.

Lee College ranked 14th of 614 U.S. community colleges considered for the Value Colleges list. The Top 50 institutions were selected based on graduation and transfer rates, mid-level salary for graduates and actual tuition. In addition, Lee College was noted for its status as a Leader College in Achieving the Dream, a national initiative to improve student success at community colleges; its selection by the Aspen Institute as one of the nation’s top 150 community colleges eligible for the prestigious Prize for Excellence; its status as one of the top community colleges issuing associate’s degrees to Hispanic students; and its high-quality science and professional programs. The college’s proximity to the thriving job market along the Houston Ship Channel was also mentioned.

Value Colleges initially used data on 1,717 U.S. community colleges to find public, open-admission schools with graduation rates of 45 percent or higher, costs of less than $10,000 per year and enrollment of more than 1,000 students. The data was taken from the College Measures database.

The Value Colleges ranking comes after Lee College received national recognition in April as a 2016 American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Award of Excellence finalist in three categories: Exemplary Board/CEO, Faculty Innovation and Outstanding College/Corporate Partnership. Nearly 1,200 community colleges are members of the AACC.

The Exemplary Board/CEO award recognized the collaboration and working relationship between Pres. Dr. Dennis Brown and the Board of Regents for promoting effectiveness in governance. Treva Brown-Askey, chairwoman of Developmental Education, was a finalist in the Faculty Innovation category for demonstrating leadership in the development and implementation of a campus program that had a positive impact on the learning experience for students. The Outstanding College/Corporate Partnership category recognized the collaboration between Lee College and ExxonMobil for demonstrating success in advancing the mission of the institution, economic prosperity of the community and learning excellence.

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 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.

Ponce selected for Aspen honor

Dr. Christina Ponce

BAYTOWN, TX — Dr. Christina Ponce, Vice President of Student Success, Workforce and Resource Development at Lee College, has been awarded the prestigious Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence.

The Aspen Institute, an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, yesterday announced that Ponce joins the inaugural class of the Aspen Presidential Fellows, a diverse group of 40 extraordinary leaders with the drive and capacity to transform community colleges to achieve higher levels of student success.

Over the next decade, the majority of current community college presidents are expected to retire. At the same time, increasing numbers of students are flocking to community colleges to earn degrees that lead to good jobs, but too few actually graduate. The Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence aims to equip college leaders with the tools they need to dramatically improve student outcomes. The Fellowship is a highly selective yearlong program to prepare leaders aspiring, or recently appointed, to the community college presidency. Fellows will participate in a series of innovative seminars and ongoing mentorship focused on a new vision for leadership, delivered in collaboration with Stanford University faculty and top community college leaders.

“Dr. Ponce arrived at Lee College and immediately put her considerable skills, talents and higher education experience to work in developing new and innovative strategies to expand and enhance our students’ success,” said Dr. Dennis Brown, President of Lee College. “Her selection as an Aspen Presidential Fellow speaks to her belief in the importance and value of community college education, and her commitment to ensuring community colleges will continue to serve and support students for generations to come.”

Ponce was selected through a rigorous process that considered her abilities to take strategic risks, lead strong teams and cultivate partnerships and focus on results-oriented improvements in student success and access.

The 2016-2017 Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Experience Fellows hail from 17 states and 30 community colleges. They will begin their program in July 2016 at Stanford University with anticipated completion in spring 2017. Applications for the second class will be available by Sept. 30, 2016. For more information, visit http://aspeninstitute.org/pres-fellowship.

The Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence is funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, ECMC Foundation, Greater Texas Foundation, Joyce Foundation and Kresge Foundation.

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 center in nearby Liberty, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 13 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Debate Team wins IPDA national community college championship

BAYTOWN, TX – In a feat previously unseen in collegiate debate, the Mendoza Debate Society at Lee College has earned its third consecutive International Public Debate Association (IPDA) National Community College Debate Championship – and Director of Forensics Joe Ganakos has been named the 2016 IPDA Bennett Strange Coach of the Year.

The honors were announced at the 2016 IPDA National Championship Tournament and Convention hosted March 31-April 3 on the Lee College campus. Nearly 500 competitors participated.

Lee College debaters were the IPDA National Championship Tournament Community College Champions – delivering the best performance in the tournament’s 19-year history – and the Season Long Community College Champions, capping off a standout regular season in which the team amassed more than 150 awards and several members reached national prominence for their individual accomplishments.

The duo of captains Kyle Diamond and Rigo Ruiz won the 2015-16 IPDA Team Division National Championship, setting an all-time record for points earned in team debate. When combined with the scores earned by the third-place pair of Emmanuel Perez and Josh Lyrock, Lee College debaters also set an all-time points record en route to winning the IPDA Team Squad National Championship. Jerry McCauley was named 2015-16 IPDA Junior Varsity National Champion, and Diamond finished the season as the 2015-16 Varsity Division National Runner-Up and National Championship Tournament Varsity Finalist.

Overall, the Mendoza Debate Society at Lee College was the top-ranked debate program in Texas for the 2015-16 IPDA season – besting opponents from Southern Methodist University, Stephen F. Austin State University, Prairie View A&M University, East Texas Baptist University, College of the Mainland, San Jacinto College and Tarrant County Community College, among others. The team was also competitive against some of the top universities in the nation, finishing fifth in the IPDA Founders’ Cup race that reflects combined success in the Novice, Junior Varsity, Varsity and Professional divisions.

Diamond and Ruiz will next defend the team’s 2015 Madison Cup victory April 18 at the 2016 James Madison Commemorative Debate & Citizens Forum in Virginia. The competition field will include 36 teams from prestigious debate programs like Stanford University, Cornell University and Emory University.

For more information about the Lee College Debate Team, contact Ganakos at jganakos@lee.edu or 281.425.6502.

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 center in nearby Liberty, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 13 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Lee College chapter of the Webb Historical Society named best in Texas for 2016

The Lee College chapter of the Walter Prescott Webb Historical Society has been named 2016 Chapter of the Year by the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA) for showing outstanding commitment and outreach within the community.

Named for a distinguished University of Texas historian and former TSHA director, the Webb Society works through college and university history departments to encourage students to discover, research, write and publish the history of Texas as they find it where they live. Chapter activities focus on local, community and regional history.

TSHA presents two Chapter of the Year Awards each year: one for a university, and one for a junior or community college. The 2016 award is the third time the Lee College Webb Society has taken top community college honors in the state.

For more information about the Lee College chapter of the Walter Prescott Webb Historical Society, contact adviser Portia Hopkins at phopkins@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 center in nearby Liberty, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 13 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Honors students selected for scholarship program, national conference

BAYTOWN, TX — Students in the Lee College Honors Program have earned a coveted spot on a national academic team and been invited to present their work alongside undergraduates from around the world at a prestigious academic conference.

Micah Bullard, a dual-credit student who will graduate from the college in May, has been selected a 2016 Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Silver Scholar. Bullard is one of just 50 students in the United States to be named a Silver Scholar and will receive a $1,250 scholarship. A past recipient of the Dorothy Cooke Hayes Outstanding Honors Student Award and a recognized Honors Program completer, he intends to transfer to a four-year university following graduation.

More than 1,900 students applied this year for the Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team. The program is sponsored by The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation and administered by Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society to recognize high-achieving students at two-year colleges who demonstrate academic excellence, intellectual rigor, leadership and service that extends beyond the classroom to benefit society.

Seven Honors Program students have been selected to attend the National Undergraduate Literature Conference, to be held March 31-April 2 at Weber State University in Utah: Matthew Broussard, who will present on “The Hobbit;” Brandon Cooper, who will present on “Seven;” Hunter McHugh, who will present on “Bernice Bobs Her Hair;” Brenna Sallee, who will present on “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof;” Miranda Sallee, who will present on “Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic;” Michael Smith, who will present on “Lord of the Flies;” and Siavash Zamirpour, who will present on “Giovanni’s Room.”

The Lee College students, whose Honors Program instructors encouraged them to apply for the conference based on the strength of seminar papers they wrote in the Human Condition course, will join nearly 200 undergraduate writers and poets from throughout North America and beyond to share their work and learn from some of the most important writers in contemporary literature. Pulitzer Prize winners Douglas Blackmon and Kay Ryan will be the featured authors at the event.

For more information about the Lee College Honors Program, contact coordinator Georgeann Ward at gward or 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 center in nearby Liberty, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 13 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.