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.

Lee a finalist for three American Association of Community Colleges awards

BAYTOWN, TX — After winning last year the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Award of Excellence for Student Success, Lee College has now been named a finalist in three separate categories for the 2016 awards cycle: Exemplary Board/CEO, Faculty Innovation and Outstanding College/Corporate Partnership.

The AACC Awards of Excellence recognize exceptional work among the nation’s two-year colleges. Winners will be announced in April at the association’s annual convention, being held this year in Chicago, April 9-12.

The Exemplary Board/CEO category honors a community college whose CEO/Board of Trustees collaboration and working relationship are exemplary in promoting effectiveness in community college governance. Lee College was also named a finalist in this category in 2015.

Treva Brown-Askey, chairwoman of Developmental Education, was selected as a finalist in the Faculty Innovation category, which recognizes instructors at AACC member colleges who have demonstrated leadership in the development and implementation of a campus program that has had positive impact on the learning experience for students. The outcome of the program should have resulted in the improvement of student completion numbers within a course or a degree field, and nominees are expected to demonstrate an ongoing commitment to student access and success.

The Outstanding College/Corporate Partnership category recognizes local, regional and national collaboration between a college and corporate partner that has achieved demonstrable, multi-year success in advancing the mission of the institution, the economic prosperity of a community, region or the nation and the learning excellence of students.

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, community celebrate McNair Center expansion

BAYTOWN, TX — The Lee College McNair Center now has an additional 50,000 square feet of instructional space where students will receive hands-on technical training with the latest technology to prepare for high-paying careers in the growing petrochemical and construction industries.

McNair Ribbon-Cutting
Photo by ©Kim Christensen
Lee College celebrated this month the grand opening of the newly expanded McNair Center, where students will receive hands-on instruction for well-paying petrochemical and construction careers. Pictured (l-r): Regent Keith Coburn, Regent Susan Moore-Fontenot, Regent Pete Alfaro, Regent Ronn Haddox, Regent Judy Jirrels, Regent Weston Cotten, Regent Wayne Gray and Pres. Dr. Dennis Brown.

More than 100 community members, elected officials and industry leaders joined Lee College this month to celebrate the grand opening of the $12 million McNair Center expansion, which was completed in January and now houses programs in machining, millwrighting, welding and pipefitting. Student ambassadors led attendees on tours of the facility before Pres. Dr. Dennis Brown and members of the Board of Regents gathered to cut the ceremonial ribbon.

Welders, pipefitters, millwrights and machinists earn a median salary of $18-24 per hour, and have the potential to earn as much as $75,000 or more annually with a two-year degree.

“At Lee College, we are changing the conversation about workforce education in our community,” Brown said. “No longer are we simply preparing students for jobs; we are preparing them for well-paying careers that last a lifetime. In the newly expanded McNair Center, more students than ever will have the opportunity to become the fully employable, highly skilled workers that industry so greatly needs. ”

Students at the center will learn within a modern industrial environment closely modeled after what they will find upon entering the workforce. Course curricula are built around standards set by the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER), allowing students to earn industry-recognized credentials that make them more competitive in the job market.

“Opportunities abound in industrial construction for anyone interested in launching a career in a lucrative skilled trade,” said Debi Jordan, executive director of the Center for Workforce and Community Development, noting the increased need for a robust pipeline of candidates to fill thousands of available positions. “Industry is looking to Lee College to help fill that pipeline, and the McNair Center will provide best-in-class facilities.”

The McNair Center will also host daytime dual-credit classes this fall that allow high school students to earn college credits, and offer evening and weekend courses for working adults who want to pursue higher education while managing job and family responsibilities.

“The expansion will allow Lee College to provide quality educational programs that are in high demand in our region,” said Dr. Cathy Kemper-Pelle, vice president of Learning. “Area residents will have ready access to welding, pipefitting, machining, and millwright programs in a convenient location along Interstate 10. Students will learn from top quality instructors in state-of-the-art labs. This facility is a game-changer.”

The McNair Center expansion was funded through a bond issue approved in 2013 by 72 percent of voters. Brown credited the overwhelming support of the community, Board of Regents, local school districts, industry partners, elected officials and McNair neighbors for helping bring to fruition the shared goal to create the premiere industrial and technical training facility in the region.

“The McNair Center — and the students whose journey to a brighter future will take them through its new laboratories and classrooms — has given all of us a reason to be proud,” Brown said.

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 office 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.

Aspen names Lee a Top 150 community college

Aspen AwardBAYTOWN, TX – The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program today named Lee College as one of the nation’s top 150 community colleges eligible to compete for the 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence and $1 million in prize funds, as well as student scholarships from the Siemens Technical Scholars Program.

This is the fourth consecutive awards cycle that Lee College has been designated an Aspen Prize Top 150 U.S. Community College.

The Prize, awarded every two years, is the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among American community colleges, acknowledging institutions for 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 and the other institutions announced today were selected from a national pool of more than 1,000 public two-year colleges using publicly available data on student outcomes in three areas:

  • Performance, including retention and graduation rates, transfers and degrees and certificates awarded per 100 full-time equivalent students;
  • Improvement, awarded for steady progress in each performance metric over time; and,
  • Equity, evidence of strong completion outcomes for minority and low-income students.

A full list of the selected colleges and details on the selection process are available at www.aspenprize.org.

“With the leadership and commitment of our Board of Regents, Lee College faculty and staff work tirelessly to develop innovative programs and strategies that ensure all of our students receive a quality education and the tools to create a better, brighter future,” said Pres. Dr. Dennis Brown. “We are proud to earn recognition as a Top 150 community college and excited to again be considered for the Aspen Prize.”

Nearly half of America’s college students attend community college, with more than 7 million youth and adult learners working towards certificates and degrees in these institutions across the country.

“Community colleges have tremendous power to change lives, and their success will increasingly define our nation’s economic strength and the potential for social mobility in our country,” said Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. “This competition is designed to spotlight the excellent work being done in the most effective community colleges, those that best help students obtain meaningful, high-quality education and training for competitive-wage jobs. We hope it will raise the bar and provide a road map to better student outcomes for community colleges nationwide.”

Lee College has been invited to submit an application to the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence containing detailed data on degree and certificate completion, labor market outcomes and student learning outcomes.

For the first time, the 150 Prize-eligible institutions are also invited to nominate exceptional students enrolled in their best middle-skill STEM programs for scholarships. Up to 50 Siemens Technical Scholars will be selected from programs that provide outstanding preparation for high-demand jobs in manufacturing, energy, health care, and information technology. A partnership between the Siemens Foundation and the Aspen Institute, the Siemens Technical Scholars Program intends to help our nation’s community colleges and their business partners bridge the gap between projected shortages of skilled workers and the millions of high-demand jobs in these STEM industries. Scholarship winners and the programs that deliver rigorous training enabling their success will be announced in fall 2016.

Ten Prize finalists will be named in fall 2016. The Aspen Institute will then conduct site visits to each of the finalists and collect additional quantitative data. A distinguished Prize Jury will select a grand prize winner and a few finalists with distinction in early 2017.

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 office 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 Lady Rebels win All-Region and All-Conference volleyball honors

Volleyball team
From left: Julia Mauer, Madison Otis, Allie Deese, Bethany Covington, and Shelby Wade. Not pictured: Alondra Bautista.

BAYTOWN, TX – Despite early injuries that threatened to derail the 2015-16 volleyball season when it had hardly begun, the Lee College Lady Rebels fought their way to a 22-10 overall record and regional and conference recognition for its high-performing student-athletes.

“We had a really good season,” said Head Coach Tracie Johnson, noting that many players learned multiple positions to be prepared to conquer any challenge they faced on the court. The team won the Midland College Tournament, Cedar Valley Tournament, Yavapai College Tournament and its own invitational en route to a second-round finish at the NJCAA Region XIV Tournament.

“Everybody came together and worked hard; everyone contributed,” Johnson said. “This team had great chemistry and a true love of the game. They had the passion.”

That passion and commitment to their sport led six Lady Rebels to NJCAA All-Region and All-Conference awards. Sophomore Alondra Bautista and freshman Madison Otis earned First Team honors; sophomore Allie Deese and freshman Shelby Wade earned a spot on the Second Team; and sophomores Julia Mauer and Bethany Covington earned Honorable Mention.

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 earns Military Friendly® School designation for 4th consecutive year

BAYTOWN, TX — For the last four years, the Lee College Veterans Center has been a source of support and community for more than 400 former service members seeking higher education and new civilian careers. It has also been the driving force behind the college’s designation as a national Military Friendly® School — in 2016, as announced this week by Victory Media, and every year since the center was founded.

Victory Media released the newest list of Military Friendly® Schools just as the Lee College Veterans Center prepares to celebrate its fourth anniversary and Veterans Day at 10 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 10, in the Rundell Hall Conference Center on the Lee College campus. The celebration event is free and open to the public, and local military service members past and present are encouraged to attend and be acknowledged.

Victory Media, publisher of G.I. Jobs, STEM Jobs and Military Spouse, awards the Military Friendly® Schools credential to the top colleges, universities and trade schools around the country that are doing the most to embrace military students and dedicate resources to ensure their success in the classroom and beyond. The designation process includes extensive research and a data-driven survey of thousands of schools nationwide approved for Post-9/11 GI Bill funding.

At Lee College, the Veterans Center strives to be a warm and friendly home away from home for military students and their families. Under the leadership of Director Ehab Mustafa, the center provides academic advising that includes development of individual education plans for each student; advising about educational benefits, like the G.I. Bill and Hazlewood exemption, and the certification process; and moral and mental health support that includes career guidance, peer tutoring and individualized counseling. The center also works to ensure military students are connected with prospective employers through special job fairs, workshops and networks for internships and other opportunities.

Students are always welcome to drop by the Veterans Center between classes, grab a snack or cup of coffee, study from one of the textbooks in the Veterans Library, use the computer and free printing, and spend time in the company of their fellow veterans. They can join the Student Veterans of Lee College and the nationally recognized Student Veterans Honor Society, and are encouraged to continue their service to others through participation in events like the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, visits to local hospice and nursing home facilities and fundraising for veterans in need.

Lee College will be showcased along with other 2016 Military Friendly® Schools in the December issue of G.I. Jobs magazine and on MilitaryFriendly.com.

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.

SmartAsset ranks Lee in nation’s top ten community colleges

BAYTOWN, TX — Lee College has again been named one of the best community colleges in the country — this time ranking among the nation’s top ten according to a new study by SmartAsset, a financial technology company that has been featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Forbes magazine.

Lee College is the only community college in Texas to make the top ten on SmartAsset’s list, which ranked the 100 best community colleges in the United States.

The company compiled its rankings based on an analysis of 565 public two-year colleges that used four key metrics reflective of quality, cost, student success and return on investment: the graduation and transfer rate at each school; cost of in-state tuition; ratio of average starting salary to the overall cost of attendance; and the student-teacher ratio.

Based on SmartAsset’s calculations, Lee College took the ninth overall spot on the list — due in large part to its wide variety of program options, flexible class offerings to meet the needs of working students and general affordability.

“The school can be a good option for students who want to continue working while taking classes,” researchers concluded. “It is also very inexpensive, with total annual tuition and fees of around $1,500 for in-district students.”

The SmartAsset ranking is the second time this year that Lee College has received national recognition as a top community college. In September, Lee College was named one of the 50 best community colleges in the country by WalletHub, which examined 610 institutions nationwide.

In May, the Brookings Institution ranked Lee College second in the nation for contribution to the economic success of its graduates, placing in the top 1 percent of all community colleges in the United States. In 2014, PayScale ranked Lee College fourth among U.S. two-year institutions for graduate earning potential, and Community College Week recognized the college as one of the top associate-degree producers in the country.

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.

Study ranks Lee in nation’s 50 best community colleges

Lee College is one of the 50 best community colleges in the country, according to the results of a nationwide study released this week by personal finance website <a href=”http://www.wallethub.com&#8221; target=”_blank”>WalletHub</a>.

Lee College was one of four community colleges in Texas to be ranked among the top 50 community colleges in the country on the WalletHub list, compiled through an analysis of 670 institutions nationwide. Community colleges in the study were compared across four dimensions: cost and financing, classroom experience, education outcomes and career outcomes.

Lee College was 45th overall on the WalletHub list, ranking 12th in the education outcomes category that measured first-year retention rates, graduation rates and credentials awarded. The college ranked 29th in cost and financing, which measured factors including tuition and fees; the amount of local, state, and federal aid; and the school’s per-pupil spending.

The WalletHub list is not the first time Lee College has ranked highly in a nationwide study. In May, the Brookings Institution ranked Lee College second in the nation for contribution to the economic success of its graduates — placing in the top 1 percent of all community colleges in the United States. In 2014, PayScale ranked Lee College fourth among U.S. two-year institutions for graduate earning potential, and Community College Week recognized the college as one of the top associate-degree producers in the country.

Lee wins national student success award

Lee College has earned national recognition from the American Association of Community Colleges 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.

Posed shot of administration, regents and awards
Lee College Pres. Dr. Dennis Brown, the Board of Regents and cabinet-level administrators celebrated winning the 2015 AACC Award of Excellence for Student Success at the regular board meeting held Thursday, April 30, 2015.

The association announced Lee College the winner of the 2015 Award of Excellence for Student Success Monday, April 20, at its annual awards gala in San Antonio. The coveted award honors the American community college that has best demonstrated — through evidence — a sustained commitment to student success, and proactively advances that cause.

“Lee College is focused on enhancing the learning, participation and success of our students,” said Pres. Dr. Dennis Brown. “We believe in providing support to students from connection to graduation, then on to the workforce in the career of their choice, or to a four-year institution. It is exciting to see the hard work and commitment of our outstanding faculty, staff, Board of Regents and community honored by the American Association of Community Colleges on a national level.”

The Student Success to the Core approach at Lee College is focused on involving all influencers in the process of helping students make a seamless transition into higher education. Dr. Christy Ponce, Vice President for Student Success, Workforce and Resource Development, said student success has been an institution-wide effort to support students from entry to completion of their chosen degree or certificate.

“It has been incredible to see every department get involved in some way: hosting students on campus to preview academic and technical programs; hosting STEM and family events; promoting fast-track training programs; offering scholarships, internships, and industry mentor opportunities; and helping students one-on-one through each of the enrollment steps,” Ponce said. “The dedicated individuals at Lee College have all come together in a big way to support student access, retention, and completion and are working to eliminate student barriers.”

High school and college counselors and faculty collaborate to align curricula to reduce the need for developmental coursework and increase student success in college classes. Students work with peer mentors and have the opportunity to take dual-credit courses while still in high school. Parents are offered resources that strengthen the at-home support system, like the free and bilingual Parent College 101. Parents surveyed about their participation called the program helpful and highly informative.

“This national award for Student Success is a testament to the great work going on at Lee College, from the main campus and McNair Center in Baytown, to the centers in Huntsville and Liberty, and all of our dual-credit sites,” Ponce said. “The college is scaling successful efforts and leading new regional initiatives on STEM and workforce, and is committed to helping each of our students be successful in reaching their educational goals.”

Business and industry partners, as well as non-profit organizations and local government and community volunteers, participate in the “Cradle to Career” network. There are also enhanced science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs, scholarships and paid internships. DeDe Griffith, director of Student Success, noted the national champion Lee College Debate Team, award-winning Honors Program and organizations like Phi Theta Kappa as proof the student-centered approach has merit.

“Working collaboratively, students, faculty, staff and administrators are breaking down silos for the greater outcomes for students,” Griffith said. “Every day there are examples of faculty, staff and administrators demonstrating a commitment beyond their general duties to help students complete their degree or certificate. It is all about forming meaningful relationships — internally and externally, but most importantly with students.”

The American Association of Community Colleges also praised the Gulf Coast Partners Achieving Student Success (GCPASS) Program, a partnership between Lee College and the Goose Creek Consolidated Independent School District for which the college was awarded the prestigious 2014 Texas Higher Education Star Award. Through GCPASS, the college provides comprehensive off-site enrollment services at no charge to seniors at each of the 11 high schools in its service area.

“GCPASS has been an integral part of eliminating student barriers and fears about higher education,” Brown said. “While other Texas schools have experienced enrollment declines, GCPASS has helped us increase enrollment — in part by attracting and supporting students who might not otherwise have gone to college.”

Lee College was also one of four national finalists for the 2015 Award of Excellence in the Exemplary Board/CEO category in recognition of the working relationship between Brown and the Board of Regents in college governance.