VP DeDe Griffith awarded Aspen Presidential Fellowship

Griffith is one of only 40 nationwide selected for community college leadership program

DeDe Griffith
DeDe Griffith

BAYTOWN, TX — DeDe Griffith, interim Vice President of Learning at Lee College, has been awarded the prestigious Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence and will participate in a highly selective leadership program aimed at developing a new cadre of outstanding leaders capable of transforming student success at community colleges across the United States.

The Aspen Institute, an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, announced today that Griffith joins the 2017-18 class of  Aspen Presidential Fellows, a diverse group of 40 extraordinary administrators from around the country who will embark on a year-long fellowship in July. Delivered in collaboration with the Stanford Educational Leadership Initiative and top community college leaders, the program focuses on a new vision of leadership and aims to guide new and aspiring community college presidents to dramatically change student outcomes in four areas: learning; completion while in community college and of bachelor’s degrees after transfer; employment and earnings after graduation; and equitable access and success for underrepresented minority and low-income students.

“As an administrator and faculty member at Lee College for the past two decades, DeDe has been instrumental in developing and implementing innovative strategies and programs that enhance student success,” said Pres. Dr. Dennis Brown. “Her selection as an Aspen Presidential Fellow is a testament to the effectiveness of her student-centered philosophy and her commitment to strengthening community college education to ensure future generations of students are able to achieve their dreams.”

According to the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), 365 presidents left their posts over the last year. This staggering rate of turnover is happening at the same time that increasing numbers of students — including growing numbers of minority, low-income and first-generation college students — are flocking to community colleges to earn degrees that lead to good jobs and careers.

The 2017-18 Aspen Presidential Fellows hail from 24 states and 38 community colleges of varying sizes. Griffith 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. A past recipient of the Lee  College Faculty Excellence Award and the John & Suanne Roueche Excellence Award, Griffith also shared in institutional recognition through the AACC Award of Excellence of Student Success and coordinates and oversees many initiatives to provide greater access and completion support to all students. She is currently completing a Doctorate of Education in Professional Leadership in Education. For more information, visit http:///as.pn/1ky.

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

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.