The Aspen Institute once again named San Jacinto College one of the top 5 national institutions as a finalist with distinction among more than 1,100 community colleges across the United States on May 18 during its virtual national award ceremony. Aspen for Community College Excellence.
âReceiving this honor is a clear signal that we put students first,â said Dr. Laurel Williamson, Vice Chancellor and President of San Jacinto College. âStudents have many options in making decisions about college. Whether they are new high school graduates, returning students, or students looking to advance or change careers, the choices in the region of Houston are large and diverse. We are a college that prioritizes student success by providing access and support that leads to equity for all students. “
The $ 1 million Aspen Award for Community College Excellence, awarded every two years, is the national recognition of US community colleges. The Aspen Award recognizes institutions that have accomplished outstanding achievement in four areas: teaching and learning, certificate and diploma achievement, career success, and equitable outcomes for students of color and low-income students.
By focusing on student success and promoting models that work, the Aspen Prize aims to celebrate excellence, emphasize equitable student success, and stimulate the reproduction of a culture and a effective practice.
Jose DejesusGil, Director of Outreach and Recruitment at San Jacinto College, adds that given the last year the College is undergoing modified operations and facilitating all online student instruction and services due to COVID-19, much of the success also goes to college administrators, staff, and faculty to go the extra mile to ensure that students have the same resources available even in a virtual environment.
âSan Jacinto College has long been a leader in excellence, and this recognition only confirms that commitment,â said DejesusGil. âThe work of our staff, faculty and administrators in a normal year is phenomenal, but all the more so given the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented. From our maintenance teams who installed hand sanitizers and kept the facilities ready for students and staff to return, to our student services staff who guided students through virtual meetings and engagement opportunities. , at our faculty who recreated their lessons in a virtual format – every San Jacinto College employee has remained committed to our students’ success. “
Last year, the Aspen Institute and the Siemens Foundation named San Jacinto College one of its recipients of the STEM Community College Excellence and Equity Award for the College’s Associate Degree Programs in Nursing. and in process technology, the only college to be nationally recognized for two programs. The award recognizes community college programs that provide exceptional preparation for high-demand jobs in advanced manufacturing, energy, healthcare and information technology. Additionally, the eight programs of the seven community college scholarship recipients have also been recognized for their intentional outreach and support to diverse populations that are typically under-represented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers. Each winning program received $ 50,000, with half of the funds going to program development and the other half as scholarships for outstanding students, known as Siemens Technical Scholars.
âWhen community, business and industry leaders want to make meaningful change for the well-being of citizens and workers, they must seek out a partner who understands how to effect and manage the change. San Jacinto College is that partner, âsaid Williamson. âWe are leaders in workforce development and economic development, and we are leaders in transfer pathways. In collaboration with university partners, we ensure that our students are prepared for this next stage of obtaining the baccalaureate. We are proud to be the educational partner of many of our local communities and business organizations. This national recognition from Aspen will create additional opportunities for us to be a partner of choice for national and international industries seeking an institution capable of providing innovative training to meet changing labor demands. ”
The Aspen Institute first recognized San Jacinto College in 2017 as a Top 5 National Community College and a recipient of the Rising Star Award. In 2019, the College was named one of the 10 finalists for the Aspen Prize.
This press release was prepared by San Jacinto College. The opinions expressed here are those of the author.