PASADENA, Texas – The Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) has awarded the San Jacinto College Board of Trustees with the ACCT Western Region Equity Award.
“ACCT’s member colleges and the individuals who serve them work tirelessly, often with little recognition,” said ACCT President and CEO Jee Hang Lee. “We are proud to shine a spotlight on some of the nation’s best public servants and professionals through our regional awards program.”
According to the ACCT website, to be eligible for the award, the Board must have demonstrated evidence of leadership in setting policies that promote and enhance opportunities for institutional diversity, inclusion, and equity for women, persons of color, LGBTQs or members of any other underrepresented or underserved population that has occurred within the last five years regarding the following:
Increases in access by underrepresented or underserved populations and increases in completion of the educational objectives (attainment of a degree, certificate, credential, transfer or gainful employment) of those populations.
Increases in the institution’s workforce and leadership positions by underrepresented or underserved populations.
Success of the institution’s community engagement or outreach efforts in attracting and maintaining the interests of underrepresented or underserved populations regarding the institution.
“The San Jacinto College Board of Trustees is deeply committed to access, equity, and the success of all of our students,” said Marie Flickinger, San Jacinto College Board of Trustees Chair. “Our College Mission, our College Values, and our College Strategic Plan each reflect our commitment to ensuring that any student who attends San Jacinto College has the financial means to do so and the resources they need in order to reach their full potential.”
The College has grown its equity efforts through its work on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council. The redesign of this council, using an intraorganizational collective impact model, resulted in exponential increases in equity work across all departments. More than 120 employees are directly engaged with the council, and all employees are involved with DEI work.
“This council’s approach to equity work has built momentum around the importance of diversity and inclusivity by providing leadership and guidance in expanding the College community’s understanding of the importance of equity work and how it touches each individual personally,” added Flickinger.
Through the Promise @ San Jac Scholarship, the College is improving access in areas with low college-going rates. The San Jacinto College Board of Trustees has been actively engaged in fundraising for and promoting the scholarship, while also monitoring student success data and speaking with community leaders about the Promise @ San Jac Scholarship impact. To date, more than 3,600 students have taken advantage of the Promise Scholarship, putting them on a pathway to a debt-free certificate or associate degree. An additional 3,219 students will begin their Promise journey this fall.
From 2017-2022, Hispanic enrollment at the College increased by 5.2% while Black/African American enrollment has remained stable. Also, during this period, the number of degrees awarded rose by 8%, and university transfers after earning 15 credits increased by 9%. The College has been ranked 10th overall by “The Hispanic Outlook on Education Magazine” for awarding associate degrees and two of the College’s programs received the 2020-2021 Excellence and Equity in Community College STEM awards.
San Jacinto College is an active participant in many community events, including parades, chambers, economic development groups, and organizations that benefit the local community or represent specific populations. In addition, the College is committed to bringing quality, educational, on-campus programs to its community to audiences of all ages. These include summer camps, theater programs, athletics, financial and wellness programs for seniors, STEM and educational events, as well as career fairs in partnership with organizations such as the Texas Workforce Commission.
“Events such as Mind Trekkers, a STEM carnival for area youth and their families, brings individuals to campus who may not otherwise have an opportunity to come to San Jacinto College,” said Dr. Brenda Hellyer, San Jacinto College Chancellor. “Not only are these young students experiencing a college campus, some for the first time, but they are also able to have fun with science and learn about possible careers.”
ACCT's Regional Awards recognize the tremendous contributions made by trustees, equity programs, chief executive officers, faculty members, and professional board staff. Colleges recognized at the regional level will be acknowledged and one award recipient will be announced during the Annual ACCT Awards Gala on Wednesday, Oct. 11 as part of the 2023 ACCT Leadership Congress.