As the temperatures warm up in Texas for the spring, the heat is on as we begin advance planning for the next session of the state legislature.
Although, the session doesn't kick off until next January, interim legislative committee meetings are well under way to address funding, education issues and other topics that affect DCCCD and other colleges and universities.
I would like to share some updates with you about those activities and several other efforts we're engaged in right now.
The House Appropriations Committee held a joint hearing with the House Higher Education Committee almost two weeks ago in Austin to take a hard look at community college funding.
I was invited to address the joint committee as was Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Commissioner Raymund Parades.
During the hearing, we reminded committee members about the number of poor students in Texas who are deliberately deciding to enroll at a community college because it's affordable and close to home.
As part of the state's 60x40 plan to educate more Texans and prepare them for the workforce, those numbers continue to increase. With those increases also comes the need for additional resources to cover instruction, facilities, and programs that help them succeed.
I testified about the balance community colleges must find with our three primary revenue sources – local funding, tuition, and state funding. I also reminded them that state support is now the smallest portion of our revenue mix.
The Senate higher education committee met last week and discussed dual credit and early college high school initiatives. Those partnerships are increasing student success and filling the college pipeline with high school students who have completed their credentials and are ready for post-secondary education.
On that same topic, Dr. Michael Hinojosa, superintendent of Dallas ISD, attended our board meeting this week to discuss expanding our partnership with them.
DCCCD is partnering with Dallas ISD to open eight new collegiate academies this fall, which will be designated as early college high schools later this year.
And the first P-Tech school in Dallas County, which will be affiliated with Eastfield College, will open as one of those new schools. Its corporate partner is AT&T.
Our district's dual credit program and early college high schools are putting more high school students in the pipeline to college. As they earn college credentials and enter the workforce, those programs are supporting both student success and economic development.
Leadership is a critical component in all of these efforts in our district. I would like to congratulate Dr. Sharon Blackman, who is the recipient of an international leadership award. She is the first DCCCD representative to earn the 2016 Paul Elsner International Excellence in Leadership Award from the Chair Academy.
The Chair Academy has provided professional development for individuals in leadership positions or to aspiring leaders throughout its 25-year history. Dr. Jennifer Wimbish introduced Dr. Blackman during the awards program. Dr. Blackman serves as the district's Talent Central strategic learning consultant.
Speaking of Dr. Wimbish, you are aware that she is retiring as president of Cedar Valley College. A national search is under way to name the next president of Cedar Valley College.
I have already met with the Cedar Valley campus community to hear their feedback concerning the characteristics they would like to see in their next president. Advertising has been placed in multiple outlets. Our search firm, Greenwood-Asher, is in the process of recruiting candidates.
Search committee assignments are being finalized, and I plan to make a recommendation to our board of trustees in time for the fall semester. We will continue to provide you with updates.
Also...Candidates running for District 2, 3 and 4 seats on the DCCCD board of trustees are participating in three remaining forums during the next several weeks. All forums are open to students, employees and the general public.
A candidates forum was held at Eastfield College last week.
The next forum will be held on April 14th at noon in the Brookhaven College Performance Hall.
Richland College is the site for a forum on April 19th at 9:30 a.m. in their Performance Hall,
And the final forum will be held on April 27th at 12:30 p.m. in room G104 at North Lake College. The election will be held on May 7th.
Have a great weekend!