NORTH CHANNEL – The Monument Room at San Jacinto College North was packed with students, teachers, and guests wanting to hear the San Jacinto College Chancellor, Dr. Brenda Hellyer, a favorite educator and leader of that institution.
In her keynote talk, Dr. Hellyer gave a status report on the college, and then went on to describe the changes taking place in education and at San Jac, and her vision of the future of the institution and education in general.
She said that the college now has about 30,000 students, of which 8300 are at SJ North. Continued growth has spurred a building program, including a new library and a new Center for Industry & Technology under construction on the North campus. San Jac serves 6 of the surrounding school districts, including Galena Park, Sheldon, Channelview, LaPorte, Pasadena, and Deer Park.
Of the present students, 49% are Hispanic, and 70% are part-time. Many of them are first generation college bound in their family. However, she said “Our job is to help our students succeed.”
Current programs which she detailed include an accelerated Math program, and MECA, or Modified Early College Academy, for high school students who then get college credit. She said they now have two of these programs in place, with more to come, including Galena Park ISD.
Hellyer said that last year, the college granted 5222 Associate Degrees or Certificates, and of these 4500 transferred to a 4 year program.
In today’s academic world, there is a culture change, she said, and students want credentials, to go on to higher education or a better job.
San Jacinto College is one of the most affordable colleges, with costs for a year of $1690. The tax rate for property owners is .1856/$100 valuation.
San Jac takes all students that apply, 100%, and that is part of the challenge for a Community College.
Popular programs at SJC include STEM, Petrochem courses, auto/body, and Nursing. The college also works closely with the Texas Workforce program, and the Port of Houston. They have a unique Maritime program, and soon a new building to house it.
New construction on all campuses is part of a $295 million bond program passed in 2008. There may be a new bond issue in November of this year, to meet growth needs.
Included in the future is a branch at Generation Park of Beltway East.
Hellyer is watching action at the Texas Legislature, with 4 year bachelor programs of interest, as well as Campus Carry and the Dream Act.