Thousands of local students coming to campus this week for JA Inspire event

Lee College will partner with Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas  this week to host the JA Inspire career awareness fair from Tuesday, Jan. 27, through Thursday, Jan. 29, for more than 3,000 local eighth-grade students.

The 3-day JA Inspire event is an innovative work-readiness program that will give students the opportunity to interact with different industries and explore potential career paths. Approximately 1,100 students from the Goose Creek Consolidated, Barbers Hill, Crosby, Dayton, Hardin, Hull-Daisetta and Liberty independent school districts will be bussed to the Lee College campus in Baytown each day to participate.

“As the institution of higher learning committed to serving these areas, Lee College is proud to host the JA Inspire event and excited to welcome these students to campus,” said Pres. Dr. Dennis Brown. “Now is the time to encourage our youth to think seriously about their professional goals, and the preparation they will need to achieve those goals.”

JA Inspire students will spend their day at Lee College attending five breakout sessions, where they will hear from speakers and participate in activities that provide an in-depth look at careers in multiple sectors: science, technology, engineering, mathematics, business, public service, arts and humanities, and multi-disciplinary professions.

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LC announced as double-finalist for national AACC Awards of Excellence

Lee College was recently announced as a finalist in two separate categories for the 2015 American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Awards of Excellence, which recognize exceptional work among two-year colleges across the United States.

Lee College is one of four national finalists in the Exemplary/CEO Board category in recognition of the collaboration and working relationship between Pres. Dr. Dennis Brown and the Board of Regents in college governance.

Lee College is also one of four national finalists in the Student Success category, which honors a community college that has demonstrated — through evidence — a sustained commitment to student success, and proactively advances that cause.

The AACC created the Awards of Excellence program to celebrate the extraordinary, and often visionary, work being done at its member colleges. Only four community colleges in Texas were selected this year as finalists in any of the seven program categories; winners will be announced Monday, April 20, at the annual AACC convention gala in San Antonio.

“These are models that … put us on the pathway to reimagining our institutions — not as they are, but as they can be,” AACC President and CEO Walter G. Bumphus said in a statement on the organization website. “With this special program, we do define excellence.”

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Lee named a 2015 STEM Jobs Approved College

Lee College has gained national recognition for its programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) after earning distinction this month as a 2015 STEM Jobs Approved College by Victory Media.

Victory Media compiled the first-of-its-kind STEM Jobs Approved list by scoring submitted survey responses and publicly available data from 1,600 colleges and universities across the United States. For its selection, Lee College will be featured in the Winter 2015 issue of STEM Jobs magazine.

Schools designated by Victory Media as STEM Jobs Approved Colleges have aligned their programs with and prepared students for high-demand, high-wage careers, while also embracing diversity and allocating resources specifically to support student success in STEM fields.

“With the list of STEM Jobs Approved Colleges, we’re able to help parents, students and guidance counselors evaluate how well education is translating into real-world jobs, and how responsive institutions are to meeting those demands,” said Daniel Nichols, president of STEM Jobs. “We’re pleased to showcase schools like Lee College as leading the way in this area.”

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Debate Team earns invitation to prestigious Madison Cup competition

The co-captains of the Lee College Debate Team will take to the podium in April at the prestigious 2015 Madison Cup in Virginia, squaring off against invited opponents from some of the most elite college and university debate programs in the world.

Cody Bijou and Reagan Dobbs will represent Lee College at the competition, hosted by James Madison University and the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation. The pair are ranked as the No. 1 and No. 2 individual debaters in the Varsity division of the International Public Debate Association (IPDA), and the No. 1 IPDA team in the nation.

Participants in the 2014 Madison Cup included top institutions like Yale University, Stanford University, Cornell University, George Washington University, Brandeis University, the College of William & Mary, Emory University, and the United States Naval Academy. International attendees included the University of Cape Town and the Irish National Debate Team.

“Lee College students will compete on the same stage as some of the most storied and talented intercollegiate debate programs in the nation,” said instructor and debate team coach Joe Ganakos. “This is a rare and unexpected accolade for a community college. We remain dedicated to testing ourselves against debaters from some of the most respected institutions of higher education in the nation, and proving that Lee College can stand toe to toe with them.”

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Rebels visit Clark Elementary, will face Jacksonville College on Saturday

Members of the Runnin’ Rebels Basketball Team recently brought the LC spirit to Clark Elementary, with Rooty and the student-athletes helping students board their buses at the end of the school day.

Clark teachers, students and staff were special guests when the Rebels beat Blinn College 76-72 at the Sports Arena. The team followed their win over the Buccaneers with a 100-108 loss against Angelina College in Lufkin; an 89-84 victory over Lamar State College at home; and a 58-68 loss against Coastal Bend College in Beeville.

The Rebels will return to the Sports Arena this Saturday, Jan. 31, in district play against Jacksonville College. Students, faculty and staff get free admission to the game with college ID.

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This Week in Innovation – Sparking excitement about literature

Engaging and Empowering Students to Discuss Literature

By Mary P. Barnes

I have loved literature for as long as I can remember, and great stories have always seemed like a conversation with a close friend. As an English instructor, I feel blessed when I read stories that give me a glimpse into a world I know little about—from the experiences of an impoverished sharecropping family in William Faulkner’s Barn Burning to the heroic journey of love made by Phoenix Jackson in Eudora Welty’s A Worn Path. In these stories, the characters are born in different times and experience hardships that I have not. What I do know, however, is that no matter how different the story’s historical, political, social, or economical settings are from my own story, the characters’ lives are rife with truths and lessons that are just as applicable today. These stories offer a deeper look at life and show real consequences for choices made by the characters. As these stories are shared and discussed with students, the characters become sage friends advising our students on how to live their own lives.

These discussions offer a way for students to engage in collaborative inquiry and construct knowledge through analyzing texts. They also engage students in critical thinking and critical thought, and perhaps more importantly, they remind students that they are not alone in their life stories. Many students do not always understand the value of examining lives through literature and lack the self-confidence to engage in conversation about what they have read. Thus, English instructors often experience low-level student engagement in literary discussions. This is in large part because students often suffer in their learning experiences because they do not understand the relevancy of the material and spend minimal time on task. Hence, it is imperative that instructors make students aware of the value of literature and its relevance to their lives. Only then can they become truly interested, take responsibility for their own learning, and improve discussion skills.

Teaching literature to students who are unmotivated to learn can be a difficult challenge for any instructor to overcome. First, instructors must show students how to see their realities reflected in texts. When students make personal connections, learning becomes much more authentic, more exciting, and more meaningful for them. Second, instructors need to engage students by empowering them with confidence. Many students come to class with low self-esteem and even lower perceptions of their academic abilities. This results in a lack of confidence to read a story and then make valuable contributions to class discussions. They either feel they have nothing relevant to say, or they fear that what they say might be wrong. Some students may not read the story at all to avoid having to discuss it in class. Our task as instructors is to instill confidence and motivate students to believe they have something worthwhile to contribute to class discussions.

Students need to be affirmed and valued by their instructors, called by name, and know they will be missed when they do not attend class. Students need to be acknowledged and encouraged to expound upon their thoughts. Through affirmation and prompting, students can work through self-esteem issues, past criticisms and hidden biases, to form their own concrete understanding from an informed perspective. As instructors, we must meet our students where they are in their lives and take them a step further. As we teach what we hope will be illuminating lessons, we must understand that we have no real idea what experiences our students have endured, and which of these experiences may have silenced them from speaking. We can only hope that we build an environment that periodically reminds them that the classroom is a safe place to discuss and to reflect on literature, themselves, and society.

Finally, literature is a powerful tool for learning, discussing, and collaborating in classrooms. Rich, meaningful discussions of literature can encourage students to define problems, ask questions, participate in dialogue, and learn through self-reflection. When students read, comprehend, and respond to good literature, they develop far more than literacy skills. They participate in the human experience, becoming more compassionate and tolerant of the lives around them. Instructors have the responsibility of providing an environment that engages and empowers students to find their own voices.

Barnes is an instructor of English at Wallace State Community College in Alabama. Contact her by e-mail at mary.barnes@wallacestate.edu.

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Rebel Rousing: Staff member featured as expert in STEM study

Marron featured as expert voice in WalletHub study

Victoria Marron, director of the federal Hispanic-Serving Institutions STEM grant and coordinator of the Puente Project, was featured as an expert voice this month in a WalletHub.com study of the best and worst metropolitan areas for STEM professionals. The Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land region ranked first overall for STEM professionals out of the 100 largest metro areas in the United States.

Click here to see the full list and read Marron’s comments on STEM education and workforce preparation.

Great job, Victoria!

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Weekly Wellness from Jason Summers

Raw Chocolate Cake

By Karen Foster

One of my favorite ways to make chocolate cake is raw with coconut oil, dates, cashews and cacao butter as the primary ingredients. This recipe is one of the better ones I’ve tried due to its texture, taste and heavenly chocolate bliss.

For the Crust:
• 2 cups raw almonds, 200 gr.
• 1 cup dates
• 1 tbsp. raw honey
• 1 tbsp. coconut oil

Blend the almond, the dates and the coconut oil in the food processor until fine crumbs. Don’t do it in the blender, because we want to leave some nuts rough and the blender mixes them to a more creamy mixture. Then add the honey, mix it by hand and press into the bottom of a spring form or any dish you find suitable. Use a square ceramic dish. Put in the freezer until the filling is ready.

For the Filling:
• 2 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked for 1-2 hours, 300 gr.
• 1/3 cup water
• 1/3 cup maple syrup
• 1/3 cup raw honey
• 1/3 cup melted cacao butter
• 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
• pinch of salt
• 2-3 tbsp. raw cacao powder
• frozen fruits – cherries, berries, everything works

Blend everything without the fruits and the cacao powder in the blender until completely smooth. Then pour the filling in a mixing bowl and add the cacao powder and the fruits. Place the filling above the crust and freeze for 2-3 hours in the refrigerator. Keep your cake in the fridge and enjoy at any time.

Time for preparation: 30 minutes. Serves 8-10.

Foster is a holistic nutritionist and avid blogger with five kids and an active lifestyle that keeps her in pursuit of the healthiest path towards a life of balance.

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Students return today for spring classes, Rundell Hall renovations complete

Students returning to campus today for Spring 2015 classes will find an energized faculty, motivated staff and the newly renovated Rundell Hall — now a one-stop shop for all the services they need to hit the ground running.

Offices for general campus information, admissions and registration, counseling and advising, financial aid, disability services, the Veterans Center and the Student Success Center are all conveniently located on the first floor of Rundell Hall, with administrative offices and the Testing Center on the second floor. A formal ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house for the building are planned for February.

Touting early estimates that show a slight increase in spring semester enrollment from the previous year and data indicating an upward trend in retention and graduation rates, Pres. Dr. Dennis Brown encouraged all employees to continue pushing the college to greater heights to benefit the community it serves.

“Our students come to Lee College from all walks of life, with all types of academic and social backgrounds, to get an education that will help them fulfill their dreams,” Brown said during his annual State of the College Address. “We’re moving in the right direction, but what can we do to get to the next level? You have the ideas, and it’s our responsibility as your leadership to help execute them.”

Welcome Week Activities for Spring 2015
All events are free and located at the Student Center

Monday, Jan. 12 – Photo T-Shirts/ Key chains
Tuesday, Jan. 13 – Photo Mouse Pads
Wednesday, Jan. 14 – Photo beverage insulator
Thursday, Jan. 15 – Photo Flip Book

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New campus-wide campaign puts emphasis on great customer service

With buttons pinned to collars and lapels, banner ads on plasma screens and signs placed on desks, Lee College employees are sending a new message this semester to students and campus visitors: “Ask us! We care.”

Officially launched at the Spring 2015 Professional Development Day, the “Ask Us! We Care” campaign is designed to ensure and promote excellent customer service. Students are encouraged to ask questions and seek guidance, and employees are reminded to go the extra mile to help students find the answers and support they need to be successful.

The campaign also asks employees and students to take special notice when they see someone providing great customer service — such as giving a smile and a shoulder to a student having a difficult moment, or guiding a lost visitor to their desired campus location — and submit their name for recognition via the college website. Submissions will be reviewed each month and winners will be featured in campaign promotions and treated to lunch with the president. In December, all honorees will be invited to a dinner with the President’s Cabinet and the Lee College Board of Regents.

Watch the skit announcing the Ask Us! We Care campaign, courtesy of LeeTV.
Nominate a helpful employee who deserves to be recognized.

 

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