International Activities Week

This week is International Education Week, and Student Activities is teaming up with the International Education Committee for special events.

Tuesday, Nov. 13, 1-3 p.m.

International sweet treats, DJ and presentations in the Student Center Game Room.

Wednesday, Nov. 14, 12:30 p.m.

Harry Potter Trivia Quiz Show. Come over to the Game Room to participate in the quiz and have a chance to win part of $250.

Thursday, Nov. 15, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Harry Potter House stuff-a-critter event. Get yourself sorted out then grab your house mascot to stuff, scarf and keep.

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Stay the Course

Photo of Dennis Brown

Dennis Brown, Lee College president

Earning a college degree ranks toward the top of the list of one’s personal accomplishments. It is a major milestone, and has impact on potential job income, career satisfaction, quality of life, and self-esteem. Staying the course, or operationally defined here as making steady progress toward the completion of a college degree, is essential if one is to achieve the above milestone. There are many roadblocks that can and do stand in the way of students’ completion of their programs of study. We know that students, at whatever pace they choose, do make steady, even if slow, progress toward competing their courses and eventually walk across the stage with their college degree in hand. When a student stops out, that is basically takes a break from enrolling in college courses, the likelihood of them returning to college diminishes, and ultimately leading to the unlikelihood that they will earn a college degree. To no surprise, among the reasons for “stopping out,” is due to the inability to find the resources to pay for tuition, fees, books and living expenses.

 

The Trellis Company (2018) recently conducted a study of students in Texas public community colleges to assess student financial wellness.  The results were eye opening.  For Lee College, more female students responded to the survey than male students, while the breakout of ethnicity and part-time versus full-time attendance were fairly consistent with our actual student demographics.  So what did we learn?  The study reaffirmed that there is a clear interplay between student collegiate finances and academic performance, such as retention and graduation.  Students experience high levels of stress related to finances and meeting basic needs, which ultimately impacts academic potential.

The study looked at key findings in four areas: Student Financial Security, Student Perceptions of Institutional Support, Student Basic Need Security, and Paying for College and Student Debt. A few of the findings for Student Financial Security were that more than 71 percent of the respondents worry about having enough money to pay for college. More than three quarters of the respondents reported running out of money at least once in the last 12 months. More than half of the students reported that it is important that they support their family while in college. Regarding Student Perceptions of Institutional Support, 42 percent of the respondents stated that their colleges actively work to reduce the financial challenges they face; 61 percent believe that their institution works to make tuition more affordable. With respect to Student Basic Needs Security, food insecurity is quite common among students, while more than half of the respondents showed signs of housing insecurity. Finally, as it relates to paying for College and Student Debt, about half of the respondents reported having more student debt than they had expected; 80 percent reported borrowing a “payday loan” at least once within the last 12 months.

What is Lee College doing to minimize the impact of these student concerns so that students can focus on successfully completing their courses and degrees? Well, we are doing a lot. Of course, as much as we do, there is always much more that needs to be done. The Board of Regents is always cognizant of the impact of proposed tuition and fee increases on students, and as such carefully evaluates the need for such increases and keeps them to a minimum. There are ongoing efforts to minimize the cost of course textbooks, such as offering used books, book rentals, and when appropriate, e-books. The College aggressively seeks funding for students to pay the cost of going to college, such as connecting students to federal resources, like the Pell Grant, scholarships, most of which are funded through the Lee College Foundation (through the generosity of many individual donors as well as corporate donors), offering payment plans, and connecting students to part-time employment, including paid internships with business and industry. Lee College operates a Food Bank, which is supported by the generosity of many area residents and the Houston Food Bank.

Considering how much is being done, there is always more that needs to be done. On behalf of our students, I cannot thank enough those who step forward year after year, individuals, businesses and industry partners, to help our student meet their financial needs. Doing so is an investment in our students, the College, the communities we serve and the future of our society. Lee College is preparing the workers, leaders and citizens of tomorrow. Every dollar spent to make this happen is a dollar that defines not only the student’s future but the future for all of us. Thank you for helping our students Stay the Course!

 

Dr. Dennis Brown

President

Lee College

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Blackboard Ally helps you reach more, teach more

Technology opens new worlds of learning to students of different abilities, and Lee College is phasing in a system designed to help you open your courses to students with non-traditional learning needs.

Blackboard Ally supplements the teaching opportunities offered by the Blackboard system you are already using by helping you to ensure your lessons are accessible to students who may struggle with traditional materials due to special needs.

Laura Lane-Worley, part of the team implementing the system for Lee College, said 18 faculty members have been a pilot group in the fall semester, each using Ally in one class they teach.

Ally does three things, she said:

  1. It provides a report at the institutional level of how accessible online materials are to students with special accessibility needs.
  2. It points out to faculty members where their online materials on Blackboard need accessibility improvements and
  3. It provides directions and suggestions for improving accessibility.

Blackboard offers students options to make materials easier to comprehend, such as switching between pdf and html formats, reading text out loud in an mp3 format or, with the proper equipment, converting text to electronic Braille.

However, all of those conversions require that the source material be entered properly. It’s all to easy to save a few seconds by entering text in a way that makes no difference to the traditional learner, but also prevents the use of accessibility features that most users never even think about.

Lane-Worley said the faculty who piloted the program this semester with one class each will be using it in all classes next semester.

Now, she is looking for some volunteers to try in out in one class in the spring semester.

More volunteers will also be sought for the summer sessions, she said, ahead of campus-wide implementation in the fall of 2019.

The goal is to have a base of experienced users across departments before full implementation.

You can contact Laura Lane-Worley at llaneworley@lee.edu.

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Final weekend for ‘Animal Farm’

"Animal Farm" graphic, with some story information repeatedThe Lee College Players will present “George Orwell’s Animal Farm” in the black box theater of the Lee College Performing Arts Center for two weekends, opening Friday.

Performances will be 7:30 p.m. Friday, 9:30 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

The 9:30 p.m. Saturday performance is later than usual. For that performance only, all tickets will be $7 and will include two snack bar items.

The later performance is required to accommodate the Jazz @ Lee College presentation in the Performing Arts Center at 7:30 p.m.

The stage play is adapted by Ian Wooldrige from the book by George Orwell. (Wikipedia article about the book)

Orwell’s satire on the perils of Stalinism has proved magnificently long-lived as a parable about totalitarianism anywhere and has given the world at least one immortal phrase: “Some are more equal than others.”

The animals on Manor Farm drive out their master and take over and run the farm for themselves. The experiment is successful, except that someone has to take the deposed farmer’s place. Leadership devolves upon the pigs, which are cleverer than the rest of the animals. Unfortunately, their character is not equal to their intelligence. This dramatization remains faithful to the book’s plot and intent, and it retains both its affection for the animals and the incisiveness of its message.

General admission tickets are $15. Lee College students, faculty and staff can get tickets for $8. Tickets may be purchased online at www.lee.edu/pac.

Some material in the play may be too graphic for young viewers.

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From the President: Leadership Matters

Photo of Dennis Brown

Dennis Brown, Lee College president

As with any organization, having the right leadership team in place can make, as Jim Collins in his well-known book Good to Great argues, a good organization great.  Now clearly, as the President of Lee College, I can be accused of implicitly believing this is true for Lee College.  However, the facts stand for themselves, and over the years, you have heard about many of these achievements.  Lee College has demonstrated an extraordinary ability to serve the needs of its students and the wonderful communities that it serves.  This is due to the outstanding faculty and staff that has been assembled at the College, but also the direct result of the leadership team assembled to manage the institution.

Success starts at the top.  For Lee College that means a locally elected Board of Regents who provide oversight of the institution.  Among their most important responsibilities are to hire the President and approve a budget.  The Regents are your friends and neighbors, elected from the Baytown and Highlands communities.  They serve six-year terms.  All nine Regents volunteer their time and talents to provide guidance in ensuring that Lee College excels in its many endeavors.  The Regents currently serving on the Board are Pete Alfaro, Chairman, Mark Hall, Vice Chairman, Judy Jirrels, Secretary, Weston Cotten, Assistant Secretary, Dr. Keith Coburn, Gina Guillory, Mark Himsel, Susan Moore Fontenot and Gilbert Santana.  Their dedication to Lee College and their commitment to providing leadership to the institution are exceptional.  The Board continually hones its skills by participating in professional development, like this week’s Association of Community College Trustees Annual Leadership Congress in New York.  At this meeting, several Regents are learning about ways to further advance the goals of the Lee College.

The day-to-day operations of Lee College fall under the responsibility of the President’s Cabinet.  These senior administrators are seasoned and well versed in their respective areas of responsibility.  As the Board does in selecting the President, the President has the opportunity to assemble a talented team to lead the College’s faculty and staff.  This powerful team has made an impressive impact on their respective areas of responsibility.  Serving as Lee College’s Executive Vice President is Dr. Christina Ponce.  Dr. Ponce oversees our Workforce noncredit and contract training division, Student Affairs, Student Success, and Resource Development.  Dr. Angela Oriano serves as the Vice President for Workforce and Corporate Partnerships, Dr. Donnetta Suchon is the College’s Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Veronique Tran is the Vice President of Instruction, Ms. Annette Ferguson is Lee College’s new Vice President of Finance and Administration/Chief Financial Officer, Dr. Carolyn Lightfoot serves as the Chief Technology Officer, Layton Childress is our Dean of Applied Sciences, Dr. Onimi Wilcox is the Dean of Academic Studies, Donna Zuniga is the Dean of the Lee College Huntsville Center, and Leslie Gallagher serves as the Executive Assistant to the President.  This dynamic group of senior administrators ensures that Lee College performs at the highest levels, supports our employees in carrying out their duties and responsibilities, and assist students to achieve their goals and dreams.  Their educational preparation, years of experience and professional connections ensure that Lee College is not just a good college, but a great college.

My personal thanks to the Board of Regents and the President’s Cabinet for the outstanding leadership they provide to Lee College and the communities that it serves.  Aspiring to greatness is a laudable goal, but these teams do not see that as the end goal.  There is more to be accomplished.  I wanted to introduce you to the team that leads Lee College, for after all, Leadership Matters!

Dr. Dennis Brown

President

Lee College

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Students prepare thank-you notes for troops

The English and Humanities Division set up card stations across campus where students can compose cards of appreciation to be sent to military troops during the holidays.

Jill Gos, instructor and composition coordinator, said, “This is our way of connecting the National Day on Writing with Veterans Day as well as the holidays. We celebrate the gift of writing by showing appreciation to those who serve our country.”

The National Day of Writing is an annual observance by the National Council of Teachers of English to focus attention on writing through a social media campaign with tweets, blogs, videos, posts and more, tagged #WhyWrite.

She said the thank-you cards are turned over to the Lee College Veterans Center for distribution.

Gos also provided photos of some of the students hard at work on their cards:

Student writing card

Students writing cards Students writing cards Students writing cards Students writing cards Students writing cards

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Ten from English Department attend writing conference

Attending from Lee College were, from left, Dirk Taylor, Michael Gos, Jill Gos, Gordon Lee, Cheryl Ross, Melanie Verner, Beth Ebersbaker, Randy Gunter and Saul Blair. Not pictured is Michael Woodson.

Eight instructors and two tutors from the Lee College English program attended a conference Oct. 25-27 in Galveston, hosted by the National Council of Teachers of English and designed for educators at two-year colleges.

Jill Gos, composition coordinator, said the conference was titled “The Tides of Change: Meeting the Challenges of Teaching Writing.”

Gos co-led one of the roundtable discussions at the conference, “Help! Texas Has Created a Tidal Wave for Linked Courses.” Her teammate in leading the workshop was her daughter, who is a professor at Lone Star College Cy Fair.

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From the President: Volunteer for Junior Achievement Inspire event

Photo of Dennis Brown

Dennis Brown, Lee College president

For the fourth year, Lee College will be hosting a Junior Achievement Inspire event for 3,000 eighth-graders Nov. 13-15.  JA Inspire is an interactive experience that exposes eighth-grade students to the vast variety of local career opportunities. Participating districts are Goose Creek CISD, Barbers Hill ISD, Liberty ISD, Hull-Daisetta ISD and Anahuac ISD.

This career awareness fair will enable students to interact with business representatives and visit exhibits from regional companies. Students will hear industry presentations, visit career stations and talk about employable skills.  
Since the passing of House Bill 5, eighth-graders in Texas are required to select a high school endorsement track. So students can make more informed decisions, this event introduces the students to careers in the following areas:  STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics; Business & Industry; Public Services; and Arts and Humanities.
We need your help! With 3,000 eighth-graders on our campus, we need a lot of volunteers to make this event a success. All departments are encouraged to participate. Please use the link below to pick a time and date to volunteer. The description for each volunteer opportunity will be noted so that you may pick an assignment that best suits you.  You can sign up for more than one spot! 
 
Please sign up for Junior Achievement Inspire!

Here’s how it works in 3 easy steps:

1.
Click this link to go to our invitation page on Sign Up: http://signup.com/go/uXuEAns
2.
Enter your email address: (You will NOT need to register an account on Sign Up)
3. Sign up! Choose your spots and remember to click on “Save” – Sign Up will send you an automated confirmation and reminders. Easy!
 
If you have any questions about volunteering or the events that will take place please contact Kristy Zamagne in the Center for Workforce & Community Development at ext. 6552.

Dr. Dennis Brown

Lee College President

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Workshop Tuesday on Sexual Violence and PTSD: Handling Triggers

Post-traumatic stress disorder affects both emotions and behaviors.

With trauma, there are changes in the brain that occur to protect us from future trauma and help us understand what happened–changes that are helpful until they become overused and maladaptive.

At this interactive presentation, you will learn about these adaptations in the brain and what to do when they become counterproductive.

The free workshop will be 12:30-1:30 p.m. in the Covestro Conference Center.  It will be led by Heather Dunn, counseling director for The Bridge Over Troubled Waters.

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‘George Orwell’s Animal Farm’ opens Friday in PAC

"Animal Farm" graphic, with some story information repeated

The Lee College Players will present “George Orwell’s Animal Farm” in the black box theater of the Lee College Performing Arts Center for two weekends, opening Friday.

Performances will be Nov. 2-3 and 9-11 in the Black Box theater of the Performing Arts Center, with Friday and Saturday shows at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinee at 2:30 p.m.

The stage play is adapted by Ian Wooldrige from the book by George Orwell. (Wikipedia article about the book)

Orwell’s satire on the perils of Stalinism has proved magnificently long-lived as a parable about totalitarianism anywhere and has given the world at least one immortal phrase: “Some are more equal than others.”

The animals on Manor Farm drive out their master and take over and run the farm for themselves. The experiment is successful, except that someone has to take the deposed farmer’s place. Leadership devolves upon the pigs, which are cleverer than the rest of the animals. Unfortunately, their character is not equal to their intelligence. This dramatization remains faithful to the book’s plot and intent, and it retains both its affection for the animals and the incisiveness of its message.

General admission tickets are $15. Lee College students, faculty and staff can get tickets for $8. Tickets may be purchased online at www.lee.edu/pac.

Some material in the play may be too graphic for young viewers.

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