Responding to HB 2223

Some topics or projects dominate our time and effort here at ACC, don’t they?  Those topics vary in origin, but our work occurs in a regulatory environment that reflects legislative action and THECB rule-making, so often our energies are devoted to things that come from legislative action.  One of the recurring foci of my energy and attention is developmental education.   In that vein, I have released a new episode in my occasional series of Webcasts called Academic Transfer in FocusResponding to HB 2223.  This is an interview with Dr. Matthew Daude Laurents, dean of Liberal Arts – Humanities & Communications.

HB 2223 was passed by the 85th Legislature and its intent, as this article in the Texas Tribune tells us, is to get developmental students into college credit courses sooner by mandating the corequisite model of pairing a skills acquisition, just-in-time remediation course with a college credit course.  Here at ACC we have long paired developmental writing with ENGL 1301.  Today our version of that pairing (INRW and ENGL 1301) is called “Comp 5.0” – it’s a total of five semester credit hours and the students get additional time on task as they hone their writing skills.

We also pair INRW (Integrated Reading & Writing) classes with freshman-level “gateway” college credit classes such as U.S. History and Introduction to Sociology.  The goal is to provide developmental students the contextualized reading and writing support that they need to be successful in their college credit class.  Reading and writing in a History class is different than reading and writing in a Sociology or Speech class.  That contextualization is key for students who are deemed not-college-ready based on their reading and writing scores on the Texas Success Initiative Assessment (TSIA).  Instead of spending one semester in an INRW class and then the next semester in an English or History class, now these students get the instructional support that they need to successfully complete the English or History class in their first semester.

The corequisite model not only serves our students effectively, it also supports faculty collaboration across disciplines.  Success in delivering corequisites requires that the INRW faculty member and the History (or Communication Studies or Sociology) faculty member work together.  They must communicate about course requirements and expectations as well as about students who are struggling in the credit class and might need additional support or time on task in the INRW class.  To be effective, corequisites must be double learning communities: both students and faculty learn from and with each other.

If you’re interested in learning more, please watch Responding to HB 2223.  This important work is occurring in Math and Developmental Math as well as in INRW and partner college credit disciplines.  The impact of HB 2223 is yet to be fully understood, but early data show that students are much more likely to succeed in their college credit class when it is paired with a developmental class.  Models vary, but the corequisite piece seems to be key for our not-yet-college-ready students.

Next time you see a Math or INRW faculty member, thank them for their good work in helping our students successfully complete their first college-credit class.

Same song (faculty mentoring), second verse

This article in Inside Higher Ed focuses on the positive and significant impact that a faculty member can have on a student.  We all know this, don’t we?  We all had faculty mentors who made a difference for us on our higher ed journeys.

I can still name some of my faculty mentors:  Harold Sare, Danny Adkison, Franz von Sauer, Bruce Buchanan.  (And yes, all my faculty mentors were male.  That was life in political science when I was in college.)  Can you name yours?  I bet you can.

We are launching a faculty mentoring program here.  I wrote about it in an earlier post, so this is the second verse of the faculty mentoring song.  The administrative rule and guidelines describe our vision for faculty mentoring.  As you can see, when we drafted the rule we were calling it faculty advising.  But really, it’s a mentoring role.  This edition of Academic Transfer in Focus is a chat with the two faculty leaders of this effort.  We have posted seven Instructional Associate (IA) positions for our launch of mentoring.  We will hire seven adjunct faculty as IAs who will work 20 hours a week with their assigned caseload (approximately 330 students), developing the relationships that are the essence of mentoring.  We will have four faculty mentors in the Liberal Arts, two in SEM (Science, Engineering, & Math) and one in Business.  It’s a small start with big goals:

  • help students complete their program of study
  • help students transition to a four-year program and/or to employment in their field
  • support persistence and retention
  • build relationships across instruction and student services and with declared majors in transfer programs
  • develop learning communities around shared interests
  • support engagement and connections for both the faculty mentors and the students being mentored

All of those goals should sound familiar.  Our strategic plan revolves around equity and access, persistence and engagement, completion and transition.  The higher education strategic plan for the State of Texas (60x30TX) supports increased completion of a postsecondary award, with documented marketable skills embedded in every program.  The world has changed and a postsecondary credential is the key to a good life, a thriving community, and an engaged polity.

Community colleges are key to the state’s strategic plan.  Faculty mentoring is a big piece of the persistence and completion puzzle here at ACC.  As we roll out this initial effort, we invite you to think about how you can mentor students and make a difference.  As Adam Weinberg says in his article in Inside Higher Ed, mentors can help students become “the architects of their lives”.  That is a worthy goal we can all support.

Image by geralt on Pixabay

A Day in the Life – the February Edition

February may be the shortest month, but February 20 was one of my longer days this month.

Woke up.

Got out of bed.

Dragged a comb across my head.

I got to work at my usual time – around 8:30AM.  Soon thereafter my office received a call from a student who believed that she had been erroneously charged over $500 for First Day Access books that she wasn’t using.  She had apparently been bounced around from office to office for more than a week (most recently the office of a Dean of Student Affairs had suggested she call my office), so Rhonda (my wonderful Executive Assistant) and I decided to see what we could figure out.

  • We pulled her course schedule, but that didn’t provide enough useful information.
  • We pulled her registration history, but that didn’t provide enough useful information.
  • We pulled the details of her registration activity (days, times she registered and/or dropped a class for Spring 2019), but that didn’t provide enough useful information.
  • We debated recommending that she connect with the relevant deans and/or department chairs for her four courses, but that would just send her out to additional folks for her to state the problem again (and again, and again).
  • We finally asked her if she would send us a pdf of her tuition and fees statement.  Aha!  That was the ticket.  She was reading the statement incorrectly, because it actually did show that she had been refunded several First Day Access charges when she made schedule changes prior to the start of the semester.  When Rhonda called her back to talk her through the tuition statement and the refunds, the student was relieved and grateful.  (And I think that Rhonda may be her new best friend!)
What Else Did the Day Entail?
  • Writing a blurb so that we could put our Department Chair Summer Institute in the workshops database.
  • Responding to an email from colleagues at Lamar University about setting up faculty-to-faculty meetings in support of new articulation agreements.  We have also visited recently with colleagues at Stephen F. Austin and WGU-Texas.  All three visits reflect a desire to strengthen partnerships and pathways for our students.  Lamar University, for instance, has a variety of online programs that could allow our students to complete a baccalaureate degree without leaving Austin.  We are continuing to explore what we can do to give our students transfer options that work for them.
  • Engaging in email conversation with Julie Wauchope, our INRW department chair, about changes to our approach to corequisite course pairs between the INRW department and the English Department (what we call “Comp 5.0”).  Our corequisite work is crucial to helping students gain the academic skills that they need to succeed in their college and career pursuits.  And – as with most things – there is no single perfect way to provide corequisite skills development for students who need that help.  We sometimes have to try a variety of models to see what works for students, for our available resources, and for the institution at large.
  • Spending an hour trying to chase down information about OER source material for our core curriculum courses that are taught with open educational resources.  A request for this information had been directed to Dr. Cook, who then directed it to me.  The legislature is in town (as you know) and some legislators are considering legislation to expand the use of OER for core curriculum courses.  This request came from an associate of OpenStax who was hoping to inform the legislative staff discussions about how colleges actually provide OER options to students.  It turns out we may be able to run reports on Z-classes (zero textbook costs), but we don’t have a centralized database that tells us what openly-licensed course materials are being used in those Z-classes.  So all I could do was go to the course schedule, sort by Z-classes, and sift through the syllabus links in Lighthouse.  It was actually informative – our faculty have found a variety of sources for their openly licensed and freely available course materials!
  • Drafting (in fits and starts throughout the day) my welcome remarks for the evening’s panel discussion at EVC (sponsored by Mercy Corps, the World Affairs Council of Austin, and ACC’s Peace & Conflict Studies Center).
  • Approving some fractional overloads for adjunct faculty.
  • Responding to some issues with our use of the Ad Astra “optimizer”, a tool that optimizes the assignment of course sections to classrooms to best utilize our space.  Turns out that we optimized some corequisite Math classes right out of their rooms!
  • Continuing to try to ensure that every single member of every single full-time faculty hiring committee has participated in our equity in faculty hiring training.  This training has been offered two dozen times (thanks to Dr. Chantae Recasner and Dr. Sam Echevarria-Cruz), but we still seem to have missed some folks.
  • Booking a meeting with a CoBd colleague to discuss fiscal issues related to our Texas Corequisite Project grant.
  • Sending out a reminder email about Fall schedule development timelines, including First Day Access/FacultyEnlight deadlines for Fall.
  • Engaging in both email and hallway discussions about data needs related to the Teagle Foundation grant that supports the continuing development of HUMA 1301:  Prehistory to Renaissance:  The Great Questions Seminar.  This iteration of HUMA 1301 (The Great Questions Seminar) is now an accepted Success course option in some degree plans (in addition to EDUC 1300/1200/1100, HPRS 1171, and POFT 1171).
Big Finish to the Day

I left the office a little after 6:00PM to head to our Eastview Campus for “Preventing Conflict:  The Role of Diplomacy and Development in Reducing Insecurity”, a panel discussion that included retired Admiral William McRaven and Ambassador Ryan Crocker.

Yes, sometimes this job comes with remarkable opportunities – and I got to meet and chat with two towering public servants.  I also had the privilege of sharing the stage with them (briefly) while welcoming everyone to this event.  Thanks to the hard work of Dr. Shirin Khosropour, Department Chair for Interdisciplinary Studies and Director of the Peace and Conflict Studies Center, ACC hosted a full house in the multipurpose room at EVC to hear from sage and seasoned foreign policy experts.  It was a great event, and illustrates the scope of the work that we do here at ACC to the benefit of our students and our community.

Coda

After the panel discussion (around 8:30PM) as I was chatting with folks, a student came up to me to say thank you.  Guess who?  Yes – the student who had called my office that morning because she was so stressed out at the thought that she had been overcharged several hundred dollars for First Day Access.  What a perfect end to a varied day – being reminded that we all do what we can to make a difference for every single student.

Biosciences

Did you know that ACC actively supports the biosciences?  Have you ever toured our Bioscience Incubator at HLC in Building 4000?  This article reminds us that our academic programs have scope and impact, including our biology and biotechnology programs.  And this article illustrates how the Bioscience Incubator makes a difference for our local community.

ACC’s Bioscience Incubator provides wet lab space for local companies to rent as they try to move their product from the research stage to commercialization.  The facility opened in February 2017 and was initially funded through a $4.9 million grant from the State of Texas.  It is the only such facility at a community college in the state.  And the best part is that ACC students have opportunities to serve as interns, gaining additional skills in their chosen field.  In addition, ACC faculty have opportunities to collaborate with professionals in life sciences to enhance their teaching.  A variety of companies lease space in the Incubator, supporting the creation of additional full-time jobs in Central Texas.

As a student intern in the ACC Bioscience Incubator, Mike Delisi gained confidence in his capabilities as a scientist.  This confidence has directly contributed to his career in biotechnology.

“The extended exposure to lab protocols, day-to-day lab activities, equipment, and processes all helped me to become familiar with most of what a job might throw at me.  Working close proximity with numerous industry professionals from a variety of backgrounds offered a demonstration of what I could expect to encounter.  I think the single largest contribution the Incubator has made to my career is the confidence in my own capabilities as a sciences that I developed over my time there.”

Mike is now fully employed at X-Biotech as a manufacturing associate.  X-Biotech is a publicly traded early-stage pharmaceutical company in Austin.

Three cheers for ACC’s life science programs and our ongoing interest in innovation and collaboration.

Picture courtesy ACC Marketing.  Some content courtesy of the 2018 ACC Student Success Report.

The textbook conundrum

Textbooks in higher education – their quality, their cost, their utility, their pedagogy – continue to be the focus of discussion, debate, and deliberation around the country.  This article in The Chronicle of Higher Education provides an overview of the most recent survey of faculty regarding textbooks – traditional, digital, and openly-licensed.

ACC has joined in the debate by trying new approaches to lowering the costs of course materials while increasing the accessibility and availability of such materials. Many faculty would agree with the results of the Babson survey, no matter where you are on the opinion spectrum.  For some, textbooks are too expensive; for others, textbooks still give students a lot of bang for the buck.  For some, openly licensed materials are wonderful for teaching and for accessibility; for others, openly licensed materials are lower quality and do a disservice to students.  The debate will not end any time soon.

Thanks to the innovation and dedication of our faculty, ACC offers Z-classes (zero textbook costs) and Z-degrees (degrees that can be completed by taking only Z-classes).  This effort at ACC occasionally brings us attention from the local press as well as serving our students.  The intent of Z-classes and Z-degrees is to ensure that students have access to required course materials on the first day of class and to make that access free or very low cost.  Too many of our students can’t purchase a textbook until two or three or four weeks into the semester, so they start behind and can never catch up.   Open educational resources can be one solution to that problem.  To date, if you use $100 as an estimate of average textbook costs, ACC’s Z-classes have saved students over $2 million.  That savings is the direct result of the decision of some faculty to adopt open educational resources.

Inclusive access is another way to lower costs and provide access on the first day.  As with the larger textbook debate, faculty are on all sides of the inclusive access issue.  Some argue that inclusive access doesn’t save students that much money, and students prefer/do better with hard copy textbooks.  Others believe that our students today expect electronic access to their required textbook as well as the portability that comes with it, and First Day Access guarantees that students do not start the semester unable to do the required reading.  ACC started its First Day Access program in Summer 2018 and through the Fall we had saved students almost $700,000 in textbook costs when compared to buying a new hard copy textbook.

No matter whether you are a believer in open educational resources, or you are committed to First Day Access, or you are focused on the pedagogical value of a physical textbook, you teach at ACC because you are committed to fostering learning for all your students.  The debate around quality – and access – and pedagogy will continue.  That’s the beauty of the higher education system.  We disagree as much as we agree, but we all support the common goal of education that can alter the trajectory of our students’ lives.  And the beat goes on.

A Day in the Life of an AVP – the January Edition

Prelude (“something preliminary”)

In September 2018 ACC received a grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to develop and offer statewide professional development to support implementation of HB 2223.  HB 2223 was passed into law by the 85th Legislature and it mandates co-required developmental and college credit classes. The premise is that too many students get mired in developmental education quick sand and can’t get out of it in order to advance to college credit coursework.  Under Texas law, we use the Texas Success Initiative Assessment (TSIA) to determine college readiness.  Students who are not deemed college-ready under TSIA are mandated into classes that will help them build their skills in college-level reading, writing, and/or math.  HB 2223 presumes that providing just-in-time and contextualized remediation in a corequisite setting will help more of our students achieve their college goals.

The THECB HB 2223 professional development grant obligates ACC to offer conferences and webinars around the state to both two-year and four-year public colleges and universities (at least five PD opportunities each year for the next two years) to help them effectively implement the requirements of HB 2223.  In addition, under the grant we are building a peer learning directory to share information, research, promising practices, and lessons learned.  The grant was given to ACC in September and ACC INRW (Integrated Reading & Writing) faculty laid the foundation for the work with the development of a needs assessment survey and the creation of a Texas Corequisites Project web site.  In November I was asked to spearhead the work going forward, along with our Math/Developmental Math Department Chair Carolynn Reed (and – of course – relying on the outstanding support of my executive assistant Rhonda Little).

Interlude (“an intervening period or event”)

The decision had been made early in the Fall to host/put together/convene a conference here in Austin on January 25 and 26 under the HB 2223 PD grant.

So now we get to my “day in the life”:  Friday, January 25.

I arrived at work around 8:30 to do a bit of email before a 9:00 o’clock meeting.  My boss (Mike Midgley, VP Instruction) called around 8:45 to make sure someone was going to chair Curriculum & Programs at 10:00 (and yes, I had that on my calendar), since he, Gretchen Riehl (AVP, Workforce Education) and I all had multiple obligations that morning.  Divide and conquer was the goal.

At 8:58 I headed downstairs to the 9:00 AM meeting of the Dual Credit Growth & Sustainability Task Force.  This task force has both ISD and ACC members and is focused on strengthening our partnerships to support – you guessed it – the growth and sustainability of our dual credit offerings. The meeting was scheduled to run until 11:30, but I had to leave at 9:45 to get over to HLC for Curriculum & Programs.

At 10:05 I began the Curriculum & Programs meeting.  This is one of my favorite meetings each month because the members do good work and take their work seriously.  Among other things, we approved updates and revisions to the master syllabus template (since sent out for comment via the Faculty Senate and Adjunct Faculty Association), new programs in Agricultural Sciences (an AS and and AAS), updates to the Psychology AA to incorporate the state-approved field of study, and new tracks for the Entrepreneurship AAS.

By 12:30 I was back in my office, where I wrote the introduction for the keynote speaker for the Friday evening opening of the #TxCoReqs Conference at HLC’s Social Staircase.  I also tried to catch up (a bit) on email and return some phone calls.

At 2:00 I was in the first meeting of the NACEP Accreditation Advisory Board.  The National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships offers accreditation to dual credit programs, and ACC is initiating the accreditation process.  If we receive NACEP accreditation, we will be the first dual credit program in the state of Texas to be accredited.  This was the kick-off meeting of the internal Accreditation Advisory Board to start the conversation about what we will do, when, and how.

I left the NACEP meeting around 3:00 in order to get over to HLC to begin the preparations for the evening’s kickoff of the #TxCoReqs Conference.

Attendees were invited to have appetizers at 5:00, take campus tours at 6:00 and 6:30 (ACCelerator, Fashion Incubator, Bioscience Incubator), and hear the keynote at 7:00.  So “preparations” included checking the set up (no, there weren’t enough tables, we didn’t have table cloths, there wasn’t a podium, we needed more chairs, etc.).  Paper table cloths were found in Student Life, more tables were delivered by the folks in the Campus Manager’s Office, a podium was found, additional chairs were set out.

Around 4:00 the food was delivered, which required getting it organized on either side of the Social Staircase to ensure two lines for the appetizers (we were expecting approximately 150 attendees).  Among the chicken tenders and quesadillas and veggie and cheese trays and such, we had ordered chips and salsas/hummus.  The chips arrived in bags – so I had to dash home (I live approximately ten minutes away – that is, when it’s not rush hour) to get serving bowls for the chips.  (Sometimes my “hostess” gene just takes over – and I wasn’t going to serve chips out of bags!)

We had student interns available to help us with the set up and the registration table, and they were great helpers, doing whatever was needed (including quickly washing a couple of the serving bowls that I had just brought from home).  The registration tables were set up, the name badges were organized, the conference programs were spread out.

We ran a shuttle bus from the conference hotel to HLC, and attendees started arriving around 4:45.  (My thanks to the “shuttle host” Dr. Marilyn Yale who stationed herself in the lobby of the hotel to direct conference attendees to the shuttle.)  Everyone seemed to enjoy the food, the atmosphere, the congeniality, and the campus tours.  Our keynote speaker, Dr. Luzelma Canales, Senior Associate Vice President for Student Success at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, focused our attention on Reframing the Student Experience Through an Equity Lens, and spoke from the heart and from personal experience about our students and how they experience college.

Around 8:00 PM folks started heading for the shuttle back to the hotel.  We were left to gather up the remaining food, throw things away, and in general make sure that we were good stewards of the space and didn’t leave a mess.

At 9:00 PM we finally left HLC, with the #TxCoReqs Conference opening evening a success.

Postlude (“something played afterword; closing”)

Bonus day in the life:  January 26.

I was at the conference hotel by 7:20 AM to get the registration table set up.  Breakfast for attendees was served at 8:00, Dr. Cook delivered brief welcoming remarks at 8:50, and the first breakout sessions began at 9:00.  We offered a total of 16 breakout sessions in the morning and afternoon, with lunch provided in between.  My thanks to the “room hosts” (Ann Palmer, Julie Wauchope, Gillian Waterston, Ysella Slavin) who handed out and collected session evaluation forms and served to trouble-shoot when presenters needed help.

The conference concluded with remarks from Dr. Suzanne Morales-Vale, the Director of Developmental and Adult Education at THECB.  As the conference ended, we collected the plastic name tag holders (to be used again at the next conference), gathered up remaining conference folders, and wished folks safe travels.

I left the conference hotel about 5:45 PM and headed home.

Exhausted.

Really, really exhausted.

But I also knew that we (Carolynn, Rhonda, and I) had pulled it off – the sessions were well received, and the conference was well attended.  So the exhaustion was connected to good people who did good work – student interns, room and shuttle hosts, hotel staff, HLC staff, presenters, and everyone else who had a hand in making this work.  My thanks to all!

Tact and Kindness

This link was sent to me by Dr. Suzanne Summers, Professor of History.  Please take the next seven minutes and watch the video. While the setting may be Stanford, the comments of these students – typically first in their families to go to college – can  help us understand our students here at ACC.

The premise of the video is “what I wish my professor knew” about the world view and experiences of first generation and/or low income students  The wisdom of the students is wonderful.  In watching the video, these observations stood out to me.  One student asks that as professors we recognize that we are not “the sole holder of knowledge” in the classroom.  We can and should honor the knowledge and experiences that our students  bring to the classroom.  Many of us do this with classroom discussions, or active learning projects, or other approaches – but it’s always nice to be reminded of the perspectives that our students bring that enrich the learning experience for all.

Another student recommends that we take the time to talk about things like office hours – what they’re for, why we hold them, how students can benefit from coming to see us during office hours.  We all know that many of our students find their professors intimidating, so perhaps requiring a visit from each student during office hours could help us break down some barriers and build up some sense of belonging.

One of the students on the video encourages faculty to have “an open mind and open ear”.  It is sometimes too easy to get into our classroom rhythms and forget to listen to our students, so a reminder to be open to who they are, what they’re struggling with, and what they have to say is always welcome.

A final comment from a student recommends that we all try to provide guidance to our students “with tact and kindness”.  I’ll leave you with that.  As we all try to help our students learn, let’s also try to help them figure out life as a college student, recognizing that we don’t know their work schedule or their family obligations, and they could be nodding off in class because they just got off the night shift.  Let’s all try to think about the value of providing guidance to our students “with tact and kindness”.

Words

I love language. I love learning (and using) new words – as you might be able to tell from my post about the word “joyance”.  I love my Dictionary.com app that sends me a new word every day.  Some words are familiar, and some are not.  Today’s word was “elevenses”, which is British slang for a midmorning break.  Yesterday’s word was “neoteric”, which means modern; new; recent.  A few days ago the word was “champers”, which is slang for champagne – a timely word for the new year!

Thanks to Inside Higher Ed and Lake Superior University, we have a list of words or phrases to banish from the lexicon for 2019.  The list includes “optics”, “thought leader”, and “importantly”.  I’ll leave it to the clever amongst you to put all three into a sentence.

On the plus side, Inside Higher Ed and Wayne State University also provide us with a list of words to use in 2019.  Here is a brief selection from their list:

Anecdoche or anechdoche.  This word doesn’t show up in any of the three dictionaries that I have in my office, but the Google machine finds it in the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, “a compendium of invented words”.  The definition?  Anecdoche occurs when everyone talks at once, listening to no one.  Have you attended any meetings like that?

Logorrhea.  Logorrhea describes excessive, compulsive talkativeness.  Do those who suffer from logorrhea show up at meetings that turn into an anechdoche?

Trenchant.  Trenchant means incisive, keen, clear-cut, sharply defined.  The world could do with more trenchancy (noun), couldn’t it?

As we start 2019, raise a glass of champers, say farewell to optics and hello to trenchancy.  

Cheers, all.

Steve Ryan from Groveland, CA, USA [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

A Day in the Life of an AVP – the Holiday Edition

Joyance

This word popped up on my phone yesterday as the word of the day.  Isn’t it charming?  Even without knowing exactly what it means, it has a lovely lilt.

Joyance

Joyance – as you might expect – means joyous feeling.  Gladness.  Delight. Enjoyment.

As we bring this semester and this year to a close, I wish you joyance.

As I have spent my day today –

  • signing off-cycle pay requests (of course!)
  • working on conference planning around the implementation of corequisites
  • responding to a student complaint
  • taking colleagues to lunch
  • answering questions for a professional reference
  • booking a couple of meetings for early January
  • answering and sending emails
  • trying to figure out some course equivalencies
  • providing additional information to my boss about an international travel request
  • looking at the (too long) list of unsubmitted grades –

I have been reminded – even in the midst of the routine (off-cycle pay requests) and the frustrating (too many unsubmitted grades) – that I find joyance in my work.

What we do matters for our students and our community.  It is meaningful and impactful work that makes the world we live in better.  I hope you take as much delight in our work as I do.  I hope our work at ACC gives you gladness.  I hope the mission and ministry of community colleges give you a joyous feeling.

I wish each of you merriment and gladness this holiday season.

Joyance to you all

Picture Credit:  By Jeangagnon - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=51252267

Legacies

Legacies can be cherished or burdensome.  Legacies can be known or hidden.  Legacies can be something to celebrate or something to forget.

I was raised by college-educated parents.  My father was a philosophy professor at a public university until he retired at age 70.  He met my mother when they were both at Baylor, where she graduated with a BA in Spanish while he graduated with a degree in Bible. I am a product of East Texas (my mother) and West Texas (my dad).  Where else would they meet but in Central Texas?

I recently was reminded of something I had forgotten about my roots.  My multi-faceted legacy – my inheritance from my parents – now has another facet.

My mother was a product of Corpus Christi Junior College – now Del Mar College.  In going through papers in my mother’s office recently, I found pictures from her time at Corpus Christi Junior College (CCJC), where she was “Most Representative Sophomore”,  President of Phi Theta Kappa, President of the YWCA, a sophomore class officer, and Secretary-Treasurer of the Student Council.

That’s her, pouring tea, in the YWCA picture.

That’s her, first row on the left, in the PTK picture.

That’s her, second row, second from the left, in the Sophomore Class Officers picture.

My legacy – unbeknownst to me – is grounded in the mission and role of community colleges in a very personal way.  My mother was a teenager during World War II, and she had to work before she could start college.  She was a first-generation community college student who loved her time at CCJC.  It helped shape her, and it was her pathway to a four-year degree, to meeting the love of her life, and to spending the rest of her life connected to higher education, both through my dad and through me.

My passion for community colleges – my missionary zeal, if you will – has its roots in a Texas junior college of the 1940s.  My mother gifted me with this legacy, and I didn’t even know it.  Her legacies are many – she was kind, and gracious, and friendly, and thoughtful.  One of my lifelong friends described her as “a treasure”.  She was all that – and she was also a community college success story.

I’m writing this post because December 7 will be the first anniversary her passing.  So here’s to the many legacies of Doris Jane Jones Scott.  Here’s to our roots, both known and unknown.  Here’s to our past and our futures.  Here’s to my mother.  And here’s to the power of community colleges.