The Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) announced Thursday that Dr. William Serrata, EPCC President, was chosen as the recipient of the 2019 Western Regional Chief Executive Officer Award.
“He is a pivotal force that is transforming education with progress, innovation and engagement both for EPCC and higher education as a whole,” EPCC Board Chair Brian Haggerty said. “Dr. Serrata is a true champion of EPCC’s efforts to provide innovative opportunities in higher education and always seeks to improve student outcomes.”
The award recognizes community college CEOs for innovation, service to post-secondary education and strong leadership. The honorees are recognized not only for the impact at their community colleges, but also for their commitments to post-secondary education locally, regionally and nationally.
Via a Thursday afternoon news release, ACCT officials shared that, “Serrata has served at EPCC since 2012 where he has proven himself a dynamic and influential leader.”
“In the time he has served as EPCC President, the college has seen impressive increases in student success outcomes and has become a nationally recognized institution, including being named one of the Top 10 Colleges in the nation by the Aspen Institute in 2015 and received the prestigious AACC Student Success Award in 2016,” ACCT officials added.
The ACCT is a non-profit educational organization of governing boards, representing more than 6,500 elected and appointed trustees who govern over 1,200 community, technical, and junior colleges in the United States and beyond.
This award will be presented during the 50th Annual ACCT Leadership Congress in San Francisco in October 2019.
Early next month, the Texas Tribune will be hosting a recap discussion on El Paso and the 86th legislative session.
The Texas Tribune, along with local lawmakers, are touring the state with a series of post-session events recapping the major policy debates of the 86th Texas Legislature and what they mean for Texas’ largest cities and surrounding communities.
The conversation, moderated by Evan Smith co-founder and CEO of The Texas Tribune, will cover a wide-range of topics, from public education, taxes, immigration, health care, spending and other consequential matters.
The discussion will feature El Paso-area legislators, including state Sen. José Rodríguez and state Reps. César Blanco, Art Fierro, Joe Moody and Lina Ortega.
This free event will take place on Monday, August 5, 2019 at the El Paso Community College Administrative Services Center Auditorium. The event is free, open to the public and includes a light lunch.
Lunch and networking begin at 11:30 a.m. MT, followed by the conversation at noon.
César Blanco, D-El Paso, has represented House District 76 since 2015. He sits on the House Environmental Regulation and International Relations & Economic Development committees. He also serves on the Transportation Policy Board of the El Paso Metropolitan Planning Organization. Previously, Blanco served as a military intelligence analyst in the U.S. Navy.
Art Fierro, D-El Paso, is currently serving his first term representing House District 79 after a 2019 special election. He sits on the House Agriculture & Livestock and Elections committees. Previously, Fierro served as chair of the El Paso Community College Board of Trustees.
Joe Moody, D-El Paso, has represented House District 78 since 2009. He serves as vice chair of the House Calendars Committee and sits on the Business & Industry, Criminal Jurisprudence and Redistricting committees. Previously, Moody served as a prosecutor in the El Paso County District Attorney’s office.
Lina Ortega, D-El Paso, has represented House District 77 since 2017. She sits on the House Administration, Public Health and Transportation committees. Previously, she served as chair of the El Paso County Ethics Commission and is past president of the Women’s Bar Association and the El Paso County Trial Lawyers Association. Ortega practices law in an El Paso law firm.
José Rodríguez, D-El Paso, has represented Senate District 29, which includes more than 350 miles of the Texas-Mexico border, since 2011. He serves as vice chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee and sits on the Natural Resources & Economic Development, Transportation and Water & Rural Affairs committees. Rodríguez also serves as chairman of the Texas Senate Democratic Caucus.
El Paso Community College is proud to announce that two athletes have been named to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) First Team All American list.
Donald Hodgson, Cross Country, and Brittany Santellanes, Softball, achieved 4.0 grade point average during the 2018-19 academic school year.
“EPCC is an academic institution first and foremost,” said Felix Hinojosa, EPCC Athletic Director. “Being awarded academic honors validates what we do as a college.”
The Academic All American list includes a total of seven EPCC athletes.
Individual Academic Student-Athletic Awardees:
Donald Hodgson Cross Country 4.00 First Team
Brittany Santellanes Softball 4.00 First Team
Alyssa Martinez Softball 3.84 Second Team
Ivan Duarte-Trejo Baseball 3.78 Third Team
Genevieve Centeno Softball 3.77 Third Team
Samantha Corral Softball 3.70 Third Team
Carlos Quintana Baseball 3.60 Third Team
Since 1993, the NJCAA has recognized the team and individual student athletes with the highest grade-point averages. The student must have 24 credit hours or more with a GPA of 3.60 or higher.
Nominations are submitted by each athlete’s respective institution. See more at here.
Friday night, El Paso Community College (EPCC) celebrated its 50th anniversary with a gala attended by more than 400 education, business and industry partners and community leaders as well as distinguished members of its past and present student body and staff.
The event celebrated the institution’s legacy and its vision for building the future.
“EPCC has a long history of excellence,” Keri Moe, 50th Anniversary Co-Chair and Associate Vice President of External Relations, Communication & Development said. “This gala honors the great work that has been done and renews EPCC’s commitment to continuing that legacy.”
EPCC was honored with the attendance of Former Texas State Senator Joe Christie who spearheaded the formation of the college in the late-1960s and secured the funding to establish the college. “Every time I comeback to El Paso, I am amazed at the growth of El Paso Community College,” Christie said. “I feel it was the most important event of my legislative career.”
On June 28, 1969, the voters of El Paso County passed the ballot item that created EPCC and formed its first Board of Trustee chaired by prominent businessman Joe Foster.
In the fall of 1971, the first class of 901 students began a path that over one million have taken since. Today, more than 80,000 graduates have received associate degrees or workforce certifications.
“Honoring the past at El Paso Community College is really looking at the legacy of the institution. We have a history of strong community leaders who were determined to ensure individuals in our community had access to a community college, visionary trustees and past-presidents along with faculty and staff who have built a solid foundation so we can help students achieve their dreams and strengthen our community,” EPCC President Dr. William Serrata said. “EPCC has reached great heights because of a supportive community, dedicated staff and committed students.”
During the past 50 years, EPCC has become a nationally recognized institution of higher learning. EPCC just received the Seal of Excelencia by Excelencia in Education for promotion of equity and college completion for Latino students.
Since 2006, Hispanic Outlook on Education magazine has consecutively recognized the college as the #1 grantor of associate degrees to Hispanics in the nation.
In 2015, EPCC was named one of the Top 10 Community College’s in the Nation by the Aspen Institute. In 2016, the college received the prestigious Award of Excellence for Student Success from the American Association of Community Colleges.
Thursday afternoon, officials with the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and El Paso Community College (EPCC) announced that each institution was honored by Washington, D.C.-based Excelencia in Education, with the inaugural ‘Seal of Excelencia.’
UTEP and EPCC were two of nine institutions of higher education to earn that certification based on their high level of commitment to serve Latino students.
“We are very pleased to be recognized by Excelencia in Education with the inaugural Seal of Excelencia,” UTEP President Diana Natalicio said. “The University of Texas at El Paso’s greatest achievement has been to demonstrate success in delivering both access and educational excellence to a predominantly Hispanic student population from a broad range of backgrounds and limited financial means….the Seal of Excelencia validates not only the success of our work, but the growing national recognition of the model we’ve developed.”
The Seal is a prestigious, voluntary, and comprehensive certification recognizing an institution’s commitment and ability to successfully serve Latino students.
“El Paso Community College (EPCC) has a laser-focus on student success. We are proud of our efforts to both increase the number of Latino students enrolling in college but also to increase the number of Latino students completing their degrees, many of whom are the first in their family to graduate from college,” EPCC President Dr. William Serrata said. “Receiving the Seal of Excelencia is an honor that is testament to EPCC’s commitment to advancing student achievement and ultimately serving the country by helping this fastest growing population, also underrepresented in higher education, receive the degrees and certificates that they need to be successful in our community, our state, and in this nation.”
“Serving Latino students is central to all that we do as a regional research university,” said Gary Edens, Ed.D., UTEP’s vice president for student affairs. “But even before they step on campus, we have to recognize and address the issues that have the potential to derail our students’ educational careers.”
Edens said the creation of the El Paso Collaborative for Academic Excellence, a group of academic, business and civic partners that includes UTEP, EPCC, Region 19 Education Service Center, the region’s biggest school districts, and local civic and business organizations, has had a major impact on how UTEP’s Latino students are served.
“Working together and building a sense of trust in the community has really helped us better understand the students we serve,” Edens said. “When we have that understanding, we are able to implement programs that truly support them as they continue their education through the University.”
The seal is part of Excelencia in Education’s strategy to close the education equity gap, accelerate the number of Latino students who attain college degrees by 2030, and ensure America’s future through the promotion of more high-quality educational opportunities.
“At Excelencia, we know that institutions and communities that intentionally measure their postsecondary Latino student success and use evidence-based practices both serve these students well and serve as catalysts for substantive, positive change in public policy,” said Sarita Brown, president of Excelencia in Education.
“Through the seal certification process, we provide a platform for colleges and universities to reflect on their current impact, practices and policies, and implement new and better ones that respond to Latino students’ realities. Ultimately this serves all students.”
To earn the seal, institutions needed to demonstrate significant strides in three key areas that Excelencia identified as critical to support Latino student success: data, practice and leadership.
“Having a higher education is vital to succeed in today’s global economy,” said Deborah Santiago, Excelencia in Education’s CEO. “If institutions aren’t effectively serving our Latino students, we lose a vital source of talent for our workforce and civic leadership. Institutions that strive for and most particularly those that earn the seal have demonstrated their capacity to grow our country’s highly skilled workforce and develop leaders – in other words, these institutions are ensuring America’s future.”
Excelencia in Education also recognized Arizona State University, California State University Channel Islands, Florida International University, Grand Valley State University (Michigan), the University of Arizona and two other Texas institutions: Austin Community College and South Texas College in McAllen.
The organization acknowledged the schools during a ceremony Thursday, June 20, 2019, in the nation’s capital.
El Paso Community College (EPCC) President, Dr. William Serrata’s expertise in serving minority students will be highlight at a national forum.
The Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions (CSMI) in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania selected Serrata as a Presidential Mentor for mid-career aspiring leaders at the second Minority Servicing Institutions (MSI) Aspiring Leaders Forum.
“Ultimately, this program seeks to equip individuals, often on the periphery of discussions on leadership, with the skills, knowledge and network to lead institutions that serve students that are the most in need,” CMSI director Dr. Marybeth Gasman said.
“Because this program aims to alter what leadership looks like across the landscape of higher education, the forum acts as a hub for innovation and each aspiring leader and mentor were hand-selected for their eagerness to become trailblazers.”
The forum, slated for November 1-3, will include a range of sessions such as fiscal management, strategic fundraising, presidential fit and crisis communication.
After that, aspiring leaders and their presidential mentors – high-level leaders from MSIs and the business and nonprofit sectors – will participate in one-on-one mentoring relationships over two years managed by CMSI.
El Paso Community College (EPCC) held a swearing-in ceremony for trustees during the May board meeting. The swearing-in ceremony welcomed Ms. Nina Piña who was newly elected.
Also sworn in were incumbents Dr. Carmen Olivas Graham and Ms. Christina Sanchez. All three won their respective elections on May 4, 2019.
“We are pleased to welcome Ms. Nina Piña, Ms. Christina Sanchez and Dr. Carmen Olivas Graham who were elected and sworn in as EPCC Trustees for a 6-year term,” EPCC President Dr. William Serrata said.
“The Board of Trustees has a laser-focus on student success and sets the vision for EPCC in achieving our mission of providing accessible, affordable and quality education so our students are able to achieve their dreams.”
Mrs. Nina Piña is the newly elected representative for District 6. As an educator for 11 years, former student and the parent of EPCC students, she advocates for the importance of higher education because it is the vehicle for upward mobility.
“As a businessperson, I’ve seen how higher education assists in our current economic environment,” Piña said.
Ms. Christina Sanchez is serving her first full term representing District 4 after originally being appointed to the board to fill a vacancy.
An El Paso native and the first generation of her family to attend college, she has practiced law with the El Paso County Attorney’s Office and currently serves as the Division Chief for the Commissioners Court Legal Unit.
In 2018, she became the President-Elect for the El Paso Women’s Bar Association.
Dr. Carmen Olivas Graham will serve her third term as District 5 Representative.
She has served Texas public schools for more than 27 years in various capacities starting as a teacher, administrator and parent educator.
As an adjunct professor, she has taught both at the university and community college levels and has worked with various international and local teacher education programs.
In addition to swearing-in trustees, the board also elected officers as follows:
According to a recent report on America’s best high schools, Valle Verde Early College High School is El Paso’s top-ranked high school campus among both public and charter schools, and the Ysleta Independent School District (YISD) has the best-ranked campuses overall when compared to similar districts in the area.
“We have set up a successful blueprint and instructional framework that works, thanks in no small part to the persistence, dedication, and commitment of our teachers within the four corners of the classroom,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Xavier De La Torre.
“Fortune favors the bold – and we consistently strive to provide compelling, bold, and innovative instruction and programs that prepare our students for the global economy that awaits them upon graduation,” Dr. De La Torre added.
Every spring, U.S. News & World Report releases its Best High Schools list, which numerically ranks high schools nationally and within each state based on six areas:
Math & Reading Proficiency
Math & Reading Performance
Underserved Student Performance
College Curriculum Breadth
The 2019 rankings show Ysleta ISD far surpasses similar-sized districts locally when it comes to preparing students to demonstrate proficiency in basic skills, as well as readiness for college-level work.
Ranked 55th in Texas and 333rd in the nation, Valle Verde ECHS outscored the Silva Health Magnet, Harmony Science Academy, Davinci School for Science and The Arts, and all other Early College High Schools in the El Paso area.
Among local comprehensive high schools, four YISD campuses ranked in the top 10: Eastwood (#2 in area, #211 in Texas, and #2,469 in the nation); Del Valle (#3, #287, and #3,375); Bel Air (#5, #319, and #3,889); and Hanks (#7, #351, and #4,388).
Rounding out the 20 top-ranked high schools in the El Paso area were Ysleta (#11 in area, #437 in Texas, and #5,459 in the nation); Parkland (#17, #517, and #6,347); and Riverside (#20, #581, and #7,109).
This year’s list ranked 17,425 U.S. high schools, up significantly from 2,700 schools in 2018. The goal is to provide a clear, unbiased picture of how well public schools serve all of their students in preparing them to demonstrate proficiency in basic skills, as well as readiness for college-level work, according to the publication.
By significantly increasing the number of campuses being ranked on the Best High Schools list in 2019, U.S. News & World Report officials said all communities can now see which schools in their area “are successfully serving their students – including historically underserved populations.”
“This trip will also highlight a developing collaboration with NASA’s GLOBE program with the University of Helsinki and EPCC,” John Olgin, EPCC Physics Instructor said. “Now students in STEM education and teachers in our region can become official GLOBE teachers through EPCC workshops and actively participate in submitting earth science data to NASA.”
The students will gain insight on how these countries implement successful educational practices, and will incorporate this experience in their classrooms.
Finland is a leader in collaborative learning, student well-being and hands-on approach to learning. NASA GLOBE program collaborators in Finland will show how to engage students in studying environmental changes.
“My goal for this trip is to soak in as much information on teaching practices, culture, and experience as I can and use it to help people,” Myca Nguyen, EPCC Education Student said.
By 2030, West Texas is predicted to be 5,162 registered nurses short of meeting demand, according to the Texas Center for Nursing Workforce Studies. Thanks to a new partnership between El Paso Community College (EPCC) and the Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing, both sides are committed to meeting that need independently, as well as collaboratively.
In an effort to ease that shortage of nurses in West Texas, EPCC and the Hunt School of Nursing have announced a concurrent enrollment agreement.
The collaboration offers students an efficient way to pursue a nursing education by tying together early-college coursework in high school, the associate degree in nursing program at EPCC and the Bachelor of Science in nursing program at the Hunt School of Nursing.
“This partnership between EPCC and the Hunt School of Nursing not only provides students a solid academic experience that prepares them for a rewarding career in nursing, but it also ensures our region will have skilled nurses that can meet the health care needs of our community,” said Gail Meagher, EPCC dean of nursing.
The program will create a seamless pathway allowing EPCC students to make a smooth transition into the Hunt School of Nursing’s bachelor’s program. “But even more importantly,” said Hunt School of Nursing Dean Stephanie Woods, Ph.D., R.N., “The new agreement is part of a holistic, collaborative approach that can help guide students from high school to their bachelor’s degree and on to master’s and doctoral degrees. In short, it gives graduates improved career mobility.”
With the concurrent enrollment agreement, students working toward their Associate Degree in Nursing (A.D.N.) at EPCC can now begin to earn credit toward a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) at the Hunt School of Nursing.
Students at EPCC can complete up to six credit hours of the Hunt School of Nursing’s R.N. to B.S.N. program while they are enrolled in the community college’s associate degree program.
With agreements and assistance from area magnet high schools, EPCC, Project Arriba, Workforce Solutions Borderplex and hospitals, students have guidance and help along the path toward becoming nurses.
“This is not just simply an agreement with EPCC; it’s that all the pipelines that feed EPCC are now pipelines that feed the Hunt School of Nursing bachelor’s program,” Dean Woods said.
“This is a wonderful example of how we’ve tied the ends together across the community to benefit students and employers. If a student is advised early and moves through these well-articulated pathways, it conserves their financial aid and helps get them all the way through school without wasting time or money taking courses they shouldn’t. It’s about comprehensive support to get students all the way to a bachelor’s degree.”
Tonie Badillo, dean of Dual Credit and Early College High Schools at EPCC, said, “We are excited about this collaboration. One of the pathways our students will have starts in high school. By developing a very structured dual-credit crosswalk for motivated high school students, we have ensured all the college credits apply toward the B.S.N. This will save our students and their families time and money.”
Manny Santa Cruz, D.N.P., R.N., M.B.A., assistant dean of undergraduate education at the Hunt School of Nursing, said the collaboration between all levels of education will provide a clear road to becoming a nurse.
“This collaboration allows an interested student seeking a nursing career to begin their pathway as early as high school or community college,” Santa Cruz said.
“In high school, the student can begin taking college prerequisite nursing courses via dual-credit with El Paso Community College. And the community college student can take Hunt School of Nursing baccalaureate courses while simultaneously pursuing their associate nursing degree. The student no longer has to wait to graduate from high school or a community college to pursue their dream of becoming a baccalaureate-prepared registered nurse.”
On Monday, El Paso Community College officials announced the winners of this weekend’s student competition The Lights at EPCC.
The second annual The Lights at EPCC was held at the Valle Verde Campus Americana Village, and featured teams of students that constructed light sculptures.
“The Lights at EPCC is a festival of creative art light structures representing the inspirational culture of El Paso,” Dr. Kenneth Gonzalez, EPCC Vice President of Student and Enrollment Services said.
“EPCC wants to reach out to the community and be a major hub for community gatherings and events.”
This year’s Best of Show went to “Stardust.” This wonderful display was created by Architecture students Jerod Booth, Sofia Dominguez and Tristan DeAnda.
Attendees of the festival not only received information about EPCC, but were entertained by the student-produced light show.
The Lights at EPCC highlighted approximately 80 designs created by EPCC Art and Architecture students as well as students from area schools.
The festival, which was held on Saturday April 27, included live music, food, family fun and games.
Dr. Ron Stroud, El Paso Community College (EPCC) Director of Institutional Effectiveness and Blood Donation Director, was recognized for his 100th blood donation by Vitalant, El Paso’s blood banking organization.
According to Vitalant, the College is currently the No. 1 blood donor in the region.
“Every blood donation is critically important, and achieving 100 donations is incredibly rare”, Dr. Julie Penley, Vice President of Research, Accreditation & Planning said, “Dr. Stroud’s donations have helped countless individuals in our region, and are great examples of EPCC employees’ commitment to and involvement in our community. His is a goal every eligible donor should strive to achieve.”
Fifteen years ago, Dr. Stroud was appointed by the President of EPCC to turn the blood program around. Historically, the college of about 28,000 students was only contributing about 700 pints of blood to the community yearly. Now, the college has consistently increased blood donations and averages now 2,500 donations annually.
EPCC has contributed 1,762 donations in the 2018-2019 year thus far which helped as many as 5,286 people in need, as one donation can often help as many as three people.
In 2014, Dr. Stroud was selected as the recipient of the Donor Recruiter Volunteer Coordinator of the Year and was awarded the Best School Blood Drive Award for his effectiveness in spearheading the blood drives at EPCC.
Dr. Stroud was “pleased to have the opportunity to donate [his] 100th pint of blood and help as many as 300 people especially being a universal donor with type O negative blood of which there is always a shortage of in El Paso.”
He plans to continue to donate for the rest of his life, donating every 2 months or 6 times a year, and hopes that the EPCC faculty, students and community will follow in his footsteps.