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2003 Winners and Finalists

Presented by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

Applications for the 2003 Star Awards were submitted by 78 programs, projects, or activities conducted by Texas higher education institutions, and organizations, groups, or individuals focused on education. Twenty finalists were identified in an initial review, with eight finalists selected to receive awards:

2003 Winners

Alamo Community College District
Community Education Centers
PowerPoint presentation

Alamo Community College District-San Antonio College
Strategies for Success
PowerPoint presentation

Dallas County Community College District
Rising Star Program
PowerPoint presentation

Prairie View A&M University
The Academy for Collegiate Excellence and Student Success
PowerPoint presentation

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
Pathways to Success in Science
PowerPoint presentation

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, South Plains College, Lubbock Christian University, and Covenant School of Nursing, in partnership with University Medical Center, Covenant Health System, WorkSource of the South Plains, and American State Bank
South Plains Nursing Education Community Coalition
PowerPoint presentation

The University of Texas at El Paso
Entering Student Program
PowerPoint presentation

West Texas A&M University
Increasing the Success of the Most Economically Disadvantaged Students
PowerPoint presentation

2003 Finalists

Alamo Community College District - Community Education Centers
PowerPoint presentation
Through Community Education Centers, which are one-stop outreach centers established in areas of San Antonio with low college-going rates, this effort is making college much more accessible to minority and other populations that were overlooked in the past. Four Centers - at a high school, a college facility, a parent education center, and a church - give personalized, step-by-step registration information and instruction for people interested in pursuing college. People served by these Centers accounted for 23 percent, or 3,057 students, of the community college district's enrollment increase between 1999 and 2001.
Contact: Leo Zuniga, Director, Governmental/Public Relations, (210) 208-8112

Alamo Community College District-San Antonio College - Strategies for Success
PowerPoint presentation
The Strategies for Success program helps students who are struggling academically to improve their grades and remain in college. The program provides 18 clock-hours of intensive, counseling-based classroom instruction on critical thinking and research skills, learning styles, motivation and concentration, career exploration, and skills to manage personal issues, to students who have been placed on scholastic probation. In addition, participants attend at least two counseling sessions. Students who completed the program between fall 2000 and fall 2002 increased their grade point averages from 1.45 to 1.80 on average from the beginning to the end of the semester, and 62 percent of them continued their enrollment in the next semester.
Contact: John Hammond, Director of Public Relations, (210) 733-2147

Collin County Community College - Fire Science Program
This Fire Science Program provides a wide variety of high quality fire control and rescue training to serve the training needs of firefighters and firefighter students throughout the region. Many of the program's classes are offered "on-demand" to meet specific needs of local fire departments. Faculty are active firefighters who bring current skills and knowledge to the classroom, and training tools include computer-controlled fire simulators, thermal imaging cameras, and other technologies, as well as a 12,000 square foot, five-story, live-fire facility. The program also worked with the Collin County Firemen's Association to establish the Fire-Rescue Training Excellence Fund, which today provides $50,000 annually to help 26 local paid and volunteer fire departments meet training needs. Training offered through the program has allowed 100 percent of completers to pass the state certification exam over the past 10 years. In addition, the program has been recognized by the Texas Commission on Fire Protection.
Contact: Gary Hodge, Dean of Social Sciences, Health and Public Services, (972) 881-5897

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Collin County Community College - Service-Learning Program
The Service-Learning Program combines service to the community with academic curricula to meet community needs and enhance learning among students. In 2002-03, the program worked with 72 faculty members to place approximately 1,350 students in more than 250 agencies and organizations in and around Collin County. The students provided an estimated 20,250 hours of service to the community. Examples include the culinary arts students who prepare and deliver pastries to a local senior citizen center, the dental hygiene students who provide oral hygiene screenings to elementary and middle school students, and the applied graphic design students who design web sites for local non-profit organizations. The program has been recognized nationally.
Contact: Gary Hodge, Dean of Social Sciences, Health and Public Services, (972) 881-5897

Dallas County Community College District - Rising Star Program
PowerPoint presentation
Since 1999, the Rising Star Program has provided funds ($4,000 in fall 2003) to high-achieving high school graduates with financial need to help them pay for tuition, books, and other college needs at colleges within the district. To date, 3,787 students - many of whom are first-generation-in-college students and need developmental education -- have benefited from the program. More than 70 percent of participants maintain a "C" average or better, and they also have above-average college persistence and graduation rates.
Contact: Ann Hatch, Director, Media Relations, (214) 860-2478

Houston Community College System - Graduates and Completers Project
Through a wide range of activities, including emphasis on degree audits to identify and counsel students to help them take the final steps needed to receive their degrees, improved advising and counseling for new students, and related outreach efforts, the Graduate and Completers Project is proactively helping more students get their degrees and certificates. As a result, the Houston Community College System increased the number of awards from 2,506 in 2000-01 to 3,329 in 2001-02 - the greatest increase among all of the state's higher education institutions. The numerical increase in associate degrees ranked second among Texas community colleges, and the number of certificates awarded ranked first among the state's community college districts.
Contact: Carole Keeney, Public Information Officer, (713) 718-2335

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North Harris Montgomery Community College District-Tomball College - Tutor Coach Program
The Tutor Coach Program helps ensure the academic success of students enrolled in a developmental writing course at the college. Tutors, working with academic counselors and faculty, provide orientation mentoring support to students, and help them develop better study and life skills. Prior to implementation of the Tutor Coach Program, only 1 percent of students who completed developmental writing enrolled in a college-level writing course within one year. After the program was established, however, approximately 52 percent of developmental writing students later enroll in college-level writing classes.
Contact: Jamie White, Director of Community Relations, (281) 351-3302

Prairie View A&M University - The Academy for Collegiate Excellence and Student Success
PowerPoint presentation
The Academy for Collegiate Excellence and Student Success (ACCESS) motivates "at-risk" students to succeed in college. The program has two primary components: an intensive, residential pre-college effort in the summer and a holistic, centralized student support effort during the freshman year. As of fall 2002, 552 of 654 students completing the pre-college component enrolled at Prairie View A&M. Student persistence from the freshman to sophomore year is higher among program participants than other students, and participants complete more hours and earn a higher first-semester GPA than the freshman class overall. Also, ACCESS participants in 1996 have a six-year graduation rate that is 11 percent higher than the rate for other students.
Contact: Lettie Raab, Director of University College, (936) 857-4448

Stephen F. Austin State University - Academic Assistance and Resource Center
The Academic Assistance and Resource Center (AARC) provides educational support services, including one-on-one peer tutoring and student-led study groups, to help ensure the academic success of students at the university. Participating students persist at the institution at substantially higher rates than other students. For example, 55 percent of minority AARC students remain enrolled at Stephen F. Austin three years after entering the institution, compared to only 40 percent for non-AARC students. The AARC has received national and international recognition for its successful efforts.
Contact: Shirley Luna, Editorial Coordinator, Office of Public Affairs, (936) 468-2605

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Stephen F. Austin State University - Forest Resources Institute
The Forest Resources Institute/HUES Laboratory Regional Geospatial Service Center provides access to a wide range of geospatial data to natural resource, emergency, economic, governmental, and other types of managers and planners. The facility provides base mapping data for East Texas, and through partnerships with local, state, and national organizations is emerging as a model for bringing technology to rural areas. It has also given the university additional computing power to support advanced programs in other areas of science and statistics. The institute has received national recognition, and played a key role in significantly reducing search and recovery time after the breakup of the space shuttle Columbia over East Texas earlier this year.
Contact: Shirley Luna, Editorial Coordinator, Office of Public Affairs, (936) 468-2605

Texas A&M University-Commerce -- Mayo College
Texas A&M-Kingsville's Mayo College is a student-centered college designed to provide a comprehensive educational environment comparable to those found at small, private, liberal arts colleges. Students are part of residential learning communities made up of students who live in the same residence hall and enroll in specially designed clusters of classes that include colloquia, guest speakers, field trips and other co-curricular and extra-curricular activities. In addition, a faculty mentor and a peer mentor are assigned to each student. Freshman-to-sophomore persistence rates for Mayo College students surpass rates for other students (81 percent to 60 percent in the first year of the program). In addition, Mayo College students have grade point averages of approximately 2.6, compared to 2.1 for other students at the institution.
Contact: Dave Walvoord, Director, University News Service, (903) 886-5132

Texas A&M University-Commerce and Navarro College - Texas A&M University-Navarro College Partnership
Since fall 1999, a partnership between Texas A&M University-Commerce and Navarro College has offered students two baccalaureate degree programs on the Navarro campus, eliminating the need for students to leave the community college's five-county service delivery area to pursue a four-year degree. Navarro has provided facilities at no charge to A&M-Commerce, and the university has provided on-site administrative personnel and faculty to help ensure the success of the effort. Student support activities, including financial aid, advising, and other services, are coordinated between the institutions. The Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies in elementary education was the first degree program, and more than 90 percent of the 114 graduates are employed at school districts in the region. A second degree program, the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, produced its first graduates this year. A third degree program, the Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences, has been approved by the Coordinating Board.
Contact: Dave Walvoord, Director, University News Service, Texas A&M University-Commerce, (903) 886-5132 or Susan Johnson, Director of Market Relations and Public Information, Navarro College, (903) 875-7339

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Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi - Pathways to Success in Science Program
PowerPoint presentation
The Pathways to Success in Science program encourages more South Texas students to succeed in college, particularly in the sciences. Enhanced mentoring, beginning at freshmen orientation and continuing through the undergraduate years, is a key component. Peer mentoring, freshman learning communities, and hands-on undergraduate research and interaction with faculty members are part of the program. In 2002-03, 15 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi graduates continued into medical and dental schools, compared to only two in 1996-97. Similarly, nine students continued their education in allied health fields in 2002-03, compared to none as recently as 1998-99.
Contact: Diana Marinez, Dean, College of Science and Technology, (361) 825-2349

Texas A&M University-Kingsville-- Supplemental Instruction Program
The Supplemental Instruction (SI) Program helps improve student pass rates in history, mathematics, English and developmental algebra, which are traditionally difficult courses for students at Texas A&M-Kingsville. Students taking these courses are offered regularly scheduled review sessions led by peers trained and counseled by appropriate faculty. Overall, nearly 63 percent of SI students passed these courses compared to just over 45 percent of non-SI students. Even this significant difference is greatly surpassed in some courses, such as the English course that was passed by 83 percent of SI students but only 40 percent of non-SI students.
Contact: Jo Ann Castro, Director of Public Affairs, (361) 593-2146 or (361) 593-2014

Texas A&M University-Kingsville - Undergraduate Research Mentoring Program
The Undergraduate Research Mentoring Program, designed to help improve the job prospects of graduates from agricultural degree programs, develops critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills of participants through work on research projects that meet their interests. Participants communicate project results in scientific journals, oral and poster presentations at scientific conferences, and in presentations to lay audiences. Of the 48 students who have participated in the program in 1996, 96 percent earned a degree within six years of entering college (compared to 60 percent for students not participating) and 93 percent either entered graduate school or were offered employment within three months of graduation (compared to 50 percent among students not participating). Participating students also graduate with considerably higher grade point averages.
Contact: Jo Ann Castro, Director of Public Affairs, (361) 593-2146 or (361) 593-2014

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Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, South Plains College, Lubbock Christian University, and Covenant School of Nursing, in partnership with University Medical Center, Covenant Health System, WorkSource of the South Plains, and American State Bank - South Plains Nursing Education Community Coalition
PowerPoint presentation
The South Plains Nursing Education Community Coalition is helping to meet the region's nursing needs by working collaboratively to graduate 240 new registered nurses - above the number graduated in 2001 - by June 2004. Supported by a $2.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, the coalition is providing scholarships for new nursing students, hiring new nurse educators, and funding efforts to recruit, promote, and retain nurses throughout their careers. Partners also provide in-kind contributions, including publicity and referrals. By June 2003, 212 additional registered nurses had graduated, and the coalition is well on its way to surpass its goals substantially.
Contact: Lynda Billings, Project Director, (806) 743-2730 ext. 250

The University of Texas at Arlington and West Texas A&M University - Cooperative Master's of Social Work Program
The Master's of Social Work degree program offered jointly by The University of Texas at Arlington and West Texas A&M University in Canyon, south of Amarillo, since 1976 provides needed social workers for the Texas Panhandle. In the early years of the program, instructors would travel to Amarillo to teach classes, or students would be required to attend classes in Arlington. Today, most of the classes are provided through television links, and students can complete the program from West Texas A&M. Prior to the establishment of the program, fewer than 10 professional trained social workers served the Panhandle. Through this partnership, however, more than 150 students have earned master's degrees in social work, and most are serving the Panhandle in direct practice, community development, and administrative roles.
Contact: Donna Darovich, Director of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Arlington, (817) 272-2761, or K. R. Ramakrishnan, Professor and Director of Social Work Program, West Texas A&M University, (806) 651-2592

The University of Texas at El Paso - Entering Student Program
PowerPoint presentation
The University of Texas at El Paso developed the Entering Student Program (ESP) to help ensure the academic success of its first-year students. The first component, called the University Studies Seminar, provides a rigorous academic curriculum, with tutoring and learning support, in a small class setting. The second component, called Learning Communities, allows a community of students to enroll in the same two or three core courses, which may be clustered around a common theme. Students who participate in the program have persistence rate of approximately 80 percent, compared to approximately 69 percent for non-participants. In addition, the program has received national recognition.
Contact: Donna Dennis, Public Affairs Specialist, (915) 747-5747

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The University of Texas at El Paso - Law School Preparation Institute
The Law School Preparation Institute is substantially increasing the number of UTEP students who qualify for admission to and succeed in the nation's top law schools. Program components include two intensive summer sessions, beginning after the sophomore year and continuing the next year, that improve students' analytical thinking and logical reasoning skills and familiarize them with the type of legal analysis expected in law school. More than 80 percent of participating students increase their grade point averages, and 94 percent of participants who completed the admission process have been admitted to at least one law school. In addition, approximately 20 UTEP students annually are admitted now to at least one of the nation’s top 50 law schools, compared to only seven prior to the program.
Contact: Shelli Soto, Director, Center for Law and Border Studies, (915) 747-7973

West Texas A&M University - Increasing the Success of the Most Economically Disadvantaged Students
PowerPoint presentation
This effort is significantly improving the academic success and persistence levels of its most economically disadvantaged students - students who are not expected, based on analysis of their applications for financial aid, to be able to contribute any of their own funds to pay for college. Through cross-campus collaboration among financial aid, admissions, and academic advising officials, the college persistence rate for these students has increased steadily from approximately 32 percent to nearly 65 percent.
Contact: Troy Johnson, Dean of Enrollment Management, (806) 651-2031


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