NVC Convocation 2019

This year’s Northwest Vista College Convocation was short … just two hours long … and a message of it takes a village to raise enrollment, improve persistence, retain students, and increase graduation numbers.

Northwest Vista College President Dr. Ric Baser said in his opening remarks, “If I were Julian Castro or Don Lucas, I would tell you we have to call it what it is and not mince our words. But I’m not a politician or a psychology professor with a hot topic and a plethora of adoring students.

What I am, however, is a California native who spent 33 years in Oklahoma and then received the fortunate invitation to serve as the college president of the number one community college in Texas for 2017 and 2019.

The trouble with rankings is that they change. You can be number one until you’re not. Rankings come and go, like the rain in San Antonio. They also don’t define us!

We are most defined by the success of each and every student who walks through this campus. We are defined by each staff member who takes the time to turn a prospect without a transcript or proof of a meningitis shot into an orientation-ready student. We are defined by the faculty member who makes the painful decision to drop a student yet takes an additional step to learn more and you fill in the blank.

That’s what defines a caring college in the United States with or without an official ranking!” To read his full speech, go here.

Here are a few of the measures that Dr. Baser highlighted during convocation include:

  • The college is hoping to surpass fall 2018 enrollment of 16,293.
  • Course completion rates for fall 2018 were 92.4%, which has been in the 92% range in the last four years.
  • NVC had higher CCSSE results in four categories (academic challenge, student/faculty interaction, support for learners, and student effort). In active & collaborative learning, it scored the same as in 2015.
  • NVC surpasses the number of degrees and certificates awarded in 2019  at 3,003 compared to 2,675 in 2018.
  • The three-year first-time-in-college graduation rate was 30.9% for full-time students in 2015 – the highest it’s been in the last five years.

NVC Vice President of College Services Erin Sherman gave an update on some of NVC’s Capital Improvement Projects and recent campus projects:

  • The Desert Willow Welcome Center and Texas Ash Parking Garage is set to open March 2020.
  • The STEM building and the Cypress Campus Center Renovation are estimated to begin construction in January 2020.
  • Texas Senator Jose Menendez also designated about $6 million for a new NVC Veterans Affairs center.
  • The Innovation Center in Manzanillo Hall received new walls and seating to make it more of an enclosed space.
  • Students will see bright blue chairs around the lake, tables and more seating areas throughout the campus.

NVC Vice President of Student Success Debi Gaitan addressed the holistic approach NVC is undertaking to help more students. She said:

  • There’s a new Student Advocacy, Resource and Education Center being constructed in Huisache Hall, near the new NVC Food Pantry.
  • The food pantry has ordered 6,270 pounds of food since it opened last spring, and $6,500 has been donated by NVC faculty, staff and students.
  • The emergency aid for students or the Trellis grant so far has given students an average award of $665 since it was introduced last spring.
  • NVC will participate in a United Way grant awarded to San Antonio College to provide students a 24-hour hotline if they are in need of community resources.
  • AlamoPromise, which was started by the city and county, will be introduced in the fall of 2020. It provides funding for financial aid students who need help paying for extra costs that aid doesn’t provide. The goal is to get more economically disadvantage high school students in college.

Dr. Powell, NVC Vice President of Academic Services, had a message of embracing technology and innovation among students. He provided some statistics such as by 2020, 30 billion devices will be connected to the internet; and the amount of new technical information is doubling every two years.

Alamo Colleges Sergeant Jill Sprowls and NVC’s Coordinator of Risk Management Garvin Dansby encouraged audience if they see something suspicious, say something. Evacuation maps have been put in most classrooms and emergency response guides have been distributed. NVC will have “Drill Week” from Sept. 9-13. Alamo Colleges emergency number is 210-485-0099 and the non-emergency number to report suspicious behavior is 210-485-0099.

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