Chancellor of Blinn College
Speeches & Presentations

Fall 2017 Faculty Convocation

Tuesday, August 22, 2017


Good morning and welcome to the Fall 2017 Faculty Convocation.

It is my pleasure to be with you today as we prepare for another outstanding Fall semester.

As we begin, I would like to introduce the Blinn College Board of Trustees.

Trustees, please stand as your name is called, and audience, please hold your applause until the end.

  • Charles Moser, Chair
  • Richard Powell, Vice Chair
  • David Sommer, Secretary
  • Stacy Aschenbeck
  • Teddy Boehm
  • Douglas Borchardt
  • Ann Horton
  • Atwood Kenjura
  • Tammy Spohn

I also would like to recognize the members of the Executive Council.

Please stand as your name is called, and audience, please hold your applause until each name has been called:

  • Mr. Mel Waxler, Executive Vice Chancellor and General Counsel
  • Ms. Karen Buck, Vice Chancellor for Administration and Operations
  • Mr. Richard Cervantes, Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance
  • Dr. Crystal Lee, Vice Chancellor for Instruction
  • Dr. Dennis Crowson, Vice Chancellor for Student Services
  • Dr. Jimmy Byrd, Executive Dean for the Bryan Campus

I also would like to recognize the Faculty Convocation Committee.

As I call your name, will you please stand so we may acknowledge your work? Audience, please hold your applause until each name has been called.

  • Committee Chair John Beaver,
  • Bryn Behnke,
  • Tasha Burleson,
  • Victoria Fowler,
  • Becky Garlick,
  • Joyce Langenegger,
  • Crystal Lee,
  • Shelly Peacock,
  • Richard Reilly,
  • John Schaffer (shay-fuhr),
  • and Mark Workman.

Thank you for ensuring that today marks a wonderful beginning to the new academic year.

Last year, I identified three primary goals for the Blinn College District.

They were: the development of a new Blinn College campus at RELLIS, preparation and participation during the 85th Legislative Session, and the development of a new three-year strategic plan.

I would like to provide an update regarding each of these items, identifying what we accomplished during the 2016-17 academic year, and what we look forward to accomplishing in the months ahead.

Our first priority was to work in partnership with The Texas A&M University System in preparation for the Fall 2018 opening of Blinn College’s new academic facility at the RELLIS Campus.

As most of you know, last year The Texas A&M System invited Blinn College to expand upon its longstanding partnership by participating in the RELLIS Campus, a high-tech, multi-institutional research, testing, and workforce development campus.

At this time, I would like to share a video from the very first groundbreaking ceremony to take place at the RELLIS Campus celebrating the construction of the Center for Infrastructure Renewal, and outlining Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp’s vision for the RELLIS Campus.

Blinn will be part of more than 560,000 square feet of new and renovated space at RELLIS, including the Center for Infrastructural Renewal, the Texas Transportation Institute, the TEEX training facilities, and the TEES Headquarters and Research Center.

As the RELLIS Campus brings industry, research, testing, and education together, it also brings Texas A&M System institutions to a single location at the Gateway Education Center, with Blinn providing the freshman- and sophomore-level coursework for students to transfer into the System institutions of their choice.

In March, Blinn College and The Texas A&M System invited state and community leaders to the groundbreaking of the Blinn facility at RELLIS.

At this time, I would like to show you a brief video highlighting the excitement of this historic occasion.

As you can see, Blinn College and the Texas A&M System have worked closely with the architects to develop a first-class, forward-thinking facility that will allow students to collaborate throughout their educational experience.

At this time, I would like to share new renderings of the interior of Blinn’s academic facility at the RELLIS Campus.

Of course, the vision for the RELLIS Campus goes beyond academic transfer.

Last December, Blinn College, The Texas A&M System, and TEEX announced a joint partnership to meet Brazos County’s growing demand for workforce training programs, building upon Blinn’s strong selection of career training programs.

As this chart shows, prior to that announcement, Blinn offered training for each of the 10 careers with the greatest employment demand in our region, including nurses, teachers, operations managers, and correctional officers.

Blinn also offers career training for the jobs with the highest annual wage, including computer systems analysts, software developers, accountants, physical therapist assistants, and dental hygienists.

This summer, Blinn and TEEX introduced new carpentry and plumbing courses at the RELLIS Campus, including a Carpentry Boot Camp designed for students with no prior construction experience.

The course teaches them to use common tools for residential construction, and upon completion, students are qualified to be part of a framing crew.

Students who complete the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) Core and either the carpentry or plumbing course will earn the Occupational Safety & Health Administration 10-hour construction certificate, NCCER Level I certificate for plumbing or carpentry, the TEEX/RELLIS Certificate of Completion, and Blinn College Certificate of Completion.

Please join me in thanking Jay Anderson, Dean of Technical and Community Programs, and his staff for hard work implementing these valuable workforce programs.

Of course, the RELLIS Campus was not the only major construction project taking place last year.

Last September, the Board of Trustees approved a new design for a student housing facility that will allow an additional 464 students to live and study on the Blinn-Brenham Campus.

Construction began this spring, and is funded by National Campus and Community Development-Blinn College Properties, LLC, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization established to provide tax-exempt financing specifically for this process.

This student housing facility will have a direct and immediate impact on enrollment at the Brenham Campus, where hundreds of students are placed on a housing wait list each year.

In 2016, the wait list for Brenham Campus student housing exceeded 925 students before it was closed to new applications.

This Fall, the waiting list numbered 658 students as of August 15th.

Based on that demand, we look forward to this facility filling quickly in 2018, allowing an additional 464 students to enroll at the Blinn-Brenham Campus.

Next to the student housing facility, construction is nearing completion on the Kruse Center, a 36,000-square-foot recreation center that will host a variety of student activities, as well as Buccaneer basketball and volleyball games.

Made possible through a generous gift from the Kruse family, the Kruse Center will include an event arena, weight and cardio room, men’s and women’s locker rooms, an indoor track, meeting and multi-purpose rooms, and a Pirate’s Den snack bar.

In addition to providing a new venue for student activities, the Kruse Center will help the Brenham Campus recruit and retain students seeking an energetic, high-achieving campus environment.

Even as Blinn invigorates its campus communities, recent construction projects have already begun to invigorate the local economy.

Last summer, in partnership with the Brenham Economic Development Foundation and the Washington County Chamber of Commerce, Blinn announced a project to add an adjacent workforce training facility beside the Hodde Center.

This new workforce training complex was funded through a $1.35 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Agency with support from the Brenham Community Development Corporation, Washington County Commissioners Court, and the Brenham Economic Development Foundation.

Blinn has agreed to administer the facility and all training programs conducted at the site, including welding, diesel engine mechanics, commercial maintenance, and heavy equipment operator training.

Before we discuss our other goals from the past year, I would like to take a moment to recognize Blinn’s Facilities, Planning, and Construction personnel for all their work during the past year.

Please join me in thanking Vice Chancellor of Administration and Operations Karen Buck, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Facilities, Planning, and Construction Richard O’Malley, Director of Brazos County Facilities Shawn Welch, and Project Manager Mark Feldhake for all their work to add new facilities and upgrade existing ones on behalf of Blinn College and its students.

Just as construction crews were building exciting new facilities across the College District last year, Blinn administrators were building relationships with state and local leaders in support of the College’s second goal for 2016-17.

These relationships proved crucial during the 85th Legislative Session, as Blinn partnered with its local legislators to advocate on behalf of the issues most important to the College and its students.

This process began with personalized letters to Blinn’s legislators, which included information about the number of Blinn students who hailed from their district.

In September, Blinn hosted Senate Higher Education Chairman Kel Seliger for a tour of the Brenham and Bryan Campuses, including visits to the Health Science Center and Bryan Collegiate High School.

Two months later, Blinn hosted the first Legislative Luncheon in its history, bringing more than 70 state legislators, elected officials, and local leaders together to discuss Blinn’s legislative priorities in advance of the 85th Legislative Session.

Those legislative priorities included:

support for the state funding goals for community colleges as adopted by the Texas Association of Community Colleges (TACC) and Community College Association of Texas Trustees (CCATT),

support for enhanced policies, programs and associated funding to strengthen the workforce development services and initiatives as adopted by TACC and CCATT,

support for an increase in state funding to further Blinn College’s efforts to provide an affordable higher education for all students,

a commitment to strengthening its business and industry partnerships and to enhancing workforce development in all of its service area,

additional state funding to offset the rising expenses associated with Hazlewood exemptions,

support for maintenance of the existing level of state funding for the operation of the Star of the Republic Museum,

and support for continued funding of Blinn College’s Small Business Development Center.

To promote these priorities, Blinn administrators, Executive Vice Chancellor and General Counsel Mel Waxler, and I made regular visits to Austin to speak to legislators and their staffs about the issues that directly affect Blinn students and the communities Blinn serves.

In addition to these visits, College administrators, faculty, staff, students, and alumni participated in Texas Community College Day and the first Blinn College Day at the Texas Capitol.

At this time, I would like to show a brief video highlighting the excitement of Blinn’s visit to the State Capitol.

The efforts of Blinn’s administrators, faculty, staff, students, and alumni helped the College build new relationships and contributed to a successful legislative session that saw state lawmakers provide community colleges an additional $19 million compared to the previous biennium.

Early in the Legislative Session, there were signs that Star of the Republic Museum may not receive state funding during the upcoming biennium.

However, despite a decrease in funding compared to the 84th Legislative Session, the museum will receive greater funding than it did during the 83rd Legislative Session.

This funding will allow Star of the Republic to remain an important part of the services Blinn College provides for local elementary and middle school students, who visit the museum each year on field trips and for the annual Regional History Fair.

Blinn’s SBDC also will continue to offer valuable services to the community after a successful legislative session in which we spoke to state legislators about the role SBDC plays in strengthening the Texas economy.

As a member of the Texas Gulf Coast SBDC Network, the Blinn SBDC will continue to receive state funding thanks to the network’s practice of providing financial support based on past performance and the Blinn SBDC’s long history of exceptional service to local businesses.

Even as Blinn College developed exciting new facilities and strengthened its relationship with state legislators, it also laid the groundwork for the future with its third priority – the development of a new 3-year strategic plan.

This strategic plan includes a new mission statement, vision statement, goals, and – for the first time – core values.

To develop this plan, Blinn established a 24-member committee comprised of faculty and staff from across the College District.

Together, they developed the following mission statement:

“Blinn College is building stronger communities by providing quality comprehensive education and empowering students to achieve excellence in their educational careers and personal goals.”

This mission statement better explains the comprehensive nature of Blinn College’s  programs, and serves as a guide for each future project the College undertakes.

The new vision statement is as follows:

“Shaping future academic, workforce, cultural, and economic leaders by providing excellent instruction, resources, services, and innovative partnerships for students and the community.”

In crafting this vision, the committee crafted a more descriptive statement that included more information regarding the various ways in which Blinn College serves its communities.

The committee felt that emphasizing academic and workforce training goals separately was important in establishing Blinn’s commitment to the comprehensive nature of community colleges.

For the first time in Blinn’s history, the College identified seven new core values:

  • access,
  • collaboration,
  • diversity,
  • excellence,
  • innovation,
  • respect,
  • and service.

With those core values serving as a guide, the strategic plan also identified three primary objectives for the next three years: student success, performance excellence, and planned growth.

In turn, these three long-term objectives helped me to identify the annual goals we are discussing today.

Taken together, what does this strategic plan mean for the future of Blinn College?

It means that while Blinn continues to serve its community in a variety of ways, at its heart, this is an institution committed to its students and the community.

This strategic plan makes clear that Blinn College is committed to academic and career training excellence, and that Blinn provides those services through innovation and collaboration with its community partners.

Throughout the upcoming year, I would challenge each of you to consider each piece of this strategic plan, and consider how the ideas inherent in our core values can help you build a brighter future for Blinn College students.

In addition to the items I just outlined, 2016-17 featured a wide variety of successes for Blinn College.

Those accomplishments include:

the development of a campus carry implementation plan by a 34-member Campus Carry Task Force, the results of which will be presented by Task Force representatives later this morning;

the launch of a new Surgical Technology Program in partnership with Baylor Scott & White to meet the needs of local hospitals;

new articulation agreements with Hardin-Simmons University, the University of Texas-San Antonio, and the Texas A&M-Kingsville College of Engineering;

national recognition on the U.S. President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in recognition of Blinn’s commitment to community service and civic engagement;

recognition by the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development, commonly known as NISOD, as one of the most promising places to work in community colleges in 2017;

and more than $1.25 million in grant awards from the National Science Foundation and Texas Workforce Commission.

Additionally, the Blinn Foundation raised more than $60,000 for student scholarships and athletic equipment at the third annual Clay Shootout.

As we look ahead to the 2017-18 academic year, we can take pride in these accomplishments, even as we seek to surpass them.

This year, I have identified four goals that will be significant to the success of the upcoming year and the future of this College:

First, the continued development of new Blinn College facilities, including those at RELLIS;

Second, preparation for the 86th Legislative Session;

Third, the development of strategies to maintain and increase enrollment;

And fourth, the sound fiscal management of the College’s budget and resources.

The first goal, the continued development of the RELLIS Campus and other facilities, builds upon last year’s success.

As you can see in the development timeline behind me, the Gateway Education Complex, the site where the Texas A&M System universities will be located, will host its groundbreaking in August 2018, the same month that Blinn opens its academic facility.

Almost exactly one year from today, on August 23, 2018, Blinn College will host the grand opening of its new academic facility at the RELLIS Campus.

I would urge each of you to mark your calendars in advance of this historic event, as we prepare to celebrate our partnership with The Texas A&M University System and a new facility that will allow us to offer our community and the State of Texas an even greater array of educational services.

In advance of the RELLIS Campus ground opening, there remains much to accomplish

Together, the Texas A&M University System and Blinn College have been meeting with academic, facilities, and workforce training advisory committees to gather input and ensure that the services offered at RELLIS meet the needs of our students and the community.

We can now say that all 11 Texas A&M System universities will have a presence at the RELLIS Campus, and in the near future we expect to make an announcement regarding the academic programs and degrees that will be offered at RELLIS.

At this time, our expectation is that bachelor’s degree programs could be offered in:

  • accounting,
  • art education,
  • biology,
  • civil engineering,
  • computer technology,
  • criminal justice,
  • engineering technology,
  • finance,
  • health sciences,
  • information systems/data analysis,
  • management,
  • marketing,
  • nursing,
  • public administration,
  • and public safety.

In July, Blinn College and The Texas A&M System signed a partnership agreement to secure funding for a shared facility that would host workforce training and other educational programs delivered both by Blinn College and Texas A&M System universities and agencies.

In addition to this new facility, the Board of Trustees has authorized administrators to explore potential sites at the RELLIS Campus and elsewhere in Brazos County that could house programs, including but not limited to veterinary technology, therapeutics manufacturing, and dental hygiene.

Blinn administrators also have been authorized by the Board of Trustees to collect information regarding the possible establishment of health science program facilities at the RELLIS Campus.

Throughout this summer, Blinn College and the Texas A&M System have been developing a comprehensive marketing and recruiting plan to attract students to the RELLIS Campus.

Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp recently approved this logo, which will be included in all marketing materials for the RELLIS Campus.

A key component of this marketing campaign will include working with local school districts to ensure that high school students are aware of the many opportunities that RELLIS offers.

At this time, I would like to show you a video from Chancellor Sharp’s May 2, 2016, announcement of the RELLIS Campus, in which he discusses those students who may be most interested in all that RELLIS has to offer.

Of course, the RELLIS Campus will not be the only facility we open in the months ahead.

On Thursday, September 14, the Washington County Chamber of Commerce and Brenham Economic Development Corporation will host a ribbon cutting for the new Hodde Center expansion.

This ribbon cutting will take place at 9:00 a.m., followed by an open house from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m.

At 10:00 a.m. on Friday, December 1, Blinn will host the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Kruse Center, where we will thank the Kruse family for its longstanding support of Blinn College and its students, and for the generous gift that made the Kruse Center possible.

Blinn’s second priority for 2017-18 also builds upon last year’s success.

As Blinn begins to look ahead to the 86th Legislative Session, it will continue to strengthen its presence in the Texas Association of Community Colleges and the Community College Association of Texas Trustees.

These two organizations lead the legislative advocacy efforts for the state’s 50 community college districts, and have been tremendous partners in supporting the interests of Blinn faculty, staff, and students.

Many of Blinn’s legislative goals will remain consistent, as we continue to advocate for state funding, which helps to keep student costs low.

We also will continue to advocate on behalf of the Star of the Republic Museum and the Small Business Development Center so we can continue to provide these valuable services to our communities.

We anticipate that state legislators will discuss ways in which they might establish an equitable state-wide charge for students enrolling in dual credit courses.

Interim committees can begin meeting this Fall, and Blinn College administrators anticipate attending committee discussions and providing information and testimony when requested.

Our third priority for the upcoming year is the development of strategies to maintain and increase enrollment district-wide.

While Blinn historically has enjoyed annual increases in enrollment, particularly on the Bryan Campus and in Distance Learning courses, registration has remained relatively flat since Blinn enrolled 19,317 students in Fall 2014.

Reinvigorating enrollment growth throughout the district empowers the College to introduce new programs and services, and serves as an indicator that Blinn College truly is meeting the needs of the communities it serves.

In the year ahead, we will explore new marketing and recruiting strategies to reach new audiences, target our marketing energies on specific programs and degree plans with high growth potential, and strengthen our relationships and communication with area school districts to ensure that their teachers, advisors, and counselors are well informed about all that Blinn offers, and can share that information with their students.

Even as we take these actions, this goal truly is about meeting the needs of our community.

For example, Baylor Scott & White recently asked Blinn College about the potential for developing a blended vocational nursing program that would allow Baylor Scott & White employees to take the lecture portion of their classes online and their labs and clinicals during nights and weekends.

By offering face-to-face offerings during non-traditional hours, Blinn will empower Baylor Scott & White employees to continue working even as they earn their degrees and advance their careers.

Strategies such as these will increase Blinn’s enrollment, but more importantly, they serve the higher education needs of our community and strengthen local businesses.

In a similar fashion, Blinn is exploring strategies by which the College can expand its weekend course offerings for both academic and career and technical courses.

These programs make Blinn College more accessible to non-traditional students, and allow students to earn their degrees, certificates, and industry credentials in a shortened time frame.

Once again, this represents an example in which we increase enrollment, but more importantly offer a valuable, convenient service to our community.

Led by the efforts of Dr. Crystal Lee and Dr. Dennis Crowson, Blinn also is exploring strategies to increase student retention, and help students on academic probation return to good standing.

At the same time, a recent study from the Aspen Institute has found that students with prescribed degree paths enjoy higher success rates.

With this in mind, Blinn is a partner in the Texas Pathways Project, a state-wide strategy focused on building capacity for community colleges to design and implement structured academic and career pathways for all students.

As you can see, even as these strategies support Blinn’s enrollment, they truly are geared toward student success.

Many of the exciting projects and accomplishments we have discussed today demonstrate exactly why students from across the state should – and do – consider Blinn College for their higher education.

As we recommit ourselves to efficient operations, dynamic course offerings, and strategic recruitment strategies, we do so knowing that these actions strengthen Blinn’s future, and position us to offer even more programs and opportunities in the years to come.

Our fourth priority for the upcoming year is the sound fiscal management of the College’s budget and resources.

In June, the Board of Trustees approved a $112.6 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year, representing a 4.5% increase over the previous year.

In recognition of your many accomplishments, to help offset increased insurance costs, and to ensure that Blinn College continues to retain and attract the very best faculty in the state of Texas, that budget includes a 3% pay increase for all staff and full-time faculty.

With sound financial management and a commitment to classroom excellence, Blinn College is in the rare position to reward its faculty for their expertise even as the College expands its facilities in advance of future growth.

Please join me in thanking the Board of Trustees for investing in our most precious resource, our faculty, at a time when colleges across the state are being asked to trim their budgets.

As you can see on the screen, property tax revenue, which Blinn College collects in Washington County, represents less than 2% of this year’s budget.

Per state law, those funds can only be utilized on the Blinn-Brenham Campus.

Meanwhile, state funding represents 25% of this year’s budget.

As we have discussed, Blinn College, the Texas Association of Community Colleges, and the Community College Association of Texas Trustees are working together to advocate on behalf of Texas community college students.

However, as the legislature faces limited resources each biennium, it is important for Blinn to strengthen its financial position so we can minimize the impact future decreases have upon our students.

To that end, approximately 57% of this year’s budgeted revenue is generated by tuition and fees.

Data from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board shows that out-of-district students attending Blinn save 42% compared to the cost of an average state university.

Given Blinn’s strong academic reputation, its proximity to Texas A&M, and its unique co-enrollment opportunities, those savings make Blinn College the clear choice for students across the state.

However, that same data set shows that Blinn ranks among the 10 highest tuition and fee rates among the state’s 50 community colleges.

For Blinn to maintain its role as an affordable gateway to higher education, its tuition and fee rates must remain competitive with community colleges across the State of Texas.

Additionally, as the educational needs of our service area change, we must have the financial flexibility to offer new facilities and services.

As this chart shows, when Blinn took out $46.5 million in bonds in 2016 to fund RELLIS Campus construction and renovations to the Bryan Campus,  the College reached its bond capacity of $83.8 million.

Until Blinn reduces the principal on those bonds, any new facilities must be funded through public-private partnerships or other alternative funding streams.

With this in mind, you can see why strong enrollment is crucial to the future of both the Blinn College District and the communities we serve.

Before I close my remarks, I would like to take a moment to thank each of you for your hard work on behalf of Blinn College and its students.

As you entered today, you may have noticed the slide show commemorating some of your outstanding accomplishments from the past year.

Taken together, these accomplishments speak to your dedication, commitment, and willingness to go above and beyond to introduce our students to a world of new ideas and opportunities.

Thanks to your efforts, we are building a variety of new facilities to meet the needs of the next generation of Blinn College students.

Students from across the state are applying for admission to Blinn, home to one of the state’s highest academic transfer rates, and they do so because we have a reputation as one of the finest community colleges in the state of Texas.

For that, you have my sincere appreciation.

You are the heartbeat of this college, and together, you are crucial to our success, handling thousands of the tasks, large and small, that make Blinn College such a special place.

These accomplishments are the foundation for what will be an incredible year ahead for Blinn College and its students.

At this time, it is my pleasure to welcome Dr. Crystal Lee to the stage as we honor this year’s Teaching Excellence Award winners.

This year, Blinn College is recognizing four instructors – an academic instructor from the Brenham, Schulenburg, or Sealy campuses; an academic instructor from the Bryan Campus, a technical education instructor; and, for the first time, an adjunct instructor.

Our first honoree is the College’s first adjunct instructor to win a Teaching Excellence Award, Dr. Judy Lanfrey.

Dr. Lanfrey has been an adjunct literacy professor in Blinn’s Humanities Division since 2010, and is entering her 54th year as an educator, including experience as an elementary school teacher, professor of graduate studies, nursery co-director, and literacy coordinator.

In her application, she wrote, and I quote, “I teach because I want to assist individual students as they attempt to improve their own lives, to facilitate the progress of groups assigned to me for specific instruction as they work toward achievement of their collective goals, and to promote literacy for all. I strive to influence students in a positive way beyond the classroom, touching their lives in a professional, yet warm manner that reflects respect for individual values and our respective growth as members of society.”

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Judith Lanfrey.

Next, I would like to recognize Deborah Vavra, Communications Professor and Assistant Dean for the Division of Visual/Performing Arts & Kinesiology, and this year’s Teaching Excellence Award winner from the Brenham, Schulenburg, and Sealy campuses.

Ms. Vavra has been with Blinn College since 1995, and has been an active leader on a number of Blinn College Committees.

She currently serves on the Performing Arts Series Committee, Division Leadership Council, Center for Teaching and Learning, Curriculum Committee, and Curriculum Resource Team, and recently served on the Strategic Planning Committee that helped to develop Blinn’s 3-year strategic plan.

Ms. Vavra previously has been awarded the NISOD Excellence Award, Robert Giles Distinguished Advisor Award, and Phi Theta Kappa’s Faculty Scholar, Paragon, and Region Horizon Awards, and has been named Texas Hall of Honor for Outstanding Advisors.

Please join me in congratulating Deborah Vavra.

Our third honoree is this year’s Technical Education Teaching Excellence Award winner, Mr. Jason Vrooman.

Jason is an instructor with Blinn’s Emergency Medical Services Program at the Health Science Center.

An alumnus who earned his EMT Basic Certification at Blinn College, Jason has been an EMS instructor with Blinn since 2008.

He is a licensed firefighter and paramedic who also holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing from Texas A&M University.

Jason was valedictorian of the TEEX Firefighter Academy Class of 2004, valedictorian of the TEEX Paramedic Academy Class of 2006, and was a Teaching Excellence Award finalist in 2013.

Please join me in congratulating Mr. Jason Vrooman.

Our final Teaching Excellence Award honoree is Judy Wagner, a Mathematics Instructor on the Bryan Campus.

Judy has been a teacher for more than 50 years, and has been a member of the Blinn College faculty since 1976.

She is a member of the Texas Mathematical College Teaching Association, the Texas State Teachers Association, the National Education Association, the Texas Community College Teachers Association, the American Association of University Professors, and the Brazos Valley Art League.

Please join me in congratulating Ms. Judy Wagner.

At this time, I would like to share a video featuring the Blinn faculty who won NISOD, Teaching Excellence, or other awards during the past year.

Each instructor was asked what their profession means to them, and it is my privilege to share their answers with you now.

Thank you to all the faculty who shared their passion for education during that video, and congratulations once again.

Before I close, please remember that I welcome your ideas and questions, and encourage you to email me at

It is my honor and a privilege to serve as chancellor for such talented, dedicated educators.

I wish you all an enjoyable and productive Convocation, and an outstanding year ahead.



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B-Informed with the Chancellor of Blinn College

2017 Convocation Video

2016 Convocation Video


Mary Hensley, Ed.D.

Chancellor of Blinn College

Laurie Clark

Special Assistant to the Chancellor and the Board of Trustees


Becky Krebs

Assistant to the Chancellor of Blinn College