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Blinn named a finalist for two prestigious Bellwether Awards

Blinn receives national recognition for its orientation course for online students and for a partnership to reduce inmate recidivism in Brazos County

Blinn receives national recognition for its orientation course for online students and for a partnership to reduce inmate recidivism in Brazos County

November 15, 2021

The Bellwether College Consortium has named the Blinn College District a 2022 finalist for two highly coveted Bellwether Awards.

Bellwether finalists represent the nation’s leading community colleges, whose outstanding and innovative programs and practices were selected among competitive submissions as exemplary. The Consortium named finalists in three categories: Instructional Programs and Services; Planning, Governance, and Finance; and Workforce Development.

“The Bellwether Awards are among the most prestigious honors a community college can achieve,” said Dr. Mary Hensley, Chancellor of the Blinn College District. “To be selected as a finalist in two categories is a credit to Blinn’s outstanding faculty and staff and their dedication to creating innovative programs that truly benefit our students and the communities we serve.”

Blinn’s orientation course for students taking online courses was recognized in the Instructional Programs and Services category. Through the orientation course, Blinn students are familiarized with Blinn’s learning management system, Ecampus, and gain the technological skills necessary to thrive in the online classroom. A recent faculty survey found that 70% of instructors observed improvements in the performance of students who completed the orientation course.

Blinn also was named a finalist in the Workforce Development category in recognition of Blinn’s partnership with the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the Brazos County Detention Center to provide offender re-entry training and reduce inmate recidivism.

Since 2002, Blinn has provided female offenders re-entry training in programs such as accounting, HVAC, medical billing and coding, office administration, and small business management to offenders incarcerated at the Federal Prison Camp in Bryan. Inmates who participate in the program have just a 5.27% recidivism rate, significantly lower than the national rates for female inmates (36.4%).

In 2021, Blinn was a Bellwether Award finalist in the Planning, Governance, and Finance category in recognition of its partnership with The Texas A&M University System at the RELLIS Campus.

This year’s Bellwether Award finalists will undergo a rigorous second and final round of review at the 28th Annual Community College Futures Assembly taking place Jan. 30 – Feb. 1, 2022. Each selected college provides a 60-minute presentation on its program or model to an anonymous panel, recognized as skilled practitioners and thought leaders in the field.

“The Bellwether College Consortium prides itself on identifying and celebrating replicable, scalable, and results-based programs and models and disseminating these highly lauded examples of institutional success to peer institutions,” said Dr. Rose Martinez, Director of the Bellwether College Consortium.

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