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Texas Completion Summit

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Published on Oct 7, 2013

Educators and lawmakers gathered to share ideas and solutions intended to help keep students focused on finishing their education at the inaugural Texas Completion Summit held at Lone Star College System.

The summit, held Sept. 23 and 24, was sponsored by Texas Completes, Educate Texas and the Texas Association of Community Colleges.

"We're proud Texas is leading the way with this very critical issue," said Jonathan Durfield, LSC associate vice chancellor, Government Affairs & Student Completion. "The challenges are great, but the work that was done at this summit will pay dividends to future generations."

The Texas Completion Summit featured national keynote speaker Isa Adney, a former community college student who wrote "Community College Success" and was attended by nearly 300 people representing 36 of the 50 community colleges in the state, six universities and six major foundations. Sponsors included Pearson, along with Precision Technology Group, Querium and Starfish Solutions.

The summit also included several panel discussions and speakers including Texas State Sen. Kel Seliger, who serves as chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee; Tina Gridiron, Lumina Foundation; Adrianna Cuéllar Rojas, The Meadows Foundation; Kristin Boyer, TG; and George Grainger, Houston Endowment. The panelists covered a wide range of issues such as transforming state policy, making data matter and strengthening transfer pathways for students.

"We need to do a better job of reaching out to those students who don't always raise their hand," said Jose Cruz, South Texas College VP/chief strategy officer who spoke at the summit. "They can help us better understand the obstacles they face when working toward a degree."

"Two years of focused effort to streamline and accelerate a student's path to completion were shared at the summit," said Dr. Richard Carpenter, LSCS chancellor. "Our goal is to ensure all students have the tools they need for a successful completion of their studies."

LSCS has joined colleges across Texas encouraging students to "Commit to Complete" their degrees, a pledge intended to encourage them to successfully complete their educational goals. Participating colleges kicked off the 2013 fall semester with students signing banners and contracts, pledging their commitment to complete their studies. Faculty members are also encouraged to discuss and highlight to students the importance of completing a degree or certificate and following through with their academic commitments.

Texas Completes is a cadre of eight institutions, which together educate 43 percent of the state's community college students; representing more than 316,000 students. The cadre includes five founding members that have been working together for the past two years; managing partner Lone Star College System (LSCS), Alamo Colleges (AC), Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD), El Paso Community College (EPCC), and South Texas College (STC). This summer, three new institutions joined the Texas Completes consortium including Austin Community College District (ACCD), Kilgore College (KC) and Odessa College (OC).

Lone Star College System has been opening doors to a better community for 40 years. Founded in 1973, LSCS remains steadfast in its commitment to student success and credential completion. Today, with 78,000 students in credit classes, and a total enrollment of more than 90,000, Lone Star College System is the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area and the fastest-growing community college system in the nation. Dr. Richard Carpenter is the chancellor of LSCS, which consists of six colleges including LSC-CyFair, LSC-Kingwood, LSC-Montgomery, LSC-North Harris, LSC-Tomball and LSC-University Park, five centers, LSC-University Center at Montgomery, LSC-University Center at University Park, Lone Star Corporate College, and LSC-Online. To learn more visit LoneStar.edu.

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