The Counseling Center team has been recognized by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board as a finalist for the 2013 Texas Higher Education Star Award.
Established in 2001, the Star Award recognizes exceptional contributions toward meeting one or more of the goals of Closing the Gaps by 2015.
For a program to be considered for a Star Award, it must meet the Closing the Gaps goals of to close the gaps in student participation, student success, academic excellence, and research. The SkillsShops were created and programmed by first Beverly Neu Menassa, assistant dean of student services, and professional counselors Shirley Walker and Virginia Clemente. New counselors Rhonda Dalrymple, Laura Gambill and Maribel Pena-Lyons have added ideas and efforts for the last six months.
The workshops address student issues on dozens of topics, ranging from test-taking tips to understanding personal relationships, from time or money management to personal safety.
The THECB website states that the next steps for the application will be a review by an external panel, "consisting of three Coordinating Board members, three Texas business and community leaders, and three out-of-state higher education experts, review the applications of all finalists and determine which of these finalists will be honored with the Star Award on the basis of criteria established for the 2013 Star Award."
Star Awards can be given to projects or programs at higher education institutions, groups or organizations that promote a college-going culture and partnerships between higher education and business or community that help reach the Closing the Gaps goals. The criteria require programs to have operated for three years and to have demonstrated successful outcomes, improvement and excellence over time. This means that data must be collected and used to show where students are impacted by a program or practice.
Michael Dennehy, associate vice president for Planning, Research and Institutional Effectiveness, helped provide the evidence that shows students who take part in the SkillsShops are more likely to succeed in their classes.