OC - Star Award Finalist

ODESSA (Sept. 19, 2017) – The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board announced the names of a select group of Texas colleges and universities who are the eight finalists for the THECB 2017 Star Award — and, Odessa College is proud to be one of those chosen few!

The Star Award is one of the most prestigious awards given to institutions of higher education, for which both colleges and universities in the state of Texas compete. Originally established in 2001 by the THECB, the Star Award was meant to recognize exceptional contributions toward achieving one or more of the goals of the previous long-range Texas higher education plan, Closing the Gaps by 2015, which brought Texas from 2000 to 2015. The state’s current higher education plan, 60x30TX, adopted by the Coordinating Board in July 2015, builds on the success of Closing the Gaps and is designed to establish a globally competitive workforce in Texas by 2030.

THECB released the following statement as the rationale for the selection of Odessa College as a 2017 Star Award finalist:

“Odessa College re-imagined the traditional 16-week term and for more than 80% of the courses OC offers – including all core courses – transformed them into 8-week terms, thus making 16-week terms the ‘exception’ and 8-week terms the ‘new normal.’ The direct and immediate benefits have been increased enrollment, increased rate of benchmark credit attainment toward a degree, and increased semester-to-semester persistence. Unduplicated enrollment for both First Time-In-College (FTIC) students and for all students has increased each year under the new 8-week term format. For socioeconomically disadvantaged part-time students, the transition to 8-week courses has allowed more students to access federal financial aid. The percent of FTIC students achieving 12 or more credit hours in their first semester has increased substantially since the transition to 8-week terms and is now 32%, up from a range of 22% to 25% in the four years preceding the transition … the transition to 8-week terms has done considerable good at minimal cost. The Aspen Institute awarded Odessa College its $100,000 Rising Star Award in 2017.”

The other seven finalists for the THECB Star Award are Austin Community College District, Coastal Bend College, St. Philip’s College, The University of Texas at Dallas, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, University of Houston, and the University of Houston – Downtown.

The winner of the Star Award will be announced and other finalists will be honored at the Texas Higher Education Leadership Conference on December 1 in Austin, Texas.

Star Award Finalist