Lone Star College-University Park invited community and business leaders to join the first meeting of the Community Advisory Council (CAC) April 27, 2017. This new initiative is part of LSC-University Park’s vision to be an innovative college and serve the community’s needs.
“The purpose of the CAC is to have an interactive dialogue with community leaders and members about the college’s current and future impact on creating an environment in which people choose to live and work,” said LSC-University Park President Shah Ardalan. “This strategic exchange with community and business leaders is critical in ensuring that LSC-University Park remains the community’s college and plays its role as an engine of prosperity for individuals, families and businesses.”
Ardalan and 15 community members constitute the CAC. Representing the cultural and ideological diversity of Harris County, members were invited to serve from diverse sectors, including the judicial system, energy, health care, education, technology, religious institutions and business at local and national levels. The council plans to welcome one or two more members in the future. Current members are:
- Keith Barber, CEO, Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital
- Commissioner R. Jack Cagle, Harris County Precinct 4
- Dr. Bret A. Champion, superintendent, Klein Independent School District
- Sonia Clayton, founder, president and CEO, Virtual Intelligence Providers
- Judge Lincoln Goodwin, Harris County justice of the peace for Precinct 4, Place 1
- Averri T. LeMalle, pastor, Champion Forest Baptist Church
- Larry Lipton, owner and agent, Allstate Insurance: Larry Lipton
- Phil Martin, CEO and president, New Century Exploration, Inc.
- Mark Potter, senior vice president and chief technology officer, HP Enterprise Group at Hewlett-Packard
- Rep. Kevin Roberts, Texas House member, District 126
- Andrea Lee Robison, senior vice president, Noble Energy
- Juliet Stipeche, director of education initiatives, City of Houston
- Barbara Thomason, president, Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce
- Carlos Wallace, community activist and author
- Dr. Rodney E. Watson, superintendent, Spring Independent School District
Council meetings are held in a forum environment, providing the opportunity for members to engage in meaningful discussion. Topics include industry requirements, corporate training, program options and student access. As the community continues to change over time, LSC-University Park will address developing education and training needs.
“LSC-University Park staff are constantly evaluating and adapting to the ever-changing business climate mandated by changing markets,” said Commissioner Cagle. “Career and technical education is important to our constituents in Harris County Precinct 4 and allows our current residents to maintain and enhance a strong quality of life.”
“The college is a cornerstone institution for the Northwest Harris County and Cypress Creek community,” said CAC Member Thomason. “This council gives the Chamber the opportunity to be the ‘voice of business’ and suggest programs and practices that will support existing and emerging industries, as well as the general needs of small business.”
Commissioner Cagle said that one of the challenges he hopes to address is providing a college path for parents whose income is too high for needs-based scholarship, but too low to afford the high cost of a four-year college.
The president conveyed his appreciation to council members for giving their time and expertise. Members applauded the president, faculty and staff for their commitment to ensuring LSC-University Park is fully aligned with community needs.
“I look forward to finding ways, along with fellow council members, to bridge any gaps that face our community,” said CAC Member Wallace. “LSC-University Park is invaluable in that it offers quality education on a thriving state-of-the-art campus at a reasonable cost to students who otherwise might not be able to afford such an opportunity.”
LSC-University Park will consider information garnered from CAC meetings in future strategic planning for the campus to continue effectively addressing the needs of community stakeholders. The college will host two-hour council meetings biannually with the next scheduled in October 2017.