2 UHCL alumni named among magazine’s Most Admired CEOs

September 11th, 2019

Two University of Houston-Clear Lake alumni were among 59 area leaders as Houston Business Journal’s Most Admired CEOs of 2019. Both lead divisions of HCA Houston Healthcare.

Honorees were Megan Marietta, CEO of HCA Houston Healthcare West, and Jeanna Bamburg, CEO of HCA Houston Healthcare Southeast. Bamburg received a bachelor’s in marketing in 1999 and an MBA in 2002. Marietta received a MBA with a concentration in health care in 2004.

Marietta is a member of Houston West Chamber of Commerce; Greater East Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce; Greater Lake Houston YMCA and Montgomery County United Way.

Bamburg belongs to the American College of Healthcare Executive’s Southeast Texas chapter; Pasadena Chamber of Commerce; San Jacinto Community College Foundation; Economic Alliance Houston Port Region; Texas Healthcare Trustees Board of Directors and Pasadena Rotary Club.

In profiling the honorees, the magazine asked each awardee the same set of questions. Asked about leadership philosophy, Marietta responded, “People and patients come first. The team is paramount and must be developed to execute successfully. Treat people with respect and listen to others when they share their feedback.”

To the same question, Bamburg replied, “I feel it’s my job to influence and inspire everyone in my organization to do better for our patients. Consistency and leading by example are two mantras I focus on.”

In selecting honorees, the magazine’s judges looked for characteristics such as contribution to company success, civic involvement, career achievement and other factors. Judges selected 17 nonprofit leaders and 42 for-profit leaders for awards.

Bureaucracy

September 3rd, 2019

Photo: Michael Gos

By Michael W. Gos

Waco, Texas

“He went to the dark side.”

That is what professors say when a fellow faculty member decides to take even a temporary administrative position. There is clearly a distrust, or worse, of administrators on the part of faculty members in education.

I was at Baylor University for a conference for mid-level managers in higher education and one of the hot topics was why those in administration at all levels, are so disliked by the rank and file educators. I found it surprising that most of the attendees honestly didn’t have a clue about the causes of this hostility. I always thought it was pretty clear.
Most colleges can cite the year when their administrative staff members first outnumbered the faculty. Today, it is common to have two to one or even three to one ratios of administrators to faculty in colleges and universities. But, of course, this phenomenon is not limited to higher education. The explosion of bureaucrats and administrators is ubiquitous. It plagues business and industry as much, if not more, than education.

Why should we be concerned about this trend? It’s all about “paper.” Okay, most of it is electronic these days, but you get the idea. Every administrator must justify his job, so they all are forced to introduce new ideas, new “procedures” that somehow translate to “projects” for the non-administrators. And since there are now so many on the dark side, they compete for the work hours of those in the productive, non-administrative positions. These new ideas are often referred to by the productive employees as the “flavor-du-jour” because almost none of them are ever carried to completion. They are almost immediately displaced by the latest “great new idea.”

My experiences with this kind of nonsense are far too numerous to count. Among them were five different policies for travel reimbursement in a single fiscal year, four different three-year assessment plans, none of which ever made it past 18 months before being replaced by a new idea, and many other “great ideas” that we’ve had to live with. I’m sure everyone in the business world can tell similar horror stories.

This explosion of non-productive employees is exacerbated by the fact that each new administrator brings with him a few additional satellite employees such as administrative assistants, secretaries, etc. All these new workers have to justify their existence as well; they have to do something. So, they create new policies, new layers of paper. And that has costs.

First, we need more money to pay these employees. In the public sector, tax money is the first choice of course, but government is often reluctant to give increases sufficient to fund this exploding employee base. Choice two: go after grants. Of course, that means hiring more administrators to go apply for, and then manage the grants that are secured. Then, when the grants run out, the public sector is reluctant to lay off people, so they find some other place for them, in the administration, of course. And the dark side staff keeps growing.

In the private sector, there is a double jeopardy — two levels of administrators to deal with. Not only are the administrators within the company creating the usual extraneous, pointless work, but there are also millions of government administrators who also believe they have to justify their jobs as well. So, business is slapped with more regulations and hence, more paperwork. As a result, companies have to hire more administrators to deal with federal, state and local regulations. That is why many people feel the bulk of government is nothing more than a jobs program.

If you doubt my analysis of this issue, just look at your organization’s number of vice-president positions in 1980 compared to today.

The results of increased bureaucracy are pretty clear. In the private sector, more employees are now required but the same (or more likely, less) productive work is being done. Of course, this results in reduced profit. In the public sector the result is inevitably increased taxes. Meanwhile, the employees who are engaged in productive work are forced to spend more and more time buried in paperwork. After all, every new administrator MUST add at least one more layer of paper.

In my line of work, that means that each year, teachers have less and less time to spend on planning, grading and helping students. They have no choice but to let that important work go by the wayside so they can deal with the administrative load. Most just can’t work beyond about 60 hours a week for very long.

The solution seems obvious, but there is a problem. I read once that a simplified, postcard-sized tax return would put millions of accountants out of work. Removing the bulk of unnecessary administrators would make many times that number unemployed. That is not a good scenario for the nation’s economy, so we can’t afford to fix this problem overnight. All of these soon-to-be displaced people will have to be found jobs in the productive parts of business, industry and the public sector. To avoid an unemployment crisis, this will require a long-term, gradual shift in our thinking. We might start, say, by reducing the administrative and support staff by as little as 5% each year. Yeah…good luck with that. Companies would only hire new people to administer those reductions.

It won’t be easy…but just think about how our productivity as a nation would soar as a result of these once counterproductive employees, now contributing to the bottom line and the freeing up of all that formerly wasted time for the rest of us.
But till then, we have to continue with the system the way it is.

On my return from the conference, I had to deal with the nightmare of filing for reimbursement of my trip expenses. I had already filled out a battery of forms to get approval before taking the trip. Now I had to play the game again to actually get my money. My plan was to dedicate four hours of my day to the process.

I filled out a two-page form, gathered, scanned and attached all my receipts, a copy of the conference program, and copies of the prior approval emails from both my dean and my department head. I then had to write an explanation of why the trip was necessary. (For that, I just copied the same explanation I wrote in requesting the trip initially. It would be okay. I’m sure no one reads them anyway.) That was followed by trips around campus to secure signatures of the dean and department head, even though they both had signed off on the initial request for funds. Their offices were in separate buildings, about a quarter mile apart. Then I had to re-scan it all into a single file. Finally, I sent the required three copies of the electronic package to the business office. It took considerably more than the four hours allotted.

Two days later, I received a call from the Business Office. The woman said there was a problem with my reimbursement form. My mileage to the airport did not match the mileage she said I should show. It was too low. I explained that I drove from my home instead of from campus so the distance was less. She said the mileage had to be from campus. I pointed out that I was saving the college a bit of money and just being honest. She answered “The mileage has to be from campus.”

So the next day, I began the entire process again. This time I hoped to make it within the four hours allotted.

Bureaucracy! Life in triplicate. I think I’ll need three beers after work.

One of Few Left on the Texas Coast

September 3rd, 2019

South Texas Yacht Service owner Mark Grinstead has close to 40 years of experience.

By Xander Thomas

There are plenty of boat yards along the coast, and certainly in the Clear Lake Area, home to marinas and great sailing areas, but any of them offering full service seems like a thing of the past. South Texas Yacht Service is one of few places that still does just that.

Service is one of few places that still does just that.

“Most of the yards now are what we call contractor yards, where you got 10, 12, 15, different contractors working out if the yard,” said owner Mark Grinstead.

He says that the convenience of a full service yard like this one can be priceless to someone who doesn’t want the hassle of going through a different professional for any problem that comes up. So that you do not have to act as your own general contractor by yourself, South Texas Yacht Service can do almost anything you need, all at one time, right in one place.

“You got an electrical problem, you gotta find an electrical contractor, if you got a mechanical problem, you gotta find a mechanical contractor, you got a rigging problem, you gotta find a rigger, well we do all of those things in house,” Mark said.

It’s not just that these guys can do whatever you need them to, they are good at it.

“I’ve been doing this for almost 40 years now, and most of my staff probably average about 20 years experience,” he said, “We have an experienced staff, probably the most experienced staff of any yard on the Texas coast.”

So what this means for you, is that you talk to one person about everything, you take it to one place, you get quality service, and you won’t have different people messing with someone else’s previous work – we all know how that ends up.

“We keep our employees, we don’t have a real high turn-over rate, so our work is consistent,” Mark said.

Mark says that his love of sailing and the sea started at an early age. His family lived on a boat for a few years when he was a child, and he has been around them his whole life, so this line of work just came naturally to him. He has earned a bachelor’s degree in marine transportation and has a Coast Guard license.

He says that there is almost nothing that they can’t do for you. They even take on a few complete restoration cases a year, usually.

“We handle the whole deal,” he said, “I think we’re the only yard left on the Texas coast that’s a full service yard.”

South Texas Yacht Service is located at 1500 Marina Bay Dr. #3510 in Kemah.

We Live in Different Worlds

July 2nd, 2019

Photo by Michael Gos

By Michael W. Gos

Canyon, Texas

It’s a different world out here in far West Texas. There is flat prairie for miles in every direction (unless you stumble onto Palo Duro, that is). Trees are an oddity and the wind is always blowing. But the biggest difference is the people. Everyone here wears boots and Stetsons, they are weathered by the sun and wind and they are the friendliest people I’ve ever met. No one acts uppity. In a local diner, you can’t tell the difference between a rancher worth millions and a day-laborer hoping to make it to tomorrow. Then there is the 47-foot high statue of Tex Randall. He’s hard to miss. I can’t spend much time here without thinking about the differences between the world I live in in Clear Lake and the one the people here in Canyon inhabit.

I guess I’ve been aware of different, parallel worlds for decades. I knew a woman years ago who was a dedicated follower of soap-operas. We sometimes talked about it. I saw them as silly and pointless. Life just isn’t as zany and difficult as portrayed there. She said she loved them because they were so true to life. I thought she was crazy (she was…but that’s a different story). And then there was my first week as a freshman in the new world of Purdue. What a difference from what I knew in Gary, Indiana. It was like getting hit in the face with a door!

But I really started to notice it when I first came to Texas. I was immediately struck by the difference between my world and that of some of my students. One day in my first semester here, on my way into work I saw an old pair of sneakers, laces tied together and thrown over a powerline crossing a city street. I mentioned it in class later that day, wondering why anyone would want to do that. Several of my students explained it was a “billboard” advertising drugs for sale. I was dumbfounded.

Over the years, I came to understand that many of my students lived in worlds that were not only alien to me but ones I didn’t even know existed. In the ensuing decades, I have had students from third generation welfare families and from neighborhood environments filled with drugs and habitual criminals. While I grew up poor, such things simply did not exist in my wholesome world.

What determines our world? Some of it, of course, is what we are born into. We have no control over that. But as we age, most of us find that our worlds change, sometimes dramatically. There must be something besides accidents of birth at work here. Certainly, there are the influences of family, friends and neighborhoods. Later we encounter other environments such as school and the workplace. Each of these somewhat controls the kind of people we meet and the world we see. My first days at Purdue are a prime example. There were very few students like me, the professors seemed like space aliens and the expectations were far beyond what I anticipated.

As a writer, I do a lot of listening, eavesdropping if you will, so I can learn things about people. I hear the conversations between bartenders at my favorite watering holes and can tell in an instant that they definitely live in a different world than I do. The same is true of my students. Those whose families work in the plants are very different from those whose parents work in business, education or the high-tech industries. And all of them live in worlds very different from mine.

In the magnificent novel Illusions, Richard Bach has a passage in which a character is teaching his protégé about these different worlds. He asks, “You live in the same world as a stockbroker?…Your life has been tumbled and changed by a new SEC policy?” Of course, the “student,” an airplane pilot, recognizes he knows nothing of the Wall Street world. The teacher’s point is, each of us lives in a world different from everyone else; no two of us occupy the same world. If that notion is true, and I think it is, it is important we consider the effects and the infinite possibilities of these differing worlds.

First and foremost, for most of us, the world we see is the world we believe is real and the only one there is. And unless something major happens to shake us of that idea, that world is the only one we will ever see. But if indeed there are other options, there is reason to believe that some of them could possibly be more attractive to us than our current situation. If we become aware of those options, come to the realization that we don’t have to live the way we have been, we just might want to make a change.

I admit that’s not always easy. In fact, at times it may seem impossible. Sometimes making that transition is only possibile if we get a little help from someone else, someone to show us the way—a teacher, if you will. I don’t mean an educator in the traditional sense necessarily, but rather, someone like the character in Illusions, someone who already understands and can help us to see reality and the options that lay before us.

It seems to me, once we understand that a better world, or even lots of better worlds, may exist, we can make one of them ours if we really want to. But for most of us, we don’t have a clue as to how to go about it. It is really a two-step process.

First, we need to “see” that world we want and to believe it really exists. To quote an old college coach of mine, “What the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.” That may mean going out of our way to expose ourselves, even superficially, to other options—to see them in action. We may feel like a fish out of water, or like we are trying to force ourselves into places or groups to which we don’t belong—to which we are not welcome, but “seeing” those opportunities is all a part of the process of change. We might even want to try on several other worlds “for size,” just to see which might “look better” on us.

When we find one we like, the hard work really begins. It now becomes a matter of doing what is necessary to get there. That brings us back to Old Coach; When we believe it—it will happen. It may take work, but what worthwhile thing doesn’t?

In reality, we all live in the world we have chosen for ourselves—and we are always free to make a different choice.

New Hobby Airport Display Encapsulates Spacesuit Evolution

May 2nd, 2019

The Exhibits team stands with the new EVA Suit Evolution exhibit that will educate and inspire visitors at Hobby Airport. Image Credit: NASA/James Blair

Travelers passing through Hobby Airport will enjoy new eye candy showcasing why Houston is affectionately dubbed “Space City.” The  recent installation of a new exhibit comparing two generations of spacesuit design will help connect NASA’s iconic past to Johnson Space Center’s next giant leap.

On the left of the Hobby Airport display, visitors will see a high-fidelity replica of a shuttle-era spacesuit, right down to the NASA “worm” logo. On the right is an identical counterpart to the suit used today on the International Space Station. For passing visitors, the exhibit serves as a bold welcome to Space City USA, symbolizing Houston’s leadership role in human space exploration. For curious travelers with a few moments to spare between flights, they will discover an evolution of engineering.

“The two spacesuits are the superstars of this display,” said Exhibits Program Manager Jack Moore of Johnson’s External Relations Office (ERO). “Using scrap materials and replica parts slated for disposal, David Hughes in the EVA [Extravehicular Activity] Office meticulously assembled the suits. He handcrafted each suit to look as though it was pulled right out of an official NASA photo from the era. No detail was overlooked—the color of the visors, glove configurations and period-specific patches—all lend credence to its authenticity.”

Assembling the display required a close working relationship between ERO and the EVA Office to get the details just right. While the ERO provided creative direction and craftsmanship to build the exhibit and safeguard the priceless artifacts within, the EVA Office was invested in ensuring the accuracy of the spacesuits and content, as well as finding the perfect home for the display.

“The case’s contemporary design was drafted by the late Larry Friend, an amazing talent and wonderful man on the COMIT [Communications, Outreach, Multimedia, and Information Technology Contract] Exhibits team,” Moore said. “The COMIT team completed his work by integrating elements to support the preservation of the suits, such as vented fans and museum-grade Lexan. Cindy Bush, our graphic designer on the project, also worked closely with the EVA Office to draft beautiful designs to convey the story. Using a visual timeline across a sloped face of the display, she highlighted major component modifications through the decades.”

The EVA Office was over the Moon about the finished display and recognized the entire Exhibits group in the weeks leading up to installation at Hobby Airport.

“We’ve worked over the last year or so with the [COMIT] team on designing displays that tell the story of EVA,” said Chris Hansen, manager of the EVA Office. “Their creativity and passion for the work they do is very evident in the products they produce. They understand that these displays are inspirational, and you can tell that they put their hearts into the work they’ve done for us. It’s great to have such a talented resource available to us—a resource that cares as much about the products they create for us as we do.”

While travelers taking to the friendly skies will be swept into a 3D visualization of explorers who have donned these types of spacesuits to explore even higher trajectories, there are still other stories to be told. The Moon is center stage once more, and generations young and old are waiting to be a part of NASA’s next big adventure.

The Hobby Airport exhibit is only one example of how we can highlight the important work done every day to support humans in space. As Moore explained, the team works with many organizations throughout the year to create exhibits that share the many facets of the center with the public.

“We have an incredibly talented pool of designers, craftsmen, project managers and writers waiting to start the next exciting project,” Moore said.

HCA Houston Healthcare Clear Lake launches innovative alternative to open heart surgery

May 2nd, 2019

The HCA Houston Healthcare Clear Lake cardiology team celebrates after the hospital’s first TAVR procedures.

This April, Houston’s Bay Area marked a major cardiology milestone as HCA Houston Healthcare Clear Lake launched its transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) service, successfully completing three procedures on its first day.

A relatively new procedure, TAVR replaces damaged aortic valves through a catheter in contrast to open-heart surgery in which surgeons cut open the chest to expose the heart. Typically, candidates for TAVR suffer from aortic stenosis, a common but serious valve problem in which the aortic valve opening narrows, dangerously restricting blood flow and affecting pressure in the heart.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved TAVR in 2012 for patients who are considered at high risk for open-heart surgery. In 2016, the FDA approved the procedure for patients at intermediate risk. Later this year, experts expect the agency to expand its approval to low-risk patients, which will dramatically increase the number of patients who qualify for TAVR.

Just this April, Rolling Stones rocker Mick Jagger underwent TAVR for his heart valve disease, raising awareness of the procedure’s benefits, including not needing to rely on a bypass machine and a faster recovery – one to two days instead of three to five.

The FDA imposes strict requirements for hospitals wishing to practice TAVR, including successfully completing a certain number of open heart, surgical aortic valve, catheter, and percutaneous coronary interventions per year. The heart hospital at HCA Houston Healthcare Clear Lake, the only dedicated heart hospital in the Bay Area, performs more than 1,000 heart procedures annually.

Surgeons Pranav Loyalka and Hannan Chaugle worked with a team of cardiologists to successfully perform HCA Houston Healthcare Clear Lake’s first TAVR procedures. Patients interested in learning more about TAVR and other cardiology services should call (888) 842-3627 for more information.

Clear Lake’s Gemini Avenue to get facelift

March 13th, 2019

Houston City Council Member Dave Martin is pleased to announce Houston Public Works crews will be performing an asphalt overlay along Gemini Avenue from El Camino Real to Reseda Drive. Construction is scheduled to begin the week of March 25, 2019 and is expected to be complete by the end of June 2019, weather permitting.

The project will start in the 1000 block of Gemini Avenue and progress towards Reseda Drive. The scope of work includes resurfacing the asphalt street. This process includes milling off an approximate 2 inch layer of old asphalt, repairing the base as needed, spraying tack coat and overlaying 2 inches of new asphalt surface pavement. Crew staging activities are anticipated to occur between 7:30 a.m. and 6 p.m., with work occurring between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

As a result of the construction activities, motorists are asked to be aware of flagmen and orange traffic cones that will be put in place on site to help with traffic flow through the construction zone as temporary lane closures are expected.

One lane will be open in each direction during peak traffic hours. Residents and businesses may experience temporary delays accessing Gemini Avenue, as well as individual driveways, and may experience an increase in noise levels because of trucks and equipment.

For more information, contact Council Member Dave Martin’s office at 832-393-3008 or districte@houstontx.gov.

Serendipity

March 4th, 2019

Photo by Michael W. Gos

By Michael W. Gos

Guadalupe River, Texas

My running buddy and I were surrounded by what appeared to be an ocean of college kids, each dragging a tube and some with elaborate beer-cooler/multi-tube floatation systems that suggested these people were not the novice river runner I was. I felt a bit out of place, but at the same time, I was looking forward to trying this classic Texas activity—even if I was bit on the geriatric side.

As we stood on the bank, the bus driver/guide told us about the four sets of rapids we would encounter and how to safely negotiate our way around each. The first was Hueco Falls and we were told to stay to the far left. When he was finished, we waded into the icy water. It was absolutely shocking on entry, but after a few seconds it felt great on this blazing August day.

Feeling like a hippo trying to mount a tricycle, I fought my way onto the tube and began my trip downstream. Seconds later, I was underwater with a snoot full of river and the rather unpleasant sensation of bouncing off rocks. The driver failed to tell us Hueco Falls was barely 100 yards from our put-in point.

After what seemed like minutes underwater, being battered repeatedly, I surfaced at the end of the falls minus my tube. It seemed my day on the river had come to an abrupt end after less than two minutes and I was going to be paying for a lost tube. I struggled over to the left bank and hung on a tree root, just trying to catch my breath.

About five minutes later I heard a young man shout, “Did anyone lose a tube?” I guess my day wasn’t over after all. I retrieved the tube, thanked him profusely and then rested a few more minutes. Finally, hanging onto the tube for dear life, I waded down to a shallower spot where I would be able to once again “gracefully” climb aboard.

The rest of the trip turned out to be much less eventful, and at the end of the day, we pulled out in beautiful downtown Gruene. I returned the tube, changed clothes and headed to the Gristmill for dinner.

Sitting in one of the open areas overlooking the river, I enjoyed a chicken fried steak and a Corona. I planned to attend a show at Gruene Hall that night, so I just hung out there on the deck for a couple of hours watching the river run far below me and listening to restaurant’s music (which, by the way, was far more appropriate for someone my age than the people I had shared the river with that day). About an hour later, Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love” came on and instantly, I was 17 again with a guitar hanging around my neck.
Like most kids in the ‘60s, I was part of a very bad garage band. We never amounted to anything, but we had a great time and dreamed of the day we would be more famous than the Beatles. One of the songs we played was this Cream hit and it led to one of my proudest moments. Well, it was at the time anyway. The song ends with a continuous striking of a single chord as the sound fades out. But the chord didn’t give closure to the song. While Cream made it work on the record by fading out the sound, in live performances, you can’t do that; songs need to end.

That open cadence drove me crazy for weeks and one practice day, as we finished the song, I just couldn’t take it anymore and I hit the chord that would give the song closure. Immediately, I, and everyone else in the band, recognized it as the first of the three-chord opening to the Who’s “I can See for Miles.” We segued immediately into that song and loved the way it sounded. Forever after, we performed those two songs together.

Back then, I didn’t understand that music was just math and architecture was frozen music. If I did, this “discovery” would have been no big deal. It would have been obvious if I just looked at it mathematically. But I didn’t know that then; I just knew that the final chord left us hanging and it drove me crazy. I had to close the loop. The way it happened was serendipity at its best—a totally pleasant accident.

Some of our most interesting discoveries have come from this kind of serendipitous event. Penicillin, Post-it notes, Viagra and even microwave ovens were all happy accidents. We are always shocked and delighted when they happen. We treat these events as if they were gifts— or even miracles—and in a sense, they are.

But I really have to wonder if these things we call serendipitous are really accidental or even all that rare for that matter. If you think about it, these “accidents” appear to be all around us, and they are happening far too often to be considered rare. A quick Google search will give you list after list of them—things like The Top 100 Serendipitous Scientific Discoveries. I wonder if they just might be the norm, rather than special events.

If they are indeed as common as I suspect, perhaps the thing that turns these everyday events into serendipity is our ability to see them when they are right there in front of us.
How many do we miss just because we aren’t open to them, or more important, are not expecting them? I wonder if it is possible to not only expect these happy accidents but, more importantly, to make a concerted effort to look for them. Maybe it is somewhat like hunting for morel mushrooms. They seem to be rare and very hard to find, but once you get “in the zone,” you realize they are everywhere. It may take two hours to get there, but once you do, you can gather a basket full of them in five minutes.

I experienced two “accidents” on this day, one not-so-pleasant one over Hueco falls (which I later learned was actually a Class III rapid; I guess I was lucky to just get a little bruised) and another in remembering my “discovery” of the connector between two songs. Yet I can’t help but wonder, how many other happy accidents didI miss on this, and every other day of my life.

How much more could we accomplish if we just made a concerted effort to be open to, and more importantly, to expect these events and be prepared to act on them when they occur?

UHCL, Freeman Library partner to foster reading and writing skills in small children

January 15th, 2019

Educators are always looking for new, creative ways to help small children become comfortable with reading and writing. For Elaine Hendrix, Heather Pule and Roberta Raymond, all professors in University of Houston-Clear Lake’s College of Education, facilitating a partnership with Clear Lake City-County Freeman Branch Library so that future educators can help parents of small children fall in love with books is a step toward making that happen.

“The Freeman Library is such an excellent resource, and after meeting with (Assistant Branch Librarian Youth Services) Elizabeth Hunt and (Branch Manager) Christina Thompson, we decided to find a way to work together,” Hendrix said.

“Parents have already been bringing their children to the library to introduce them to reading,” she said. “We teach future educators reading methods classes. Students need the hands-on practice in the field, doing community-based, experiential learning. Setting up workshops for parents and our students to work together seemed like a perfect fit.”

There is so much information about how best to help a child learn, it can become overwhelming. “We often get questions from parents and caregivers who want to help their child along as they grow and learn, and they’re not exactly sure how to do that,” Thompson said. “As a library, our goal is to connect our community with the resources and information they need. We also believe that parents and caregivers are a child’s first and best teacher.”

Thompson said the library jumped at the opportunity to share Freeman Library’s resources with UH-Clear Lake’s expert faculty and rising educators. “We have already heard feedback that our families are finding the information they learned about child development to be very empowering,” she said.

“We have done three parent trainings, including a writing workshop for children ages 3 to 5,” Raymond said. “We explained to parents what emergent writing looks like, and gave them information packets. We suggested ways to encourage writing and let them know that those scribbles they’re seeing really mean something.”

Assistant Professor of Reading and Language Arts Heather Pule presented a workshop to parents about oral language development. “We discussed how oral language starts developing at birth and how it continues through everyday talk, through a baby’s environment, and through reading from birth,” Pule said. “It was wonderful to be able to talk with parents about something so important for their child’s development.”

Hendrix added, “We have done a reading workshop for 18 month to 3-year-olds, sharing a book and doing hand games to go along. We demonstrated how to be dramatic when reading aloud, and how much it benefits children to have something read over and over again.”

She said that they’d also discussed how much can be taught from a simple picture book, and how to go deeper than the story to encourage verbal interaction.

“It’s the goal of the Children’s Department to support families, child care providers and communities to help every child enter school ready to learn to read,” Hunt said. “Our partnership with UHCL connects local families to experts in early literacy that they might not otherwise have access to. Any community connection the library can make that supports families as they raise their children is a useful one.”

Raymond said creating the connection between future educators and the librarians at Freeman helps tap into each other’s resources. “We are certifying our students to become early childhood-6th grade teachers, and they have to be prepared to work at all levels since they’ll be certifying at all levels,” she said. “Both sides can benefit greatly from this experience.”

 

For more information about UHCL’s Interdisciplinary Studies B.S. with Core Subjects EC-6, visit www.uhcl.edu/academics/degrees/interdisciplinary-studies-bs-ec-6-early-childhood-concentration. For more information about UHCL’s Reading M.S. with Reading Specialist Certificate, visit www.uhcl.edu/academics/degrees/reading-ms-reading-specialist-certificate

COM students to perform with Texas All State Band

January 15th, 2019

College of the Mainland musicians, Thomas Austin, left, and Austin Kelton have been selected to perform with the Texas Community College Band Directors All-State Jazz Ensemble and Symphonic Band next month.

Two College of the Mainland students will perform with the Texas Community College Band Directors All-State Jazz Ensemble and Symphonic Band next month.

Austin Kelton and Thomas Armstrong, both music majors at the Texas City community college, auditioned and were chosen to play during the Texas Music Educators Conference on Feb. 16 in San Antonio. Armstrong, a clarinetist, is part of the Symphonic Band while Kelton, a trombonist, is part of the Jazz Ensemble for the second year.

“I am really happy for them” said Sparky Koerner, chairman of the Fine Arts Department.

“They both put in lots of practice on the audition music and it has paid off.”

Kelton will rehearse and perform under the direction of Rick Condit, director of the Lamar University Jazz Ensemble, and a former member of the Stan Kenton Orchestra.

“That will be exciting for him, considering that Mr. Condit has an international reputation as a jazz educator and performer,” Koerner said.

Kelton is part of the COM Jazz Ensemble and Concert Band and Armstrong is a member of the COM Concert Band. Both students are from Texas City and were part of the Texas City High School band program.

Being a part of the All-State ensembles has become a tradition at COM with 32 students having performed in the All-State and All-Star jazz and symphonic bands in Texas and around the United States.