Chancellor delivers annual State of the College address at HCC’s new state-of-the-art innovation facility

Mar 5, 2018


The West Houston Institute, Houston Community College’s new high tech home for innovation and learning, provided the backdrop for Chancellor Cesar Maldonado’s annual State of the College address before local business and community leaders. As he listed recent accomplishments and plans for the future, Maldonado stressed HCC’s ongoing commitment to disrupting education by bringing innovation directly into the classroom while at the same time being fiscally responsible with its public funds.

“By pushing the boundaries of the traditional education model, we are engaging the changing times, creating an ecosystem where students' aspirations align with far more impactful solutions,” said Maldonado. “The 21st century brings us great opportunity but challenges us to connect with students where they learn, adjusting to their needs. Quite simply, HCC is creating the intersection of innovation and education, clearing a path to bring together creativity, entrepreneurship, groundbreaking technology, and community partnerships.”

The West Houston Institute is grounded in design-thinking principles, and an interactive work environment meant to facilitate the collision of ideas and concepts. Classes are focused on integrating the fields of STEM, the arts and entrepreneurship. Through incorporation of different kinds of spaces and learning opportunities, students, faculty and the public interact in a learning environment like no other.

Maldonado noted that HCC’s commitment to innovation has taken many forms and shapes. To address the high cost of books, one of the biggest impediments to student learning, the college created the Z Degree, which reduces costs through the use of online education resources. So far, the program has resulted in $750,000 in savings for students. The college’s foundation is working toward a future where every student is able to earn a degree or certificate without paying.

HCC’s commitment to disrupting education through innovation also includes exclusive and forward-thinking partnerships with Apple, Sony, Audi and the Challenger Center, through which students are learning 3D printing, robotics and coding for apps in the iOS platform, as well as working on space architecture for NASA’s Mars Project.

To address the business community’s need for more skilled workers, Maldonado highlighted HCC’s work to provide innovative programs that align with industry needs. The RigOne simulation lab, found only at HCC, is training roustabouts to work on oil rigs. Likewise, the truck-driving program trains students with a state-of-the-art truck simulator, resulting in drivers who are highly skilled even before they step into a truck. A unique partnership with TRIO Electric and Spring Branch ISD provides electrician training while students are still in high school. And, in the heart of the Texas Medical Center, HCC’s cutting-edge Coleman College simulated hospital provides students hands on practical experience with equipment, technology and tools found in today’s top hospitals.

“We must continue to think ahead and work to forecast what skills and education our students need to be prepared, for both employers and for themselves,” said Maldonado. “You have my promise - we will do our part and we will do it with a smart, fiscally responsible approach - we will not stop attempting to disrupt education as we know it - we will continue to imagine, to dream, to learn, to anticipate and to push the boundaries.”

HCC educates 114,000 students annually and 88 percent of them go on to a job or a four-year institution. In the past three years, the college has increased its cash position by more than $70 million and made in excess of $20 million in early debt payments.

For more information about the West Houston Institute, click here.

Watch the replay of State of the College below.

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