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Blinn named a finalist for prestigious Bellwether Award

Blinn earns recognition for its role as a partner in the RELLIS Academic Alliance

Blinn earns recognition for its role as a partner in the RELLIS Academic Alliance

December 15, 2020

The Bellwether College Consortium has named the Blinn College District a 2021 finalist for its highly coveted Bellwether Award in recognition of the community college’s partnership with The Texas A&M University System at the RELLIS Campus.

Blinn is one of 10 finalists in the Planning, Governance, and Finance category, which recognizes programs or activities that improve efficiency and effectiveness in the community college.

At the 2,000-acre RELLIS Campus in Bryan, Texas, Blinn is the community college partner in the RELLIS Academic Alliance, providing foundational courses that provide seamless pathways into the bachelor’s degree programs offered at the campus by the Texas A&M System regional universities and Stephen F. Austin State University.

This partnership provides affordable, accessible opportunities for students to pursue bachelor’s degrees in accounting, agribusiness, biology, business, communication, computer information systems, computer science, criminal justice, cybersecurity, electrical engineering, finance, general business, health science, management, marketing, mechanical engineering, psychology, public administration, public safety management, water resources science and technology, social work, and water resources science and technology.

“The relationship between Blinn College, The Texas A&M University System, and all our partners at the RELLIS Campus is unlike any collaboration between a university system and a community college district anywhere else in the world,” said Dr. Mary Hensley, Chancellor of the Blinn College District. “RELLIS truly represents a new model for higher education.”

In Fall 2018, Blinn opened the Walter C. Schwartz Building on the RELLIS Campus and welcomed 1,515 students during its first semester. This Fall, 2,751 Blinn students are enrolled at RELLIS, and Blinn’s Board of Trustees authorized the design of a new academic building that would open on the RELLIS Campus in Fall 2022.

In September, Blinn partnered with The Texas A&M System and the Texas A&M University Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications to open the Agriculture and Workforce Education Complex. This $15 million facility serves as home to Blinn’s workforce training offerings in Brazos County. Blinn recently announced the launch of new Associate of Applied Science degrees in carpentry, facilities maintenance, HVAC, and water purification to be offered in the facility this fall.

The Bellwether Award finalists will undergo a rigorous second and final round of review at the virtual 2021 Community College Futures Assembly in January 2021. Each selected college provides a 60-minute presentation on its program or model to an anonymous panel, recognized as skilled practitioners and thought leaders in the field. The Bellwether Awards are regarded one of the nation’s most competitive and prestigious recognitions for community colleges.

“The Bellwether College Consortium prides itself on identifying and celebrating replicable, scalable and results-based programs and models and disseminating these highly lauded examples of institutional success to peer institutions,” said Dr. Rose Martinez, director of the Bellwether College Consortium.

All finalists will be presented at the 2021 Community Colleges Futures Assembly and one winner will then be selected from each category by a panel of national experts.

The assembly, now in its 27th year, convenes annually as an independent national policy forum for key higher education leaders to work as a “think tank” in identifying critical issues facing the future of community colleges, and to recognize Bellwether winners and finalists as trend-setting institutions. The Bellwether College Consortium Policy Summit kicks off the signature events on Friday, January 22, 2021, and includes a film screening of the 2021 Bellwether Film Choice. This year’s film is The Right to Learn by Canadian filmmaker Conor DeVries.

The Bellwether College Consortium is a group of colleges charged with addressing the critical issues facing community colleges through applicable research and the promotion and replication of best practices addressing workforce development, instructional programs and services, and planning governance and finance. The Bellwether Award is proudly sponsored by the Alamo Colleges District in San Antonio, Texas.

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