The Alamo Colleges was one of five recipients nationally.
By Sergio Medina
District officials including Chancellor Mike Flores and trustees Joe Alderete and Joe Jesse Sanchez and President Robert Vela recognized winning the 2018 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award at a ceremony April 16 in the Victory Center.
The award is described by the Baldrige website as “the highest level of national recognition for performance excellence that a U.S. organization can receive.”
Baldrige inspectors visited the district in October to evaluate the colleges.
Flores announced the district won the award Nov. 15.
Before an audience of about 100, Flores said the award reflects upon the work faculty and staff do to serve students.
“This is a big deal,” he said. “This is a very big deal because this is not only for community colleges; this isn’t only for colleges and universities; it’s not only for education. This is for any organization, public or private sector, that says ‘come and look at what we do.’”
Since the award was established by Congress in 1987, 1,673 entities have applied for the award. Only 113 have been awarded so far.
The other national recipients for 2018 were Integrated Project Management Company, Inc., a private business consulting company; Tri-County Tech from the Oklahoma Career and Technical Education System; Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center in Jasper, Ind.; and Donor Alliance, a nonprofit organ procurement organization.
Alderete emphasized it should be noted not many organizations have the award.
“Let me tell you, Stanford doesn’t have this; Harvard doesn’t have it; every major university in the state of Texas doesn’t have what you have,” Alderete said.
“And you know why?” he added.
“Because they don’t have people like we have.”
In an interview after the ceremony, Flores said being a recipient of the award means to be “best in class.”
“We have a gold seal of approval to say that we do right by students in supporting them and right by our community, and that we also look at how we’re currently providing services in supporting our students and faculty and staff, and what we need to do to do better,” he said.
A webpage about the award has been included in the district’s website and can be accessed at www.alamo.edu/about-us/baldrige/.
In an interview after the ceremony, Mario Lopez, president of this college’s Student Government Association, said that as an immigrant who once studied in Mexico, the difference in support and teaching the district provides is notable from that he received in Mexico.
“Being in this country and having the opportunity to study over here, and most importantly, having the opportunity to be in an institution that actually puts the students first and actually wants them to succeed means a lot to me,” Lopez said.