First 100 days: COM president looks back, sets goals
In his first 100 days on the job as the eighth president of College of the Mainland, Dr. Warren Nichols has moved quickly to identify and address several major goals—such as student success, facilities improvement and increased opportunities to growing communities within the college’s service areas – and he is already seeing results.
Since Nichols' arrival on Feb. 3, COM has:
Increased summer classes – To help students finish their degrees more quickly, he aimed to expand the number of students taking summer classes.
He worked with professors and administration to grow the number of summer courses ready for registration from 226 last year to 310 this year. So far it’s paying off – Summer enrollment is up 10 percent, which helps students maintain momentum toward a degree.
Initiated the Finish Faster Program – Nichols also began a Finish Faster Program, combining college prep and college-level courses.
Many students come to COM not quite ready for English or math courses. The Finish Faster Program helps them to take college prep courses and college-level courses at the same time, where previously they had to complete one or even two college prep courses first.
This will launch in fall 2017.
“Everything that we do is formed around how we are going to address student success,” said Nichols.
Begun plans to improve COM facilities – Nichols is working with the board to use around $10 million of COM’s robust savings for improvements to current COM facilities.
“We are making sure existing buildings are worthy of our students and staff,” said Nichols. “We are not waiting on a bond to make improvements, though to set up for the future and build new facilities we need a bond at some point.”
Collaborated with more businesses and community organizations – Nichols is now an ex officio member of the Texas City-La Marque Chamber of Commerce and member of League City Chamber of Commerce board of directors. He cites the success of COM health care programs as something to replicate in other areas – in 2015, 97 percent of associate degree nursing graduates landed jobs and 100 percent of health information management and pharmacy technician graduates got jobs.
“We train people for jobs and they are getting jobs,” said Nichols.
Launched a second center in League City – On May 22, COM signed a contract with Odyssey Academy to lease one of their facilities in League City to serve the growing area. COM’s service area, though not taxing district, includes the northern part of Galveston County – League City, Webster, Kemah and Friendswood. The center will house classes for some of COM’s 1,000 dual credit students, who are earning high school and college credit at the same time.
“There’s a balancing act with providing the most services to the northern county with the ultimate goal that they find themselves in such need of COM services that they vote themselves into the taxing district,” said Nichols.
For more information on COM Learning Centers, visit www.com.edu/about/learning-centers.