Del Mar College Marks a Year of Firsts and Expansions in 2022

Administration March 2023 PREMIUM
Del Mar College (DMC) is an HSI with a student population that reflects the diversity of the community it serves.

Founded in 1935, Del Mar College (DMC) is located in Corpus Christi, Texas. Currently, over 20,000 credit and noncredit students enroll each year. Nearly 59% of the credit students are women, and over 71% of the student body is Hispanic. With over 90% of the College’s students coming from Corpus Christi and the surrounding area, the student population historically reflects the communities DMC serves. Located on the Gulf of Mexico in South Texas’ Coastal Bend region, the College is proud to be a Title V Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI).

As part of its HSI emphasis, the College added an associate in arts degree in Mexican American Studies (MAS) in 2011. MAS is an interdisciplinary program that addresses the Spanish language and the study of Mexican Americans in history, art, music, the humanities, literature and politics. The program provides a solid background for understanding and working in the increasingly multicultural environment present now and in the anticipated future. The MAS program is part of the College’s Center for Mexican American Studies, which DMC established during the 2016-2017 academic year to further serve students and the community. Overall, the  College offers over 100 degree and certificate options within its eight pathways.

The College regularly hosts prominent Hispanic/Latino guest speakers throughout the year and especially during Hispanic Heritage Month, scheduled from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. The College’s Spanish program organizes annual observances for students and the community to celebrate events such as Dia de los Muertos, Cinco de Mayo and Diez y Seis de Septiembre.

Del Mar College also supports an active chapter of the Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education (TACHE), a statewide professional organization committed to improving educational and employment opportunities for Hispanics in postsecondary education. While TACHE was founded with Hispanics in mind, the College’s chapter embraces members of all cultures and ethnicities. 

2022: a Significant Year for Del Mar College

During the second summer session held in July and August, students took credit courses for the first time on Del Mar College’s new Oso Creek Campus while construction continued for a full opening in January 2023. The new campus is the first the College has built in over 60 years and features three main buildings, including the STEM Building, where the first classes were conducted, the Culinary Arts Building and the Central Main Building. These three buildings incorporate 249,544 square feet of building space, with the first two featuring Centers of Excellence, including the Hospitality and Culinary Institute, the Architecture/Drafting program and the College’s Biology, Biotechnology and other Biosciences programs.

The 99 acre tract of land on Corpus Christi’s southside, where the campus sits, is an area experiencing rapid residential growth, along with new businesses. The area is also deemed an “education corridor”, where students attending four high schools within three separate independent school districts, students at two Texas A&M University System institutions, and the overall community can easily access core, dual credit and developmental courses, workforce training and continuing education courses.

In fall 2021, the Nurse Education Department launched a new degree program, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN), and the first cohort of students graduated in summer 2022. The RN to BSN program is the first bachelor’s degree that the College now offers, and 14 practicing registered nurses––including 10 Hispanic practitioners––completed the program to advance their careers in the healthcare industry, while also making DMC history.

COVID-19 postponed many plans, including the College’s “official” grand opening of the new General Academic and Music Building Phase II, or GAMBII, on its Heritage Campus, and the dedication of the complex plaza to honor a beloved former faculty member––the late English Professor Emeritus Mike Anzaldúa, Jr. In April 2022, the DMC Board of Regents and College leadership dedicated the Mike Anzaldúa Plaza and provided tours recognizing the 141,129 square foot complex two years after it opened.

Construction of the nearly $46 million facility began in 2017. GAMBII is the largest project of a $157 million bond referendum that Del Mar College District voters approved in 2014 to fund capital improvements on DMC’s Heritage and Windward Campuses. The facility consists of four interconnected buildings, each with three floors, and features state-of-the-art technology. The Mike Anzaldúa Plaza provides spaces to reflect, study or hold outdoor classes while highlighting “Mike’s” favorite quotes on metal plaques throughout the space.

DMC also saw the expansion of partnerships across the Coastal Bend region during the 2021-2022 academic year.

After receiving a $1.5 million gift in state-of-the-art equipment from Gulf Coast Growth Ventures (GCGV), a joint venture between ExxonMobil and SABIC, the College dedicated a new training lab––the Gulf Coast Growth Ventures Process Technology Lab––to recognize GCGV’s investment in DMC programs and the students preparing for South Texas’ workforce. The lab features equipment such as distillation, extraction and water treatment units and flow trainers, all crucial for students’ hands-on experience with cutting-edge technology before joining relevant industries. In fact, students from several programs use this equipment to train for high-demand jobs   including Process Technology, Industrial Instrumentation, Industrial Machining, Occupational Safety and Health, Environmental/Petrochemical Lab Technology and Millwright.

Additionally, the College collaborated with coastal communities whose economies are still recovering from Hurricane Harvey’s destruction in 2017, including those located within Aransas County. That county’s leadership, the Aransas County Partnership Economic Development Corporation, the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, U.S. Congressman Michael Cloud, and other government, business and education leaders partnered to establish an Aransas County Workforce Development Center with Del Mar College. The Center provides training to strengthen job preparedness through strategically targeted occupations identified by the Texas Workforce Commission and Workforce Solutions Coastal Bend.

While waiting on renovation to convert a former elementary school into the new center, the College already provides training in health sciences and construction trades at a temporary location. DMC will add other offerings––public safety, technology, professional enrichment, adult education and communications––once the Aransas County Workforce Development Center is completed.

Last fall, the College and its Continuing Education & Off-campus Programs Division received the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s 2022 STAR Award for exceptional contributions toward meeting one or more goals of the state’s strategic plan, Building a Talent Strong Texas. This was a crowning achievement for DMC.

By working with Workforce Solutions Coastal Bend and other community and industry partners, DMC Continuing Education created postsecondary credentials of value for local targeted occupations in the area. This collaborative work resulted in the redesign and alignment of short-term credentials that, over the past year, prepared Continuing Education students for employment and increased accessibility to credit courses, meaning these “stackable” courses take an industry-based credential and open the door for students to progress to a Level 1 certificate and ultimately to an associate degree.

Innovative and transformational education opportunities and partnerships make Del Mar College stand out in South Texas. Serving the Coastal Bend population, including Hispanics, builds a strong economy, an exceptional workforce and a better way of life for everyone in the region. 

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