South Texas College named among the top nursing schools in the southwest

McAllen, TEXAS – South Texas College has one of the country’s top nursing schools in the southwest region.

A study by the Research Team at Nursing Schools Almanac, which collected data on over 3,200 institutions nationwide ranked STC’s Division of Nursing and Allied Health (NAH) 45 out of more than 350 nursing schools considered in the southwest, which includes schools in Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. Only 10 percent of the 3,200 schools made the final list.
Of the top 100 nursing schools in the United States, only 4 institutions were located in Texas including UT Houston, Austin, San Antonio, and Texas Tech University.

“It is an honor to be included in one of the country’s top 50 nursing schools in the southwest region especially being evaluated against universities that offer Bachelors of Science in Nursing and other graduate nursing degree programs,” said Jayson Valerio, Interim Dean of the Nursing & Allied Health Center at STC.
“This recognition can be attributed to South Texas College main core values such as excellence, innovation, giving back to the community, professionalism, collaboration, integrity, and most especially student success,” Valerio said. “We take pride in promoting student success and completion of their degree through the implementation of diverse and individualized strategies and initiatives. The NAH Division is gifted with a high caliber of faculty and staff and highly engaging student support services.”

STC Associate Degree Nursing students receive detailed instructions during a class at the Dr. Ramiro R. Casso Nursing and Allied Health Campus located in McAllen.

NAH offers an ADN program with three entry points: a traditional two-year pathway for non-nurses, a three-semester pathway for EMT paramedics, and a 12-month pathway for existing LVNs.

STC also offers a three-semester LVN certificate program that provides classroom instruction and clinical practice in the nursing care of four populations: adults, mothers / newborns, children, and the elderly. The college graduates 100-120 new LVNs and nearly 200 new RNs annually.
Students of all programs have exhibited strong licensure exam pass rates. Since 2008, LVN students have achieved an NCLEX-PN pass rate of 85.2 percent, while ADN students have achieved an NCLEX-RN pass rate of 85.4 percent. The National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) is administered by individual State Boards of Nursing. The exam is used to determine a nurse’s eligibility to begin practice as an entry-level practical/vocational nurse.

“As the healthcare delivery system is changing at a rapid pace, our faculty not just in nursing but as well as other allied health programs must keep abreast with the trends in fostering safe and high-quality healthcare,” Valerio said. “The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) is a proficiency exam that evaluates safety. As a registered nurse and a nurse-educator myself, I have the professional and legal obligation to produce graduates that are safe and competent. We, the faculty in both programs, need to arm our students with a complex set of knowledge, skills, and values that empower them to function safely and efficiently in the healthcare setting.”

According to the Research Team (2016), each nursing school in the region was evaluated on three dimensions, this included the institution’s academic prestige and perceived value, which represented 50 percent of the overall score.
Prestige and value were measured by:
• Graduates’ ability to repay their student debt in a timely manner
• Professional designations)
• Grant funding for nursing research from the National Institutes of Health
• Other established methodologies including U.S. News & World Report’s MSN and DNP rankings.

STC was also ranked according to the breadth and depth of nursing programs offered, which comprised 15 percent of the overall score, and student success, particularly on the NCLEX national licensure, which comprised 35 percent of the institution’s overall score.

“This remarkable distinction would not be possible without the headship team of South Texas College and the academic chairs headed Dr. Christie Candelaria and faculty and staff for the ADN department and Ms. Daphine Mora, RN, MEd, program chair for the vocational nursing and faculty and staff,” Valerio said. “Having been at the College for almost 13 years and currently serving as the Interim Dean of Nursing and Allied Health for less than a year, one thing I can attest, is the outstanding Leadership Team at the College headed by our founding President, Dr, Shirley Reed, and Vice-President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Anahid Petrosian, and the members of the College Board of Trustees.
“This leadership team is always committed to student success by maintaining high expectations, setting courageous goals, and constantly seeking methods for improvement and innovations to provide a better quality of life in our community,” he said.

For more information the South Texas College Division of Nursing and Allied Health visit


First MOU Signing Ceremony Between STC and UTRGV

MEDIA ADVISORY – First MOU Signing Ceremony between South Texas College & University of Texas Rio Grande Valley will be on August 10.

WHAT: A ceremony during which a memorandum of understanding (MOU) will be recognized and signed in order to facilitate student success through seamless transfer from South Texas College (STC) to the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV).  The MOU will create a framework for students and their advisors, in order for them to understand how courses will move between the two institutions.

WHERE: South Texas College – Pecan Campus

Rainbow Room (Library Bldg. F 2nd Floor)

3201 W. Pecan Blvd.

McAllen, TX 78501

WHEN: Monday, August 10, 2015

10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

WHO: Leadership from both institutions will be in attendance including South Texas College President Dr. Shirley A. Reed and University of Texas Rio Grande Valley President Dr. Guy Bailey.

MEDIA: Representatives from South Texas College and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley will be available for interviews and photos before and after the ceremony. Your RSVPs via phone or email are appreciated.549449c133fdd.imageSTC Logo Vertical


Group Offers School Immunizations

Texas Medical Association officials announced Thursday a back-to-school immunization campaign in time for the back-to-school season and National Immunization Awareness Month.

Beginning Monday, the “Be Wise — Immunize” program kicks off at the Doctors Hospital at Renaissance in Edinburg, where TMA physicians, alliance members and local organizations will offer free and low-cost vaccinations for kids preparing for the coming school year, according to a news release.

Immunizations will be given in the Sam Risica unit at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, 5501 S. McColl Road in Edinburg from…

Read more at The Brownsville Herald.

UTRGV to Open Restaurants with Varied Menus

Construction workers at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s Brownsville campus are working quickly to build three new hangouts for students by the start of the fall semester.

The projects include a new restaurant called “The Grid” at the library, which will sell foods such as sandwiches, salads, yogurts and coffees; a restaurant called the “SubConnection,” a Subway-like chain located at the Student Union; and a restaurant currently referred to as “The Grille” also at the Student Union, which will serve daily lunch specials such as meatloaf, pizza and burgers.

“We’re working with contractors and equipment suppliers to be able to hopefully have at least one of these three venues open by Aug. 31,” said Roberto Cantu, executive director of auxiliary business services at UTRGV.

The decision to add three new eateries was made after surveying the needs of the student body, Cantu said.

In addition to the new restaurants, the university is looking into new transportation options for…

Read more at The Valley Morning Star.

TSTC to Expand Evening Offerings

TSTC Logo CMYKIn an effort to meet the diverse needs of today’s working individuals, Texas State Technical College will offer selected programs at night starting this fall.

Rebecca Silva , TSTC vice president for student learning, said the expansion is only the beginning as long-range planning will allow other programs to follow suit. “These evening programs are designed to help working adults advance their education while meeting their employment obligations,” Silva said.

Students interested in completing an education in engineering science, automotive technology or nurse assisting will be able to take classes in the evening.

Students can be admitted into the evening programs as a cohort and complete the degree and/or certificate requirements in the time specified. In automotive technology, students can choose between the three-semester certificate 1 and four-semester certificate 2. Certificate 1 gives students…

Read more at The Brownsville Herald.

Press Release: Education Grants for Plus 50 Population


South Texas College (STC) has joined the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) in an initiative to engage and support students age 50 and over. Organized by AACC, the Plus 50 Initiative is a grant program focused on workforce training and career preparation for the plus 50 student population.

Since the partnership began in 2013, students have earned certificates in areas including health care, social services, and education through the Department of Continuing Professional & Workforce Education (CPWE) at STC.

It was an honor to have received this grant from the American Association of Community Colleges” said Juan Carlos Aguirre, associate dean of CPWE. “It’s an even greater honor to serve the local plus 50 population and empower them with knowledge and skills that lead to demand occupations.”

Eligible participants interested in gaining marketable skills and credentials are encouraged to apply for the grant as funds are still available. In total, 29 students are expected to benefit from the program. One of those students is 59-year old Juan Torres of Pharr, TX.

Last fall, Torres walked into an advising office to gain information about degree options. It was then that he learned of the Plus 50 Initiative. With an interest in the health care field, he decided to apply for a grant. Just seven weeks later, Torres completed the Phlebotomy Program and is currently gaining hands-on experience at Nuestra Clinica Del Valle in San Juan.

“From basics to more advanced biology and anatomy, every course subject has been interesting and very useful,” he said. “My favorite aspect about the field is analysis. It’s our job to collect blood samples so that a physician can have the necessary information to find a diagnosis and treat the patient.”

Since opening its doors to the community in 2006, CPWE has served thousands of students, 15 percent of them being age 50 and over. Among the growing number of CPWE programs include Alternative Teacher Certification, Cake Decorating, Floral Design, English as a Second Language, Phlebotomy, Real Estate, Computer Applications, Welding, GED, Bus Driving, and Truck Driving.

For more information on the Plus 50 Initiative or other continuing education opportunities, contact the Department of Continuing Professional & Workforce Education at (956) 872-3585 or visit


Continuing Professional & Workforce Education instructor Leonel Oyervidez teaches a class at the Pecan Plaza.

Texas College Program Aims To Boost Latino Engineering Degrees

Poverty, like the pull of home and family, runs deep along the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas, where lush farmlands hug the U.S.-Mexico border. Yet an innovative college program is making an engineering degree more affordable and accessible in this region, as the state looks to increase the number of professionals in this field.

In predominately Latino Cameron County, home to the port city of Brownsville and to Texas Southmost College, more than 1 in 3 of all residents live in poverty, says Lily Tercero, the community college’s president. College tuition is out of reach for many.

Now under a new partnership called the Texas Southmost-Texas A&M-Chevron Engineering Academy, qualified students from the area are admitted to the Texas A&M Dwight Look College of Engineering, but they complete their first two years locally at Texas Southmost and then go to Texas A&M in College Station to finish their engineering degree. During the first two years at Southmost, the courses are being taught by engineering faculty from Texas A&M.

Houston Community College, Alamo Colleges in San Antonio and El Centro College in Dallas are also partnering with Texas A&M in this program, which is supported by a $5 million gift from Chevron.

The partnership hopes to attract minority students, a goal Chevron says is in line with its need for a more diverse workforce. At Texas Southmost, about…

Read more at NBC News.

Two Edinburg High Schools Gain T-STEM Designations

559b2b644d047.imageThe Edinburg school district received approval from the Texas Education Agency to make STEM— science, technology, engineering and mathematics — the focus of two of its high schools.

Starting this fall, Robert Vela High School and Edinburg North will house Texas-STEM Early College High Schools.

Eva Torres, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction at Edinburg, said district officials received TEA’s notification Thursday.

T-STEM designated schools receive assistance from TEA to develop teaching methods that integrate technology and engineering into science and mathematics. They also commit to targeting students who are at risk of dropping out and guide them toward a college education.

There are at least eight schools designated T-STEM in Hidalgo County including one in the Mercedes school district, one in Mission, one in Pharr-San Juan-Alamo, and four IDEA schools.

TEA spokeswoman Lauren Callahan said the agency had just begun sending out notifications to recent applicants late last week, but no official list of new T-STEM schools had been released as of Monday.

The agency is expecting to make an announcement on Tuesday, she said.

The two Edinburg schools began hosting multidisciplinary early college high schools last year, which works as a school-within-a-school model.

Superintendent René Gutiérrez said the multidisciplinary program will still be available in addition to the new STEM program.

The next step for the district is starting to notify all high school students and identify those who have shown interest in those areas.

The first year, each school will host a cohort of about 125 students per grade at each of the T-STEM programs. The number of students is expected to increase each year, Gutierrez said.

The district will continue to partner with South Texas College to offer the college courses — the college certifies high school teachers for the courses or provides college professors when needed.

Students interested in the program can begin calling school administrators…

Read more at The McAllen Monitor.

UTPA Officials Renew Collaboration Agreement With University in China


The University of Texas Pan American renewed its commitment with Hengyang Normal University during a trip to China last month.

The program allows faculty from both universities to study and conduct research on each other’s campuses. In the fall, UTPA will become the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley.

The six-year relationship between the institutions has brought more than 20 professors from Hengyang to the Valley, officials said, and extended this summer to provide similar opportunities to students.

“This gives the faculty really good opportunities to do research, to work on topics … or attend classes, depending on what their interests are,” said Pamela Anderson-Mejias, chair of the English department at UTPA

Last month Anderson- Mejias joined UTPA President Havidan Rodriguez and Yong Lang, professor of applied linguistics, during a visit to Hengyang in May to renew and reassure their…

Read more at the Brownsville Herald.