The HETS winter Board of Directors meeting and several concurrent activities, were held with full house on February 7 and 8, 2019 in Puerto Rico, hosted by the Ana G. Méndez University, Gurabo Campus. This Board meeting started academic year 2018-2019, an intense year for the organization and its members, as it embarked on the implementation of recently Strategic Plan approved and presenting the first semester of its second year results on this meeting.
The strategic plan framework corresponding to years 2017-2020 is an extension of the previous one, and its focused on core areas of access, retention and successful completion, and online learning / technology integration. Among the news shared with the Board were highlighted the major activities to support the organizational programmatic goals such as: tailored workshop offerings either online and new ones face to face; additional tools and services added to the HETS Virtual Plaza and HETS Website. Also, the results of our main initiatives and events were presented like HETS online Journal, HETS Virtual Best Practices Showcase and Student Leadership Showcases in PR, and the Student Ambassadors program to promote with their peers the tools and resources free of charge available for them at the Student Placita of the HETS Virtual Plaza.
One of the activities held during the afternoon of the first day of HETS Board meeting, was the Opening Session of the Virtual Best Practices Showcase. The Virtual Best Practices Showcase open with a panel presentation focused on the conference main tracks. HETS members were invited to participate of the live transmission of the Opening Session, held on February 7, 2019. The panel presentation topic was about: Leveraging Partnerships to Support Student Access, Learning, and Success, and all speakers were from Southeast Missouri State University including: Dr. Deborah Below, Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Success; Dr. Alberto Dávila, Dean of Harrison College of Business and Computing; and Professor of Economics; Dr. Debbie Lee- Distefano, Professor of Spanish in the Department of Communication Studies and Modern Languages; and Ms. Rhonda Weller-Stilson, Dean of the Holland College of Arts and Media.
Another activity concurrent with the first day of the Board meeting, was the student ambassadors meeting with attendees from PR, USA and International. The student’s ambassadors participated of a two day meeting full of activities, including a workshop at Colegio Universitario de San Juan, a special lunch at EDP University, and a tour at Old San Juan which included a stop for refreshments at Carlos Albizu University. A total of 16 ambassadors from Puerto Rico, six from USA, and one from Colombia participated of the meeting.
During the second day of the Board meeting, student ambassadors were invited to present to the Board, the efforts made at their campuses. Four Ambassadors from Puerto Rico, presented their activities, and a video with photos of the activities held by the rest of the Puerto Rico ambassadors were shared. Students invited from USA and Colombia, actively participated on the discussion held regarding these efforts, and shared their experience during the first day of their meeting.
Board members also welcomed representatives from new members such as Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia. During the second day of meeting the Board held a corporate session with current HETS partners like Blackboard and Interstaff, Inc, and also welcomed its newest partner, Instructure, Inc.
Board Members closed the meeting with the HETS 25th Anniversary celebration. As part of this important event; Chancellor David Méndez welcomed the participants and special guests to the Chancellor’s house to have this celebration, and read a very special message sent by the former President of AGMU, and Founding Member of HETS, Dr. José F. Méndez. HETS Executive Director presented special recognitions to several board members, who received a commemorative plaque to acknowledged their different roles at the organization such as: Board Official, Host Institution, and Events Host. Other collaborators were recognized with other awards including: Expert Resource Member Award, HETS Online Journal Chief Editor and Online Journal Reviewer Award.
After the recognitions, Board Members and, special guests’ attendees enjoyed a toast sponsored by Mr. Randy Richards, President of Inter Staff Inc., one of HETS Corporate Partners. During the luncheon, the invitees enjoyed a musical participation of the Tuna Taíno from students from AGMU, Gurabo Campus. To close the ceremony, the 25 Anniversary cake was cut by members of the HETS Executive Committee and its Executive Director.
HETS would like to extend its special thanks to President José Méndez Méndez, Chancellor David Méndez, Sara Vega, Ivette Guzmán, and all their staff at Ana G. Méndez University, Gurabo Campus for hosting these events at their facilities. Also, HETS would like to thank Chancellor Pahedra Gelpi, and her staff from Colegio Universitario de San Juan; Dean of students, Carmen Rivera from Carlos Albizu University and her staff; and Eng. Gladys Nieves, President of EDP University and her staff, for their support on the logistics coordination, including workshop facilities, technical equipment, live transmissions, refreshments, lunch, and ground transportation.