Madeline Burillo became the official college president for Houston Community College Southwest on April 22, having the word “interim” removed from her title after seven months.
Burillo is ready to make sure students across all campuses enjoy and make the most of their educational experiences.
During her time as interim president, she has worked with community partners to bring workforce programs to HCC’s centers of excellence at Southwest.
She is currently overseeing the construction of a new Center of Excellence and workforce building at Stafford campus, with its main focus being manufacturing.
“It’s a dream come true,” Burillo said in an interview Thursday. She has been a part of the project throughout her tenure as interim president.
The program itself will teach industrial technology, machining, advanced manufacturing, computer numerical control and programmable logical controllers.
The center will partner with the National Institute of Metalworking Skills. From there, it is Burillo’s plan for students to be able to take national industry exams and receive credentials from the institute upon graduation from the program.
Additionally, the Manufacturing program at Stafford will also include robotics, digital manufacturing, welding and additive manufacturing. Part of the curriculum will be 3D printing. The building will be about 57,424 square feet, is budgeted at about $26 million and is projected to be completed sometime this summer.
Manufacturing is currently one of the smallest programs at HCC, with only 128 students enrolled in the program last fall. The advisory committee is working on recruitment strategies.
“The future is going to be awesome in terms of workforce programs at HCC,” Burillo says.
As for West Loop campus, Burillo has plenty of ideas on the table to enliven the student experience. By the end of the year, she plans on there being a Wellness Center in the back of the building.
Also, there are ideas for libraries to have technology enhanced learning sessions where students can share what they learned in study groups through projectors or their own tablets.
Pending approval from the Student Government Association, Burillo has come up with the idea called “Music at the Plaza” where students and faculty come together and perform almost like a venue.
“There have been different ideas thrown,” Burillo says. While she still not sure whether there’ll be a theme each month for specific music, she also has gotten with students on fleshing the idea out more.
“I really want to create that kind of environment where our students outside utilizing that plaza being built and having a meeting place [to perform music],” Burillo notes.
Burillo is also leading the district wide student experience project for career advising, an initiative that takes the academic advising at HCC to the next step. She has outlined plans for assessment of students on what career path they want, the right classes to take, and linking them to the proper employers for them to work for after graduation.
This advising project will be linked through centers of excellence and with plenty of transparency and oversight from deans and other faculty.
Regarding her new promotion to college president, Burillo found herself “humbled” when receiving the new position. She has also noted that her parents were inspirational for her in her experience.
Before having a 30 year career in higher education, she received her Bachelor’s in Economics from the Universidad de Puerto Rico, received a Master’s in Education from Oklahoma State University and a PhD. from Sam Houston State University.
She strongly believes that education is a transformative tool and hopes to make HCC students have the opportunity to be well-equipped for life in general.
“We’re here for the students and we want them to be proud of being Eagles,” President Burillo states.