History and Philosophy
The history of South Plains College is the unfolding of an idea with two elements: the impulse and capacity of the individual to learn and produce, and the community dependent on the enlightened and productive individual. In some sense, this history begins when the local community begins, for the community has always understood that its nature is, in part, to learn, teach, and provide public education for its children. But by the early 1950s a few prominent citizens of Hockley County realized that the local education should no longer be limited to children, and that Hockley County required a greater role in the educational system of Texas. Consequently, these citizens twice petitioned the State Board of Education, once in 1951 and again in 1956, for permission to establish a junior college in Levelland. Given permission to hold an election, the citizens of Hockley County voted to establish South Plains College on April 2, 1957. In March 1958, Whiteface Independent School District became a part of the district, which was redesignated the South Plains Junior College District.
In 1958, the college opened its doors primarily as a two-year academic transfer institution, the first such college in Texas in more than 10 years. South Plains College opened the door to the expansion of community colleges in Texas, arguably the most significant development in Texas higher education of the last half of the twentieth century. Fruitful changes began almost immediately. In the early 1960s, the district developed a clearer notion of community college and rapidly incorporated technical and vocational education, continuing education, and educational counseling and other student support services.
South Plains College has continued to grow and expand, opening the extension at Reese Air Force Base in 1970, and a technical branch in Lubbock in 1973. In 1977, the college acquired and refurbished the West Texas Hospital Building in downtown Lubbock, and in the fall of 1978 established the Lubbock Campus at the new site. With the closing of Reese Air Force Base in 1997, the college acquired through public conveyance six educational buildings at the former air base. These facilities have been developed into an expanded SPC Reese Center program. The same year, SPC established a partnership with the Lubbock Independent School District and other Lubbock community partners to open the Byron Martin Advanced Technology Center. In order to accommodate enrollment and program growth, college officials in 2000 decided to close the Main Street facility and consolidate its Lubbock-based programs at the SPC Reese Center. In 2004, the college acquired a facility in Plainview to expand its educational program in the northern tier of its service area. This building was renovated and opened in September 2005 as the SPC Plainview Center. In 2016, the College acquired a facility at 3907 Ave. Q in Lubbock to serve as an expanded career and technical education center. With financial assistance from the Helen Jones Foundation, the CH Foundation and the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance, the 77,000 square foot facility was renovated into the College’s newest Lubbock location. The programs that were housed at the Byron Martin Advanced Technology Center were relocated to this new facility which opened in the fall of 2017.
Over the years, these expansions have significantly enriched South Plains College, broadening its service area and contributing to its understanding of the larger community. All the while, the larger community has been exceptionally positive in its support of the college, voting bond issues as needed and promoting enthusiastically all facets of the college.
History implies change, and South Plains College is committed to changing with the needs and opportunities of the community. It seeks not merely to be the guardian of tradition, but to be creative as well, ever seeking to uncover and find expression for individual and community potential. Communities, however, do not merely change. The original idea that established the college remains valid, and South Plains College understands its relation to the abiding values of civilization. Thus, the college continues to be the unfolding intellectual history of a community attempting to be a responsible part of the global communities of the world.
South Plains College provides educational opportunities that improve the lives of its students by establishing a foundation for lifelong learning. The College offers high quality courses, programs and services that assist students in clarifying and achieving their educational and career goals in order to become productive and responsible citizens in a global society. South Plains College empowers its faculty and staff to provide a learning environment that is innovative, engaging, compassionate, safe, diverse and supportive of the College vision.
Role and Scope
South Plains College is a public, open admission, comprehensive community college that primarily serves individuals and communities in its service area comprising the southern portion of the Texas High Plains. The College offers quality academic transfer, career, and technical education programs leading to associate degrees and proficiency certificates. To sustain the communities it serves, the College also offers developmental education, continuing education, workforce development, and community service programs. The College and its employees strive for excellence in teaching and provide learning opportunities that are accessible, flexible, and affordable.
In order to accomplish its mission, South Plains College is committed to the following institutional purposes:
- To provide associate degree programs in the arts and sciences that successfully prepare students for university transfer into baccalaureate degree programs.
- To provide certificate and associate degree programs in career and technical education areas that equip students with skills, attitudes, and aptitudes necessary for gainful employment, for professional certification or for advanced study.
- To provide developmental, adult literacy, and basic skills programs designed to assist those students who are under prepared for college and who need to develop skills for college success.
- To provide flexible continuing education and workforce development programs, including specialized business and industrial training, which anticipate and address the specific needs of the global workplace.
- To foster student success holistically by providing an Educational Success Plan (ESP) that includes advisement, academic support and student support services and by providing opportunities to participate in the academic and social life of the College.
- To expand access to educational opportunities through distance learning, technology, and other innovations.
- To listen actively to the needs of service area constituents; to work in partnership with others to build communities; and to provide community service programs, cultural opportunities and activities that reflect the diversity of the region the College serves.
- To effectively develop, utilize and be accountable for managing College resources and to continuously improve the quality of programs, services and operations.
The employees of South Plains College have developed and adopted a vision statement and a series of organizational beliefs that define for the college a desired state and preferred future. A vision is a dream created out of personal and organizational values of how we would like South Plains College to be. Our vision statement and seven areas of commitment provide direction for the college and inspire the college community to stretch beyond its present level of institutional effectiveness.
Statement of Vision
The college’s vision statement follows:
South Plains College improves each student’s life.
Statement of Values
South Plains College respects the diversity of its student body and recognizes the worth and potential of each student. Therefore the college affirms the following values and beliefs.
Commitment to Students: We believe each student is individually important and has unique needs and goals. The college supports students in clarifying their lifelong goals, provides personalized attention and service, assists them in developing their talents and skills, recognizes their culture, heritage and lifetime experiences, and challenges them to become independent, lifelong learners.
Commitment to Educational Excellence: As educators, we believe effective teaching brings quality to learning and that our success is measured by the success of our students. The college provides and is accountable for the quality of its educational programs and student support services. We recognize that academic freedom is a catalyst for innovation and technology enhances the educational experience. These qualities enable the college to prepare students for lifelong, creative roles in the community.
Commitment to Access and Diversity: We believe the college should provide access to programs and services to students who may benefit and that the college should reflect the diversity of the community it serves. The college offers equal access to education through an open door admissions policy. The college has a responsibility to provide educational services that are affordable and available at convenient times and places.
Commitment to Faculty and Staff: We believe everyone contributes to quality and institutional success by working toward common goals as a team member. All members of the college community will have the opportunity to be an innovator, to grow through professional development, and to prosper from equitable rewards and recognition based on clearly defined expectations.
Commitment to a Quality Campus Environment: We recognize the importance of providing a safe, clean and accessible work and learning environment that is characterized by integrity, clear communications, an open exchange of ideas, appreciation for personal worth, involvement in decision making and respect for all individuals.
Commitment to the Community: As members of a larger community, we recognize the importance of enhancing the quality of life for all citizens of the community and supporting opportunities for economic development and growth. We will listen actively to the needs of our constituents and work to build partnerships to address common needs and goals.
Commitment to Effective Use of Resources: In order to remain good stewards of the public trust, we believe in the effective use of college resources to provide quality education and services to students and the community. To accomplish this, we will plan effectively for the future.