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College Matters
June 2012
OTC to Host American Idol Auditions
Fox KRBK will hold local auditions at OTC Richwood Valley

Think you've got what it takes to be the next American Idol?  How about one of your students, neighbors, or family members?  This year, someone's journey to becoming the next American Idol could begin at OTC:  on Saturday, July 14th, at the OTC Richwood Valley Campus, FOX KRBK will be holding Idol auditions!

The winner of Fox KRBK's Idol will win a guaranteed audition in front of an American Idol producer in Oklahoma City on July 20, 2012, plus $300 for travel expenses.

Singers must be between the ages of 15 and 28; all entrants must be prepared to sing 30 seconds a capella (no background music). Auditions are first come, first serve. Auditions are not guaranteed.

To pre-register and see the official rules from Fox KRBK and American Idol, check out

OTC, MSU Sign Academic Agreements
A.A. and A.A.S. students can now transfer seamlessly

Missouri State University and OTC have signed two new articulation agreements, providing a seamless pathway for OTC students to transfer their Associate of Arts and Associate of Applied Science degrees to complete a bachelor's degree entirely online with MSU.


Specifically, a Bachelor of Applied Science in technology management can be completed online for OTC students who have earned an Associate of Applied Science.  OTC students may transfer their credits for junior status with Missouri State University.


Similarly, a Bachelor of Science in criminology can be completed online for OTC students who have earned an Associate of Arts.


According to the agreement, OTC transfer students will have access to financial aid, scholarships and student services on the same basis as native students.


Pictured:  Dr. Hal Higdon, chancellor of OTC, and Clif Smart, interim president of MSU, sign the agreements.  For more photos, visit the OTC Facebook page. 

OTC Receives $15,000 Grant from the Musgrave Foundation
Grant presented during ceremony at OTC

The Springfield-based Musgrave Foundation has presented the OTC Foundation, the fundraising arm of Ozarks Technical Community College, with a grant for $15,000.   


OTC will use the funds for scholarships for students in the College's Allied Health programs.  The grant was presented during a press conference held by the Musgrave Foundation at OTC to announce the recipients of 35 grants totaling nearly $200,000.


Formed by Jeannette L. Musgrave in 1984, the Musgrave Foundation helps to fund selected charities in the Springfield area, particularly focusing on children's services, healthcare and education, senior services, community betterment and the arts.  As of 2011, the Musgrave Foundation had awarded nearly $9 million in grants since its inception.


Pictured, left to right:  Board members from the Musgrave Foundation, Director of Development Stephanie Brown, and Vice Chancellor for Advancement | Workforce Development Cliff Davis.  For more photos, check out the OTC Facebook page.

OTC Wins Six Medals at SkillsUSA Nationals
OTC students brought home three gold medals, two silver and one bronze

Ozarks Technical Community College students earned six medals in the national SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference held in Kansas City in June.  More than 6,000 students from across the country competed in various areas of career and technical education in 94 different trade, technical and leadership fields.


In all, OTC teams won three gold medals, two silver and one bronze.

Students work against the clock and each other, proving their expertise in occupations like electronics, computer-aided drafting, precision machining, medical assisting and culinary arts.


OTC's gold medals went to the Broadcast News Production Team made up of Tess Bankston, Dylan Durrington, Mathew Shuey and Alex Wirges, the Video Product Development Team made up of Kyle Hammett and Jacob McKnight, and Computer Programming student Ryan Williams. 


Other OTC medal winners include:

  • Stacy Walter, Action Skills, silver medal
  • Jamie Danzer, Pamela Spickard and Monique Russell, Career Pathways - Human Services, silver medal
  • Ashley Kelley, Preschool Teaching Assistant, bronze medal
OTC to receive $500,000 for OTC Lebanon Center through USDA Loan Program
The funds will be used to add six general education classrooms to the OTC Lebanon Center

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced 28 recipients for loans and grants through its Rural Development programs, and OTC will be the ultimate recipient of $500,000 for expansion at the OTC Lebanon Center.  The funds will be presented to the Laclede Electric Cooperative, the organization that applied for the loan, and then passed on to OTC.


The funds, provided through the USDA Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program, are designed to assist with economic growth and development in rural communities across the country.  Ozarks Technical Community College will use its $500,000 loan to add six general education classrooms, one of which can be used as a science laboratory, to Casey Hall at the OTC Lebanon Center.  This expansion will help to serve the anticipated enrollment increases over the next five years.


The OTC Lebanon Center is designed to serve both as a training facility for students and existing industry, and as a support system for area business, helping to provide economic benefits and employment opportunities to the residents of Laclede and surrounding counties.  Located just off Interstate 44 on Highway MM, classes began in the Center's new facilities in the fall of 2011.  The first of the two buildings to open, Casey Hall, is named after Reuben and Mary Lou Casey of San Clemente, Calif., who donated the two buildings and more than 13 acres of land to the College.  Casey Hall is home to 13 classrooms, a student lounge and student services department.  A branch of the OTC Bookstore, along with a Center for Workforce Development office, and some technical education programs, will be located in the building that is located east of Casey Hall.


USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices.  Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $170 billion in loans and loan guarantees.  These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.

Rep. Melissa Leach Presents Resolutions Honoring Dr. Shirley Lawler and OTC's SIFE Team
Resolutions officially presented during Rep. Leach's recent visit to the OTC Springfield Campus

Missouri State Rep. Melissa Leach visited Ozarks Technical Community College on Tuesday, June 12, to present a resolution in honor of Dr. Shirley Lawler, OTC's provost/vice chancellor of Academic and Student Affairs, and in honor of the OTC Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team.   


Dr. Lawler is retiring this summer after 15 years with the College.  Prior to her current position, Dr. Lawler served OTC in a variety of offices, including Dean of Technical Education, Dean of Academic Services, and Director of Curriculum Development and Grants, as well as continuing to teach part-time throughout her career.  She has approximately 30 years of experience in education, beginning as a business instructor for Lebanon High School, and later teaching at Logan-Rogersville High School and Missouri State University.  Upon her retirement, Dr. Lawler will continue to serve as a part-time instructor in OTC's Associate of Arts in Teaching program, and will remain involved in both the OTC Chancellors Leadership Academy program and the Lindenwood University doctoral program offered on the OTC Springfield Campus.


The resolution presented to the OTC SIFE team was in recognition of their successes at the recent SIFE USA Regional Competition in Chicago.  OTC's team placed first in the region, earned the 4.0 Team award, presented for high quality projects, and earned the Club 44 Team award, presented for excellence in membership recruitment.  SIFE is an international non-profit organization active on more than 1,400 college campuses in nearly 50 countries.   


Pictured, left to right:  Rep. Leach, Dr. Lawler, and Dr. Higdon.  For more photos, visit the OTC Facebook page.

Partnership for Sustainability Notes:  Lawn Care
Did you know that your lawn care practices can impact our air quality?

OTC is a member of the Partnership for Sustainability, a local organization designed to encourage sustainable practices in businesses, homes, and everyday life throughout our area. The organization has deemed 2012 as "The Year of Clean Air" and, in support, we will include tips and information periodically in this newsletter.


Our lawn care practices can have a significant impact our air quality.  For example, one hour of lawn mowing with a gas mower emits air pollution equivalent to driving a car 350 miles.  Gas-powered lawn mowers, leaf blowers, and other power equipment, just like an automobile, produce emissions that contribute to higher levels of ground-level ozone.


There are several steps you can take to reduce pollution from lawn equipment:

  • Maintain your equipment -- properly tuned equipment operates more efficiently, reducing the polluting emissions.  
  • Reduce your mowing time by using low-maintenance turf grasses or by reducing your turf area by planting alternatives such as trees, shrubs, or native plants.
  • Consider cleaner options, such as lower-emitting gas-powered equipment.  
  • Use manual tools, such as push reel mowers, rakes and trimmers.  
  • Avoid spilling gasoline.  
  • Recycle old equipment.
  • Use a mulching mower to reduce yard waste and the number of trips to the yard waste recycling facility, while boosting the quality of your soil.  


To learn more about how you can reduce ground-level ozone, go to


The Same 10 Questions We Always Ask
Lori Minor, Community Safety Specialist


Describe what you do at OTC in 50 words or less.

I am a registered nurse providing traffic safety prevention education to southwest Missouri as a liaison from Jefferson City.  I give presentations to schools and other organizational groups that request information on traffic safety issues, run two motorcycle safety programs for Springfield, teach certified nursing assistants and CNA state exams, teach CPR/AED classes, and help out in the Community Enrichment Center.


How long have you been at OTC, and where were you immediately prior?

I have been here three years.  Previously, I was with the City of Springfield, housed in the Springfield Police Department writing and coordinating overtime grants in the amount of $250,000; I was there for 9 years.


What do you hope to accomplish in your position or department in the coming year?

Continue working with MODOT as a liaison and reach 20,000 people by presentations, and train over 400 people in the motorcycle safety program.  I also seek to find better and more proficient ways to run my area.


What is your favorite thing about working at OTC?

Diversity of staff and getting to work with other departments, and especially the community.


What is your favorite thing about living and working in the Ozarks?

I have spent my whole life here, and I live for the seasons and getting to spend time outdoors.


Tell us about one person who had a significant impact on your professional life or career choice.

My passion since I was 9 years old was to be a nurse, and take care of people that are ill.  I have worked with some really good people over the years, and I like to think I have taken little things from a lot of people to help keep me grounded and well rounded in my life.


What do you have on the walls of your office?

Portraits by Norman Rockwell and Anne Geddes, and other things that make me smile.


If you could have dinner with three famous people, alive or dead, who would they be?

1.  Autsgo Nonjo  (She was a really close friend from Japan as a foreign exchange student in high school.  She was killed in a tsunami that hit her home shortly after returning home.)

2.  My grandmother, Ella Jane Marlin, a very strong willed woman - no one ever had to wonder what she was feeling or how she wanted to be treated.

3.  Margaret Thatcher.  She is an amazing woman in who she worked with in her career, as well as in her clear concept of life and the changes she brought to England.


If you were to write a book, what would it be about?

How to survive ADHD.  I am living proof that you can survive without medication if you understand your brain and its triggers.


What were the last three songs played on your iPod?

I like most music.  Most recently I listened to songs by PINK, Mercy Me, and Kelly Clarkson.

In This Issue
American Idol Auditions at OTC
OTC, MSU Sign Academic Agreements
OTC Receives $15,000 Grant
SkillsUSA Students Bring Home Medals
OTC Lebanon Receives $500,000
Dr. Lawler, SIFE Honored with Resolutions
Partnership for Sustainability Notes
The Same 10 Questions We Always Ask
Campus Notes
Local Happenings
Quick Links

Newsletter Archive
Campus Notes


  • Did you miss seeing your students graduate - or miss Commencement altogether?  Now you can watch the 2012 Commencement ceremony in its entirety on OTC's YouTube page!  While you're there, be sure to also check out the story of Lisa Tilley, an OTC graduate who overcame incredible obstacles and is now a teacher in her hometown of Bradleyville.


  • Beginning this fall, students will have a new opportunity at OTC Richwood Valley:  hybrid courses, a combination of online and traditional classroom learning.  Hybrid courses are typically divided into 50% classroom work and 50% online interaction.  Students taking hybrid classes at OTC Richwood Valley will participate in on-campus instruction on Fridays, while staying connected with their instructors and fellow students through discussion forums, email and virtual meeting rooms throughout the week.  Be sure to tell your students about this great option as they plan for the fall semester!  


  • Summer Open Houses are underway!  The OTC Richwood Valley event was held in June, and was a great success.  Mark your calendars now for these great opportunities to meet potential students as they tour the College's facilities, learn about our programs and financial aid options, and much more!  

OTC Lebanon Center:   

July 17, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. 


OTC Waynesville Center:   

July 18, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. 


OTC Branson Center:   

July 19, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. 



  • A message from Karen Creighton, executive secretary to the chancellor:  "Thank you for the beautiful plant sent to my mother's funeral as well as all the cards, thoughts and prayers I received.  I truly appreciated every thought expressed during her illness and am very fortunate to work with such caring people."


  • A message from Becky Robinson, secretary to the dean of Allied Health:  "Billy and I would like to express our appreciation for the beautiful plant, cards, e-mails, and kind words extended to us with the passing of my dear mother.  These sure help in getting through a very difficult time."  
Local Happenings 


  • July 3:  5th Annual Liberty Light Up Concert and Fireworks, Branson Landing.  Join the fun at Branson Landing as they celebrate Independence Day - in a BIG way! - a day early.  The music begins at 8 p.m., and will be followed by a fantastic choreographed fireworks display.  For more information on this year's event, check out


  • July 4:  Fireworks at the Field, Hammons Field, Springfield.  This exciting downtown event will begin with ice skating and inflatables at Mediacom Ice Park, arts and crafts at the Creamery Arts Center, and hands-on activities at the Discovery Center, all from 3-9- p.m.  At 5:08 p.m., the Springfield Cardinals will take on the Midland Rockhounds, followed by a concert by local sensation "Members Only."  The region's largest fireworks show will begin at 9:45 p.m.  For ticket information, call (417) 863-2143 or visit


  • July 5-20:  MSU Tent Theatre Presents "42nd Street."  Since its debut in the depths of the Great Depression, "42nd Street" has wowed audiences with its irrepressible music and dance numbers, including "We're in the Money," "I Only Have Eyes for You," "Lullaby of Broadway" and its famous title song.  Don't miss this exuberant celebration of talent, indomitable spirit, romance and Broadway!  For show times and ticket information, call (417) 836-7678 or check out


  • July 6:  "Love on the Square: an ArtWalk Exhibit," Park Central Square, downtown Springfield.  This special exhibition will feature historic photographs of the square and other area locations by photojournalist Betty Love.  During World War II, Love was able to seize the opportunity to join a male-dominated field and use her talents because so many newspaper personnel were either fighting in Europe or the Pacific, or covering the fighting as journalists.  For more information, call (417) 864-1976 or visit


  • July 22:  Pink in the Park, Hammons Field, Springfield.  The Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks invites you to their annual Pink in the Park event at the Springfield Cardinals game.  All players will be wearing pink jerseys, which will then be auctioned off, along with a variety of other items.  The silent auction proceeds and a portion of ticket sales will go toward providing help and hope to local families impacted by breast cancer.  For more information, visit or call (417) 862-3838.


  • July 27 - August 4:  Ozark Empire Fair, Ozark Empire Fairgrounds, Springfield.  For more than 75 years, the Ozark Empire Fair has been a Springfield tradition.  This family-friendly event features fun food, amazing rides, live shows, and a huge variety of displays and exhibits.   For Fair hours and ticket prices, call (417) 833-2660 or visit




1        Gretchen Gawron
Cindy Phillips

2        Cliff Davis
          Angela McChesney

3        Devon Ellis
          Ryan Farmer

4        Jim Bridwell
          Hope Brooks-Lovan
          Jill Rea
          George Southwick
          Peter Sullivan
          John Yinger

5        Stacy Hardnett
          Rebecca Noel

6        Julia Edwards
          Gerardo Maupome-Millan
          Gloria McTeer

7        Danny Akers
          Jana Owen

9        Phillip Duncan
          Michael Gilmore

10      Robert Johnson

11      Jackie Jenkins
          Albert Simmons

12      Bruce Clemens
          Valentin Curutiu

13      Benjamin Breed
          Lawrence Brethower
          Kim Greene

15      Jennifer Capps
          Stuart Foraker
          Norman Hill
          Whitney Williams

16      Andrea Fish

17      Rebecca Caceres

18      Gary Powell
          Laurel Watson

19      David Smith

21      Richard Anderson

22      Franklin Copher
          Billy Robinson

23      Judi Brake

25      Sherry Griffitts

26      Claude Crain

27      Jason Gomez
          Rebekah McCormack

28      Amy Bacon

29      Steven Polk
          Lindsey Smotherman

30      Robin Schaffrinna

31      Cory Benda
          Jane Cowden
New Employees, Transfers and Promotions


New Full-Time Permanent Employees:

  • Paul Phillips, Instructor - Construction Technology.  Begins August 15.
  • Evan Wingo, Instructor - Auto Collision Repair.  Begins August 15.
  • Amy Bacon, Receptionist - Chancellor's Office.  Began May 21.
  • Jacque Harris, Instructional Media Support Specialist.  Began May 7.
  • Marie Pearl, Senior Staff Accountant.  Began May 21.
  • Bettie Rowe, Accounting Technician.  Began May 21.
  • Jennifer Thompson, Accounting Technician.  Began May 29.

Transfers and Promotions:

  • Dr. Steve Biermann, Dean - Extended Campuses & College Outreach.  Began new position July 1.
  • Rebecca Caceres, Dental Hygiene Program Director/Instructor.  Began new position July 1.
  • David Smith, Network Hardware Technician (full-time temporary position).  Began new position July 1. 
Next Newsletter Deadline:  Wednesday, July 25


The employee newsletter is sent out on the first of each month.  The deadline is one week prior, so mark your calendars if you have news you would like us to include.  The deadline for the August newsletter is Wednesday, July 25.   


In the meantime, be sure you are putting your events on the campus calendar for inclusion in the weekly "Upcoming Events" emails.


Send your newsletter submissions to either of the following email addresses, and we'll get the word out!