I hope everyone is well rested and re-charged after the holiday break, and that you were able to relax with family and friends. Although there were some minor renovations that took place while you were away, it was nothing compared to what we experienced a year ago with the "Big Move." New carpeting and fresh coats of paint in several areas around campus were the primary renovations that occurred.
As we enter into the spring semester, I'd like to update you on some important matters.
|New & Returning Mavericks
Our spring semester enrollment numbers look solid across the board, with our headcount (number of students taking at least one class at LSC-Montgomery) showing a four percent increase over last spring, and our contact hours (total number of hours students are in class) showing a healthy five percent increase over last year. It appears that we will, once again, set a new record in terms of our spring semester headcount. This marks the 17th consecutive record enrollment increase from spring to spring. As soon as we reach official day, we will announce our official numbers. Much appreciation goes to our faculty, academic deans, student services and business office personnel, all of whom worked closely and efficiently with our students to make sure that they received everything they needed to start the semester off on the right foot. I was very impressed by how hard these groups worked during the Avoid the Stampede early registration campaign. They made the difference and helped us reach our goal. Thanks for all of your hard work!
As you know, in spite of its continued growth, Lone Star College System has not been immune to the recent cutbacks in state funding for higher education. The past two years have been challenging, with everyone--students, faculty, and staff--having "skin in the game," as Chancellor Carpenter has been known to say. Our current budget at LSC-Montgomery has been a "hold the line" budget, except for the hiring of several new faculty members. As you know, cost of living increases were not a part of the 2011-12 budget. A hiring chill is also in effect, causing many open positions to go unfilled for various lengths of time. To help ease the situation, especially with regard to chilled positions, we are able to use part-time employees to fill in as needed.
During challenging financial times like these, it is all the more important to recognize the outstanding work that so many of you are doing for the college. Throughout this year, I will continue to do so, making sure that everyone feels appreciated for the ways in which they are helping LSC-Montgomery thrive in 2012. Another way in which we can help ease the strain is to provide other resources to make our jobs easier. Later in this Update, I will talk about our 2012-2015 equipment plan, which is designed to tackle much of our needs in the way of technology and tools. In spite of these budget constraints, there are so many wonderful and innovative things happening in Maverick Country. We are making great strides in improving our student success and retention rates. We are tackling major issues that have emerged from our Foundations of Excellence process, as well as our visioning sessions. As these initiatives develop, I have encouraged those involved to share their stories of success, including making presentations at some of the leading conferences throughout the region. This is another way that we can reward the hard work that we do every day on behalf of our students and the community.
Much of 2011 was spent in planning mode. In the spring, we formulated a list of recommendations for our Foundations of Excellence initiative. In the summer and into the fall, all of our non-faculty staff and administrators worked on individual and department-level Unit Effectiveness Planning (UEP). We also spent quality time with all campus constituents in our visioning sessions. Now comes the hard work of putting all of these initiatives into a single plan that will guide our college over the next several years. This plan, to be known as the Maverick Way, will focus on three critical areas: Academic Planning, Strategic Enrollment Management (SEM), and Campus Master Planning. The Academic Plan centers around our in-the-classroom efforts to provide the absolute best environment for student success, retention and learning outcomes. The SEM component touches on all out-of-the-classroom experiences for prospective, current and former students. The Campus Master component involves our facilities (renovations, new building initiatives, and more). The Maverick Way is under construction, but I will be sharing important pieces of it with you over the next two months as it nears completion.
|Equipment Plan for 2012-2015
In 2009, LSC-Montgomery created a capital projects budget to address much-needed funding for things like specialized technology, equipment, furniture, and other items that departmental budgets simply could not afford. As we went through the first two years of funding these capital projects, it became apparent to the college's administration that a cycle of equipment purchases was needed. Too many of our program areas have gone without state-of-the-art equipment that raise our status, not only in the eyes of our students and community, but also with the faculty and staff whose careers are enhanced by working with such equipment. With much input from program chairs, department heads, deans, faculty and others, I asked our vice presidents to develop a three-year cycle specifically for equipment needs and make it part of our strategic plan over the next three years. Throughout the spring, we will purchase high priority items designated in year one such as music keyboards, fire science masks and air tanks, mobile radiography units, spectrophotometers, lab equipment, kinesiology/exercise equipment, and much more. View the Equipment List for the first year of the three-year cycle.
A special thanks goes to Deborah Ellington, who is stepping in to serve as interim dean of the TEAM division during the spring semester. Ellington formerly served as TEAM dean from 2002-2009, so her experience and leadership will keep things moving forward. If Dr. Lawrence Brandyburg's vice president position at LSC-University Park becomes full time, then we will conduct a nationwide search for a permanent replacement. In the meantime, I am confident that the TEAM division won't miss a beat in the coming months.
Dr. Lawrence Brandyburg, left, chats with Deborah Ellington, right, and Dr. Ron Dewlen, center, during his farewell reception. Ellington is serving as interim dean of the TEAM division while Brandyburg is the interim vice president of instruction and student services at LSC-University Park.
|Faculty and Staff Excellence Recipients
Last month we announced the 2012 recipients of our annual Faculty and Staff Excellence Awards. These individuals symbolize the "best of the best" in Maverick Country. Congratulations to our outstanding faculty recipients: Simone Reick, English; Terry Albores, counselor; Craig Livingston, history; and Pat Sendelbach, accounting.
Our staff recipients included Barbara Holman, TEAM division assistant; Tracye Howell, staff assistant II; Shari Tracey, coordinator III; and Valerie Shepherd, specialist IV.
They will be recognized at the upcoming Heights of Excellence celebration in May, and the faculty recipients will also be honored at the annual NISOD conference in Austin.
"Breakfast with the Stars"
One organization that does so much for the community is the Montgomery County United Way. I am fortunate to be the chair of the 2011-12 UW Campaign Drive, which is entering its final months. (Our campaign will kick off in February.) Recently, a fundraising breakfast was held, and several celebrities who live in the area were on hand to offer encouragement for the campaign. A few members of my administrative team were able to interact with Olympians Laura Wilkinson (diver) and Chad Hedrick (speed skater) as well as ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill. Dr. Chris Tkach, senior analyst, even won an autographed photo of Laura Wilkinson. Stay tuned to more information about our upcoming United Way campaign, which kicks-off in early February. We will have our traditional faculty, staff and student appreciation cook-out, which will double as our United Way kick-off, on Friday, February 3, outside the Commons Building.
Several members of the college's administrative team attended a breakfast fundraiser for the local chapter of United Way. The event, dubbed "Breakfast with the Stars," featured several local celebrities. Top row (l. to r.): Chris Tkach, Jim Taylor, Ann Kirch, Austin Lane, Wendell Williams, Steve Scheffler. Bottom row (l. to r.): Laura Wilkinson (Olympic gold medal diver), Dusty Hill (bassist for ZZ Top), Chad Hedrick (Olympic gold medal speed skater).
Giving Back to the Community
So many of you find ways to give back to the community that supports our college. Our Student Life area organized the painting of toy trains for patients at St. Luke's Hospital during the holidays. Human Services faculty and students collected massive amounts of clothing, toys and food for several community outreach organizations.
My administrative team spent one afternoon serving lunch on behalf of the Montgomery County Homeless Coalition in downtown Conroe. These (and many more) efforts go a long way toward creating a closer connection between the college and a community that is always in need of support. I would like to thank everyone in Maverick Country who volunteered their time on behalf of those less fortunate than ourselves.
From right, Barbara Buchanan, academic dean, and Cami Keitel, dean of student services, help serve a hot lunch to clients of the Montgomery County Homeless Coalition in downtown Conroe.
|Holiday Benefit Concert
Another way in which the college gives back to the community is through its music program. Each December, our student and faculty musicians put on a benefit concert for a local charity. For the past four years, Interfaith of The Woodlands has been the chosen charity. With a full house enjoying the college's two choirs and jazz band, this year's concert raised $2,000 for Interfaith--the most ever raised by this event. As a result, Interfaith was able to help 3,000 children and families, as well as 2,000 seniors throughout the area. The food pantry also served over 700 families during the holidays.
The Woodlands Rotary Club recently recognized several LSC-Montgomery students who received scholarships from the organization. The Rotary Club dedicates the proceeds from several of its major fundraisers, including OktoberFest, toward scholarships for LSC-Montgomery students.
From l. to r.: Jeff Rhame, Rotary Club president; Dr. Austin Lane, LSC-Montgomery president; Mary Jo O'Neil, scholarship chair of the Rotary Club; Desiree Adams, scholarship recipient; Bobbie Liggins, scholarship recipient; Janet Lennon, scholarship recipient; Kristi Wharton, LSC-Montgomery financial aid specialist; Steve Scheffler, LSC-Montgomery dean of college relations.
|First Open Forum - Feb. 23
Please mark Thursday, February 23, from 3-4:30 p.m. for our first Open Forum of the spring semester. This will be held in room G102. As usual, I will begin with an update, followed by a question-answer session. Don't miss it!
Kelly Weller, professor,
Emergency Medical Services
Kelly Weller has helped breath life into LSC-Montgomery's up-and-coming emergency medical services program since it began in 2010.
She joined LSC-Montgomery almost two years ago after serving in LSC-North Harris's EMS program for more than ten years. She has been instrumental in getting the EMS program started, and last summer, Weller was instrumental in getting the EMS program upgraded to offer intermediate-level certification.
"Students appreciated the quality of education they received in their basic training and requested more," said Weller. "They know that the faculty want them to succeed, and that the quality of their intermediate training will be just as high."
Weller earned her associate degree in emergency medical services from LSC-North Harris, and more recently, she graduated from LSC-Kingwood's transition nursing program and became a registered nurse. She also holds a bachelor's degree from Sam Houston State University in applied arts and sciences and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Our Lady of Lake University with a degree in human sciences.
|Lone Star College-Montgomery EMS Program|
Tracye Howell, Staff Assistant II
For more than nine years, Tracye Howell has been working in LSC-Montgomery's professional development department, which provides employee training for excellence in current positions, along with development opportunities for professional and personal growth.
When the position opened up, it was a friend who told Howell she would be a good fit.
"It turns out her intuition was right," said Howell. "I love working here. It's a beautiful place to come to work each day, and I couldn't ask for better co-workers."
Howell is currently involved in the Empower U program, a leadership academy for staff offered by LSC-CyFair. She began last September and will graduate in July.
"It's been a wonderful experience for both professional and personal growth."
LSC-Montgomery Strategic Plan Report Earns Paragon Award
The LSC-Montgomery 2010-11 Strategic Plan Report, produced by our College Relations department, recently garnered a prestigious Paragon Award from the National Council for Marketing & Public Relations (NCMPR). This is a national award, and our publication competed with similar publications from dozens of community colleges across the U.S. Special recognition goes to LaNae Ridgwell, manager of publications and graphic design; Lauren Maddox, writer, and Steve Scheffler, dean of college relations. They worked hard on this publication, which represents the best of our strategic planning efforts during the past three years. We will find out if it won at the Gold, Silver or Bronze level during the NCMPR national conference in March. Thanks for taking LSC-Montgomery to new heights!