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|Congratulations to our Piper Professor Nominee - Jared Cootz
Often considered to be the Heisman Trophy for college faculty in Texas, the Minnie Stevens Piper Professor award program provides ten (10) awards of $5,000 each to professors for superior teaching in both the university and community college arena. Selection is made on the basis of nominations submitted by each college or university in the State of Texas. It is not an easy process. The standards are extremely high, and just being nominated is an incredible honor.
In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Jared takes time to participate in numerous outside activities, both at the college and in the community, and he encourages his students to do the same. Indeed, student engagement is a hallmark of Jared's teaching philosophy, which is evidenced with his leadership role in creating the hugely popular and innovative learning networks concept. These thematically-related classes (think "Fear and Horror" and "Futuristic" learning networks) have caught on in a tremendous way with our students. Jared has spurred more than 25 other faculty members who now participate in our learning networks. The excitement level surrounding these courses is phenomenal, both among faculty and students. Just as important, student success and retention rates in Jared's and other participating faculty members' sections are 3-6 percentage points higher than in sections outside of the learning networks.
Over the past six weeks, a lengthy and thorough nomination process identified Jared Cootz, professor of sociology and psychology at LSC-Montgomery for the past 12 years, as our nominee for the Piper Award. I support this nomination wholeheartedly. Through his actions both in and out of the classroom, Jared is a role model not only for our students, but for faculty, staff and administration as well.
Now that he has been chosen as our nominee, his application materials have been sent to the Piper Foundation. I am confident that Jared will be seriously considered for this prestigious honor. If selected, he would be the first LSC-Montgomery professor to receive this honor. Please show Jared your support and appreciation, and wish him well during the selection process.
|December 1 - LSC-Montgomery Gives Back
It's important for the community to see how much LSC-Montgomery, with its variety of programs and services, gives back to the community. Last Saturday afternoon, we gave them a glimpse of this with a plethora of booths promoting our programs. Additionally, we provided musical entertainment, kid-friendly inflatable games, and a live ice sculptor who carved (you guessed it) a maverick. We plan to do external events like this at least once a year, so if you weren't able to make this one, definitely plan for the next one. For those faculty, staff and students who worked at a booth or volunteered, we provided a delicious barbecue lunch from Luby's.
|Avoid the Stampede Ropes in a Record Number of Students
It's no secret that LSC-Montgomery goes all out to get currently enrolled students to register early for the subsequent semester. Avoid the Stampede has become an entrenched tradition over the past year, and the results speak for themselves: 2,779 students registered on the Nov. 7-8, including almost 1,000 who registered in person at the AtS events. After two days of registration, LSC-Montgomery led all other LSC campuses in terms of percentage registered toward our projection.
I would like to thank everyone involved in this campuswide effort to get our current students registered early for Spring '13. This includes those who helped set up the registration stations, the signage, the food and more. It also includes the faculty and staff who worked the lines with equal amounts of efficiency and caring attitudes. As I observed the activity in B & G, I could tell that our students felt appreciated. Of course, pizza and t-shirts also help! What this all means is that fewer students will need to register in January when we return. Even students who didn't register during Avoid the Stampede witnessed how many students do register early, and they will be more inclined to do so, too. Just as important, AtS creates a collegewide feeling of teamwork and cooperation. Working together, we all can make a difference. Difficult to measure, but it is there, to be sure. As we move toward the end of the fall semester, we will continue to encourage our students not only to Avoid the Stampede, but also to "Pay Before You Leave."
Dr. Lane announces the amount raised for charity partner Interfaith of The Woodlands.
December Belongs to the Arts!
As the semester winds down, things in our art, music and theatre departments are heating up! From the family-friendly "The Very Merry Xmas Carol Holiday Adventure Show," which completed a successful run last week to the delight of hundreds of area youth (and adults), to last night's outstanding 7th annual Holiday Benefit Concert, to the always-entertaining Student Art Exhibit (Dec. 6-14), I hope you were able to enjoy these events. Not only do we have some of the most talented students around, our faculty who teach and mentor them are simply phenomenal. I always joke about these students being like our football team. If that were the case, we'd be undefeated and heading to BCS national championship game. They are that good! The Holiday Benefit Concert not only generated close to $1,500 for Interfaith of The Woodlands, it generated several standing ovations - including a special ovation for the first-ever public performance of the college's symphony orchestra. Truly outstanding! You should come watch and listen for yourself! I've included a few photos from these performances.
|Dr. Lane poses with (l. to r.) Dr. Ann Snyder, executive director of Interfaith of The Woodlands; Deborah Ellington, interim dean; and Dr. Earl Holt, music professor and program chair, during the intermission of the Holiday Benefit Concert.|
| ||Dr. Lane announces the amount raised for charity partner Interfaith of The Woodlands.|
| ||The trumpet section delivers a rousing performance during the Holiday Benefit Concert.|
| ||Soloist Michael Walsh, LSC-Montgomery music instructor, sings during the combined performance of the Concert Choir, Chamber Singers and Jazz Ensemble.|
|Faculty & Staff Excellence Recipients Announced|
Last week, I was able to "surprise" our newest faculty and staff excellence recipients - some in their classrooms, others in their offices. This year's selections truly showcase the best LSC-Montgomery has to offer. Brandy Harvey, English professor; Eric Oslund, math professor
; Rachel Trackey, academic counselor; and Matthew Samford, academic counselor; were recognized among the faculty. Our staff selections included Chris Moore, general clerk IV; Katie Halbert, NASH division assistant; Martha Neely, CE program coordinator; and Angela Kane-Pigg, BASS division coordinator.
Both the faculty and staff excellence recipients will be recognized at the Heights of Excellence ceremony in early May, and the faculty honorees will also be invited to the NISOD conference in May for special recognition. Congratulations to all of these well deserving Mavericks!
Eric Oslund, math professor, not pictured.
BASS division coordinator.
Katie Halbert, NASH division assistant
Matthew Samford, academic counselor
Rachel Trackey, academic counselor
Brandy Harvey, English professor
Martha Neely, CE program coordinator
Chris Moore, general clerk IV
Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Selected
Without our adjunct faculty, it would be impossible to teach the large number of students at LSC-Montgomery. Because we are fortunate to be located in a highly-educated area, we are able to select part-time faculty from among the very best, most qualified applicants. So, when it comes time to name an outstanding adjunct from each of our academic divisions, the choice can't be easy. This year's adjunct excellence selections include NaSH: Kira Renneberg-Jones, Biology; BASS: Brant Gary, Government; BELS: Georgette Sullins, Spanish and TEAM: John Adelman, Art. Again, these top-notch teachers will be recognized for their outstanding contributions to student success at the Heights of Excellence ceremony in May.
Citizen's Advisory Committee to Meet
In preparation for the college's future growth needs, a Citizen's Advisory Committee has been formed at each of the six LSC campuses. Our committee is comprised of a diverse group of leaders representing various aspects of the community - business, education, non-profits, and more. I am excited to share our story with this committee, and to get their input as to how LSC-Montgomery should grow. Much of the work and input that many of you gave us during last year's visioning sessions will be put on the table for this committee to see. I'm confident that they will recognize the tremendous value we add to our service area - and the need we have for campus growth. They will meet here this week and they will tour the campus to see how we've been able to utilize the three new buildings added in 2011, as well as the LSC-Conroe Center. Their input, along with that from the other five campus committees, will be presented to the LSCS Board of Trustees for its consideration.
Annual Holiday Lunch - Get Ready for December 7
Our annual college-wide holiday lunch will take place this Friday, December 7, from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. in the atrium of the Health Science Center (building B). In addition to delicious holiday food prepared by Luby's, this is a great time to socialize with your colleagues and celebrate the conclusion of the fall semester. The LSC-Montgomery choral singers will perform for part of the lunch, and traditional holiday music will also play. There will also be a special gift for all employees. Don't miss this Maverick tradition!
College Recognizes, Honors Veterans
Last month, the office of student life held a very nice event commemorating Veteran's Day. Many of our student veterans, as well as faculty and staff veterans and others, turned out for the event, which included a lunch from Luby's, a display of U.S. military uniforms and assorted battle items, a U.S. flag cake, and live music. The venue, the front patio of the Music Hall, proved to be a wonderful spot to honor our veterans.
|Dr. Lane poses with Justin Flynn, SGA president and veteran, and his wife.|
|Valerie Shepard, veterans advisor and Ana Marie Colchado, coordinator, Student Life, hold a cake celebrating Veterans Day.|
Departmental Open Forums Show Depth of Planning, Activity Throughout College
If you haven't attended one of the departmental/divisional open forums held this fall semester, please make time to do so in the spring semester. The most recent open forums featured the BASS and NaSH divisions.
Last month, BASS dean Becky Gustamante, along with each of BASS's program areas, gave an informative presentation. I was amazed at what they are accomplishing. A few selected highlights:
- 25 students are enrolled on our automotive technician credit program (and 28 former students are working at area dealerships and automotive shops; 3 others have opened their own repair shops). The program is gearing up for the prestigious NATEF certification. - the land surveying & mapping technology program has two graduates who have become registered Professional Land Surveyors, which requires a subsequent bachelor's degree and passing scores on the examination through the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES).
- Students in BMGT (Business Management) 1309 work with The Woodlands Marathon to learn real-life project management skills involving the events signage needs.
- Our history department (including both faculty and students) volunteers to help host and administer the regional History Fair (think Science Fair for history students!) at LSC-Montgomery each spring. Betsy Powers, professor of history, leads this effort.
Earlier this week, interim NaSH co-deans, Renee Pruitt and Kitty Gronlund, as well as the program directors and department chairs, updated the audience on a wide range of initiatives and success stories in their area. Some highights included:
- Communication has been a major goal for NaSH during 2012-13; projects include weekly division updates via the intranet, regular division meetings, and more.
- Geology and Oceanography students take semester field trips to the Hill Country and Galveston (respectively), giving our students "hands-on" learning experiences.
- Enrollment in our physics classes has doubled in the last four years, and a physics class will taught at LSC-Conroe Center for the first time this spring.
- Currently, six of our recent ADN (associate degree in nursing) graduates are enrolled in a bachelor's degree (BSN) transition program offered by UH-Victoria at LSC-University Center at Montgomery.
Faculty & Staff Spotlight
Lead Specialist/Bursar, Business Office
Since 2006, Jennyfer Nunez has been a part of the LSC-Montgomery family. Starting as a part-time cashier, Nunez has worked her way to lead specialist/bursar and now oversees the daily operations of the business office.
"We work with students every day to ensure their accounts are accurate so they can achieve their academic goals," she said. "I am very proud to work for the Business Office. They are wonderful, hard-working people, and I am honored to be part of their team. "
Born and raised in Mexico City, Nunez moved to Houston in 2005 to finish her degree in business administration and finance from University of Houston. She took a few classes at Lone Star College, where she met her husband, Ricardo. Their two-year-old son, Gabriel, brings them huge joy.
"My husband and my son are my greatest achievements!" Nunez said. "We enjoy movies and music together. I love spending time with them."
Looking ahead, Nunez hopes to consider her advancement at the college and has even considered going back to school to pursue a master's degree or become a CPA.
"I just love connecting with students and staff here every day," she said. "Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to meet wonderful people that have inspired me and helped me to achieve my personal and professional goals."
Professor of Psychology, Department Chair
Mike Green, Ph.D., brings a wealth of education and experience to LSC-Montgomery. In addition to teaching, his career includes more than 20 years in administration as director of institutional research and then associate vice chancellor for research and planning at the Lone Star College System office. He has been teaching psychology and statistics at LSC-Montgomery since 2002 and in August, became department chair for psychology and sociology, a role he said he is enjoying.
With his background, Green was a natural fit for taking on the coordination of outcomes assessments for the BELS division earlier this year. He has extended the process that English Professor Brandy Harvey put into place and is working to ensure that it becomes a regular part of the semester.
"Assessment is important, but the real impact is the improvement of courses that ultimately result in student success," said Green. "Even small changes in teaching methodology, course assessment methods, or content can have a profound effect on how faculty teach and how students are affected. The hope is that outcomes assessment becomes an integral part of every course offering."
Green and his wife of 42 years have three children, a son who runs a physical disability access business in Waco; a daughter who is a physician's assistant in Humble; and another son who is currently pursuing his degree here at LSC-Montgomery. Currently, he has four grandchildren with one more due in July.
On the weekends, he and his wife escape to their lake house near Center, Texas, where Green embraces his carpentry hobby.