We have entered what I consider to be the most exciting, rewarding time in our academic year. The end of the spring semester always brings a range of emotion - from exhaustion to exhilaration. With finals looming, faculty and students are busy finalizing their work after a long, 16-week semester. With Commencement less than two weeks away, we all sense the excitement of completing a job well done. This week is particularly rewarding, as we recognized our student scholarship recipients and our donors at the Presidential Scholars ceremony yesterday evening. On Friday, May 4, our annual Heights of Excellence recognizes so many of you for your hard work and dedication to the success of our students. More on that later in this newsletter. I'd like to thank each and every one of you for your unique contributions here in Maverick Country. We all play a part in making our college special - not only for students, but for the community that supports us, too.
Bond Referendum - Vote on May 11-or Earlier!
You should all be aware that our college system has called an election for Saturday, May 11, with a $497 million bond referendum in the balance. By state law and System policy, we are not allowed to advocate for or against the bond here at the college, nor can we use college resources to do so. However, we can provide information, and we can encourage each other to vote in this important election. If successful, the bond would provide a 60,000-square-foot student services center for our campus. As you know, we received three academic buildings from the last bond issuance, a parking garage, as well as our highly-successful Conroe Center.The need for a one-stop-shop location for student services is quite apparent. It was mentioned loud and clear at our visioning session more than a year ago - by students, faculty and staff. It was the number one need identified by the Citizens Review Committee when it met during the fall semester to recommend our campus projects. Combined with a new University Center that would allow LSC-Montgomery to occupy the existing University Center, the bond would also include additional parking spaces, enhanced entry/exits leading to College Park Drive, and more than 82,000-square-feet of renovation dollars to our existing buildings. If you'd like more information about the bond, as well as the board of trustees election, please visit LoneStar.edu/Bond2013. Finally, early voting started this week! Early voting polling sites, as well as day-of-election sites, are listed on the 2013 bond website. Please vote!
|New College Video|As I've been speaking to external groups about the college and our future growth plans, I felt it was important to provide them with some perspective of how our college was created. I wanted them to know how we are staying true to the dreams of those who had the foresight to bring our college into existence. We created the following video to accomplish this. I hope you enjoy it. Feel free to share it with your friends, family and others.
|Lonestar College-Montgomery 2013|
|Show Your Colors is a HUGE Success!|
More than 400 faculty, staff and students attended the "Show Your Colors" transfer social last week. The event, led by counselors Juan Lebron and Matthew Samford, featured free food, music and, more important, lots of transfer information and advice for interested students. Many students signed up to learn more about the newly formed Transfer Student Organization, as well as the newly-created TRAC (Transfer, Recruitment and Career) Center, which is located on the second floor of the Student Services Center. Close to 100 attendees wore gear from their alma maters or favorite college/university. The main goal was to create a culture of transfer on our campus, which is one of our college's strategic initiatives. As an inaugural event, it succeeded with a bang! Look for this event again early next fall semester.
|Summer Spirit Challenge
Are you ready for summer? Whether you're traveling or staying put, the traditional Summer Spirit Challenge adds a little fun to the mix. At the Heights of Excellence, we will pass out this year's "item" that you should take with you wherever you go this summer. This year, it's a special wooden Maverick medallion. Simply snap a picture of you wearing the medallion. Get creative! We will have prizes for the person who travels the furthest distance wearing the medallion, as well as the person who is at the highest altitude. Not going far - or high? Don't worry. There's still a way to enter the contest. Find a unique location, or an unusual pose. Most of all, just have fun. The contest starts at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, May 11, and ends on Sunday, August 11, at 11:59 p.m. Submit your photos to www.LoneStar.edu/MaverickChallenge. More information can also be found on that webpage. Good luck - and safe travels!
|Heights of Excellence Week is Here
If April is the busiest month on campus, then May certainly gives it a run for the money. During the last two weeks of the Spring semester, many LSC-Montgomery faculty, staff and students will help to celebrate the end of our academic year. Some of these events are things that we've traditionally done at the college; others are more recent additions. Collectively, they make up our "Celebration of Excellence." Here are some of the events that comprise our Celebration of Excellence week (actually, two weeks):
Student Awards Banquet - This event, which took place earlier in April, recognized the outstanding achievements of our student leaders, student organizations and advisors. Congratulations to our office of student life, which put on a great event for our students and club advisors. Honorees this year included:
- New Student Leader of the Year - Ruben Balli
- New Student Organization of the Year - Rotaract Club of LSC-Montgomery
- Service Club of the Year - Rotaract Club of LSC-Montgomery
- Philanthropic Organization of the Year - Phi Theta Kappa
- Event of the Year - VI Corps Gettysburg Re-enactment March (150th Anniversary - Civil War Commission)
- Advisor of the Year - Mike Devoley, Environmentally Conscious Organization of Students (ECOS)
- Student Leader of the Year - Sally Beard, Stefano Ballesteros, and Romina Camancho
- Student Organization of the Year - International Student Organization
Presidential Scholars Reception/Ceremony (brought together our student scholarship recipients with the scholarship donors) - This was a great event, as so many of our students have received scholarship monies to help them reach their goal. Donors really enjoyed the opportunity to connect with the students they've helped financially.
Swirl Unveiling - Tomorrow!
The annual spring unveiling of Swirl, our literary arts journal, will take place on Wednesday, May 1, at 5 p.m. in the Commons Building (Bldg. A). There will be refreshments and readings from the new edition. Many students, as well as faculty and staff, have been working all year on this award-winning publication.
Heights of Excellence Awards - ("Reacher" graphic) - Friday, May 3, 1:30 p.m. (reception); 2 p.m. (ceremony). Performing Arts Center (Building D). This is our fourth annual Heights of Excellence Awards ceremony and reception-combined with the annual employee awards ceremony (faculty, staff and adjunct excellence recipients, service award recipients, etc.). The reception will be followed by the awards ceremony at 2 p.m. Don't miss it! All the nominations are in, and the selections are being made to recognize faculty and staff for Shining Star, Rising Star, Students' Star, and President's Star awards. Likewise, we will honor the first-ever participants in the President's Fitness Challenge (including Mr. and Ms. "Fit Maverick"). So many of you have made significant contributions to the college's strategic initiatives. This is really a chance to celebrate all that we have achieved over the past 12 months.
4th Annual Opera Gala & Silent Auction - Amy Beach's Cabildo (a fundraiser providing scholarships for music majors at LSC-Montgomery) - Friday, May 3; 7 p.m. Recital Hall (Music Hall, Building H). General admission (with donation) is $15. Faculty, staff and student tickets are $10. Our chamber singers always put on an incredible show, and the silent auction includes great items contributed by local artisans and art organizations.
Program completion & pinning ceremonies (including Fire Science Academy - May 2, 7 p.m. Performing Arts Center); Vocational Nursing - Wednesday, May 8, 5 p.m. Performing Arts Center; Associate Degree Nursing - Thursday, May 9, 5 p.m. at StoneBridge Church (1 StoneBridge Church Dr.); and Physical Therapist Assistant - Friday, May 10, 2:30 p.m. at The Woodlands Church - Fellowship Campus. These ceremonies are always emotionally charged, with cohorts of students showing their pride of a job well done, and a degree or certificate duly earned.
Honors Program Student Presentations (showcasing our Honors Program students) - This long-time LSC-Montgomery tradition was moved up a week to better accommodate students' schedules. As usual, their presentations were outstanding, thanks in part to many of our faculty who sign on to mentor these high-achieving students.
LSC-Montgomery 2013 Commencement - Friday, May 10, 6 p.m. This capstone event is held at The Woodlands Church - Fellowship Campus and includes the Commencement ceremony at 6 p.m., followed by a post-ceremony President's Reception for faculty and staff). For most of our graduating students, Commencement is a crowning achievement. Many of them had to overcome numerous obstacles to get to this point. It is more common than not for these students to be the first in their family to earn a degree or certificate. For faculty and staff, it is the opportunity to witness all of the excitement and emotion among our students, and to feel a sense of pride in knowing that we had something to do with their success. It is with that spirit that I invite each of you to attend our LSC-Montgomery Commencement. For the fourth year, it will be held at The Woodlands Church - Fellowship Campus (1 Fellowship Drive, The Woodlands, TX 77384). This year's faculty speaker is Kris Chapman, assistant professor of music. The student speaker is Michelle Helgerson, a nursing major and president of the Student Nurse Organization. This is always a heart-lifting event, and the more college representation we have at Commencement, the more special it is for all involved. Also, at 5:30 p.m., just prior to the ceremony, we will take a group picture with all faculty and staff in attendance-outside in the large courtyard in front of the church. We'd love to see your face in the picture! Immediately following the ceremony, there will be a faculty/staff reception at The Woodlands Church. The reception is a great way to finish the semester, with good food and fellowship among colleagues.
GED Graduation Ceremony & Reception (celebrating the achievements of our General Education Development students) - Wednesday, May 15; 6:30 p.m. Performing Arts Center (Building D). Reception to follow in the Commons Building. If you want to see smiling faces, proud families, and lots of tears, the GED graduation ceremony is the place to be. Our GED program, offered at LSC-Conroe Center, is changing hundreds of lives each year, and this ceremony not only gives the students a chance to celebrate a big accomplishment, but also gives the college a chance to show these students that the GED is just the first step in their educational journey.
June Retreat Focuses on Demand-Based Scheduling, "Closing the Loop" on Departmental/Division UEPs
On June 9-10, the college's leadership team will take time at its annual retreat to complete the 2012-13 cycle of strategic planning. Each dean, vice president and director will present how they did with regard to the unit goals that they set last year. Armed with data-driven evidence, they will also look ahead to 2013-14 and begin setting next year's goals.
Another important component of this retreat involves our new demand-based scheduling process. As part of our strategic enrollment management (SEM) strategy, over the past several months our vice presidents, deans, DOMs, and department chairs have gathered historical contact hour information at the department level. This information will be used to analyze where past student demand has generated enrollment, and will serve as a basis to predict future scheduling priorities. The deans will report on their findings, and future budget allocations will be based on their projections. This projection tool will help us present the System with a more accurate growth forecast for LSC-Montgomery, and it will give us a clearer picture as to which departments are growing (or not growing) and, just as important, why. Above all else, it allows us to be more efficient and effective with our dollars.
Annual Spring Events Bring Fun, Funding, and Registrations
A good time was had by all who represented their department/division in this fun, albeit competitive event. A "crazy ball" competition, combined with a game of trivia, and a delicious barbecue lunch comprised this team-building activity. For the second year in a row, the BASS division emerged victorious. Look for this event again next April!
Close to $17,000 was raised during this year's 15th annual Healthier U. A silent auction, health fair, chili cook off, job fair, golf tournament and fun run all made up the activities, each of which helped raise scholarship funds for many of our students. Congratulations to Katie Halbert and her dedicated committee for putting on another great Healthier U.
Avoid the Stampede
Each semester for the past two years, a campus wide effort to get current students registered for the upcoming semester takes place. Known as "Avoid the Stampede," this initiative seems to get better every time. Professor Mike Devoley is one of the AtS leaders, with all of our academic advisors, many faculty, and student services personnel playing key roles. Located in the lobby areas of buildings B & G, this push for early registration has yielded some incredible numbers. In the first three days alone, we had more than 1,200 students signed up for fall 2013 classes. Three weeks later, the effects of AtS are clear: almost 2,400 students registered, which accounts for 18 percent of our total estimated contact hour production. This far exceeds our sister campuses, and it shows what a difference we can make when we work together toward a common goal. We know that students who register early are more likely to be successful and complete what they start, so AtS falls right in line with our strategic goals for the college. We are now promoting customized payment plans for these and other students who are figuring out how to pay for their fall tuition.
A group of veterans offered Lone Star College-Montgomery staff and faculty a glimpse into the modern student veteran during "Vets Uncensored," a question and answer session held recently at LSC-Montgomery.
Four student veterans-Terrance Hudson, Keith Kniskern, Brenner Locke, and Chavon Salter, answered questions covering the difficulties faced transitioning from military to civilian life; being acknowledged by others for their service; being identified in the classroom as a veteran; ways to use military training to succeed in academia; and more.
The overarching goal was to help staff and faculty, as well other students, better understand the unique issues veterans face when trading combat boots and a military uniform for a backpack full of textbooks and homework assignments.
Faculty & Staff Spotlight
Chris Moore, general clerk IV
Chris Moore may stay behind the scenes most days, but he works tirelessly maintaining the mailroom, keeping up with the inventory of assets for the entire campus, and handling items ready for auction.
He started with the college as a part-time employee in October of 2003, but quickly became full time less than one year later in August of 2004.
"The college has meant a lot to me and my family," said Moore, whose wife is a 2008 graduate of the college's nursing program. "I really enjoy my job and all the people I work with. It's like one big family around here."
Outside of campus, Moore spends lots of time courtside, cheering on his son, 16, and daughter, 15, who play basketball for their high school and AAU league teams. He also volunteers with his church, First Assembly of God, which is near his home in Panorama Village.
Rachel Trackey, faculty counselor
Whether teaching in the classroom, presenting a workshop, or working one-on-one with a student, Faculty Counselor Rachel Trackey has been a huge asset to the Maverick family since she joined the team in 2008.
"As I provide brief personal, career, or academic counseling, I strive to understand each student's concerns, needs and goals," said Trackey, who holds a master's degree in counseling and is a Licensed Professional Counselor. "I try to build on their strengths and take a positive approach and to developing a strategy to help them overcome obstacles and achieve their goals. It's truly rewarding to watch as a student has an "ah-ha" moment and all of the pieces of the puzzle begin to come together."
Trackey has taught traditional courses, but is currently leading workshops and special presentations for students while she completes her doctorate degree in counselor education from Sam Houston State University. She
"The workshops allow me to teach multiple topics, which in many cases have been selected by the students," said Trackey, who is also a committee member for the Honor's Program and is co-advisor to the student organization, Stress or Anxiety Relief (SOAR). "Each one is a new experience."
Trackey has been married for two and a half years to fellow faculty member, Joseph Trackey. She loves spending time with her husband traveling and enjoying outdoor activities such as fishing, going to the beach, horseback riding, gardening, and hiking.