Last week, our campus conducted two lockdown drills to better prepare ourselves in the event of a real situation. Overall, I was very impressed with the efforts of faculty, staff and students, all of whom seemed to take the drill seriously. The external agencies, including the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, indicated that our hallways were clear and classrooms were following the established protocol for a lockdown scenario.
We know that there were some technical issues that must be addressed. Some of the recently-installed speakers didn't broadcast the lockdown message as they should have. There are no speakers that broadcast outside our buildings and in the parking areas. This is a Systemwide issue that will be looked at in the coming months.
We will have a similar drill at Conroe Center later this month. In the meantime, our newly established Safety & Emergency Team, which includes our updated floor captains and other critical personnel, will begin meeting monthly starting in April. It will tackle many of the issues that the emergency preparedness taskforce identified during the fall semester. I will share some of the most crucial findings at my Open Forum next week.
ELC, Library Undergoing Enhancements
Over the past several months, the Student Success Management Team have developed plans to consolidate the services of the college's Learning and Testing centers into the Library on the first floor of Building F. This move will not only create efficiencies in operations of both these critical student services, but it will provide for additional space in Building C for other vital services for students.
Even though the bond referendum failed in 2013, our traffic in Building C has continued to grow. Serving more students with no additional space is a challenge. For several years, there's been a need to update and remodel the library with more of a focus on technology. There is a reduced demand for collections, and an increased demand for technology and service. I challenged the Student Success management team to blend the Learning Center into this new environment, and they've done an excellent job in doing so. This summer, these renovations will take place in advance of the fall 2014 semester. This will open up space on the 2nd floor of Bldg. C that can be used to address one of the major issues that came from our 2011 visioning sessions - lack of privacy with our advisors as they meet with students. Other functions that will move to the 2nd floor of Bldg. C will be Veterans Services, International Services, and Disability Services along with the existing TRAC Center.
This solution will save thousands of dollars in part-time salaries, give us greater ability to case manage students during the critical first year of enrollment, and allow us to shut buildings down on weekends and in the summer as appropriate, saving even more in efficiencies.
Heights of Excellence
Please save Friday, April 25, from 1:30-3 p.m., on your calendar. This is the date of our annual Heights of Excellence celebration. We will recognize many who have contributed to the college's 10 strategic goals, as well as the student-nominated & selected Students' Star, Rising Star, President's Star, and group-focused Constellation Award. The reception begins at 1:30 p.m. with our traditional red carpet entry into the mainstage theatre in Bldg. D. We will distribute this year's Summer Spirit Challenge item as well. Don't miss it!
There is a lot of energy surrounding this year's Commencement, which will take place on Friday, May 9, at 6 p.m. at The Woodlands Church - Fellowship Campus. We expect a record number of students to participate in Commencement, thanks to the tremendous effort of our graduation committee. They have been working hard to encourage our graduates to walk in the ceremony. A graduation orientation will take place on Thursday, April 24, at 5 p.m. in the main stage theatre. As you know, this is the capstone event of the academic year. If you've attended, you are aware of the excitement on behalf of the graduates, their families and friends, as well as our own faculty and staff. If you've never attended, I strongly encourage you to do so. After all, graduation represents all that we are about!
It's important for us to take time to relax and enjoy each others' company away from our offices. Maverick 'Que-st is the perfect way to do that - and to build teamwork with your colleagues at the same time. On Wednesday, April 16, join your division/department in friendly competition and a great barbecue lunch. Beginning at 11:30 a.m. out by the baseball field, we'll test your physical and mental abilities. In between, lunch will be served! The BASS division is the two-time defending champ; will this be the year that a new champion emerges? The eight teams are BASS, BELS, NaSH, TEAM, OTS, Facilities, Student Success, and Everyone Else (Executive, CE, HR, College Relations, Conroe Center).
We are currently in the search process for two academic deans - BELS (Behavioral Sciences, English, Languages and Speech) and BASS (Business & Social Sciences). Here is the expected timeline for both searches:
|March||Telephone interviews conducted with 6 semi-finalist candidates|
|April||Committee narrows candidate pool to 3 finalists; campus interviews conducted|
|May||Candidate is chosen; starting date in June|
|April 15||Review of applications|
|April-May||Telephone interviews with committee|
|June||Committee narrows candidate pool to 3 finalists; campus interviews conducted|
|July||Candidate is chosen; starting date in August|
It's been impossible to miss the progress being made on the Hwy. 242 flyover connector, which will land close to the eastern-most entrance to our campus. According to the project managers, PTP Transportation, the flyover is due for completion in late fall 2014. In early 2015 the toll features will be added, although the exact amount of the toll is still being determined. It will be a variable toll depending on the time of day drivers access it. Interestingly, the drivers coming down the flyover will have a separate traffic light from those drivers heading west on 242. The good news is that flyover drivers will be able to enter the campus via the east entrance, and we've been told that westbound drivers on 242 (separate from the flyover) will also have an option to turn into the campus at that entrance. In the meantime, there will be several weekend shutdowns of the I-45/242 intersection, with detours available for those needing to access the campus from the east. We will communicate any of these closures to you in order to minimize any inconveniences.
Healthier U in Full Gear
If you haven't already, please stop by the Atrium of the Health Science Center to experience one of the college's longstanding traditional events - Healthier U. This event helps to provide much-needed scholarship funds for our students while, at the same time, provides education and resources for those seeking a healthier lifestyle. Wednesday was the chili cook-off and bake-off, as well as the start of the silent auction. Thursday is the big Health Fair & Career Expo and conclusion of the silent auction, followed by the fifth annual Healthier U golf tournament on Friday at The Village Golf Club in Panorama. For more information about Healthier U, visit www.lonestar.edu/HealthierU.
CareerFest 2014 at Conroe Center
On Saturday, April 12, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., the LSC-Conroe Center will host CareerFest 2014. This event will highlight the workforce programs we offer at the center, including automotive technology, welding, CNC machining, and health occupations. Additionally, we have invited many of our employer partners - those who hire our students in these programs - to attend as well. It's a great way to build enrollment and show the community how we are meeting the employment needs of Conroe-area businesses. Please spread the word about this important event. There are scholarships and grant funding available for those who qualify, and there will be free lunch served to those who attend. K-STAR Radio will broadcast live from the event, as well.
Other Upcoming Events
Here are a few more events taking place in the next couple of weeks:
Avoid the Stampede: Early registration push; April 9, 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m. & 4-6 p.m.; April 10, 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m.; Bldgs. B & G
Show Your Colors: Wear the attire of your favorite university/college; April 22, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.; 2nd level patio outside Bldg. C
Theatre ("The Tempest"): April 9-12; Bldg. D, Mainstage Theatre. Visit www.lonestar.edu/15878 for more details.
Art ("Studies after James Joyce's Finnegans Wake"): April 7-25; Mary Matteson Parrish Art Gallery
Music (Guest Recital - Dr. Scott Plugge, saxophone): April 10, 7:30 p.m.; Recital Hall, Bldg. H
Music (Guest Recital - Judicael Perroy, classical guitar): April 11, 7:30 p.m.; Recital Hall, Bldg. H
Dance (LSC-Montgomery Dance Company Dancescape): April 17, 7 p.m.; Mainstage Theatre, Bldg. D
Mary Kay Holbeck
Mary Kay Holbeck, instructional specialist, runs the college's biotechnology lab--a job she has down to a science. She prepares lab exercises, maintains equipment and inventory, assists professors and students, and more, all while maintaining the overall safety of the lab.
"It is very gratifying to know that you had something to do with the students' excellent skills, especially when you hear from internship sites that our students are so well trained," said Holbeck.
Holbeck was once a biotechnology student herself. After obtaining a BS degree in biology and working 15 years in the horticulture industry, Holbeck earned her associate of applied science degree in biotechnology from LSC-Montgomery. She worked in cancer research at a local company for five years before returning to campus as an employee.
"I love working in a continual learning environment," said Holbeck. "I have wonderful colleagues and am flattered to be recognized and respected by those I spend so much time with."
When not on campus, Holbeck enjoys traveling, photography, camping, and dogs.
Academic counselor Juan LeBron is instrumental with the first-time-in-college students. Since 2007, he has taught college success courses and worked with students to help them create a path for their future.
"Being able to positively influence students as they start their academic careers and then seeing them transfer into other academic institutions and/or enter the workforce is truly special," said LeBron. ""It is such a blessing for me to do what I do every day as a college counselor."
Lebron is currently a doctoral student in educational leadership at Sam Houston State University. He holds a master's degree in clinical social work from Florida State University and an education specialist degree in counseling from Florida Atlantic University.
LeBron is a resident of The Woodlands. He and his wife Ayana are proud parents of Jiovann (10), Jamian (8), and Anaya (4). LeBron enjoys coaching youth basketball with the YMCA and traveling to visit as many blue water beaches as possible.