Planning continues on both the student services building and the Magnolia Center. We are going to have a well-designed building on the west side of campus for student services that will serve as a beautiful entrance to campus. Landscaping and traffic improvements will help create the entry, providing a welcoming atmosphere for students and visitors. The east side of the building will be mostly glass, creating a great indoor/outdoor space for gathering. Groundbreaking for this building will occur in December.
The Magnolia Center planning is in the beginning stages, but already we are assembling expertise from among campus personnel to discuss everything from student services to lab space in the building. There will be two community listening sessions to learn more about what future students and their families might want in the Center. These will be held on April 2 and 9 at 6 p.m. at the Magnolia ISD events facility on FM 1488. Groundbreaking for this building will be in spring 2020.
We received final approval for our aviation program from SACS-COC just after spring break. Our next steps include working on our Part 141 status with the FAA, purchasing a flight simulator, and finalizing the contract with the vendor providing instruction. Our new faculty director, Mr. John Blum, is already hard at work on these matters.
The lifePATH program, under the direction of Montisha Hines-Goosby, will open in fall. Information sessions for the Montgomery program will begin in April, with cohort selection expected by late June. You may have noticed some remodeling going on in Bldg. G. Space which formerly housed the Honors College offices is being reworked to provide office space and a conference room for the program. We are working on legislation to allow this program to be sanctioned by the Coordinating Board.
There is still time to come to a session! Listening sessions are scheduled for Tuesday, April 9 at 1:00 PM – Conroe Center; Thursday, April 11 at 2:00 PM in B102; Tuesday, April 30 at 1:00 PM – Conroe Center. Your thoughts about the direction of the college, use of space, student success, or anything else on your mind are welcome. Highlights from the sessions so far include great ideas about the use of Bldg. C after we open the new student services building, safety and emergency procedures questions, ideas for improving EDUC 1300, the need for more high profile student life events, furniture life cycles, and ideas for improving student success and persistence. I am summarizing the conversations and sending questions and comments to our campus leadership for follow-up.
8-Week Degree Plan
Thanks to the hard work of faculty and administration working on new ways to help students complete college, LSC-Montgomery will launch a new 8-Week Degree Plan beginning in fall. Students enrolling in this program can complete an associate’s degree in 5 semesters, taking 2 classes at a time for 8 weeks at a time (or 12 credit hours per semester). We know that many students do better when they focus on fewer subjects in a concentrated fashion. This program is designed to accelerate completion, while allowing students to take just 2 courses at a time.
Safety & Security
As you may have heard, the Office of Emergency Management has reorganized into two departments: Emergency Preparedness (under Chief Willingham) and Environmental Health & Life Safety (under David Laksh). Our Montgomery EHLS officer is Travis Hammons. The new organization will help us stay on top of everything from chemical inventory control to fire drills in a much more transparent way. Under the leadership of AVC Sandra Gregerson, the EHLS team will complete required fire system inspections, create an inventory of inspection records, and develop business processes and communication plans to improve safety at all locations.
One of the items that surfaced in our Listening Sessions was the concern among faculty about classroom doors. While closed doors are a fire safety practice, automatically locking doors not only contribute to disruption when students must enter during a class period, but may also be problematic when students need to enter a room during an active shooter event. These events present many complexities and contingencies. In our conversation with Sandra Gregerson, she indicated that her group will form a system-wide safety committee that can look into best practices and provide clear direction.
Congratulations Phi Theta Kappa
Please congratulate our Phi Theta Kappa team for their accomplishments at the Texas Region conference. The Chamber was recognized as the Texas Region’s Most Distinguished Chapter! The Chapter was also recognized for The Continued Excellence Award (Texas Top Chapter or Distinguished Chapter 3 consecutive years or more), College Project of Merit, Honors in Action Award of Distinction, Distinguished Advisor Team, Distinguished Officer Team, Officer Hall of Honor (Ivanka Dias and Daniel Mireles), Spirit of the Alumni (David Hok), Five Star Chapter, and REACH Chapter (+15% membership acceptance rate.) This amazing performance is due not only to the outstanding team of students in PTK this year, but to the ongoing dedication and support from Sarah Palacios-Wilhelm and Melissa Heselmeyer. Melissa also completed the Five Star Advisor plan, and she’ll be recognized for this accomplishment at the national convention in Orlando Florida in April. This group really went above and beyond!
Congratulations PR MarCom
Our PR MarCom group received a top award at the annual NCMPR (National Council for Marketing & Public Relations) conference in San Antonio last week. The gold Paragon Award was presented to LSC-Montgomery for our entry in the category “Social Media or Online Marketing Campaign.” This year’s Paragon awards drew nearly 1,950 entries from 262 colleges across the country. These prestigious awards recognize excellence in design and communication. Judging was done by more than 90 professionals from the marketing and PR industry. The gold award means that LSC-Montgomery was the best in the country in this category! Please extend your congratulations to Brandy Beucler, Sam Negrete, April Jackson, Gabe Cedillo, and Brian Mullen for this award. The competition covered work from 2018.
Congratulations Biotech Students
Our biotech students will have an experiment in space! They will be sending algae (Haematococcus pluvialis) to the International Space Station on a SpaceX rocket on April 25. To quote Danny Kainer, “The ISS crew will be evaluating the effects of microgravity on H. pluvialis’ ability to synthesize astaxanthin, a potent antioxidant.” (Yes, it’s the same astaxanthin you might take as a supplement.) Our group will do the control experiment here on earth. The experiment will last 20 days, after which the algae in space will return to earth. For more on the work, see www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/2735.html, and watch for news of a “launch party” here on campus on April 25.
Heights of Excellence
Our annual campus awards ceremony will take place on April 17. Please be sure and nominate someone or a group for the Rising Star, Shining Star, and Constellation Awards. Please share the opportunity to nominate someone for the Student Star award for a faculty or staff member with all of your students.
Our recent survey showed that the majority of respondents wanted to continue with HOE as it currently exists. However, suggestions for improvement included reading more nominations and reducing the number of awards. This year, instead of having a separate star award for each of the Top Five and the Cultural Beliefs, we will simply ask folks to nominate someone and cite the item they feel the nominee’s actions most pertain to.
Our annual scholarship fundraiser is coming up next week! Baskets for the auction (Thursday) are still needed, as are cookers willing to compete in the chili cook-off on Wednesday. Please consider getting your department together to create a basket or put your chef’s hat on and make some good chili!
National Model UN
Our very own Montgomery delegation just won the outstanding delegation award (the best award) in the National Model UN conference as a team, and two students, Eungyeol Cheon and Hunter Adam, in a committee won the outstanding position paper award. This year we formed the delegation by ourselves without binding with the other campus, and our students worked really hard in the past 8 months to reach the honor.