LSCS Presidents | LSC-Montgomery President |

President's Update

February, 2014

I hope you are settled in for the spring semester, especially after the "icy" start we had over the past couple of weeks. Things are heating up, however, as many campus events and activities are being planned (see below) during the coming weeks and months. Based on the conversations I've had with many faculty, staff and students, and the excitement I witness as I walk the campus, it's going to be a great semester. Let's just hope there's no more ice!

NASHSpring enrollment update

As you probably know, the college's enrollment (both in terms of student headcount and contact hours) increased between 1-2 percent this spring when compared to spring 2013. I can attribute this increase to several things. First and foremost, I'd like to thank the advisors, counselors, business office personnel, faculty and department chairs, and anyone else involved in helping our students through the admissions, advising, and registration process. I can't overstate the quality work that these employees do on behalf of our students. LSC-Montgomery is known for its innovation when it comes to helping students. We provide unique payment options. We host outstanding orientations for students. We actively encourage our existing students to register early via Avoid the Stampede. Combined, these efforts speak to the "Maverick" culture that our students experience every day at LSC-Montgomery. But special thanks for your hard work during our enrollment season. You are a big reason why our enrollment increased this spring semester. Awesome job!


Upcoming UEP retreat & institutional effectiveness cycle update

Another thing that LSC-Montgomery is known for is its annual cycle of effectiveness. Our unit effectiveness planning (UEP) process has been in place for four years now, and with each passing year it has become more ingrained in our culture. (Indeed, components of our UEP process have been incorporated into the overall LSCS strategic planning process!) This Friday, our administrative team will gather for a mid-year retreat, examining how we're doing with the goals and objectives we set for 2013-14. It is a chance to see where we are "hitting home runs," where we need to put additional focus, and how we can work together to achieve our mission. At our final retreat in June, we'll begin the process of "closing the loop" and setting new goals for 2014-15.


NADE advanced certification

Speaking of home runs, a tremendous blast was struck in our Developmental English department recently, when it was informed that it had received Advanced Certification from the National Association of Developmental Education (NADE). The college is one of just 17 community colleges nationwide-and one of just five in the state of Texas (LSC-CyFair, Vernon College, Northwest Vista College and San Jacinto College North)-to achieve advanced certification from NADE. To achieve Advanced Certification, the college had to demonstrate the effectiveness of its Developmental English program, but  also how it is using continuous and systematic assessment to evaluate student success over time. In the acceptance letter, NADE commended the college's program for its use of promising practices such as an integrated reading/writing course, professional development-focused faculty cohorts, and incorporation of book-length readings.

Our faculty and administrators are constantly exploring new and innovative ways to help our students be successful, and this certification puts us in exclusive company among other community colleges nationwide. Most important, however, is that it shows we are doing the right things to lead our students into college-level coursework as quickly and efficiently as possible - all while maintaining high levels of student success.

I'd like to point out the efforts of English professors Beverley Turner, chair of the Developmental English department; and Dr. Lana Myers, who led the NADE application  process, as well as all of the other English faculty members at LSC-Montgomery. They are not afraid to implement leading-edge components to our program, and they back it up with solid assessment and adjustments, as needed.

We will receive the official advanced certificate at the annual NADE conference in Dallas later this spring.


Next Generation Leadership Program update

After naming the first participants in our Next Generation Leadership Program in December, this cohort of four staff (Jackie Cooper, Katie Halbert, Karen Jones and Donna Smith Burns) and six faculty (Jared Cootz, Brandy Harvey, Juan Lebron, Matthew Samford, Heidi Smith and Joe Trackey) have begun the program in earnest. They will attend a portion of the administrative retreat on Friday, and will soon be paired with a mentor related to the area of leadership they possess. I am scheduling other leadership training sessions with this group, some of which is based on the doctoral classes in higher education leadership that I teach for Sam Houston State University. I am excited about the new NGLP program, as it serves as a great "grooming" process for the college's next  leaders. It also addresses one of the issues that emerged from our 2011 visioning sessions - encouraging promotion from within the college. If you are interested and meet the criteria, I would encourage you to consider applying for the 2014-15 cohort next fall. For more information, you can contact Mike Devoley, professor of psychology, who worked with me to develop NGLP.


Emergency Taskforce recommendations/update

In December, the recommendations from the Emergency Preparedness Taskforce were presented to the Executive Council. After meeting five times in October and November, the task force, composed of 20 faculty, staff and students, grouped their recommendations into five categories: training, communication, organization, facilities, and technology. While there are further details behind each recommendation, they are listed below. One of the main recommendations EC approved was the creation of an ongoing committee that replaces the former Health & Safety Committee. This new committee, named "SET" (for Safety & Emergency Taskforce) will concentrate solely on campus emergency preparedness and safety issues. It will begin meeting early this semester and develop a comprehensive, campus wide emergency plan, based primarily on the existing LSCS Office of Emergency Planning structure. That plan will be widely communicated to faculty, staff and students upon completion by summer. SET, with input and guidance from Executive Council, will work through the following recommendations: 


Emergency & Safety Recommendations  
  1. Training
    1. Publish and distribute a calendar/cycle of training and professional development related to emergency/safety issues available to the entire campus community
    2. Faculty training (emergency situations in class with students)
    3. Speaker system training/awareness
    4. Evacuation training
    5. Utilize free training (vendors, etc)
    6. Secure training/professional development budget 
  2. Communication
    1. Create a flowchart (visual) showing how information/actions are carried out in emergencies.
    2. Call dispatch directly instead of 911 - how to call dispatch (5-911 or 832.813.6800)
    3. Texting - LoneStarAlert awareness campaign 
    4. Promote escort service (police) and buddy system for staff and students
    5. Reports to EC from the new Safety & Emergency Taskforce (SET) and funding requests
    6. Publish the "Emergency Cheat Sheet" and distribute at NSO, adjunct nights, convocation, campus events, and publish in student portal, website, DMS screens, short video, etc.
    7. A forum/way for students to communicate issues/concerns (web site suggestions box)
    8. Create an annual (or semesterly) Campus Safety Week, led by SGO, Student Life and the Safety & Emergency Taskforce (SET) 
  3. Organization
    1. Create Safety & Emergency Taskforce (SET), composed of:  
      1. Co-chairs (Facilities; College Relations; Police)                                                 
      2. Floor captains (and back-ups); students
      3. Reports to EC on an ongoing basis 
    2. Chain-of-command (who is in charge)
      • List of committees
      • Plus building contacts
      • Top-down focus
      • EC involvement 
    3. Incident Command System (ICS) - finetune tactical plans for most common emergency situations.      
    4. Create an evening and weekend administrator structure (administrator in command or supervisor 6-10 p.m. (rotation of night and weekend duty; regular nightly and weekend  reports)
    5. Increase police/security in high traffic/risk areas, such as admissions/advising; financial aid, business office, depending on traffic and time of year. 
  4. Facilities
    1. Route system/exit maps - Identify all areas where evacuation maps are missing
    2. Commission the speaker system (Dec. 16, 2013)
    3. Examine/improve egress for certain areas (office suites that have one way in/out, such as 2nd and 3rd floors of F; 2nd floor of A and E; H suite; FA)
    4. Consider phones or emergency boxes in parking lots and garage (look at LSC-CyFair project)
    5. Extra cameras; review list of existing cameras/replacements/locations
    6. Explore additional campus exits (Peoples Road); make this a part of the campus master plan
    7. More speakers and bells for fire alarms outside; more feasible than phone boxes, but serve a different purpose 
  5. Technology
    1. Explore adding student photos in iStar system; helpful for faculty and police (possible OTS/technical hurdles; privacy/legal issues?) 


Heights of Excellence - Nominate!

Nominations are already being submitted for the Shining & Rising Star Awards, as well as the new Constellation Award. These awards will be presented at the 5th annual Heights of Excellence ceremony on Friday, April 25, when we recognize those individual and group efforts that contribute to the college's strategic planning goals and objectives. I know that so many of you are doing great things for our students and the community. Please make sure that your efforts are considered for one of these prestigious awards. For more information and to nominate, visit http://www.LoneStar.edu/hoe-montgomery. The deadline to submit nominations is Wednesday, March 26, at 5 p.m.


Conroe Job Fair a Success  

Congratulations to Becky Duncan-Ramirez, director of LSC-Conroe Center, and the rest of the team who planned for (and pulled off) a tremendous, results-oriented job fair at the Lone Star Expo Center in Conroe last month. A great article in the Conroe Courier newspaper captured the success of the job fair: http://bit.ly/1hbTKtI. One of the goals of LSC-Conroe Center is to make solid connections with the surrounding business and industry in the Conroe area, and events such as the job fair go a long way toward building these partnerships. In spite of some really bad weather, more than 500 attendees and 32 businesses were on hand to make it a success. Additionally, five job fair attendees will receive $500 scholarships to further their education with workforce skills training via LSC-Conroe Center.


Mark Your Calendar - President's Open Forum - April 10

My spring semester all-campus open forum will be held on Thursday, April 10, from 3-4:30 p.m. in B102. All faculty, staff and students are invited to attend, listen to college updates, and ask questions. Light refreshments will be served. Mark your calendar now.

College Set to Support United Way

Our college has a close partnership with Montgomery County United Way; it has for years. MCUW refers hundreds of its clients - via the agencies it funds - to LSC-Montgomery. In return, we have supported MCUW with an annual campaign. Above all, it's the right thing to do. After serving as the chair of the countywide MCUW campaign in 2012-13, I can assure you that the money generated is put to good use to improve lives.

Our campaign will run for one week (February 24-28), with opportunities for faculty and staff to donate via a one-time gift or through automated payroll deduction. There will be a mid-week drawing for a reserved parking space (for one year!), as well as a group incentive for the department/division with the highest level of employee participation - a catered lunch! The grouping of divisions includes BASS, NaSH, TEAM, BELS, Facilities, OTS, Student Success, and Administrative Services (everyone else). Be on the lookout for MCUW information and pledge cards in your mailboxes shortly!


Welcome Back, Professor Ristow! 

The LSC-Montgomery music department welcomed back one of its own, former professor of music Gregory Ristow, who brought his Chamber Singers from DePauw University to perform in our Recital Hall last month. Ristow, who taught at LSC-Montgomery from 2004-2009, led the music program to new heights during that time, spending his final year here helping plan for the design of the Music Hall. Pictured, along with the Chamber Singers, is Ristow (center left); Deborah Ellington (center), academic dean; and Earl Holt (center right), professor and chair of the music department.


Upcoming Events

  • National History Day History Fair - Feb. 8; Hundreds of area high school history students will compete and present, similar to a science fair; to be held in the Commons Building (Bldg. A) at LSC-Montgomery. Betsy Powers, professor of history, is the site coordinator for this exciting event; for more information, visit http://www.tshaonline.org/education/students/texas-history-day/114 
  • Montgomery County Book Fest - Feb. 15; LSC-Montgomery will host close to 50 authors and more than 700 attendees of the Montgomery County Book Fest; to be held in the General Academic Center (Bldg. G) and Library Building (Bldg. F); for more information, visit http://www.montgomerycountybookfestival.com/ 
  • Counselor's Breakfast - Feb. 20; LSC-Montgomery will host counselors from all of our feeder high schools; the goal is to create a strong, working relationship with our high schools, making sure that all lines of communication are open; to be held in G102.
  • Go Texan Parade - Feb. 22; LSC-Conroe Center will have a float (the MaverickMobile) in this annual event held in downtown Conroe; the parade begins at 1 p.m.  If you'd like to participate, please let DeAlva Engelhardt know.
 

Student Spotlight:

Foundation Essay Challenge Finalist
Sara Gauteson

Nothing speaks louder than the voice of a student who has overcome an obstacle (or two) on their way to achieve great things in Maverick Country. Each year, our college selects a student essay on the topic of "How My Lone Star College Experience Has Influenced My Life." This year's selection from LSC-Montgomery is Sarah Gauteson, a freshman who began taking classes here at the age of 15. Sarah, a homeschool student, overcame the stigmas and challenges that often accompany students who begin college at such an early age. She read her essay yesterday at the Chancellor's Breakfast, an annual event hosted by the LSC Foundation that showcases each campus's essay winner and honors our endowed scholarship donors.


Faculty Spotlight:

Anitha Iyer
Biology Professor
Anitha Iyer, professor of biology, is an innovator in the classroom who has woven the study of biology with technology, peer teaching, and gaming. Teaching at both ends of the learning spectrum (introductory-level courses to non-science majors and upper-level courses for students in the biotechnology program), Iyer says that finding the right balance for each group of students is very rewarding.

"I am constantly exploring strategies to encourage student involvement in the class and ways to help them become critical thinkers," said Iyer. "Teachers play the dual role of instructor and friend. As an instructor, we guide students to set higher standards for themselves, and as a friend, we stand shoulder-to-shoulder to inspire them to learn something new every day."

Iyer holds dual master's degrees; one in applied botany from Mangalore University in India, and the other in plant pathology from Texas A&M University. She has been with the Lone Star College System since 2003 as an adjunct faculty member and joined LSC-Montgomery full-time in 2009. She has been involved since 2010 as a co-coordinator of the annual Communicating Across the Curriculum (CAC) Student Conference.

"Every time I step inside a classroom, I always learn something new," she said. "My journey has just begun, and along the way, I hope to help students create their road map to the future in the true Maverick way."


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