Friday, December 24, 2010

The MCC Insider goes on break

The MCC Insider staff will be on holiday break beginning Dec. 24 through Jan. 03, 2011. Please return in 2011 to keep up to date on exciting news happening around MCC.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

One HOT profession: CPE sees continued interest in welding

Maybe it's the idea of playing with fire for a living that gets students' attention or perhaps it's the solid income potential. Either way, welding has long been a popular career choice among MCC students.

The annual projected job growth in the welding industry for 2006-2016 is 3-9%, which represents 107,000 additional employees. The median wage starts at $15 an hour, but rises to as much as $22 with experience. That's why MCC Continuing Professional Education encourages welding students and incumbent workers to upgrade their skills through continuing education and training.

A course in Advanced Pipe Welding, starting in January at MCC-Business & Technology, will give welders with intermediate skills the edge they need to advance their careers.

Know a welder looking to upgrade her or his skills? Send them this info!
Know someone looking for a new, hands-on career? Encourage them to explore MCC's whole suite of welding offerings.

A season to give and to receive: MCC Foundation lands three major gifts

During a season marked by philanthropic generosity, the MCC Foundation is grateful for three very special gifts that arrived just in time to make the holidays a little brighter for MCC.

Between last week and this week, the foundation learned that it would receive three large contributions to MCC’s capital and major gifts campaign. Last week, officials from the H&R Block Foundation notified MCC Foundation Director Vince Anch that they would be giving a $32,000 contribution to the college. This week, the Victor Speas Foundation approved a $100,000 gift to MCC and the Gottlieb Foundation confirmed a $50,000 pledge.

These kinds of contributions, known in the fundraising world as major gifts, are hard to come by, especially in a lackluster economy. That’s why Anch and the fundraising team know they have a lot to be thankful for this time of year.

“It’s been a great month for the Foundation!” said Anch. “The team has worked hard for these gifts and we’re pleased to close out the year on such a high note.”

Career opportunity

CO# 10-184 MW Learning Specialist
* posted Dec. 22
* will be removed from the website on Jan. 2, 2011
* For more information or to apply:

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Farewell, Lelain

Pictured left to right: Alex Grigsby, Teri Brooks, Erin Owensby, Lelain Lorenzen, Michelle Schmiedeler, Mike Ekey, Mary Birkel and Kim Riley.

After more than 13 years of service at MCC – 8 ½ at MCC-Penn Valley and five at BTC – Lelain Lorenzen is retiring. She was honored by her communication teammates at her last editorial meeting on Monday, where they bid farewell and good luck on her new endeavors.

Faculty positions for fall

The following list of positions will be posted on the MCC Career Point website by the end of the day, Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010:

11-001 Counselor - BR

11-002 Math Instructor - BR

11-003 English Instructor - BR

11-004 Sociology Instructor - BR

11-005 Philosophy Instructor - LV

11-006 Reading Instructor - LV

11-007 Biology Instructor - LV

11-008 Speech Instructor - LV

11-009 Automotive Aftermarket Instructor-SCF - LV

11-010 CSIS Instructor - MW

11-011 Chemistry Instructor - MW

11-012 EMT/Paramedic Instructor - PV

11-013 Paralegal Instructor - PV

11-014 Math Instructor - PV

11-015 Reading Instructor - PV

New research director brings experience, vision

Kristy Bishop, Ph.D., MCC’s new director of institutional assessment
and research, says that one of her goals in her new role is to raise the
visibility of the resources available through the research office.

When Kristy Bishop begins her new role as MCC’s director of institutional research and assessment in January, she’ll bring a breadth of higher education experience and a true understanding of how institutional research fits into the larger MCC picture.

Bishop, who has served as an adjunct instructor at MCC-Maple Woods since 2004, will officially begin her new role on January 3, but she has already begun thinking about how she can apply her expertise to the work of the department.

“I’m developing a new mission statement for the research office now,” said Bishop. “To be effective, our top priorities should be to provide accurate data in a timely fashion and to support decision makers in achieving goals and objectives.”

But Bishop is quick to point out that she doesn’t plan to make wholesale changes right away. First, she wants to assess the assessment, so to speak.

“In my conversations, I have found that much of the information produced by our department is very useful to our internal constituents, which is great,” she said. “So, before I start suggesting and implementing changes, I want to work with the team to get a good feel for how everything is currently done, to see what is working and where there are opportunities to improve our processes.”

Bishop appreciates the student-centric nature of MCC faculty and staff, and though she will be moving to a role that has less direct contact with students, she views the new position as similar to her former position in one important way.

“I still feel like I’m in an educating role,” she said. “I now have an opportunity to be a resource for staff, faculty and administrators about the importance of statistics and program evaluation in achieving MCC’s ultimate purpose. It’s just a different audience.”

Bishop holds a bachelor of arts in psychology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, a master of science in psychology from Avila University and a doctor of philosophy in teaching and leadership from the University of Kansas. Before joining MCC as an adjunct psychology instructor in 2004, she was an instructor at Concorde Career Institute and taught community education classes across the metropolitan area. Prior to teaching, she held various higher education administrative positions, including assistant to the vice chancellor of student affairs and dean of educational services at the University of Kansas, assistant director of student financial aid at KU and was both the assistant registrar and a transfer consultant at Avila. She also worked as a counselor/advocate at Rose Brooks Shelter for Battered Women, a graduate teaching assistant at Avila and an independent educational consultant.

End of year reminders - employees

  • Log on and enter you Points to Blue by Dec. 31

  • Over–the-counter drugs will no longer be reimbursable through the Flex Spending account after Dec. 31

  • MCC offices are closed beginning Dec. 23 at 4:30 p.m. and will reopen on Jan. 3, 2011 at 8 a.m.

Have a safe and happy holiday break!

Year in Review: MCC’s memorable moments from 2010

As an eventful and memorable 2010 comes to a close, let’s look back at some of the highlights from the last year, shall we?

In January, Debbie Goodall became president of MCC-Business & Technology, Kathy Hale was named district director of enrollment management and Bill Hudson was hired as chief of campus police. The state-of-the-art MCC-Penn Valley Health Science Institute opened its doors and the Institute for Workforce Innovation inked an internship partnership with North Kansas City-based healthcare IT giant Cerner Corporation.

In February, a group of MCC-Maple Woods vet tech students took first place in a state-wide academia bowl and MCC earned two top honors from the MidAmerica Minority Business Development Council for the district’s support of minority suppliers.

In March, MCC was awarded $2.2 million by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon as part of the state’s Training for Tomorrow initiative and MCC-Business & Technology welcomed more than 3,000 students for MCC’s second annual Careers Unlimited fair.

In April, MCC-Penn Valley received national accreditation for its child growth and development degree program and the MCC Foundation’s inaugural Five Star Gala raised awareness of MCC throughout the community. MCC-Longview celebrated the campus' 40th anniversary and drew record crowds for its 4th annual Flights of Fancy kite festival. MCC human resources launched a robust employee wellness program and hired Christina McGee for the newly created position of employee relations manager.

In May, Jackie Snyder was honored by the Francis Family Foundation, MCC-Maple Woods’ Robin Stimac was honored by the Northland Regional Chamber of Commerce, MCC was honored by the Air National Guard and the MCC-Penn Valley Health Science Institute was honored with an international innovation award. MCC added Blue Cross Blue Shield’s A Healthier You program to wellness offerings, including the Points to Blue incentive program.

In June, MCC Chancellor Jackie Snyder retired after 15 years at MCC, including four years as the district’s first woman chancellor. MCC student Maggie Siebert was rendered a hero when, during a class visit to Yellowstone National Park, she performed CPR on a tourist who had been struck by lightning. Debbie Moore-Hargrove was named teacher of the year by Kansas City Missouri Adult Basic Education and MCC received two awards from the MidAmerica Minority Business Development Council for awarding contracts to minority suppliers. MCC-Business & Technology played host to the 46th annual Skills USA Conference, which drew thousands of standout career and technical education students.

In July, Mark James assumed the role of MCC chancellor after serving for 18 months as vice chancellor of administrative services. Kathy Walter-Mack was appointed to the newly created position of chief of staff and Bill Anker joined MCC as director of technology services. An impending change to MCC Weekly News was unveiled and a new webpage was created to give employees direct access to important accounting info.

In August, the start of the fall semester brought with it a spike in enrollment at MCC-Business & Technology and a slam dunk in the food offerings at MCC-Penn Valley when Subway sandwich shop opened on campus. MCC celebrated its 30 year partnership with Don Bosco. The launch of The MCC Insider forever changed the face of internal and external communication at MCC.

In September, a highly anticipated announcement from Missouri Governor Jay Nixon at a planned press conference at MCC-Penn Valley gave way to a public safety incident when Penn Valley dean of instruction Al Dimmitt was attacked with a knife while awaiting the governor’s arrival. Though Dean Dimmitt’s injuries required immediate surgery, quick thinking and swift action by Chancellor Mark James and other witnesses led to the immediate apprehension of the assailant and averted further harm. MCC ramped up its recycling efforts, driven by the district-wide Green Initiatives Task Force.

In October, MCC employees gave generously to local nonprofit organizations through the United Way campaign, raising more than $30,000 for those in need in our community. MCC-Maple Woods celebrated homecoming in style, with activities for students and the community.

In November, students at MCC-Business & Technology chartered a chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society and students in the MCC-Blue River police academy participated in a memorial run that honored a fallen police officer. MCC-Maple Woods entertained young and old alike at the 11th annual Storytelling Celebration.

In December, MCC saw another visit from Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, when he gave a press conference at Maple Woods to announce several new economic development and employment growth initiatives. MCC-Blue River’s world-famous student-focused always-humorous video news show, To the Point, marked its 50th episode.

Phew! What a year! All of this and serving over 50,000 students this year! Is your most memorable MCC moment of 2010 not included in the list above? Using the comment function below, tell us what you’ll remember most about the year.

From all of us on the district-wide communication and public relations team, we wish you a safe and happy holiday and look forward to more great things in 2011. See you next year!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Career opportunities

CO# 10-170 AC PCC Performance Director
* posted Dec. 21, 2010
* will be removed from the website Jan. 01, 2011
* For more information or to apply:

CO# 10-177 AC Accounting Specialist Trainee
* posted Dec. 21, 2010
* will be removed from the website Jan. 3, 2011
* For more information or to apply:

CO# 10-178 AC Program Specialist
* posted Dec. 21, 2010
* will be removed from the website Jan. 3, 2011
* For more information or to apply:

MCC featured in Educase Quarterly

MCC was featured as part of Tim Coley’s article in Educase Quarterly, November edition. In the article, MCC’s IT department is shown to be a pivotal player in innovative retention efforts.
(to see the section on MCC, scroll to the bottom of the artical under Final Thoughts, see the the case study for Metropolitan Community College.) For the complete article click here.

The article also mentions MCC's role as a beta site for Course Signals, an early intervention system for students at risk of performing badly in a course.

MCC-Maple Woods International Communications Students present Global Holiday Week

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Ready to serve - Public Safety Graduation

On Dec. 17, the Metropolitan Community College-Blue River Public Safety Institute graduated 36 students from the Fire Safety science academy. The program included the Gladstone Fire Department during the presentation of colors, Excelsior Springs Fire Chaplain, Larry Block and retiree from the Jackson County Sheriff’s department, Steve Leone as the guest singer.

Graduates from Fire Academy class FA-19 are:

Brianna C. Able
Aaron R. Bagby
Lee W. Cain
Quintin J. Clark
Justin A. Contreras
Craig W. Cumpton
Christopher M. Davis
Christopher J. Deardorff
Andrew G. Dressler
Jeremy P. Fordyce
Sam J. Golden
Daniel J. Hargrave
Aaron C. Harrison
Adam C. Hartley
Adam C. Hickmon
Matthew G. Hill
Jeremy N. Huffman
Ryan J. Johnson
Tyrone A. Jones
Philip D. Lang
Nathaniel H. Leonard
Jordan C. Liberty
Robbie V. Medellin
Timothy L. Merriman
Rachel A. Montes
John D. Neldon
Lucas T. Pilgrim
Aaron N. Price
Matthew D. Roe
Michael D. Roe
Jaymes J. Sanders
Kenneth E. Soule Jr.
Joshua M. Sutton
Aleksey Tsurkan
Erica B. Walley
Matt D. Wells

On Dec. 20, the Police Academy also proudly graduated 34 cadets. The presentation of colors was delivered by the Cass county Sheriff’s office.

Graduates from Police Academy class 7-100 are:

Nichole D. Amer
David A. Benham
Henry R. W. Blaha
Josh A. Brown
Jeffrey Robert Buck
Daniel O. Char
Joseph L. Drake
Seth S. Gregory
Christopher R. Hedrick
Michael D. Hightower
Nick J. Hill
Dalton J. L. Howard
Joshua P. Hubbell
Katisha L. Johnson
Derek A. King
Devin T. Liles
Amanda L. Litsch
Jacob A. Marshall
Reggie L. McKeithen
Dustin P. McWhorter
Mary Katherine O’Dell
Ian D. Olson
Michael K. Plemmons
Jeremiah D. Renne
David M. Shepherdson Jr.
Michael A. Smith
Jessica N. Sooter
Aaron D. Stone
Daniel L. Stringer
Arron H. Thomas
Linda D. Tran
Drew E. VanBiber
Eric J. Wendel
Brandon M. Wilcox

Both graduation ceremonies were on the Blue River campus inside the Arts and Sciences Gymnasium.

MCC-Blue River receives $1,000 gift

The family of Aaron Smith presented a kind and generous gift to the MCC-Blue River Fire Academy in his memory on Dec. 17. Smith graduated with class F-17 a year ago this month.
Public Safety Institute director, Mike Hendershot says of Smith, "he was one of those individuals that brought life to our academies, and was full of life and lived it to the fullest. Simply a pleasure to be around."

Employee Learning Gets a New Face

Rich Higgason, Ph.D., MCC’s new director of educational programs and employee development, says his favorite aspect of working for MCC is that the institution is committed to making people’s lives better. “As one of my students said, MCC means 'hope.'”

Professional and organizational development at MCC is getting a new face – literally and figuratively.

Rich Higgason, who assumed the role of district director of educational programs and employee development in October, has innovative ideas in mind for his newly minted position – a role that is steeped in history and rich with possibility.

Higgason takes over where two seasoned colleagues left off: When Jane Zeitner, former director of educational programs, and Gail Barham, former director of organizational development, both retired last summer, the two roles were combined into one. Higgason, who was named to the new position on October 18 and officially starts the role full-time on January 1, tips his hat to his predecessors and embraces the opportunities that accompany the reformulated position.

“I’ve been amazed at the breadth and depth of programs Jane and Gail and their teams put on,” said Higgason. “There are already so many opportunities for employee learning, so we’ll continue to build on those, dovetailing the programs for faculty and staff and promoting all opportunities to the full employee audience.”

Higgason, who has been with MCC for 16 years and most recently was division chair for humanities at MCC-Blue River, believes employee learning is as fundamental to MCC as student learning.

“MCC’s vision statement stresses the importance of learning, including employee learning, and professional development is key to carrying out our mission to educate students,” said Higgason. “We need to be sure staff, faculty and administrators have the skills they need not only for their current roles but also for future growth. Continued learning equips us to best serve students and at the same time provides for employees’ own personal and professional growth.”

Higgason holds a bachelor of science in business administration from the University of Missouri-Columbia, a master of arts in English from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a doctor of philosophy in English literature and criticism from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He served as a graduate teaching assistant and an adjunct lecturer at UMKC before joining MCC in 1994 as an adjunct lecturer at Longview. He became a full-time instructor at MCC-Blue River in 1998 and became division chair for humanities in 2006. He has served on more than 15 task forces and committees at MCC, including leading the Strategic Planning Council’s 2010 strategy 8 efforts to improve communication across the district and serving as a member of the MCC faculty senate and of MCC-Blue River’s president’s cabinet.
In addition to developing, promoting and delivering professional development programs, Higgason is also responsible for student service learning, district-wide student orientation and other student- and employee-focused initiatives. Though most of his experience as an instructor is in front of students, Higgason says he is looking forward to the challenge of providing learning opportunities to a new audience.
“The difference between teaching students and training employees is that you have to be a better teacher,” he said. “Employees are there voluntarily, so if your training is not effective, they stop coming. You’ve got to keep their attention and engage them in a different way.”

Watch for more information soon from the office of educational programs and employee development, including improvements to the training tracking system and streamlined promotion of educational and training programs.

Monday, December 20, 2010

A fresh challenge for the new year - MCC-Blue River staffer joins fitness challenge

MCC-Blue River student services assistant, Meg Holcomb is not intimidated by challenge or hard work. Having already overcome many of life’s obstacles, she’s ready to direct her dogged motivation into a brand new area of her personal life.

Recently, Meg has joined the "KC Weight Loss Challenge" sponsored by Kansas City Fitness Magazine. Blue River academic advisor, Jenny Steen recently participated in the challenge as well. She ranked a proud #6.

Similar to Steen, Meg intends to utilize MCC resources such the Longview gymnasium for frequent workouts. She’ll also refer to Blue Cross Blue Shield programs for health advice, tips and ideas.

"I am an extremely happy and motivated person." Meg Holcomb

In the coming weeks, Meg will rely on the strength of her mom, friends and her “uplifting co-workers” to progress toward her goals. Meg’s mom, Teresa Vest, is also participating in the challenge.

In spite of the pending lifestyle modifications, Meg’s confidence is high and her spirits are soaring.

To support Meg (and Teresa), visit the KC Fitness Magazine’s Facebook page here. Be sure to click to “LIKE” her picture. Vote soon! Voting closes Thursday, December 23 at Noon!

Go, Meg! We’re rooting for you!

MCC-Maple Woods' Phi Theta Kappans to get new advisor

After many years of successful co-leadership of Phi Theta Kappa, reference librarian Mary Northrup will step down as advisor for the two-year academic fraternity.

Stepping in to co-lead the Upsilon Xi chapter with energy and enthusiasm will be business faculty Jim Moes, who will also lead alongside testing center coordinator Kim Heft. Jim brings a lot of excitement for student learning and development to the international honor society.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Faculty needed for Course Signals program

MCC has been working in partnership with SunGard Higher Education to test a software program, Course Signals, that pulls together data from Blackboard grade books and MetroSoft to help predict early in the semester which students are at highest risk for getting a D, F or W.

Faculty will be able to run Course Signals anytime throughout the semester, which will give them additional opportunities to recommend actions to students that will improve performance. When run, the software will send one of three signals (green, yellow or red) to the student’s Blackboard home page to let them know how they are actually doing in class.

“The signals used are stoplight signals,” said Susan Wilson, director of student development. “If a student is doing really well, it’s green; not doing so well, it’s yellow; and if a student is at high risk of trouble in the course, they receive a red signal.”

The program also allows for faculty to send an email to the students that will give information and suggest resources for the student to utilize. Messaging can include a suggestion of certain material review, office hours of the faculty or a suggestion to visit the tutoring center, etc. The idea is to let students know their status early enough in the semester for them to be able to make changes and improve their grade.

Last spring, MCC was asked to participate as a development partner to work hand-in-hand with SunGard to see what enhancements need to be made to the product and to do testing to new versions as they become available. Because of this partnership, MCC will be able to test the software in a live setting from January – June at no cost to the college. At the end of the spring semester, MCC will complete an assessment plan to determine if we will enter into a five year contract at a significant discount.

“Course Signals will be evaluated to see if it does the things it is supposed to do,” Wilson said. “Does the software work; do we think it’s valuable for our students and faculty? We want the faculty perspective on how much time it takes and if they think it is a good way of communicating with students.”

Most importantly, are students making changes based on the signals and putting more effort into class? Students in the test program will be assessed as well. “We want to know if the students feel it is valuable and if they responded positively to the program,” added Wilson.

Finally, data from the class will be measured against other classes to see if there are fewer D’s, F’s and W’s in comparable classes. MCC’s comprehensive assessment will look to see if students moved from a red to a yellow, and a yellow to green.

MCC is looking for faculty to use this software in the spring semester. Faculty members interested in participating should contact Deanna Poudel at 604.4507 or Susan Wilson at 604.1070.

Penn Valley celebrates holidays, salutes shoe diva!

MCC-Penn Valley recently celebrated the holidays with a dessert-themed holiday party. In addition to sampling the assortment of sweet treats, there was a special surprise included. Employees paused to recognize the birthday of the eternally youthful Carroll O'Neal (center), associate dean of students. O'Neal is known for her penchant for shoes and several brave women stepped out in their heels to salute the ultimate Shoe Diva. Rock on Madam O'Neal!

Season's Greenings! Tips for being kind to the environment this holiday season

Season's greenings from the MCC Green Initiatives Task Force!

During this season filled with merriment and joy, there are lots of little things you can do to keep your holiday festivities from being a big drain on the environment.

Here are some tips for being (ever)green both at work and at home this time of year:
  • Earth-friendly office de-cluttering: If you use the end of the year as an opportunity to purge all of the old paper files you no longer need, don't forget to toss those papers in an MCC recycling bin instead of in the wastebasket. Remember - lots of different recycleable items can now be comingled in the blue bins located throughout the campuses and other MCC locations.

  • Mindful wrapping: As you are planning your gift-wrapping strategy, consider options that are just as kind to the environment as they are pretty to look at. Check wrapping-paper packaging to see if it is recycleable or is made from post-consumer waste (which means it has already been recycled). As a general rule, paper with foil or plastic elements or that use a lot of dye aren't recycleable, but many other types are. Check with your local municipality or recycling center to see what they will accept. Decorative gift bags, which are likely to be reused by recipients, are also a good option for reducing waste. Same goes for pretty tissue paper - why buy it again and again when you can just fold up gently used pieces and stow them away for your next gift-giving occasion? And if you're the creative type, there are plenty of alternatives to expensive, non-recycleable wrapping materials!

  • Green up your holiday party with more than just pine trees and holly: If you are hosting a gathering for friends or family, there are several simple things you can do to reduce the environmental impact of your get-together. Consider using non-disposable plates and cups; if you do choose disposable dishware, look for paper products made from a high percentage of post-consumer waste. Also, make it easy for your guests to recycle cans and other items by setting a recycling bin next to the trash can.
So, as you are spending time with family and friends this holiday season, don't forget about everyone's favorite family member: Mother Nature. I mean, just think about all she's done for you!

Remember to keep up with the Green Initiatives Task Force year-round by visiting our facebook page. We wish you a safe, happy and earth-conscious holiday!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Seabrooks and Boyd oversee MCC-Penn Valley

Joe Seabrooks, president of MCC-Blue River, has been appointed interim president of Penn Valley. Seabrooks will retain his position as president of Blue River during this interim assignment with additional assistance from Blue River’s deans and leadership team. Bernard Franklin tendered his resignation as president of Penn Valley this week.

Margaret Boyd, executive director of the Institute for Workforce Innovation (IWI), has been appointed as the interim executive director of the Health Science Institute (HSI). Boyd has been charged to work with Director Sandy McIlnay to create opportunities and build bridges between allied health, nursing programs, and area health care employers. She will also retain her position with IWI.

Happy Holidays from MCC-Longview.

Holiday Party 2010

There were plenty of snowflakes and holiday cheer going around at the MCC-Longview Holiday Luncheon hosted by president Fred Grogan on Thursday.

Media specialist Clay Bussey was busy taking holiday photos of the faculty and staff (as Campus Life and Leadership demonstrated above). The most creative ones, as voted by the campus, will be getting their own copies of their photo for free. Those photos will be available on the shared drive later this week.

In the meantime, enjoy a few photos from the event and this holiday greeting from MCC-Longview!

Employees - Important dates for December

Friday, Dec. 17 - Live test of MCC Alert

Monday, Dec. 20 – Grades due by noon

Friday, Dec. 24 – Jan. 1 – MCC offices closed (yippee!)

Test of MCC Alert - Friday, Dec. 17

The MCC police/public safety department will be conducting a test of the MCC Alert emergency notification system this Friday, Dec. 17. A test alert message will be sent by email to all students and employees and will be posted on the front page of the MCC website.

Those students and employees who have opted in to the MCC Notify Me emergency text message system should also receive a text message. Additional information about MCC’s emergency notification procedures can be found at the new MCC Alert web page. If you encounter any technical problems with the test, please contact the MCC TechLine.

Note: this test is scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday and will be clearly labeled as a test. In the event that an actual emergency should occur on Friday, please heed the warning of any notification that is not marked as a test.

MCC-Blue River staff celebrates the holidays with giving

Today, MCC-Blue River colleagues will celebrate the holiday season with a festive luncheon. The celebration will include tasty food, delectable desserts and a great time hanging out with Blue River colleagues.

A Party with a Purpose
Instead of a gift exchange, generosity of another sort is taking shape. The Blue River team is stepping to the plate to help others. Several opportunities to help others include:

  • Adopting an ornament from a BR Christmas tree. Each ornament represents a family experiencing difficulty this holiday season.

  • Giving a cash donation

  • Bringing canned goods for Holiday food baskets for the adopted families
One Blue River department has found a creative way to “pool” resources for greater impact. For instance, the campus Bookstore has challenged all departments to follow their charitable lead. Here's how it will work: they each will “chip” in to buy a gift for a family on the tree. “We would like to challenge everyone to do the same; this way, nobody has to pay for it all by yourself” says Tracy Leeper in a recent email.

The staff and faculty holiday luncheon is today at 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. in EC110.

Offices will not close during the luncheon.

MCC welcomes new employees

Elizabeth Prindle, Academic Graduation Advisor, MCC-BTC

David Ford, Custodian, MCC-Longview

David Thomasson, Custodian, MCC-Longview

Bonita Werner, Techline Specialist II, Administrative Center

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The MCC-Maple Woods Family Celebrates the Holidays

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AC Annual Holiday Lunch

Each year, the AC Staff Association organizes a holiday lunch for all Administrative Center employees. The last few years, all the administrators have pitched in to buy the main course, while employees bring in a side dish for all to share. Thank you administrators!!

Roger Banbury usually organizes some fun sing-alongs, and he pulled through once again this year with his versions of Santa Claus is Coming to Town (Chancellor James is Coming to Town), Jingle Bells (a song about retirees) and White Christmas (I’m dreaming of a Chiefs playoff).
To watch the video of Chancellor James is Coming to Town, click the video below.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Penn Valley crowns chili and soup kings and queens!

The MCC-Penn Valley Staff Recognition Committee hosted the Third Annual Chili and Soup Cook-off on Dec. 10.

For the first time, there was a tie in the Chili category. Winners were Irving Brooks for his Blistering Boulevard Chili and Jerry Kitzi for his Chuck Wagon Chili. They each won $25.

Second place in the chili category went to Terry McDaniel for his Just Great Chili.

In the Soup category, first place went to Jennifer Wood for her French Onion Soup!

Second place in the soup category was awarded to Rachel Dickey for her Organic Chicken Tortilla Soup.

Congratulations to all who participated!

And this year’s winners believe a MCC Chili and Soup Throwdown is in order with the other campuses at next year’s MCC October In-service! However, it should be noted that according to Mr. Kitzi, “I don’t see how you can call it a contest. Once Penn Valley’s outstanding chefs enter the room, the contest if over!”

So what do you think AC, Blue River, BTC, Longview, Maple Woods? Are you up to the challenge?

PHOTO CAPTION: (From left to right) Irving Brooks, Jerry Kitzi and Jennifer Wood celebrate their victory!

MCC-Longview says farewell to retiring faculty and staff members

MCC- Longview Retirement Reception Dec. 2010

Doug Washer, retiring philosophy instructor, could not wait to dig into his party cake at the MCC-Longview retirement reception this past Friday.

Along with Washer, MCC-Longview president Fred Grogan also honored retiring faculty member Brian Mitchell,

MCC- Longview Retirement Reception Dec. 2010

Lee Heggy, retiring media services coordinator,

MCC- Longview Retirement Reception Dec. 2010

and retiring administrative assistant Marge Kelly.

MCC- Longview Retirement Reception Dec. 2010

Thank you for your dedication and years of service to MCC-Longview.

For more photos from the retirement reception, check out of photo blog at Flickr.

Chancellor James is coming to town

Metropolitan Community College Chancellor, Mark James, launched the first of several campus tours in August, beginning with MCC-Blue River. He has since visited BTC, Penn Valley and Longview. James uses these visits as an opportunity for students, faculty and staff to ask questions and chat with him about things happening at the campuses and across the district.

Visits have been scheduled through June 2011:
Jan. 25 - MCC-Maple Woods
Feb.22 - MCC-Blue River
March 29 - MCC-Business and Technology
April 26 - MCC-Penn Valley
May 31 - MCC-Longview
June 28 - MCC-Maple Woods

Mark your calendars. Meetings are scheduled from 12:30 - 1:30 p.m. Reminders will be sent out from your campus president's office.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Call for help with the push of a button

MCC students, employees and visitors now have a way to call MCC police/public safety with the push of a single button. As part of ongoing district-wide efforts to ensure student and employee safety, the emergency preparedness task force implemented a reprogramming of one of the quick-dial buttons on every phone in the network (including employees' desk phones) to dial the MCC police/public safety control center.

In the event of an emergency, anyone who is near a phone will now be able to simply press that button, without even picking up the handset, to reach MCC police/public safety. The button will is now labeled EMERGENCY. This change was made to all MCC phones so that anyone with access to a phone will be able to quickly call for help.

MCC-Blue River holiday performance a success

On Saturday, Dec. 11, MCC-Blue River's Metropolitan Chorale of Kansas City performed at the First Baptist Church in Independence, Mo.

Don Reimal, the mayor of Independence, and his wife attended the performance, as did good old St. Nick.

Chorale conductor, Rebecca Johnson, describes the evening as "a lovely and peaceful interlude in the holiday season."
The chorale will perform again in the spring. Mark you calendars for April 30, 2011.

More details on the Chorale's website at

Other articles featuring the Metropolitan Chorale:

"Rediscover the Magic..."

"Around Town..."

"A Brand New Season..."

Health Science Institute selection for simulation study featured in KC Nursing News

The KC Nursing News recently covered the MCC-Penn Valley Health Science Institute's selection to participate in the landmark national simulation study.
The article discusses how the study's outcome could possibly changing the delivery of patient care. To read the article, click here .

Friday, December 10, 2010

MCCKC ranks near top of most-searched list on Google

MCCKC is the second fastest-growing search term in Kansas City, according to Google's annual Zeitgeist list of fastest-rising search terms.

In an article in yesterday's Kansas City Star, MCC was mentioned among other popular terms like "Staley High School" and "" as the top rising searches in the Kansas City area.

"This means Google is definitely one of the major gateways for gaining attention for MCC as a whole," said Mike Ekey, public relations coordinator at MCC-Longview and a close watcher of MCC's cyber footprint. "All of the work we have been doing to increase our page rank and realign our information over the past six months is worth it," Ekey said, referring to search engine optimization efforts led by the MCC web team and the district-wide marketing and public information teams.

MCC-Penn Valley Health Science Institute conducts simulation training at Iowa hospital

Members of the MCC-Penn Valley Health Science Institute(HSI)recently traveled to Cass County Memorial Hospital(CCMH)in Atlantic, Iowa to conduct a simulation training for hospital staff.

The hospital staff connected with HSI faculty during a VHA Mid-America Nursing Executive Conference highlighting HSI's use of simulation in the clinical setting to improve critical thinking skills.

CCMH used the Sim Lab to train for two different medical situations – shoulder dystocia during a birth and complications from congestive heart failure.

Intellectual Property Task Force making progress

A multi-campus task force is wrapping up its research phase and is in the process of finalizing recommendations that will help MCC implement policies and procedures related to intellectual property.

The Intellectual Property Task Force, co-chaired by Beth Lindquist, dean of instructional services at MCC-Longview and Mary Northrup, reference librarian at MCC-Maple Woods, assembled the team in September and will present the group’s recommendations in February 2011.

“This group has worked diligently to examine the purpose and definition of intellectual property and how the college might administer issues related to intellectual property and copyright,” Lindquist said. “The complexities of this subject matter require attention to detail and forethought. The task force members have done a great job in moving this information forward.”

The task force received its charge from Vice Chancellor of Instructional Services and Information Technology Paul Long and Vice Chancellor of Administrative Services, Enrollment Management and Student Development Tuesday Stanley. According to the charge, the task force is to recommend policies governing intellectual property and to recommend procedures to ensure the fair implementation of the policies. Specifically, the group will provide:

• Key definitions related to intellectual property
• Standards of ownership and compensation
• Identification of common types of intellectual property
• Processes governing copyright requirements
• Applications of Work for Hire considerations
• Revisions to PRPs governing intellectual property

The task force will meet at least two more times before it officially hands over its recommendations.

Task force members include:
Christina McGee, Patricia Amick, Gary Schieber, Dan Ascheman, Lisa Bonneau, Joel Conway, Deanna Poudel, Melissa Marr, William Allyn, Kathy Walter-Mack and Jerry Kitzi.

The Almond Throwdown at the AC

The accounting/financial services department at the MCC Administrative Center competed in an Almond Throwdown this morning. Team members were given the secret ingredient -Almonds – and talented individuals went to work creating dishes of almond delights.

Employees at the AC stopped by for small samples and voted on their favorite treat.

And the winner is….. Steve Frommelt , and his Better than Robert Redford dessert.

MCC-Maple Woods crown twelfth class of trivia buffs

MCC-Maple Woods recently hosted its annual Brain Drain trivia competition - 25 teams competed for cerebral supremacy in categories ranging from art to history to science to the brain-busting potpourri round. Maple Woods' Social Science-Business division has been hosting Brain Drain on the first Tuesday of December for the past 12 years.

Brain Drain Winners:

First Place
Tim Robertson
Joy Robertson
Mark Ingersoll
Matt Campbell
Bill Ferrell

Second Place
Ryan Payne
Gail Payne
Jeromy McGee
Kern McGee

Third Place
Paul Hough Team

Fourth Place
Cathy Donahue
Linus Drees
Kelly Larson
LuAnn Currence
Gary Miles

MCC-Maple Woods December Employee of the Month: Samantha Nolker

Samantha works in the Biology Lab as a student worker. She is taking a full course load with many science courses, she serves as Phi Theta Kappa’s secretary, and she also volunteers at Ray County hospital.

Samantha comes to work with a smile and a “let’s go get ‘em philosophy." She works diligently and always goes above and beyond what she needs to. When she is finished with her assigned duties, she always asks what she can do to help others finish their tasks. Samanthan will be leaving MCC in May to attend UMKC.

MCC delivers presentation at national workforce education conference

Metropolitan Community College recently participated in the National Council for Workforce Education Conference in Washington, D.C. MCC-Penn Valley Dean of Instruction Al Dimmitt, MCC-Penn Valley Health Science Institute Director Sandy McIlnay and MCC Executive Director of Workforce Development Margaret Boyd delivered a presentation on “Instructional delivery based on realism and partnerships.” MCC-Penn Valley Nursing Division Chairperson Karen Komoroski gave a preview of the presentation at the Newseum, a 250,000 sq. ft. museum that focuses on five centuries of news history along with the latest technology and hands-on exhibits.

Picture of the week from MCC-Longview

And now for your gratuitous kite picture from MCC-Longview.

Happy Friday, MCC.

KC Kite club invades MCC-Longview

Thursday, December 9, 2010 and cake

Folks at the Administrative Center (AC) took a few minutes downtime today to celebrate October, November and December birthdays. The AC Staff Association provided the cake and Rich Higgason supplied the coffee (thanks Rich!).

Volunteer to build a house and a dream - MCC Blue River

For the past several months, MCC-Blue River staff and community members have generously donated their Saturdays to help a Blue River colleague build her brand new Habitat for Humanity home in Independence.

As you might imagine, the work is far from over, but they are closer than ever! The family needed only 18 more volunteer hours when this article was orinally posted. However, the family now hows reach their goal of volunteer hours. They are optimistic that February or March will be the actual move-in day.

Last week, the group hung drywall, but more work is yet to be done.

The group worked Saturday, Dec. 11 at the residence site located at 19204 E. Salisbury in Independence, Mo.

The work progressedwell and MCC participation has played a big role in propelling this family a bit closer to their dream.

Contact person is Gina Frakes at, or via telephone at 816.604.6558.

Creating Opportunities - A message from Tom Vansaghi

Tom Vansaghi, associate vice chancellor of college and community relations, is passionate about spreading the word of how MCC creates opportunities. Follow his blog as he highlights other MCC employees who create opportunities for the students and our community!

Points to Blue – post your activities by the end of December

Points to Blue, the reward system offered through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City (BCBS), will close the first year with MCC at the end of December. The program allows employees to track healthy behavior, perform activities that are appropriate at your stage in your good health journey and choose the reward (in a gift card) that is right for you.

Those employees participating in the program must have all their entries posted on the Points to Blue site by Dec. 31. You will not be able to post any activity for 2010 beginning January 2011.
All points earned during 2010 must be redeemed by March. Watch your email inbox for notification from BCBS about your account.

Note: The Points to Blue website will be temporarily unavailable due to scheduled maintenance from 10 p.m., Dec. 17 until 7 a.m. Dec. 18.

Muggles and Misfits - MCC-Blue River volleyball fun

­On Thursday, Dec. 2, several MCC-Blue River staff and students participated in the Blue River Coed Volleyball Tournament. Two teams landed in the finals – one comprised of staff and one made up of students.

On the students’ team were Paul Carter, Luke Hermann, Leah Carter, Kai Ortner, and Sabrina Collison. The staff team included Meg Holcomb, Karen Goos, Jenny Steen, and Rowdy Pyle. In full Blue River spirit, the teams coined fun names for themselves such as “Misfit Toys”, “Muggles” and “Awesome Opossums.”

Throughout the afternoon, they had great fun spiking, setting, digging, serving and dishing out a whole lot of good-natured blame (i.e. “I thought you had it!”).

However, to the staff went the spoils of victory. They defeated the students’ team with a final of score of 26 to 24.
Everyone had a great time and is eagerly awaiting the next volleyball tournament in February. All players received a cool Blue River t-shirt.

Register your child for the MCC-Longview winter baseball camps

Check out some of the exciting baseball camp opportunities offered by MCC-Longview's own Lakers Baseball coaches.


K through 6th grade camps

1st Session
Jan. 17, 24, 31 & Feb. 7
2nd Session
Feb. 14, 21, 28 & March 7
5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. or 6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

$80 for one session
$150 for two sessions

These pitching and/or hitting camps are progressive camps. Each session is four dates for one hour each time. Participants have the choice of picking one of two time slots and doing pitching and/or hitting. Pitching camps will focus on developing proper mechanics and increasing strike percentage. Hitting camps will focus on proper mechanics and increasing consistency of contact. Each time slot is limited to 6 hitters and 6 pitchers. Call now to reserve your spot.

7th Grade though 12th Grade camps

Jan.15, 22, 29 and Feb. 5

Pitching/Catching- 1 - 3:30 p.m.
Hitting- 3:30 - 6 p.m.

Pitching $50, Hitting $50 and Catching $20
Pitching and Hitting $90
Catching and Hitting $60
All four Pitching $180
All four Hitting $180
All four Catching $60
Four Pitching and Hitting $360
Four Catching and Hitting $240

Four individual camps will highlight either pitching or catching and/or hitting. Pitchers will work on mechanics and ways to increase velocity. Catchers will work on basic receiving and blocking skills and throwing.
The Hitting camp will focus on ways to increase power and consistency of contact. All camps will be age appropriate.



All camps will be instructed by the MCC-Longview Lakers baseball coaching staff, Head Coach Clint Culbertson and Assistant Ramon Grado. In 2007, their first year coaching the Lakers, they led the team to their first ever National Championship title. Since then the Lakers have won Regional Titles in 07, 08 and 10 and won District Titles in 07 and O8 and made another World Series appearance in 08.

Culbertson has coached at the collegiate level for eleven years including a four year stint at the University of Central Missouri, making the World Series each of his four years. There, as pitching coach, he won his first National Championship title in 2003.

Together Coaches Culbertson and Grado have over 20 years of baseball coaching experience.

Questions? Call Coach Culbertson at 816.604.2193 or email him at

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Making it easier to call for help

MCC students, employees and visitors will soon have a way to call MCC police/public safety with the push of a single button.

As part of ongoing district-wide efforts to ensure student and employee safety, the emergency preparedness task force is implementing a reprogramming of one of the quick-dial buttons on every phone in the network (including employees' desk phones) to dial the MCC police/public safety control center.

In the event of an emergency, anyone who is near a phone will now be able to simply press that button, without even picking up the handset, to reach MCC police/public safety. The button will be labeled EMERGENCY. This change is being made to all MCC phones so that anyone with access to a phone will be able to quickly call for help.

The reprogramming will take place between Dec. 9 and Dec. 13. Employees who currently have a phone number programmed into the bottom-most quick-dial button on their phone should make other arrangements for future dialing of that number.

MCC welcomes new employees!

New employees from across the district gathered at the Administrative Center today for New Employee Orientation.

Santa visits Penn Valley students

With two weeks until Christmas, kids off all ages are counting down to the big day. MCC-Penn Valley students received a special visit from jolly old Saint Nicholas today. Santa (alias Al Dimmitt, dean of instruction) dropped by the cafeteria and spread cheer to students as they geared up for finals.

The students assured Santa they'd been good and requested the latest Jordans and the X Box 360 Kinect system. And of course, they all begged dear Santa for A's and B's.

Bookstores closing early today!

The MCC bookstores will be closing today (Dec. 8) at noon. Be sure that you have all the items you made need to take any exams for this afternoon or evening. Normal bookstore hours will resume tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Writers among us

Kay Sodowsky, former library manager at MCC-Blue River, wrote the chapter on Book Groups for the Reader's Advisory Handbook, which was recently published (2010) by the American Library Association.

According to WorldCat, an international online library catalog, 364 libraries have already purchased this book, including many graduate schools of library science.

Get plugged in to what’s new – workers compensation update on InfoEx

Updated information has been added to the MCC employee InfoExchange, regarding injuries on the job. Employees may access this information by signing into InfoEx, selecting the Human Resources tab, then scrolling down to Benefits – Workers Compensation. Here, you will find information on what to do if you are injured while at work, and several prevention topics.

“I've been working with public safety and facilities to help to make MCC as safe as possible for our employees and students,” said Robin McClain, risk and compliance manager. “Some responsibility lies with employees by working safely and reporting any hazards they may find.”
McClain has added updated information to the InfoEx on how to prevent injuries and accidents.

Questions regarding workers compensation can be directed to McClain at 816.604.1124.

Read other InfoEx updates here.

KC Kite Club invades MCC-Longview for a day

Not even the freezing temperatures could keep Sean Beaver, president of the KC Kite Club from flying his kites over the open lawn at MCC-Longview this past weekend.

A part of the KC Kite Club's winter business meeting, some of the members decided to brave the 32-degree winds and fly a few kites. Among the kite club members, there were about a dozen kite (some small, some as large as a basketball court) flying above Longview.

The KC Kite Club provides some of the most amazing mega kites that fill the sky during the MCC-Longview Flights of Fancy kite festival.
Don't miss the Flights of Fancy kite festival on April 16, 2011

Re-Discover the Magic of the Holidays with MCC-Blue River

It may be chilly outside, but MCC-Blue River’s Metropolitan Chorale of Kansas City will warm your heart with their “Customs and Carols” performance at the First Baptist Church in Independence, Missouri.

Don’t miss stellar performances by:

• Vox Luminese (entire ensemble)
• Met Pops (the Chorale’s pops group)
• MCC-Blue River's Jazz band (conducted by Clarence Smith)

The chorale has held holiday performances at this venue for several years. Also, after the performance, enjoy hot chocolate and cookies in the venue’s Historic Hall.

Dec. 11, 2010 is the performance date. The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church, 500 Truman Road, Independence, Mo. The cost is $6 for adults and only $4 for children and seniors.

Earn up to $11 an hour at MCC-Blue River!

Kennedy Musamali, the program director for MCC-Blue River's Upward Bound Program is looking for youth activities program assistants to work with high school students at Fort Osage, Truman, Van Horn and Raytown in the spring.

If you have a HS diploma and a minimum of 1 yr experience working with youth you can earn up to $11 per hour working with our program participants.

This role involves:
  • Tutoring in the areas of math, science or Spanish

  • Chaperoning during weekends

  • Assisting office staff in organizing and coordinating program activities
For additional information, please contact our office at 816.604.6432 or visit us at the Arts and Science Building, suite 112. Stop by for an application. Visit the website at

MCC-Maple Woods Choir performs winter concert

The MCC-Maple Woods Choir sang a concert on Dec. 3 at North Cross United Methodist Church. The one-hour concert featured twenty-two singers and included songs in French, Spanish, Latin, Swedish and English. The singers were joined by guest instrumentalists on percussion, flute and violin.

More MCC-Maple Woods music students will be in action this Sunday for the Northland Symphony Holiday Pops Concert. The concert will be held at 3 p.m. Dec. 12 at Park Hill South High School in the auditorium and is free and open to the public.

The concert will feature traditional holiday favorites, choirs from Bell Prairie, and Prairie Point Elementary Schools and an audience sing-along.

50th episode of To the Point!

Congratulations to MCC-Blue River for the 50th episode! It just happens to be The MCC Insider's 550th post!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Volunteer for a 'day on instead of a day off'

Join MCC for the Second Annual MLK Day of Service. Last year, 500 students, faculty, staff and community members made it a 'Day on instead of a day off' by in celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy of humanity and service. By volunteering to participate on this day, you can become a part of a vital MCC tradition as well as a national event celebrating community service.

“If everyone does a little, than we can achieve big things,” said a volunteer from last year. “Someone once said that service is the way we pay rent for living on this planet. I am way behind on paying rent, so I have a lot of things I need to do and I am glad to be a part of MCC's MLK Day of Service.”

Each MCC campus will be hosting a number of community service projects that you can choose from as a special way to celebrate the day with friends and fun. RSVP to the event here by clicking on the red Volunteer botton on the right hand side of the page.

Campus Event Contacts
MCC-Blue River - Amy Slater, Arts and Sciences, room 113: 816.604.6635
MCC-Business & Technology - Kristen Brumley, Campus Center, room 132: 816.604.5263
MCC-Longview - Kim Prosak, Campus Center, room 253: 816.604.2130
MCC-Maple Woods - Misty Chandler, Student Center, room 130: 816.604.3013
MCC-Penn Valley - Nicole Inzaro, Campus Center foyer, room 001: 816.604.4120

For event updates and information about each campuses involvement, Fan us on Facebook.

MCC Board of Trustees meeting time change

The Dec. 16 Board of Trustees meeting has been moved to 1 p.m., rather than 5:30 p.m. It will be held in the Board room at the Administrative Center.

Off to the races with MCC's Engineering 113

Engineering 113

It was an early morning day at the race track for the students in instructor Nicole Pflum's Engineering 113 class.

The vehicles being used in this hilly experiment were made by the students and had to travel 15 feet, up and down a hilly track.

Here is what Pflum said about the classroom race/scientific experiment:

"Today 18 students in ENGR 113 demonstrated their semester design project. The project was to make a self-propelled vehicle that would make it at least 9 feet of a 15 foot curved track. The teams had alpha and beta test runs on the track that helped them redesign the vehicle for this last run.
In first place: "Lucky 7-3" made it 18 feet to the end of the track using tank-like treads instead of wheels. Their innovation and continual redesigns paid off.
In second place: “Scorporation” went 13.3 feet. This team had a great overall design, but the weight on the back gave them issues going up the last big hill.
In third place: “Convex Machinery” went 6.9 feet. This car was so fast it jumped off the track. It also had great attention to detail. One of their team members vacuum formed a model car and panted the body.
The other teams did a great job. They continually worked as cohesive groups this semester and made great designs. Their cars needed more torque to make it up the hills, but their designs were good.
It is great to see students learning hands-on the design process. The issues they face now make them better at problem solving and being real engineers in the future."

To see more photos from this morning's race, check out our photo gallery over on Flickr.

Engineering 113

MCC-Longview bookstore announces its holiday hours

Whether you are retuning this semester's books or gearing up for the next, here is a list of the new times the bookstore will be open during the holidays.

Dec. 8 - Open 7:30 a.m. – Noon

Dec. 13 – 17 - Book Buyback

- Monday - Thursday: 8 a.m. - Noon, 1 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
- Friday: 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Dec. 17 - Last day to return rental texts

Dec. 20 - Website opens for orders with free shipping until Jan.5

Jan. 3 - 5 - Bookstore closed to process book orders

For more information, contact the bookstore at 604.2188 or check out the bookstore's website.