34 Cadets Graduate from Municipal Police Academy

by Alana J. Mauger

Thirty-four cadets graduated from Montgomery County Community College’s Municipal Police Academy Class 1304 on March 26 during a ceremony held at the College’s Science Center Theater, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell.

Academy alumnus Wayne T. Johnson, Deputy Sheriff with Chester County Sherriff’s Department, sang the National Anthem to begin the ceremony, followed by a moment of reflection from Director of Criminal Justice & Fire Science Programs Benn Prybutok. The Philadelphia Police Department Honor Guard and the Philadelphia Emerald Society Pipe Band led the procession.

Patrol Commander Darren Nyce from Upper Dublin Township Police Department was selected by class 1304 to give the keynote address, during which he stressed the importance of preparation.

“Prepare for opportunity, [so that you’re] ready for opportunity when it comes. Being prepared to do the right thing at the right moment takes tremendous heart, courage and perseverance, and, at times, great sacrifice,” shared Nyce, who is an alumnus of the Academy as well as an instructor.

Montgomery County Commissioner Bruce L. Castor Jr., County Deputy Chief Detective Samuel Gallen, and County Coordinator of School Safety Steven A. Beck were also in attendance, along with representatives from Tredyffrin, Upper Darby, Upper Merion, Upper Moreland and Whitpain police departments and the FBI.

Earning the highest GPA in his class, Cadet Cpl. Jason Kesack, Lansdale, offered remarks on behalf of the graduates.

“I think love is probably the most important thing, not only in police work but in life in general,” he shared. “It’s about community policing and how you interact with the people around you. Everyone is someone’s mother, someone’s brother. I think it’s important that we remember that golden rule—that we should treat people the way we would want our families treated.”

Academy Director Frank Williar presented Cadet Lt. Laina Stevens, Philadelphia, with the Platoon Commander Award, describing her as “a breath of fresh air.” Stevens, who is now an officer with the Upper Darby Police Department, then ceremonially handed Academy command over to Class 1401 Cadet Lt. Andrew Burrows, Doylestown.

Williar also presented the Director’s Spirit of Distinction Award to Cadet Cpl. James Apgar, Frenchtown, N.J., adding that the award goes to “the MVP of the group; to an individual whose personality is instrumental in making the class what it is.”

Stevens presented the James R. Miller Marksmanship Award to Eric Meoli, Lansdale. The award is presented in memory of Upper Dublin Police Sergeant Jim Miller, who died in an automobile accident while on duty in 2004.

During the ceremony, members of the McGowan family—Karen and her sons Scott and John McGowan IV, presented the Chief John J. McGowan III Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $3,500 to Robert Calvin Wiley, Willow Grove. The scholarship honors the late East Norriton Police Chief John McGowan, who died in a motorcycle accident in 2010. Wiley thanked the McGowan family for the honor, adding that he will use the scholarship to continue his education in MCCC’s Criminal Justice program in the fall.

Cadets from class 1304 attended the academy full time, Monday through Friday for 22 weeks. Graduates include Cadet Cpl. James Apgar, Frenchtown, N.J.; Ryan Benner, Drexel Hill; Steve Berg, Levittown; Cadet Sgt. Andrew Brown, Exton; Cadet Sgt. Michael Cabry, Coatesville; Michael Carlson, Elkins Park; Liz Cartwright, Telford; Timothy Clark, Abington; Amber Culton, Quakertown; Zachary Danowski, Skippack; Kevin Deegan, Downington; James Falatovich, Birdsboro; Cadet SSgt. Evan Flora, Collegeville; Jarett Gordon, Collegeville; Patrick Halcovage, Hatfield; Jonathan Huber, Souderton; Cadet Cpl. Jason Kesack, Lansdale; Patrick Kitchenman, Levittown; Cadet Cpl. John Kreuer, Ephrata; Kevin Lowry, Willow Grove; Brett Mackow, Green Lane; Eric Meoli, Lansdale; Jay Nakahara, Allentown; Nicholas O’Connor, Conshohocken; David Pagan, Philadelphia; Stephen Romanic, Coopersburg; Cadet SSgt. David Rosenblit, Philadelphia; Cadet Sgt. Nicholas Ruud, Doylestown; Kathleen Ryan, Horsham; Alex Sansone, Huntingdon Valley; Cadet Lt. Laina Stevens, Philadelphia; Ryan Umberger, Bristol, Gabriel Wasserman, Ambler; Calvin Wiley, Willow Grove.

Montgomery County Community College, in conjunction with the state training commission, operates the Municipal Police Academy at the Montgomery County Public Safety Training Campus, 1175 Conshohocken Road, Conshohocken.

The academy has been the training ground for approximately 3,500 cadets with a consistent graduation rate of more than 90 percent. The 800-hour curriculum allows successful students to articulate up to 15 credit hours toward an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice Studies.

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Class 1304 graduates are congratulated by Montgomery County Commissioner Bruce L. Castor Jr., MCCC Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost Dr. Victoria Bastecki-Perez, and MCCC Dean of Social Sciences Dr. Aaron Shatzman. Photo by John Welsh

Transfer of Credit Policy Expands Degree Access for Adult Students

by Alana J. Mauger

Montgomery County Community College’s Board of Trustees voted Monday, March 18 to expand the number of transfer credits students can apply to an associate’s degree program. Under the new policy, students can now transfer up to 75 percent of their credits earned from regionally accredited post-secondary institutions back to MCCC to complete an associate’s degree or certificate. The previous practice allowed 50 percent of transferred credits to be applied.

“The new policy is part of the College’s strategic effort to strengthen our Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) model to improve adult student enrollment and persistence rates by building streamlined pathways toward degree completion,” explained Dr. Karen A. Stout, president. “These efforts also connect to our work nationally with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Plus 50 Encore Completion Program, which looks to train 10,000 baby boomers for high-demand jobs through 2015.”

In addition to expanding the percentage of accepted transfer credits, the new policy clarifies criteria for all forms of PLA, which is the process colleges use to evaluate a student’s life experience to determine if prior learning can translate into college credits.

Examples of PLA include evaluation of corporate or military training as established by the American Council on Education (ACE); nationally recognized exams such as Advanced Placement (AP) and College Level Examination Program (CLEP); review of student portfolios; customized tests to prove prior learning meets specific exit standards for courses; and examination of non-credit courses to document content for transferability to for-credit courses.

The policy also clarifies procedures for the acceptance of transfer credits; provides criteria regarding transfer credits earned at other institutions; reinforces the role of faculty and academic leadership in determining transfer course equivalencies based on student learning outcomes; and provides procedures by which students can appeal transfer credit assessments.

According to a 2010 study on PLA and adult student outcomes conducted by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), students with PLA credits had better academic outcomes, especially in terms of graduation rates and persistence, than non-PLA students, and many significantly shortened the time required to earn their credential.

To learn more about Prior Learning Assessment at MCCC, visit mc3.edu/admissions or contact Mary Beth Bryers at 215-619-6319 or mbryers@mc3.edu.

Pa. Community College Leaders Make Funding Case in Harrisburg

by Alana J. Mauger

Montgomery County Community College President Dr. Karen A. Stout testified before the Pa. House Appropriations Committee in Harrisburg on Feb. 20 on the issue of community college funding for Fiscal Year 2014-15. She joined Pa. Commission for Community Colleges (PACCC) President and CEO Elizabeth A. Bolden and Butler County Community College President Dr. Nick Neupauer, who also serves as PACCC’s Board Chairman.

VIDEO: Watch the testimony on PCN

Together the three leaders testified about the critical need for increased operating and capital funding for the Commonwealth’s 14 community colleges. Governor Corbett’s proposed FY 14-15 budget does not include any increase in the community college operating appropriation. If approved, this will be the fourth consecutive year of flat funding in operating following a 10 percent funding cut five years ago. Allowing for inflation, the recommended appropriation is $12 million below the necessary level.

During her testimony, Dr. Stout revealed that, if the proposed budget is passed, MCCC will receive less in operating dollars in FY 14-15 than eight years ago.

“The operating efficiencies used to manage these cuts have already been implemented, and gains from them already realized and exhausted,” she said in her testimony. “Even modest tuition increases are difficult for our students to manage. Last year, we deregistered more than 2,500 students for non-payment. Approximately half return to us at some point, but half are shut out of higher education, even with Pell and PHEAA grants.”

Three MCCC students – Octavia Beyah, Tyler Tucker and Elizabeth Waddell – accompanied Dr. Stout to Harrisburg to lend their support to Pennsylvania’s community colleges.

Beyah, a first-generation college student, is funding her own education. She started her journey at a four-year university, but reverse transferred to MCCC to graduate without debt. Likewise, Tucker chose to attend MCCC to balance life and work to avoid early debt; she aspires to be an appellate court judge. And Waddell comes from a single parent household and acknowledges that education tends to go on the “back burner” when living paycheck to paycheck.

“Students like Octavia, Tyler and Elizabeth build the economic and civic capacity of our community, one dream fulfilled at a time,” shared Dr. Stout in her testimony.

Stout went on to share how the economic impact of MCCC’s students extends to all Pennsylvania residents. For example, taxpayers, see a return rate of 7.2 percent on their investment, and every one dollar of state and local tax money invested in the College yields a cumulative $21.60 in benefits that accrue to all Pennsylvania residents in terms of added taxable income and avoided social costs.

“Fifty years ago, a group of visionary State and local leaders from across the Commonwealth passed the Community College Act, and with it, a commitment to invest in the hopes, dreams and aspirations of hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians to access affordable, high quality, transfer education and workforce training programs that could lead them into the middle class and thus build the quality of life and civic development and economic competitiveness of Pennsylvania. Over these 50 years, nearly 400,000 Montgomery County residents have benefitted from access to these programs. The ripple effect of those attending – on our community – is multi-generational,” shared Dr. Stout.

In addition to restoring operating funds, Bolden and PACCC asked the House Appropriations Committee for capital funding to be increased in order to address the $726 million in documented infrastructure improvements for the State’s 14 community colleges over the next five years.  As it stands now, the Governor’s proposed budget calls for a $1 million cut in capital.

National Award Recognizes College’s Commitment to Student Success

by Alana J. Mauger

AtD 2Montgomery County Community College was honored for its ongoing commitment to student access and success on Feb. 24 during the annual Achieving the Dream Strategy Institute in Orlando, Fla. The College was one of two institutions presented with the sixth annual Leah Meyer Austin Award by Achieving the Dream.

The Leah Meyer Austin Award, sponsored by The Leona M. & Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, was established in 2008 to recognize outstanding achievement in supporting and promoting student success through the creation of a culture of evidence, continuous improvement, systemic institutional change, broad engagement of stakeholders, and equity, with particular attention to low-income students and students of color.

Austin, whose visionary leadership shaped the development of Achieving the Dream, is the former Senior Vice President for Program Development and Organizational Learning at the Lumina Foundation, and is a member of the Board of Directors of Achieving the Dream.

Montgomery County Community College, Pennsylvania, and Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC), Massachusetts, were each awarded $25,000 to support their ongoing student success efforts. According to Achieving the Dream, both institutions were recognized for “building whole-college solutions to improve student success and equity, which have resulted in noteworthy increases in student success.”

“Montgomery County Community College takes a holistic approach to student success,” explained Dr. Karen A. Stout, president.  “By leveraging data to align our strategic planning efforts and budget decisions with student success goals, we are able to continually make improvements and remove barriers that impact retention and completion. At the same time, we’re able to engage faculty, administrators and staff from across disciplines and departments in our student success work.”

“The College’s selection as a Leah Meyer Austin Award recipient underscores our continued commitment to advance the areas of student access, success and completion that anchor our work as an Achieving the Dream Leader College,” she continued.

In addition to building college-wide solutions and engaging in data-informed decision making, Achieving the Dream commended the College for its work to improve developmental education outcomes, college readiness, and student persistence.

One highlight is the College’s efforts to reduce the number of students who place in developmental English by 31 percent, without impacting their subsequent success in college-level English courses. This was achieved through a combination of adjusting placement cut-off scores, moving from an ACCUPLACER placement test to a WritePlacer exam, and allowing students with SAT scores of 500 and up to enroll directly in college-level English. In fall 2011, more than 900 students benefited from these changes, successfully completing Composition I (ENG 101) at the same rate as those students who placed in college-level English under the old cut score.

ENG Placement

MCCC also continues to build momentum in its efforts to improve success in developmental mathematics. The College was previously recognized by Achieving the Dream for the complete redesign of its basic arithmetic curriculum, which increased student success rates by 20 percent and math confidence rates by 20 to 35 percent. MCCC also developed two-week accelerated basic arithmetic and beginning algebra “boot camp” review courses for students whose ACCUPLACER test scores are close to the cutoff. To date, 300 students have completed the accelerated courses, outperforming students who follow the traditional path.

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Achieving the Dream also noted MCCC’s efforts to improve the college readiness of students from feeder high schools through a variety of initiatives. Among these is MCCC’s participation in the national Gateway to College Network, designed for young adults ages 16 to 21 who have dropped out of high school or who are significantly behind in credits and are unlikely to graduate. The program enables qualifying students to complete their high school diploma requirements while simultaneously earning college credits toward an associate’s degree or certificate. In addition, MCCC developed a College Pathway Academy for Health Professions in partnership with the Phoenixville School District and Phoenixville Hospital. The Academy enables students to earn college credits in the health sciences while completing their high school graduation requirements.

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Another highlight is the College’s success in improve persistence rates for minority students. In 2009, the College first launched its Minority Male Mentoring Program (MMMP) to close the nationally documented achievement gap for African-American male students. The program connects participating students with caring mentors for guidance and support while providing opportunities for civic engagement, academic advisement, personal development and leadership development. Between 2009 and 2013, participants showed a term-to-term persistence rate of close to 80 percent – significantly higher than the 63 percent for non-participants. This spring, the initiative was expanded to include African-American and Latina female students and was renamed the Minority Student Mentoring Initiative (MSMI).

MMMP

To learn more about MCCC’s Student Success Initiative, visit its website at mc3.edu or its Think Success blog at mc3success.wordpress.com.

Achieving the Dream, Inc.
Achieving the Dream, Inc. is a national nonprofit leading the nation’s most comprehensive non-governmental reform network for student success in higher education history. The Achieving the Dream National Reform Network, including over 200 institutions, more than 100 coaches and advisors, and 15 state policy teams – working throughout 34 states and the District of Columbia – helps nearly 4 million community college students have a better chance of realizing greater economic opportunity and achieving their dreams.

The Helmsley Charitable Trust 
The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting effective nonprofits in health, place-based initiatives, and education and human services.  Since 2008, when the Trust began its active grantmaking, it has committed more than $1 billion to a wide range of charitable organizations. Through its National Education Program, the Trust views education as a lever to advance both American economic competitiveness and individual social mobility.  In K-12, the Trust focuses on ensuring all students graduate high school prepared for college or careers by supporting teacher effectiveness and the adoption and implementation of high academic standards. In postsecondary education, the Trust is primarily interested in increasing the number of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) graduates who can participate in high growth sectors of the economy.  The Trust also focuses on policy levers that improve postsecondary completion, particularly for underrepresented populations.

Culinary Students Learn Revolutionary Era Baking for Presidents’ Day

by Alana J. Mauger

Pastry Arts students from the Culinary Arts Institute (CAI) at Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) got an historical lesson in baking as they partnered with Valley Forge National Historical Park to celebrate the 282nd birthday of first U.S. President George Washington on Feb. 17.

The CAI was tapped to recreate Martha Washington’s cake recipe, which 25 students, under the guidance of adjunct instructor and Chef Julia Quay, used to create one large birthday cake and 500 patriotically-decorated cupcakes for hundreds of children and families in attendance.

The Park’s annual Presidents’ Day celebration also included arts and crafts, singing, dancing and a formal cake-cutting ceremony by General Washington himself.

The creation of Washington’s birthday cake is one of MCCC’s “50 Acts of Kindness” as part of the College’s 50th anniversary celebration. Throughout 2014, MCCC students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters are committed organizing 50 acts of community service – one for every year of the College’s existence. To learn more at the College’s 50th anniversary activities, visit mc3.edu/50.

To learn more about the Culinary Arts Institute at Montgomery County Community College, visit mc3.edu/culinary, or stop by the CAI’s spring open house, 1400 Forty Foot Road, Lansdale, on April 26 from 10 a.m.-noon.

Photos by Sandi Yanisko

Students Raise $420 for West Campus Scholarship Fund

by Alana J. Mauger

Student leaders at Montgomery County Community College’s West Campus in Pottstown raised $420 during their 13th Annual Lasagna Dinner on Feb. 19.

Proceeds from the dinner benefit the West Campus Student Scholarship Fund through the College’s Foundation. The scholarship is awarded annually to a West Campus student who is engaged in community service and is in good academic standing.

The buffet meal of meat or veggie lasagna, salad, bread, dessert and beverage was served by MCCC student leaders and was available for dine-in or take-out. Between 6-7 p.m., members of MCCC’s West End Student Theatre (WEST) presented an interactive improv dating show that had diners roaring with laughter.

The West Campus Lasagna Dinner is one of MCCC’s “50 Acts of Kindness” as part of the College’s 50th anniversary celebration. Throughout 2014, MCCC students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters are committed organizing 50 acts of community service – one for every year of the College’s existence. To learn more at the College’s 50th anniversary activities, visit mc3.edu/50.

To learn more about scholarship opportunities through MCCC’s Foundation, visit mc3.edu/giving.

Photos by Sandi Yanisko

Life Sciences Degree Builds Pathway to Biological, Biomedical Careers

by Alana J. Mauger

Montgomery County Community College’s Board of Trustees took action Tuesday to approve a new Associate in Science (A.S.) Life Sciences degree program effective fall 2014. The program affirms the College’s commitment to developing relevant STEM programs that build a pipeline of skilled science and technology professionals for the region.

Designed for seamless transfer, the Life Sciences A.S. degree program will provide students with a clear pathway to a four-year degree in life science disciplines, while offering flexibility that accommodates concentrations in both traditional biology disciplines and biomedical health sciences.

The Traditional Life Sciences concentration will prepare students for future study in Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) programs in general biology, microbiology, organismal biology, molecular biology, biochemistry, neuroscience, environmental science, agriculture, and biology education. The Biomedical Science concentration will prepare students for study in the fields of cytotechnology, medical laboratory science and nuclear medicine, among others.

MCCC’s STEM faculty continue to work with faculty from premier four-year colleges and universities to establish program-to-program articulation agreements that facilitate seamless transfer opportunities for the program’s students.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, the demand for life and medical scientists is expected to grow by nine to 13 percent through 2022, depending on specialization. The median salary for life and medical scientists in 2012 ranged from $68,780 to $76,980.

The Life Sciences degree program replaces the College’s previous A.S. in Biological Sciences degree program, which was deleted by the Board in May 2012 after determining that the program no longer met the broad-based educational needs of the College’s students.

To learn more about Montgomery County Community College’s STEM programs, visit mc3.edu/academics.

‘Hoops for Hope’ Raises $590 for Student Scholarship

by Alana J. Mauger

Despite a loss on the scoreboard, Montgomery County Community College’s Mustangs Women’s Basketball team had reason to celebrate during its Feb. 8 home game against the Harrisburg Area Community College Hawks.  From Jan. 2 through halftime Saturday, the team sold raffle tickets and collected monetary donations for its “Hoops for Hope” campaign, which raised breast cancer awareness and scholarship funds for students impacted by the disease.

The $590 benefits the Prayers and Poinsettias Scholarship Fund through the College’s Foundation. The scholarship provides critical financial aid support to students who have been affected by breast cancer.

Representatives from MCCC's Foundation join the Mustangs and HACC women's basketball teams for a check presentation at halftime on Feb. 8. Photo by Alana J. Mauger

Representatives from MCCC’s Foundation join the Mustangs and HACC women’s basketball teams for a check presentation at halftime on Feb. 8. Photo by Alana J. Mauger

“Hoops for Hope” is one of MCCC’s “50 Acts of Kindness” as part of the College’s 50th anniversary celebration. Throughout 2014, MCCC students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters are committed organizing 50 acts of community service – one for every year of the College’s existence. To learn more at the College’s 50th anniversary activities, visit mc3.edu/50.

Prayers and Poinsettias is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization founded by MCCC alumna Mary Beatty, of Barto. The organization helps families with mothers who are battling breast cancer and cannot financially support their children’s education because of medical bills and loss of employment due to their illness. To learn more, email prayersandpoinsettias@gmail.com or search for Prayers and Poinsettias on Facebook.

Following the conference game between the MCCC and HACC, Mustangs basketball alumni joined some of the team’s current players for a friendly scrimmage during the College’s third annual Alumni Basketball Game.

Eight Mustangs basketball alumni joined current players for the third annual Alumni Basketball Game. Photo by Alana J. Mauger

Eight Mustangs basketball alumni joined current players for the third annual Alumni Basketball Game. Photo by Alana J. Mauger

Students to Host Lasagna Dinner Theater to Raise Scholarship Funds

by Alana J. Mauger

Student leaders at Montgomery County Community College’s West Campus in Pottstown will host their 13th Annual Lasagna Dinner on Wednesday, Feb. 19, from 6-7 p.m.

The dinner, which includes a special presentation by the West-End Theatre student drama club, will be held in the South Hall Community Room, 101 College Drive. Take-out meals will be available from 3-5:45 p.m. Both dine-in and take-out options are open to the public.

The dinner includes a choice of meat or veggie lasagna, salad, bread, beverage and dessert and costs $10 for adults, $5 for children age 10 years and under, and $7 for MCCC students with a valid college ID.

All proceeds from the dinner will benefit the West Campus Student Scholarship fund through the College’s Foundation. Each year, the scholarship is awarded to a West Campus student who is engaged in community service and is in good academic standing. Representatives from the Foundation will be on hand at the event to answer questions about this and other scholarship opportunities.

For more information, contact MCCC’s Office of Student Leadership and Involvement at 610-718-1852.

The West Campus Lasagna Dinner Theater is one of MCCC’s “50 Acts of Kindness” as part of the College’s 50th anniversary celebration. Throughout 2014, MCCC students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters are committed organizing 50 acts of community service – one for every year of the College’s existence. To learn more at the College’s 50th anniversary activities, visit mc3.edu/50.

January Research Brief Examines First ‘Winter Session’

The January 2014 edition of Research & Practice looks at results from Montgomery County Community College’s first-ever winter three-week winter session, which began at the end of the fall 2013 semester and continued through winter break.

Nearly 400 students enrolled in the 24 courses offered during the Winter Session.  Almost 35% were guest students from other educational institutions, and those from the College were mostly female (approximately 72%) with an average age of 25.

The courses were extremely effective: an average success rate of 85%, with 55% of all grades in this session either a grade of “A” or “A-.” There was little statistical difference in success rates between guest students and students from the College. Conversely, there were two courses which had lower success rates: ENG 102 (44% success) and POL 124 (43% success). Although it should be noted that POL 124 only had 7 students enrolled.

Currently, there is a Winter Session Taskforce that is reviewing the success data, as well as survey data, from students enrolled during the session. Plans for a Winter Session 2014 will be based on a review of the data from the current session to ensure that the quality and rigor of our educational offerings are maintained.

~ by Whitney Etter

Show Your Support For PA Community Colleges

Tonight at 7 p.m., community college supporters are invited to join a “tweetup” using hashtag #PaBudgetChat to voice the importance of investing in Pennsylvania’s community colleges. As it stands, the Governor’s proposed 2014-2015 continues to ignore the importance of community colleges and their long-term contribution to the economic health of Pennsylvania.

If you don’t tweet, there will be other opportunities in the coming days and weeks to lend your voice to this important issue that affects the entire community. We hope you will be a part of the conversation!

Thank you for your continued support of Montgomery County Community College students

Dr. Stout’s Response to Governor’s Budget Address

Pennsylvania’s community colleges continue to step up, as they have done for 50 years, to the Commonwealth’s need for an affordable pathway to the middle class for nearly 500,000 Pennsylvanians, as well as serving as a critical resource for job training for thousands of employers and thousands of incumbent and unemployed workers.

This is the fourth consecutive budget presented by the Governor that has not recognized the vital need for increased operating investment in community colleges. The lack of necessary investment has already threatened access and college affordability for too many and has stifled the ability of colleges to respond to important business and industry needs. Community colleges cannot continue to manage the ongoing erosion of state investment in operating funds without harming citizens most in need of our programs. It will be nearly impossible for our community colleges to continue to meet our mission of affordable and accessible higher education that is of high quality for transfer and workforce responsiveness.

At Montgomery County Community College, the current State contribution of operating dollars does not even match what we received eight years ago.

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I look forward to hearing more about the Ready to Succeed program the Governor proposed; however, I am disappointed by the Governor’s lack of recognition of the value of our colleges. States across this Country are recognizing the economic return gained by investing in their community colleges. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania is not among these states.

VIDEO: There’s Still Time to Register for Accelerated Spring Semester Classes

Montgomery County Community College student Cameron Tavares shares info about accelerated spring semester courses.

Produced by Matt Porter and Alana J. Mauger

Mustangs Raise Scholarship Funds, Breast Cancer Awareness

by Alana J. Mauger

Montgomery County Community College’s Mustangs Women’s Basketball team is in the midst of its annual “Hoops for Hope” campaign, designed to raise breast cancer awareness and scholarship funds for students impacted by the disease.

View the ‘Hoops for Hope’ flyer

Through Feb. 8, the team is selling raffle tickets for an upcoming Philadelphia Sixers’ basketball game and is collecting monetary donations through MCCC’s Foundation. All proceeds benefit the Prayers and Poinsettias Scholarship Fund, which provides critical financial aid support to students who have been affected by breast cancer.

The raffle drawing and check presentation will take place at halftime during the Mustangs women’s basketball home game against Harrisburg Area Community College on Feb. 8. The game starts at 3 p.m. in MCCC’s Physical Education Center gymnasium, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. Admission is free, but guests are encouraged to make a “Hoops for Hope” donation.

Donations can be made during Mustangs home games or by contacting Megan Sneeringer in MCCC’s Foundation at 215-641-6535.

“Hoops for Hope” is one of MCCC’s “50 Acts of Kindness” as part of the College’s 50th anniversary celebration. Throughout 2014, MCCC students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters are committed organizing 50 acts of community service – one for every year of the College’s existence. To learn more at the College’s 50th anniversary activities, visit mc3.edu/50.

Prayers and Poinsettias is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization founded by MCCC alumna Mary Beatty, of Barto. The organization helps families with mothers who are battling breast cancer and cannot financially support their children’s education because of medical bills and loss of employment due to their illness. To learn more, email prayersandpoinsettias@gmail.com or search for Prayers and Poinsettias on Facebook.

College Introduces New Certificate Programs in Emerging STEM Disciplines

by Alana J. Mauger

Montgomery County Community College’s  Board of Trustees took action Wednesday to approve two new certificate programs in the emerging STEM disciplines of Biotechnology/Biomanufacturing and Cloud Computing.

“Both programs affirm Montgomery County Community College’s commitment to revitalizing our STEM programs and to building a pipeline of skilled science and technology professionals that will help shape the future of our region’s workforce,” said Dr. Karen A. Stout, president.

The 16-credit Certificate of Completion in Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing is designed to provide hands-on, industry-relevant training to students who already hold associate’s or bachelor’s degrees in science and who want to join the biotechnology workforce. It also provides an opportunity for individuals with degrees in other disciplines to retrain for careers in biotechnology and biomanufacturing.

“Biopharmaceuticals are the fastest growing segment of the pharmaceutical industry, and there is a growing need for trained technicians to manufacture these drugs, especially as generic versions start to be produced,” explained Dr. Margaret Bryans, assistant professor of Biotechnology at MCCC. “In addition to the four major pharmaceutical companies in Southeastern Pennsylvania, there are more than 100 small biotechnology companies in the Greater Philadelphia Region.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median salary for biological technicians ranged from $33,630-$45,380 in 2012, depending on the area of specialization. Overall, jobs in this field are projected to grow by10 percent through 2022.

The new 39-credit Certificate in Cloud Computing will train students in computer networking, cloud services, virtualization and data storage. Program graduates will qualify to take nine industry certification exams to validate their skillsets. The program is designed for Information Technology (IT) professionals, but interested students without an IT background may enroll.

“We’re seeing a massive movement to the cloud for both personal and business use, which means that IT professionals will be dealing with this technology in some manner daily,” explained Anil Datta, director of Information Technology programs at MCCC. “A recent Forbes study shows that, nationally, seven million cloud computing jobs will be introduced by 2015.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, computer occupations are expected to grow by 18 percent overall through 2022, with higher growth occurring in industries that provide cloud computing technology. In 2012, the median salary for all computer occupations was $76,270.

Both the Certificate of Completion in Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing and the Certificate in Cloud Computing are slated to begin in fall 2014.

To learn more about Montgomery County Community College’s STEM programs, visit mc3.edu/academics.

Heath Services Program Changes Enhance Pathways to Degree Completion

by Alana J. Mauger

Montgomery County Community College’s Board of Trustees took action Wednesday to approve modifications to the College’s Health Services Management Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) and Medical Coding Certificate of Completion programs.

Effective fall 2014, the changes align the programs with industry trends and requirements, while also building clearer pathways to degree completion.

The Health Services Management A.A.S. program is designed to provide graduates with a broad vision of health care management that enables them to seek employment in practices and businesses that employ medical coders. The program modifications remove a nine-credit concentration option in Holistic Health Studies and expand the nine-credit Medical Coding concentration into an 18-credit Medical Coding Certificate of Completion.

The Medical Coding changes expand professional certification options for graduates, depending on their qualifications and background. These include theAmerican Academy of Professional Coders’ Certified Professional Coder (CPC®) exam, as well as the Certified Coding Associate (CCA®) and the Certified Coding Specialist (CCS®).

The modifications also build stackable career pathways toward completion of the Health Services Management A.A.S. degree for students who complete MCCC’s Medical Coding Certificate of Completion, Medical Office Assistant Certificate of Completion, or Medical Assisting Certificate.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, the demand for qualified medical records and health information administrators is projected to grow by 22 percent through 2022, double the average growth rate for all occupations. The median salary for medical records and health information technicians in 2012 was $34,160, with the top 10 percent of workers earning $56,200.

To learn about programs in the field of Health Sciences at Montgomery County Community College, visit mc3.edu/academics.

MLK Day of Service Kicks off ’50 Acts of Kindness’

by Alana J. Mauger

BLOG DSCF1253Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) students, faculty, staff, alumni and community supporters joined thousands of individuals and organizations across the nation in honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Jan. 20 for an annual day of service.

Close to 150 participants – the largest turnout since introducing MCCC’s annual college-wide day of service four years ago – volunteered at three sites in Montgomery County: Habitat for Humanity ReStore in East Norriton, Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown, and Olivet Boys & Girls Club in Pottstown.

“We’re impressed with the turnout,” said Jenna Klaus, assistant director of civic and community engagement. “This is the first year we opened it up to alumni and partnered with an outside organization [AllForGood.org] for sign ups. As a result, we had several community volunteers join us, including 30 students and staff from Penn Christian Academy.”

In addition to honoring King, the day of service also officially kicked off the College’s “50 Acts of Kindness” initiative as part of its 50th anniversary celebration.

“In celebration of our 50th anniversary, we’re organizing 50 acts of community service throughout 2014 – one for every year since the College has been in existence,” explained Klaus.

According to Klaus, more than 35 activities are already on the books, with more being planned by MCCC’s student clubs and organizations.

To learn more about MCCC’s 50th Anniversary activities, visit mc3.edu/50.

For information about civic and community engagement at MCCC, email getinvolved@mc3.edu.

Photos by Alana J. Mauger, Megan Sneeringer, Diane Vandyke and Stephanie Wittig

College President Dr. Karen Stout Joins White House Summit on Student Access

BLOG White Housoe logoby Alana J. Mauger

BLOG KStout2013PhotoMontgomery County Community College (MCCC) President Dr. Karen A. Stout is among an elite group of leaders invited by U.S. President Barack Obama to participate in a White House Summit on Thursday, Jan. 16. At the Summit, approximately 140 leaders from higher education, philanthropic organizations, businesses and local and state governments will launch a plan of action for increasing college opportunity for low-income and disadvantaged students.

Prior to the Summit, invited leaders were asked to submit their goals in writing, thereby committing their institutions and organizations to take measurable actions to improve college access and ultimately completion for at-risk students.

“I am honored to represent Montgomery County Community College, and community colleges across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in these critical conversations around issues of student access. My participation underscores the College’s commitment and systematic improvements in the areas of access and completion that anchor our work as an Achieving the Dream Leader College,” said Dr. Stout.

“We have seen, firsthand, that when a student completes his or her education, the impact is multi-generational because of the positive effect higher education has on individuals, their families and, ultimately, their communities,” she continued.

Through Dr. Stout’s participation in the White House Summit, MCCC will focus on three specific initiatives aimed at improving access for low-income and disadvantaged students. These include redesigning student entry and advising processes, developing a multi-platform model for student engagement, and expanding its minority student mentoring initiative.

For the first initiative, Integrated Planning and Advising Services (IPAS), MCCC is redesigning its student entry and advising processes in a way that combines human capital with technological tools to allow for intrusive academic planning. The innovative and cost-effective program integrates analytical and communication tools to allow advisors, faculty and students to investigate course selection, monitor individual progress and coordinate academic intervention strategies, thereby increasing responsibility and ownership of student success among all stakeholders.

Next, MCCC is working to create a new model for student engagement. This prototype project looks to improve first-time students’ understanding of financial, civic and digital literacies – skills that are necessary for success in college and beyond. Through a series of engaging experiences across a range of platforms, the program aims to build continuous enrollment at the College, support completion efforts, and provide students with a set of tools that will enhance their success upon graduation.

The third initiative is an expansion of the College’s Minority Student Mentoring Initiative (MSMI). The initiative extends the support services of MCCC’s Minority Male Mentoring Program (MMMP), which was introduced in 2009 to help increase the retention and success of low-income African-American male students, to include low-income African-American and Latina female students.

The MSMI program connects participating students with caring mentors for guidance and support while providing opportunities for civic engagement, academic advisement, personal development and leadership development. Ultimately, students are challenged to develop the mental toughness, academic discipline and organizational skills necessary to achieve success.

All three programs are part of MCCC’s overarching Student Success Initiative, which works to expand access to higher education and increase student success through process improvements and support strategies that reduce the barriers for students to complete their education. In 2011, MCCC was designed as an Achieving the Dream Leader College, an elite group of 73 community colleges across the country that have demonstrated committed leadership, use of evidence to improve programs and services, broad engagement, and systematic institutional improvement.

During her 13-year tenure as MCCC President, Dr. Stout’s unwavering commitment to student access and success has impacted thousands of students, their families, and the community. In addition to laying the groundwork for the MCCC’s selection as an Achieving the Dream Leader Colleges in the nation, Dr. Stout helped to design and launch the College’s first comprehensive Honors Program and Minority Student Mentoring Program; expand support services for student veterans; re-introduce MCCC’s intercollegiate athletics program; collaborate with the Montgomery County Workforce Investment Board to deliver GED instruction to more than 800 community residents; and re-energize the College’s facilities to enhance teaching and learning, among many other accomplishments.

The impact of Dr. Stout’s leadership extends nationally, evidenced by her selection to participate in the White House Summit. A passionate advocate for community colleges, Dr. Stout serves as Chair of the President’s Advisory Board to the Community College Research Center at Columbia University Teacher’s College, is a member of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Board of Directors, is a Commissioner with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, and as a co-chair of the American Association of Community College’s (AACC) 21st-Century Initiative Steering Committee.

She holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership and a bachelor’s degree in English from University of Delaware, as well as a master’s degree in Business Administration from University of Baltimore.

New Campus Pantry Takes Aim at Student Food Insecurity

by Alana J. Mauger

According to the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger, 11 percent of all Montgomery County residents and 14 percent of the County’s children currently experience food insecurity – defined as “lack of access to enough food for an active healthy lifestyle.”

View Hunger Profile for Montgomery County

State and federal initiatives, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), provide vital support to children and families during times of need. However, according to the College and University Food Bank Alliance (CUFBA), food insecurity is a growing concern among the nation’s college students, many of whom do not qualify for traditional safety net programs.

Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) is among a growing group of colleges and universities across the country that is seeing increase in food insecurity among its students. That’s why, this spring, MCCC is piloting a new food pantry program for students enrolled at its campuses in Blue Bell and Pottstown, Pa.

Called the Stock Up For Success Program (SUP), students can pick up donated, non-perishable breakfast, lunch and snack items from designated individuals in MCCC’s Students Success Centers. The food is kept in locked cabinets, and the inventory is managed by the College’s Office of Student Leadership and Involvement.

“We want students to feel comfortable using the program, so the whole thing is very discreet,” explained Jenna Klaus, assistant director of civic and community engagement and SUP coordinator. “Students come into the Student Success Center, ask to see a SUP team member, and receive their food. Barnes & Noble [campus bookstore] donated a full box of plastic bags, so students won’t have to feel awkward about walking out with food.”

According to Klaus, the SUP initiative came out of collaborative discussions last summer between faculty and staff from some of the College’s access and success initiatives, including Keystone Education Yields Success (KEYS), Gateway to College, Minority Student Mentoring Initiative, and Student Support and Referral Team (SSRT).

“We know there is a growing number of students who need support for breakfast and lunch, but we’re not sure of the scale,” explained Klaus, noting that some four-year institutions provide full-scale food pantries on their campuses. “We’ll track numbers throughout the spring semester and use that data to help us determine our next steps.”

Klaus and the SUP team began soliciting donations of food and money from the College community in early November during a four-week Stock Up for Success campaign. That effort has already yielded 12 boxes of food and $420 – a good start to meet demand early in the spring 2014 semester, which started Jan. 13.

MCCC also welcomes support from members of the community. Non-perishable food donations — including microwavable lunches (macaroni and cheese, Chef Boyardee, Bowl Appetit!), To-Go Cups (peanut butter, tuna) mini cereal boxes, granola, Pop Tarts, instant oatmeal cups, trail mix, fruit cups, mini raisin boxes, juice boxes and mini bottles of water – can be brought to MCCC’s Student Leadership and Involvement Offices, located in College Hall 103 at the Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, and in South Hall 106 at the West Campus, 101 College Drive, Pottstown.

View Stock Up for Success information flyer

Monetary donations can also be made to the Stock Up For Success Program through the College’s Foundation.  Visit the Giving page on MCCC’s website, select “Give Now” and choose “Stock Up Success Food Pantry” from the drop down menu. Donations by check should be made out to “MCCC Foundation” with “Stock Up for Success” written in the memo line and mailed to 340 DeKalb Pike, East House, Blue Bell, PA 19422.

For questions about the Stock Up For Success initiative, contact Jenna Klaus at 610-718-1973 or email jklaus@mc3.edu.

For information about donating through the College’s Foundation, call 215-641-6530 or email giving@mc3.edu.

‘Legislator in Residence’ Program Brings Politics to Life For Students

by Alana J. Mauger

Each semester, Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) students enrolled in American National Government (POL 124) and American State and Local Government (POL 125) courses are afforded a unique glimpse into real-world politics.

Launched in fall 2012, MCCC Assistant Professor of Political Science Jodi Empol-Schwartz and Executive Director of Government Relations Peggy Lee-Clark developed a Legislator in Residence program in an effort to make the political process come to life for students.

The program brings Pennsylvania legislators and their staff members into six classes each semester to explain, from a first-person perspective, the concepts and information students read in their textbooks. The specific topics vary each semester; some topics from the fall included committee work, being a newly-elected legislator, working with constituents, and the difference between campaigning and governing, to name a few.

Prior to the guest lectures, students are required to research each legislator and develop questions.

“The students spend time outside of the classroom researching the guest speakers so that they can engage in a well-rounded discussion. The legislators do their homework, too; they take the role of instructor seriously and come well prepared,” explained Empol-Schwartz.

“The students can’t ask anything that can be found on the legislators’ websites or in their bios. I want them to research actual legislation. I encourage them to follow the legislators on Twitter and Facebook, and I provide them with links to tools like the General Assembly bill search,” she added.

At the end of the series, Empol-Schwartz’s students are required to select three legislators and their legislative staff to analyze in depth, and then they are asked to select one that embodies “a servant of the people.”

The program has prompted a number of students to seek internships in legislative offices, one of whom was later hired as staff.

“The program provides students with a unique perspective of state and local politics that, unless you’re in Harrisburg, you can’t experience,” shared Empol-Schwartz. “The discussions are intimate, respectful and genuine. The students can see that legislators do understand the issues impacting their communities and do care about the people. This program enables students to gain direct access to lawmakers without competing with outside interest groups.”

Going forward, Empol-Schwartz hopes that the Legislator in Residence initiative can continue to extend its reach political science classes.

“I would love to get legislators into every classroom – to make it a successful college-wide program,” she shared.

Pennsylvania Representatives Matthew Bradford and Marcy Toepel talked to MCCC Political Science students about party politics and governing in November 2013. Photo by Alana J. Mauger

Pennsylvania Representatives Matthew Bradford and Marcy Toepel talked to MCCC Political Science students about party politics and governing in November 2013. Photo by Alana J. Mauger