Month: September 2020


Dr. Bauer Named to Rural College Board

September 28, 2020 | Campus News

East Central College President Dr. Jon Bauer recently was named to the Rural Community College Alliance (RCCA) Board of Directors for 2020-2021.

The RCCA assists member institutions that serve the 89.3 million people who live in rural America.

The Alliance promotes a more economically, culturally and civically vibrant rural America through advocacy, convening and leveraging resources. The RCCA also serves as a “clearinghouse for innovative practice, policy and research.”

“Rural community colleges like East Central are critical if we are to improve both access and success for students across the country,” Dr. Bauer said. “I’m pleased to serve on the board for the Rural Community College Alliance as we further this mission and address issues important to our sector.”

The RCCA board of directors is comprised of presidents and administrators of rural colleges and organizations across the United States.

Dr. Bauer was approved as a board member in August. His first meeting with the board was Thursday, Sept. 24.

The RCCA strives for increased state support and federal impact aid for community and tribal colleges, and aids member institutions in locating new funding sources.


Theatre Department to Deliver ‘Epic Proportions’

September 23, 2020 | Campus News Performing Arts Theatre

The East Central College Theatre Department is preparing for its second outdoor performance In the Glen.

The comedy, “Epic Proportions,” is set for Friday, Oct. 2 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 4, at 5 p.m. in the Theatre in the Glen — an outdoor performance series held on the grassy hill between the Shook Center and Hansen Hall.

There will be pre-show music by the ECC Band and food vendors, including Hazel’s Back Porch BBQ, Pinckney Bend, Happy Apples (Friday) and Old Fashioned Sweet Kettle Corn Company (Sunday).

For more information, or to buy tickets, visit The pre-show activities for Oct. 2 begin at 5 p.m., and Oct. 4 pre-show activities begin at 3:30 p.m.

Set in the 1930s, “Epic Proportions” tells the story of two brothers, Benny and Phil, who go to the Arizona desert to be extras in the huge Biblical epic “Exeunt Omnes.”

Things move very quickly in this riotous comedy and before you know it, Phil is directing the movie, and Benny is starring in it. To complicate matters further they both fall in love with Louise, the assistant director in charge of the extras

“Epic Proportions” was written by Larry Coen and David Crane and director by ECC Theatre Director Grace Austin.


The audience can purchase tickets for a square where they can sit on a blanket within a 10-foot by 10-foot square painted on the hill. Each square can seat up to six people.  No lawn chairs are permitted in the grass areas.

There also will be four-top table seats available for purchase on the bridge overlooking the Glen.

“Lawn Squares,” that can seat up to six people cost $20 and “Skywalk Seats,” that will seat four people, are $40.

Masks will be required unless audience members are seated in their lawn squares or at their tables. Walkways will be spaced according to CDC guidelines.

Social distancing will be observed while standing in line and there will be no tickets exchanged and all programs will only be available digitally.

In addition, each seat will be assigned to a bathroom in order to maximize space and safety.

Future Events

Other Music, Theatre, Art and Film & Lecture events planned in the Glen are the ECC Band Concert on Oct. 20; Classics & Cocktails: Anatomy of a Murder (Film & Music with the ECC Jazz Band), Oct. 22; and the Theatre Department’s performance of “Tales from the Shadows,” Oct. 28-30.

For more information visit or call the Box Office at 636-584-6693.


Nursing Student Changing Her Future

September 22, 2020 | Campus News

Elisha Griffith knew that one day she would become a nurse. In March 2018, she took the first step toward that goal at East Central College.

Griffith enrolled in a new partnership through the college’s Health Careers Workforce and the Adult Education and Literacy (AEL) program.

It was through this partnership that the Union resident could prepare for the High School Equivalency Test (HISET) and work toward her Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) certificate.

She took the HISET prep courses through AEL at the same time she was enrolled in CNA courses, which allowed her to enter the nursing program earlier than she had expected.

“I always knew that I would go into the nursing field and I didn’t have any excuse this time not go back to school,” Griffith said. “I decided that being a professional waitress was not enough for me.”

Griffith added that she knew it was time to seize the opportunity — for herself and her children who range in age from 2 to 13.

“I wanted to make sure we would never struggle,” Griffith said. “I am trying to make a great life for these kids. That is my goal.”

The hybrid program is designed to prepare nurses to care for clients in long-term care facilities, hospitals and home health agencies. It consists of 75 hours of classroom training and 100 hours of supervised clinical training. It also includes 100 hours preparation for the high school equivalency exam.

Griffith completed the CNA program in July 2018 and passed the HISET, on her first try, in August 2018.

The AEL staff, she said, helped her every step of the way, adding that Betsy Williams, AEL instructor; Terri Warmack, Health Careers Workforce coordinator; and Alice Whalen, AEL director, were great instructors and mentors.

She also was named to the 2019 National Adult Education Honor Society, which measures dependability, work ethic and attitude along with grades.

“I may have started late but I am determined, and I have been going strong every since,” Griffith said.

Soon after completing the CNA program, Griffith began working at St. Clair Nursing Center where she takes care of residents and assists with daily activities. A new career that she loves.

Continuing Education

But Griffith didn’t stop her education with a CNA certificate. Soon after completing the program at ECC, she enrolled in the Four Rivers Career Center Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program.

She said it was an intense two-year program, but she persevered and took the completion exam July 9.

Griffith still is awaiting the results of the LPN exam before she can enroll in the LPN to RN (Registered Nurse) Bridge program at ECC Rolla.

The Bridge program leads to an Associate of Applied Science degree in nursing.

It is designed for licensed practicing nurses to complete the RN classes in a format that specifically meets their schedules, including evening and every-other-weekend formats.

Griffith said she still needs a few prerequisites for the Bridge program, but she enjoys the coursework and she is ready to continue learning.

In addition to forging her own future, Griffith also recruited a cousin to the AEL/CNA program.

“She wants to get into the health field, so I got her in touch with Betsy (Williams),” she commented. “Now I will encourage and support her.”


According to Whalen, the AEL/CNA partnership program is offered on a case-by-case basis, depending on interest. She added that students must be at least 18 years of age at the start of the program.

To learn more about ECC’s CNA program people may call Warmack at 636-584-6531, or email

To learn about the AEL program and the HISET prep exam, visit or call 636-584-6533.

For more information about ECC’s nursing programs, including the LPN to RN Bridge, visit




Financial Aid Workshops at ECC

September 18, 2020 | Campus News

East Central College’s financial aid department will hold a series of workshops to help students fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) over the course of several evenings.

FAFSA Nights will be held in Buescher Hall, Union, room 103 and 214 from 5-6:30 p.m. on the following dates:

Thursday, Oct. 1;

Tuesday, Oct. 20;

Tuesday, Oct. 27;

Tuesday, Nov. 10; and

Thursday, Nov. 19.

In order to get the most out of the workshop, students are encouraged to bring their Social Security number, driver’s license, W-2 forms, 2019 federal income tax return, bank account balances, value of investments, value of business and/or investment farm.

Attendees must RSVP for the workshops. To RSVP or for more information call 636-584-6574 or email


Manufacturers Receive State Training Funds through ECC

September 17, 2020 | Campus News

Six local industries are benefiting from a total of $175,000 in matching grants from a state program that is designed to offset training costs.

Each company works with the East Central College Center for Workforce Development (CWD) to provide an opportunity for training, and to secure the funding from the Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED).

Through the Missouri One Start Customized Training program the following manufacturers were awarded matching training grants: Clemco, Washington; Ziglin Signs, Washington; WEG Transformers, Washington; Klauber Machine & Gear, Pacific; Hodges Badge Company, Inc., Washington; and Homeyer Precision Manufacturing, Marthasville.

The grants range from $5,000 to $50,000 this year.

Training provided by the CWD range from leadership development, safety training, introductory welding programs, project management to LEAN and Six Sigma training.

Each company matches 100 percent of the state funding. Learn more about the program by contacting the CWD team at, or visit

To learn more about CWD industry training and consulting visit

ECC Workforce Development

Benefitting Businesses

According to Robin Bellis, Clemco manager of contract administration and credit, Clemco has been utilizing Missouri One Start Grant Program funds for more than 10 years.

She said in this round of funding, Clemco will facilitate its Lean continuous improvement program; and fund training in software, industrial ventilation, metallurgy instruction and leadership.

“East Central College has been instrumental in developing and delivering several of the programs made custom for Clemco’s specific needs,” Bellis said. “In particular, the College built a specific curriculum for the metallurgy program that will be delivered on Clemco’s site at our convenience.

“We’ve found this type of custom training is most effective as it targets our very specific training requirements,” She added.

Bellis said the College has worked with Clemco to provide flexible training methods, including classroom sessions, on-site at Clemco and online options.

“The variety of venues and delivery options offered through the College have allowed us to schedule training at times and locations that best suit our employees,” she commented.

ECC Workforce Development

Lacey Oswald, with WEG Transformers, said the company will utilize funds to train new employees for a third facility slated to open in spring 2021.

“We will also utilize the funds to increase the skill base of our existing employees,” she said. “We are very excited to have the opportunity to invest in our employees in the manner.”

Oswald added that the College staff at the CWD have helped WEG with every step of the Customized Training Grant program.

“They help us coordinate finding vendors for training, they help us fill out our reimbursement forms, they even make sure our application is filled out correctly for the grant,” Oswald added. “Any time we have a question they are always there to walk us through anything we need.”


Henderson Receives National Excellence Award

September 15, 2020 | Campus News

Sue Henderson has served in many capacities at East Central College, and through those roles she exhibits a passion for student learning.

Her passion, as well as dedication, to students and education is why Henderson is a recipient of a NISOD (National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development) Excellence Award.

The assistant professor of English was nominated for the national award by one of her peers, who also noted Henderson’s relationships with other ECC faculty members.

“She has served East Central College in countless ways throughout the span of her career,” her nominator commented. “Whether inspiring students in the classroom, leading faculty organizations, spearheading assessment initiatives, or serving as a personal and professional mentor to her colleagues, Henderson’s gifts and talents have been transformative on individual and institutional levels.”

Henderson serves as the Chair of the Instructional Assessment Committee at East Central College.

“Her ability to champion change in best practices and models of teaching and learning doesn’t only stem from passion, but also from a significant commitment to professional development, research of best practices, and collaborative creations,” her colleague said.

Henderson recently completed a post-graduate certification in Assessment of Student Learning.

“This credential and her passion for continual improvement has positioned her as an engaging leader, not just among faculty, but campus-wide,” said a peer. “She takes the approach to welcome ideas from all staff and offer support, and she leads with latitude and respect.”

About the Award

The NISOD Excellence Awards is an opportunity for member colleges to recognize individuals doing extraordinary work on their campuses.

Each Excellence Award recipient receives a unique silver medallion engraved with The University of Texas and NISOD insignias and adorned with a burnt orange ribbon.

The overarching statement expressed through the award is that teaching and leading on the front lines of the community college mission rest on the shoulders of these outstanding individuals.


Student Creates Mask Clips for Health Care Workers

September 11, 2020 | Campus News

Earlier this year at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, East Central College engineering student Joe Jasper saw a need that fit his skill set.

Jasper, of the Leslie area, owns his own laser engraving business, “Creations with Character.”

Back in March when people working in nursing homes, hospitals, and other health care facilities began wearing masks there was a need for plastic mask clips, the St. Francis Borgia Regional High School graduate explained.

“I saw a few other people making the clips and I thought, ‘I could help with that,’ “ Jasper said. “I knew that with my engraver I could make quite a lot of them in a short amount of time — and I wanted to do something to help.”

According to Jasper, nurses, doctors, and others on staff at health care facilities were wearing masks for very long periods of time. The clips he designed help keep the masks off their ears by connecting the elastic bands behind their head and off their ears.

“After wearing the masks all day, every day, their ears started to feel it,” Jasper said. “That is the purpose of the clips, to get the elastic off their ears.”


In some cases, he added, the clips secured masks that were too big to fit properly on people’s faces.

Jasper bought cast acrylic sheets and used two engraving machines to create the small plastic clips engraved with his company’s name, “Creations with Character.”

“I can make a little over 200 clips per sheet (of plastic) and it takes 20 to 30 seconds per clip for the entire process,” he noted. “I can always make more — I have a lot of material.”

Giving Back

Jasper contacted area hospitals, including the Mercy Hospital Washington Emergency Room and Mercy Hospital St. Louis, and area nursing homes to see if there was a need for the clips.

Jasper donated more than 600 mask clips to various facilities, including Cedarcrest Manor and Victorian Place, both in Washington; and the Mercy Washington ER department.

He added that the clips that he did not donate to hospitals and health care workers were given to classmates in the Engineering Department at ECC, and family and friends.

“I like giving back to the community,” Jasper said. “The community helped me a lot with college and I enjoyed the volunteer work I did at Borgia (High School).”

In high school, Jasper volunteered for Exceptional Equestrians of the Missouri Valley, Inc. He also was vice president of the Leo Lions club, a youth organization of Lions Clubs International.

Jasper is in his second year at ECC and he plans to attend Missouri S&T in Rolla in the Fall 2021 semester.

His tentative plans are to dual major in Engineering Management and Mechanical Engineering, but Jasper said he may shift focus and study aeronautical engineering.

 Creations with Character

Since 2018, Jasper has operated his business from home, using the profits toward college tuition.

He explained that the machine can work on numerous materials, including leather, glass, and stainless steel.

Jasper, a Fourth Degree of the Knights of Columbus, has engraved leather circles on hats that he is selling for the 13th annual Knights of Columbus Journey for Charity Tractor Cruise this Sunday, Sept. 13.

A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Journey for Charity which raises money and collects canned food for area food pantries during a 30-mile parade through Franklin and Warren counties.

For more information or to contact Jasper, email, call 636-667-2010, or visit his Facebook page.



Pulles is NISOD Excellence Award Recipient

September 8, 2020 | Campus News

Keith Pulles, East Central College biology instructor, is a dedicated and passionate educator.

That’s just one reason that he is a recipient of a 2020 NISOD (National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development) Excellence Award.

The award is presented to college employees who do extraordinary work on campus.

According to a colleague who nominated Pulles for the award, he exhibits great passion for student learning.

“He embodies hard work, knowledge, and most importantly, passion in his work with students,” the nominator stated. “He is a dedicated educator who has developed an excellent rapport with his students.”


Pulles is the Chair of the Curriculum Council at ECC and he is leading the “Guided Pathways” model in regard to instructional excellence.

“His ability to champion change in best practices and models of teaching and learning is admirable,” Pulles’ colleague said. “He is quickly making his efforts known as an emerging leader on campus.”

His hard work and leaderships extend from the classroom to other areas of the institution.

“He was eager to serve on a committee and asked to be appointed as soon as a role became available. His willingness to serve shows his overall commitment to the college, his students, and the community,” his colleague said.

Colleges that are members of NISOD can recognize employees through the Excellence Awards. The awards are presented to faculty and staff who are doing extraordinary work on their campuses.

Excellence Award recipients receives a unique silver medallion engraved with The University of Texas and NISOD insignias and are adorned with a burnt orange ribbon.

The overarching statement expressed through the award is that teaching and leading on the front lines of the community college mission rest on the shoulders of these outstanding individuals.



Registration Open for Adult Education and Literacy Classes

September 4, 2020 | Campus News

Enrollment is open now for the East Central College Adult Education and Literacy (AEL) program.

AEL is registering students for both the High School Equivalency Test (HiSET) preparation and English language classes in multiple locations throughout the region.

The AEL program is free to everyone and there are both morning and evening classes available.

In addition to the HiSET prep and English language classes, AEL offers basic computer training, literacy tutoring and life-skills instruction.

All classes require an orientation during which class requirements will be discussed and testing assessments will be completed.

To register for orientation, send an email to or fill out the form at

Registration for both the Adult Education classes and the English learning classes are free and goes on year-round.

AEL offers college and career readiness classes during the day in Sullivan, Union, Rolla and Washington. Evening classes are available in Franklin, Crawford, Gasconade, Montgomery and Phelps counties.

The English language classes, which provide students with reading, writing, listening and speaking skills, are available during the day in Union, Rolla and Washington. Evening classes are held in Union and Rolla.

For more information about AEL, call 636-584-6533 or 844-ECC-4AEL (844-322-4235), or email



ECC, St. Clair District Team Up on Pilot Program

September 4, 2020 | Campus News

Five St. Clair High School students will explore high-tech, innovative manufacturing through a pilot program that partners with East Central College and utilizes the college’s state-of-the-art equipment.

The SCHS students are enrolled in courses through Project Lead The Way (PLTW) — a national, non-profit organization that provides computer science, engineering and biomedical science instructional programs.

The St. Clair R-XIII School District expanded its PLTW offering this fall by partnering with ECC to use its precision machining lab in ECC’s Business and Industry Center.

The students are using the equipment for a new engineering course, Computer Integrated Manufacturing.

In addition to the hands-on learning in the ECC lab, the five students will also earn college credit hours upon course completion. The students are Austin Hellebusch, Logan Hunter-Cockrum, Sebastion Vitt, Wyatt Strothcamp and Cody Ross.

“I am extremely excited about the opportunity our partnership with ECC is providing our students,” said Melissa Husereau, Director of Teaching and Learning with the St. Clair School District.

“This collaboration gives St. Clair students hands-on experiences while studying manufacturing planning, integration and implementation of automation while learning the technical skills needed to be successful in the workforce.”

On Aug. 31, the students and their instructor, Maurice Gritzman, held their first class at ECC. They were welcomed to campus by Vice President of Academic Affairs Robyn Walter, Dr. Richard Hudanick, dean of career and technical education; and Director of Early College Programs Megen Strubberg.

According to Strubberg, this is a great partnership for the students, St. Clair District and the college.

“Pairing incredibly talented PLTW students with state-of-the-art equipment on ECC’s campus allows students to work with equipment and technology resources not currently available at their high school,” Strubberg said. “Students in the program will also be eligible to earn dual credit that can be used toward a certificate or degree program at ECC, upon high school graduation.”

PLTW empowers students to develop and apply in-demand, transportable skills by exploring real-world challenges through computer science, engineering and biomedical science.

The students learn technical and problem solving skills utilizing critical thinking and creativity.

PLTW also provides training, resources and support for elementary, middle school and high school teachers.

Learn more about ECC’s Precision Machining Technology at