Month: October 2021


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ECC Employees Recognized With NISOD Excellence Awards


October 29, 2021 | Campus News

Three East Central College employees recently were recognized with 2021 NISOD (National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development) Excellence Awards.

The ECC award recipients are Amy DeMiere, program assistant, arts and sciences; Shanee Haynes, assistant professor of communications; and Stephanie Hebert, business analyst, Enrollment Services

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 receive a unique silver medallion engraved with The University of Texas and NISOD insignias and are adorned with a burnt orange ribbon. NISOD is based out of the University of Texas in Austin.

Amy DeMiere

DeMiere is truly committed to ECC and the community it serves. As a former student, she knows the difference we can make in someone’s life and she models that every day.Amy DeMiere

“Amy is the most selfless and supportive person I know — her willingness to not only help when needed but to anticipate problems before they come up and deal with them without seeking credit or wanting anything except to make the educational experience at ECC better is astounding,” said an ECC faculty coordinator.

“Amy is always kind to everyone she comes in contact with,” echoed a second college faculty coordinator. “Her professionalism is second to none. Her dedication to make the college better inspires all of us.”

DeMiere is described as intelligent, honest, ambitious, and possessing a strong work ethic. She is always happy, encouraging, and available to help the faculty, staff and students at ECC.

Shanee Haynes

Haynes is a devoted instructor in the classroom, and that devotion is supported through comments from students.

“Amazing instructor,” said one student. A second student stated, “I really enjoy that this instructor applies her coursework to real-life situations and makes sure that the students understand the information.”

Additional student comments about Haynes are:

“I loved her enthusiasm. She seemed to genuinely love teaching.”Shanee Haynes

“Mrs. Haynes is a great teacher. She is very understanding and helpful. She always answers in a timely manner, and never makes me feel stupid for asking a question”.

In addition to supporting her students in the classroom, Haynes is committed to civic engagement through her leadership in the month of service activities.

She also serves as an inspiration in serving online students and their unique learning needs.

Stephanie Hebert

Hebert is a dedicated colleague who works extremely hard behind the scenes on projects, reports and a multitude of other tasks.

Stephanie Hebert“Stephanie is committed to the college and cares about her coworkers,” said one ECC employee. “She is a thoughtful, tenacious and intelligent problem solver.

The college added that Hebert is always available to lend a hand when staff experiences an influx of enrollment-related needs.

“She is an excellent project manager, as demonstrated by her work to bring Aviso online and now with our move toward a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system for the college.


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ECC Receives Three Medallions for Communications and Marketing


October 28, 2021 | Campus News

East Central College received one Gold Medallion and two Silver Medallions in the 2021 National Council for Marketing & Public Relations (NCMPR) Medallion Awards.

The ECC communication and marketing team won the Gold Medallion for the social media or online marketing campaign category, the two Silver Medallions were awarded for the website and social media categories. The award ceremony was held on Oct. 10.

The NCMPR annually recognizes outstanding achievement in design and communication in each of its seven districts. The Medallion Awards are exclusive to marketing and public relations professionals at two-year colleges.

ECC is in NCMPR District 5, which includes Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, the Canadian province of Manitoba, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

“We had to make adjustments in how we reached students and the community due to the challenges and unknowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Gregg Jones, director of communications and marketing.

“Connecting with students virtually became increasingly important, and it is great to see our efforts recognized by our peers.”

The Gold Medallion was awarded for the “Featured Falcon” weekly Facebook and Instagram graphic. The Featured Falcon is published weekly to draw attention to ECC students and employees.

The Silver Medallion in the website category was awarded for www.eastcentral.edu.

“There has been a lot of work done to update the website and increase the speed to make it more user-friendly,” Jones said. “It has made a huge impact in our website analytics.”

Finally, the college received a Silver Medallion for its Facebook page in the overall Social Media category.

ECC’s communication and marketing team is comprised of Vice President of External Relations Joel Doepker, External Relations Executive Administrative Assistant Hannah Masek, Coordinator of Web Services Andy Kolb, Multimedia Specialist Amanda Studdard, and Jones.

Former ECC staff member Sara Padgett also contributed greatly to team projects over the past year.

The NCMPR is the leading professional development association exclusively serving those working in communication at two-year community and technical colleges.

NCMPR provides professional development opportunities, advocates on behalf of the profession and the institutions it serves and recognizes professional excellence. NCMPR has more than 1,700 members from nearly 650 colleges across the United States and Canada.


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Federal COVID Funds Used to Clear Outstanding Student Balances


October 27, 2021 | Campus News

Federal dollars are being used to help students continue their education with East Central College.

The College is using Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF) to eliminate outstanding balances of students who were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The balances were prohibiting those students from enrolling in classes.

More than 200 students that were enrolled in either the 2020 spring, summer or fall semesters; or the 2021 spring or summer semesters, will now have the opportunity to register for classes at ECC. Nearly $160,000 in funding is being used to clear the balances of 232 students.

“The U.S. Department of Education views the use of the HEERF funds as a tool to decrease barriers for students.” said Dr. Jon Bauer, ECC president. “We hope the students will take advantage of this opportunity to continue their education with us and complete their certificate or degree.”

Students will be directly contacted by the College alerting them to the opportunity to enroll in classes for the upcoming spring or summer semester, or the 2022 fall semester.

Interested students will need to contact their academic advisor or call Student Services at 636-584-6588.


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Rolla Nurse Shares her Story of “Socktober” to Help Others’ Mental Health


October 25, 2021 | Campus News ECC Rolla

On Thursday, Oct. 14, former East Central College student Amber Miller wore a pair of fuzzy black and orange knee-high socks, a pair she won’t wear again this month.

These days, wearing fun and colorful socks is something Miller, of Rolla, enjoys doing. She even dubbed this month, “Socktober,” and she spreads her message with others by giving colorful Halloween socks.

The brightly colored socks she gives away are accompanied by her story of depression and treatment.

It was 10 years ago that the Halloween socks became much more than a fun distraction, but instead a coping mechanism that kept her going day after day.

Miller, a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) who has taken many of her prerequisite classes at ECC, recently told her story to the college’s Student Government Association.

In September 2011, she was battling depression and she was in the middle of a suicide attempt when her mother called her.

“One of the biggest and most important parts of my story is that phone call from my mom,” Miller said.

“She just reached out.  She called at exactly the right moment,” she added. “We don’t know when people are suffering, because so many of us hide behind a smile or jokes or laughter.  I don’t know that anyone knew how isolated and alone I felt.”

For that moment, Miller said she was safe, but still battling depression.

Halloween Socks

The next day she went to a store in Columbia where she purchased a variety of Halloween, her favorite holiday, socks.

“I didn’t realize that those socks were giving me something to look forward to,” Miller noted. “I didn’t recognize that it was a very strange coping skill for my depression — I think I just felt like a very strange girl, who found a way to smile every day.”

The colorful, fun Halloween socks helped her get through a difficult October 10 years ago, Miller said. She then planned a Thanksgiving for the residents of the nursing home where she was working.

According to Miller, it was around Thanksgiving 2011 that she moved back home to seek treatment and her mental health improved.

Now she is married with two children and using the same tool she used for hope, Halloween socks, to let others in the community know that help is out there.

“I want to help people as much as I can, and I think a lot of that starts with helping people mentally,” Miller said.  “It’s hard to want to get better from an illness if you’re not feeling up to it mentally.

“I’ve seen a lot of people be more compliant with treatment with some gentle nudging to take care of their mental health first.”

Miller initially kept her Halloween sock tradition to herself, but after a few years, she began spreading joy and helping others.

“The biggest reason I started deciding to share the message though, is that someone I cared for very much was struggling with addiction,” she added.

“I know he must have had a great deal of depression, and I think I saw an opportunity to try to help him as well.  I was becoming more aware of my own feelings and emotions and recognizing what Socktober really meant to me.  I thought it could help him feel better too.”

Spreading Her Message

Miller’s mission to help grew, and she began mailing socks randomly along with her story and what the socks mean to her. The mailing also includes the phone number for the suicide prevention hotline and a P.O. Box number where people can reach out to her.

She also hands out socks to people around town, and this Thursday, ECC Campus Life and SGA will be giving socks to students during a Halloween costume contest. Along with the socks will be a printed paper with Miller’s story.

Halloween socks and Miller’s story will be available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Café Central atrium at the Union campus.

Today, Miller’s children, Marcia and Jack, and her husband, Ben, assist with the Socktober mission. Miller added that her husband is taking information technology classes at ECC in Rolla.

“My daughter loves Socktober and helps me pick my socks out.  My son has a few pairs and I put them on him sometimes,” she said. “My husband sat down and helped me package up socks this year.  He’s a wonderful guy, and incredibly supportive.”

This year Miller will give out 434 pairs of socks, including those that will be distributed at ECC.

“This is a huge number in comparison to past years and I am grateful for all who have helped with my endeavor,” she said.

Miller added that she is working with The Rolla Mission to give socks and share her story with those who are assisted by the organization. The goal, she said, is to “promote inspiration, wellness, and providing them with a small comfort going forward in their journeys.”

There is a GoFundMe account set up to help Miller with expenses for Socktober. To donate or learn more, people can visit the page at https://gofund.me/b12f17fe.


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College Ranked No. 4 Medical Assistant Program in State


October 22, 2021 | Campus News

East Central College’s Medical Assistant Program is ranked No. 4 in the state, according to Medical Assistant Advice, a website that serves medical assistant students and professionals.

The ranking was released during Medical Assistants Recognition Week, Oct. 18-22, a time to honor and recognize the students enrolled in, and the graduates of, medical assistant programs.

Medical Assistants Recognition Week is designated by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).

“The ECC medical assisting program is thrilled to be recognized as a top program within the state of Missouri,” said Director of Nursing and Dean of Health Science Nancy Mitchell.

“Our faculty are content experts and bring years of industry knowledge to the classroom to educate future Medical assistants. So, this week we celebrate East Central college’s medical assisting educators, current students and past graduates.”

Medical assisting is an allied health profession whose practitioners function as members of the health care delivery team and perform administrative and clinical procedures. With their unique versatility, medical assistants are proving to be the allied health professional of choice for this decade and beyond.

Medical assisting is one of the nation’s careers growing much faster than average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The AAMA is devoted exclusively to serving the professional interests and educational needs of all medical assistants. The association provides numerous services that help medical assistants put their careers on a successful and rewarding track and keep them there.

ECC Program

The MDA program is designed to train students to meet the needs of an ever-expanding allied health field. The Union campus and Rolla site offer a complete associate degree and a certificate option.

The main campus offers a traditional day program and the Rolla site offers an evening option to meet the needs of all students.

Medical Assistants directly influence public health through tasks include bookkeeping, coordinating appointments, patient interaction, coding paper and electronic health files. Medical Assistants may also take patient vital signs and help with injections, examinations and lab test preparations under a doctor’s supervision.

To learn more about the MDA program, visit www.eastcentral.edu/allied-health/, or contact Mitchell at Nancy.Mitchell@eastcentral.edu.


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College to Host Math and Science Career Night


October 20, 2021 | Campus News

East Central College will host a Math and Science Career Night Wednesday, Nov. 10.

ECC is teaming up with Missouri S&T to present the event, which allows for high school students and their families to meet with faculty and students from both institutions.

Math and Science Career Night will be held in the ECC gym from 7-9 p.m.

Missouri S&T will give a presentation on engineering careers after high school students and parents have an opportunity to talk one-on-one with representatives from both colleges.

High schoolers also will get advice on what they can do to best prepare for college while in high school.

STEM occupations are expected to grow by more than 10 percent through 2030. The average salary is nearly twice the salary of non-STEM jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

STEM occupations include computer and mathematical, architecture and engineering, and life and physical science occupations, as well as managerial and postsecondary teaching occupations related to these functional areas and sales occupations requiring scientific or technical knowledge at the postsecondary level.

For more information about Math and Science Career Night Linda Arrington at 636-584-6677 or email her at Linda.Arrington@eastcentral.edu.


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ECC Offering Second Health Care Pre-Apprenticeship Program


October 20, 2021 | Campus News

Another pre-apprenticeship program for those interested in entering the health care field will begin next month.

The two-month “boot camp” is designed to provide the necessary job skills for a career in health care, as well as a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) certification.

In addition to the CNA certificate, students also will gain skills that area health facilities need for their employees, such as customer Service, behavioral health review and CPR.

The pre-apprenticeship program comes at no cost to participants, and it will prepare people to care for clients in long-term care facilities, hospitals and home health agencies. Participants must be 18 years or older at the start of the program.

An orientation will be held Tuesday, Nov. 2, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the ECC Training Center (ECTC). The registration deadline is Nov. 9, but participants are encouraged to register prior to the orientation.

Boot camp classes also will be held in the ECTC on Tuesdays and Thursdays from Nov. 9 through Nov. 16. The CNA classes will be Nov. 18 through Feb. 25, also on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

For more information or to sign up, email Gretchen Pettet or 636-266-2181. This program is limited to 15 participants.

“The curriculum is specifically designed with our area health care facilities in mind.” said Terri Warmack, health care coordinator for ECC’s Center for Workforce Development (CWD).

“At a time when facilities are in desperate need of workers, our program provides the entry level skills and certifications for the pre-apprentice to be successful, as well as helping the area’s facilities start workers at a higher level of competency,” she added.

A key to the program’s success is the engagement and involvement of local employers, such as Sunset Health Care Center, in Union. Once the pre-apprentices finish the program, they will have the opportunity to continue their education into a registered Certified Medication Technician (CMT) apprenticeship program at ECC.

The program is funded as part of a $75,000 MO Apprenticeship Ready Program grant from the Missouri Office of Workforce Development.


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ECC Nursing Students Clinical Orientation Day


October 19, 2021 | Campus News

The first-year East Central College nursing students last week took the next step in their journey into the health care field.

The students were in full uniform Tuesday, Oct. 12, for clinical orientation day. Clinicals are a vital, hands-on portion of the nursing program curriculum.

This is the first semester in the ECC Nursing program for these students who were pictured during their Fundamentals of Nursing course.

The classroom and clinical components of the curriculum are interrelated to provide a strong background for students to become safe and competent practitioners.

ECC offers two programs leading to an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Nursing, which prepare students to become registered nurses.

To learn more about the ECC Nursing program, visit www.eastcentral.edu/allied-health/nursing/, or email Nancy Mitchell, Director of Nursing and Dean of Health Science, at Nancy.Mitchell@eastcentral.edu.


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A “Burning” Desire to Save Quail and Pheasant Habitats at ECC


October 18, 2021 | Campus News

Chances are good that if you’ve spent much time outdoors you’ve heard the familiar “Bob White!” call of a male quail courting the hens in the area and staking out his boundaries.

Unfortunately, the opportunity to hear those calls has become much less common, to the point that there may be no quail left in many areas where they once were often heard.

As we build more homes and expand farmlands to meet the food demands of expanding populations, wildlife has suffered the consequences the most. That’s where non-governmental organizations, like Quail Forever and Pheasants Forever in Missouri, become so important.

Pheasants Forever (PF) was founded in 1982 by dedicated outdoor enthusiasts to preserve pheasant populations by improving habitats and educating the public. A group of those concerned pheasant hunters saw the connection between declining populations and habitat loss.

They also saw that quail populations were dwindling across the country from those same issues, and Quail Forever (QF), a branch of PF, began in 2005. Efforts in conserving those bird populations are still at work today where PF/QF works diligently in most of the U.S. and parts of Canada, including Franklin County.

While habitat management and restoration are integral to wildlife management, habitat improvements have benefits to many other non-game species. Many of the wildflowers and grasses that serve as food and shelter for quail are also essential as food sources for multiple species of pollinators, giving benefit to a wide range of species in our local ecosystems.

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), nearly one-third of Missouri, including approximately 40 percent of the St. Louis metropolitan area, was prairie before westward expansion and settlement began. Today it is estimated that less than 0.5 percent of those original prairies remain.

Efforts in prairie restoration have been done in many areas of the state and nation, including at the campus of East Central College in Union.

In the early 2000s, Dr. Pat Woolley, ECC Professor Emeritus of Biology, worked with MDC, Shaw Nature Reserve and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to restore nearly 10 acres of property on the campus to tall grass prairie. Seeding of the prairie in native warm season grasses and multiple forbs (including many species of wildflowers that are native to the area) was done, and in only a few short years the project came to full maturity.

Several species of grasses and over 30 different wildflowers have been documented in the most intensively managed plot, a 4.5-acre section of land just off the college’s main drive, with a second plot of approximately 4.6 acres near the college’s training center.

These plots support many animal and insect species including many types of bees which are essential to crop and food production. Multiple butterfly species also call the plots home.

After Dr. Woolley’s retirement, management of the now-mature prairie fell to members of the ECC Biology department. In 2008, Kevin Dixon, associate professor of biology, took on the responsibility of managing the areas.

Dixon’s interest was spurred by his love of photography where he would take pictures of the wildflowers and pollinators throughout the blooming season from May through September annually.

In 2013, Dixon noticed that non-native Fescue and Sericea Lespedeza, an invasive species, were beginning to proliferate in the plots. With the help of biologists from MDC, a formal management plan was developed and a late-season prescribed burn was conducted in November 2015.

While the burn did accomplish two main objectives – the ridding of previous years’ thatch and setting back the invasive species – it had an unexpected result of boosting the growth of the tallest grasses, namely Big Bluestem and Switchgrass. This began to choke out the some of the wildflowers throughout the plot.

Another prescribed burn was needed to control the grasses, and the timing lined up well with the original management plan of burning every five years, so Dixon began to look for helping hands to conduct a burn.

Enter Quail Forever & Pheasants Forever.

A local landowner who is a member of PF/QF suggested to Dixon that he contact Wesley Hanks, who is the local PF/QF farm bill biologist. Hanks, a Franklin County native and an ECC alumnus, works with landowners in Warren, Franklin, and Washington counties, helping develop and maintain wildlife-friendly habitats, especially those that will benefit quail and other species of both game and non-game animals.

In early 2021, Hanks and Dixon met at ECC to discuss plans for a prescribed burn. Hanks, a technical advisor for the East Central Prescribed Burn Association (ECPBA), felt confident a burn could be conducted, and recommended doing so near the end of the growing season in early fall to bring back some of the lost diversity in the wildflowers and slow down the ever-thickening grasses.

According to the group’s Facebook page, “The ECPBA is a landowner-led group to conduct and promote the safe use of prescribed fire in Franklin and surrounding counties in East Central Missouri.”

These landowners are volunteers who share a passion for habitat management on behalf of wildlife, especially upland game birds like quail and pheasants. The ECPBA was organized in 2015 in cooperation with MDC, the National Wild Turkey Federation, and the Missouri River Valley Chapter of Quail Forever in Washington. The group obtained a grant to purchase a trailer and burn equipment to conduct prescribed burns.

Hanks contacted members of the ECPBA who gave their approval, and final planning began. On Sept. 24 the second-ever prescribed burn on the restored prairie plot was conducted at the college

There were 13 who turned out to do the burn, including five ECPBA members and four students from ECC’s General Ecology classes, who got hands-on experience with what it is like to use fire for the benefit of habitat management.

The entire procedure took a little over two hours from start to finish, with nearly all the downed thatch turned to beneficial ash which will provide much needed nutrients to subsequent years’ growth.

If you are interested in learning more about Quail Forever and/or joining the local chapter you can visit missouripfqf.org. If you are interested in learning more about and/or joining the ECPBA you can contact Wesley Hanks at whanks@quailforever.org or 636-649-3108.

 


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English Department to Hold STEM-Themed Poetry Contest


October 12, 2021 | Campus News

The East Central College English Department will hold its first-ever STEM-themed poetry contest.

The contest calls for poems with topics relating to Science, Technology, Engineering and/or Math, commonly referred to as STEM.

STEM isn’t the first thing that people think when writing or reading poetry, according to Josh Stroup, instructor and English department chair.

“The fields of math, science, technology and engineering have much more to do with poetry than one may think,” he said.

“Both poetry and STEM are about making the invisible visible, and we hope that writing about science and math will make that even clearer to our students.”

Submit poems as an email attachment to Stroup at joshua.stroup@eastcentral.edu. The deadline to submit is Wednesday, Oct. 27.

The top three winners of the poetry contest will win cash prizes of $25, $50 or $100. Winners will be announced via email on Nov. 16.

Listed below are the poetry contest submission guidelines:

  • Must be a current ECC student.
  • Entries must be typed in MS Word, Open Office or Libre Office.
  • Maximum of five poems per student.
  • Entrant’s name, phone number and email address must appear on a cover page with a list of poem titles enclosed.
  • Each poem must be single spaced, aligned to the left and in 12-point Times New Roman font.
  • Enter poems with topics relating to science, technology, engineering and/or math.
  • Please use imagery and avoid clichés.