Month: June 2022

NISOD Excellence Awards Presented to ECC Employees

June 23, 2022 | Campus News

Three East Central College employees recently were recognized for their dedication to students, the college and their coworkers with 2021 NISOD (National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development) Excellence Awards.

The ECC award recipients are Erin Anglin, executive director of The Learning Center; Bobby Bland, welding instructor and program coordinator; and Bethany Herron, student services specialist.

NISOD is a professional development provider that offers programs and resources for community and technical colleges. Member colleges can recognize employees through the Excellence Awards, which are presented to faculty and staff who are doing extraordinary work on their campuses.

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

Erin Anglin

Erin Anglin, executive director of The Learning Center, was nominated for the NISOD Excellence Award by Megen Strubberg, director of early college and admissions.

“Erin embodies ECC’s core values of Collaboration, Integrity, Empowerment, and Learning on a regular basis,” Strubberg wrote in the nomination. “Despite her calm exterior, Erin is enthusiastic, thoughtful, and frank when it comes to finding new and improved ways to recruit and retain students.”

Strubberg added that Anglin takes a student-centered approach, which is beneficial due to her “front-row seat” to the journey of many ECC students.

“The beginning of the pandemic, she pulled her staff together to offer tutoring and testing services in expanded ways,” Strubberg said, adding that Anglin is working with ECC’s Early College and Admissions team to enhance retention efforts, from the beginning of the student life cycle.

“Under Erin’s leadership, The Learning Center has completely transformed from a somewhat lower-key spot for academic tutoring to a dynamic, welcoming place for students to know they are encouraged and valued,” she said.

Bobby Bland

Welding Program Coordinator Bobby Bland was nominated by Dr. Richard Hudanick, dean of career and technical education for “extraordinary work” he exhibits daily.

“Over and above his duties as a faculty member and a coordinator for East Central’s Welding program, Bobby continuously is setting the bar higher and higher for standards in classroom instruction and industry partnership relations,” Hudanick commented.

“On any given day, Bobby can be found critiquing the quality of weld-joints performed by his students to talking with industry partners to coordinate interviews for future graduates.”

Hudanick added that Bland volunteers for efforts in his ECC campus community outside the welding lab. That includes working with the theater department with welds for a prop or supporting ECC’s baseball team by assisting with a welding project near the baseball field.

“Bobby is truly a humble man who is always willing to put others first,” Hudanick said. “His endless energy level drives a sense of team spirit with his co-workers — Bobby is a great example of an individual who dignifies the NISOD Excellence Award.”

Bethany Herron

Herron was nominated for the NISOD Excellence Award by Stephanie Hebert, enrollment services business analyst.

“Bethany has worked tirelessly to support the Student Development Division for eight years,” Hebert said. “She is always willing to step up and do whatever she is asked.”

That has been especially true, Hebert added, during the past two years as Herron’s department has adjusted to working with students and staff in the virtual environment. During that time, Herron has trained multiple new employees who have been hired as a Student Service Specialists.

“She does it all with a smile and a can-do attitude,” Hebert said. “Bethany makes it a point to learn student’s names and will often follow up with students to make sure they are completing all of the steps required for admission, registration, financial and graduation — Bethany is a joy to work with and I am thankful to know her and learn from her.”

ECC, Missouri State Sign ‘Transfer 2+2 Plan’ Agreement

June 21, 2022 | Campus News ECC Rolla

There is now an even more seamless pathway for East Central College students transferring to Missouri State University in Springfield.

That’s thanks to a new articulation agreement between ECC and MSU creating a “transfer 2+2 plan.” The agreement was signed June 17 by ECC President Dr. Jon Bauer and MSU President Clif Smart.

Under this agreement, the two institutions will work together to develop transfer plans for ECC students who want to complete their bachelor’s degrees at Missouri State – either online or at the Springfield campus. It promotes the completion of bachelor’s degrees within 120 credits.

Dr. Robyn Walter

According to Dr. Robyn Walter, ECC vice president for academic affairs, many of the students at ECC transfer to four-year colleges or universities.

“We strive to ensure students are prepared for upper-level coursework. We want them to receive credit for the courses they have completed with transfer,” she added.

“Missouri State University is a high-quality and student-centered four-year partner, and we are pleased to add this agreement to our already strong relationship.”

Transfer 2+2 Plans

The transfer 2+2 plans offer a clear pathway to a bachelor’s degree and ensure students meet program requirements. Students also will be assured their credit transfers for all programs through this agreement.

Ultimately, students can save time and money through transfer 2+2 plans.

“Missouri State is pleased to enter into an agreement with East Central College,” said Dr. Joye Norris, associate provost for access and outreach at Missouri State.

“This agreement promotes a seamless transfer experience for students completing degrees online and on-campus. The agreement will support students during the transfer of an associate degree to a Missouri State bachelor’s degree program.”

East Central College President Dr. Jon Bauer, left, and Missouri State University President Clif Smart signed a new articulation agreement June 17 that provides a clear “transfer 2+2 plan” for ECC students to obtain a bachelor’s degree at MSU.

Food Stamp Recipients Eligible for Free Job Training

June 15, 2022 | Campus News

East Central College has funding available for eligible food stamp (SNAP) recipients to complete a short-term job training program at no cost to them.

The SkillUp program is funded by the Missouri Community College Association and the Missouri Department of Social Services, Family Support Division. The program is a component of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Family Nutrition Services (FNS) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The College has funding available for eligible students to enroll in one of several programs to complete an ECC certificate in less than 16 weeks.

According to ECC’s SkillUp Program Coordinator Melissa Willmore, the programs provide students with a competitive advantage. “The skills gained from the coursework strategically places the participant in a position to quickly enter the workforce, receive a competitive wage and begin their career.”

The programs offered include Certified Nursing Assistant, Certified Medication Technician, Certified Logistics Associate, Fast Track Welding, HVAC Technician, Manufacturing Maintenance Technician and IT Help Desk Technician.

Interested students need to contact Melissa Willmore at 636.584.6530 or

For more information visit


Buescher Hall Closed due to HVAC failure: June 13

June 13, 2022 | Campus News

The message from Dr. Jon Bauer regarding the Buescher Hall June 13 closure.

Due to the AC system being out indefinitely, Buescher Hall will be closing at 11 a.m. Please be in contact with your supervisor about plans for the day. Some advisors will be working out of the Shook Student Center. Other employees may work at home if feasible. For those unable to work elsewhere, leave will not be charged.

Tonight’s ECC board of trustees meeting will now be held via Zoom.

At this time, we do not have a firm estimate on when the AC will be functional again. We will notify you this afternoon or early evening about plans for tomorrow. We expect internal temperature in BH to approach 90 or more.

The rest of the campus will remain open.

If you are working with students who need services from the library or Learning Center, please provide the following:

  • Tutoring and Testing (The Learning Center) Assistance:  636-584-6741
  • Library:  Contact a Library staff member on the website chat system

Learning Center services will be remote today. TUTORING is still available via Zoom and our Online Writing Center. Students interested in scheduling tutoring should contact 636-584-6741 or for assistance.

The Learning Center webpage has additional resources and information. NetTutor is available after hours and overnight from 6:00p.m.-7:00a.m.

“Miracle on 34th Street: A Live Musical Radio Play” Brings Christmas in July at ECC Theatre

June 8, 2022 | Campus News Performing Arts Theatre

The East Central College Theatre Department will be celebrating “Christmas in July” with its summer production of “Miracle on 34th Street: A Live Musical Radio Play.”

The performances will be July 21- 23 at 7:30 p.m. and July 24 at 2 p.m. in the John Anglin Performing Arts Center in Hansen Hall. The show is directed by John Anglin with musical direction by Paula Nolley.

Anglin explained that the show is set in a New You City radio studio. The set is decked out with three large Christmas trees, and much more to bring the holiday season to life this July.

John Anglin and David Sutton are pictured Tuesday, June 7, with a 3D model of the set of “Miracle on 34th Street: A Live Musical Radio Play.” The pair worked on the set in the John Anglin Performing Arts Center in Hansen Hall. Anglin is directing the show that he calls “Christmas in July,” and Sutton is a cast member. Sutton has been in performances directed by Anglin spanning five decades. This summer’s show will be July 21- 23 at 7:30 p.m. and July 24 at 2 p.m.

“This is really going to be a great show,” he said. “The whole show is in a radio studio with a lot of sound effects going on — we are going to have a lot of fun.”

The musical was adapted from the 1947 Lux Radio broadcast by Lance Arthur Smith with original songs and arrangements by Jon Lorenz. This heartwarming, family-friendly classic includes live foley effects and jazzy arrangements of holiday carols.

To order tickets, visit For questions regarding tickets, contact the Box Office at 636-584-6693 or

Anglin noted that he handpicked the cast members, who he knows will bring a lot of great energy and fun moments to the production.

The cast is: David Sutton, Lydia Clary, Elizabeth Clary, Andrew Clary, George Meyer, Darrell Herron, Bethany Herron, Carol Buescher, Patty Kellmann and Nora Clary.

“It is a great cast of heavy hitters,” Anglin commented. “I have been working with some of the cast members for many years.”

That includes Sutton, who has been on stage in Anglin’s productions spanning five decades.

Anglin added that this production is a family affair, with father and daughter Darrell Herron and Bethany Herron; and four members of the Clary family — Andrew and Elizabeth, and their daughters Lydia and Nora.

Each summer, Anglin selects and directs a show at the College. He said he picked “Miracle on 34th Street: A Live Musical Radio Play” based on the script.

“I really like it and I don’t ever do a show I don’t really like,” he said. “If I am going to be thinking about it for a good year, I don’t ever want to do a show that I don’t enjoy.”

First Early College Academy Class Graduates from ECC. . . Before Graduating High School

June 3, 2022 | Campus News

Collegebound students typically receive their high school diploma two to four, sometimes more, years before they walk across the commencement stage with a college degree.

But the last two years for 10 Union High School graduates has been anything but typical.

These students — the first class of East Central College’s Early College Academy (ECA) — graduated from the College almost two weeks before graduating from UHS.

Technically, their college degree is tethered to their high school diploma, but these 10 graduates, seven girls and three boys, attended the ECC commencement ceremony May 14 and the UHS graduation was May 26.

The misaligned milestones celebrate the grads successfully completing the ECA while earning 60 college credit hours, two diplomas and giving them a unique story to tell.

The first cohort of the ECA began with UHS juniors in 2020. This May was the culmination of that two-year experience.

“The first ECA class has graduated!” exclaimed Megen Strubberg, director of early college programs at ECC, who has overseen the program since Day 1.

ECA students attended classes at UHS and on the ECC campus with the goal of earning an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree, at the same time as, or before in this case, their high school diploma.

According to Strubberg, not only was the program successful in its goal of graduating the students, the 10 grads excelled at ECC and UHS.

“It was so fulfilling watching these students learn and excel at college life — both academically and personally,” she said. “Their hard work was reflected in their grades and their reputation for being active, present and involved on campus.”

Three students maintained a 4.0 college GPA at ECC, she said, and three of them were named to UHS’s Top 10 List of Graduates.


ECA students are transferring to a variety of four-year schools, including the University of Missouri-Columbia, Missouri State University, University of Concordia in Wisconsin, Lindenwood University, Southeast Missouri State, Central Methodist University at ECC, Truman State University, and University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

Strubberg noted that several of the ECA grads were awarded external scholarships, in addition to the scholarships from their destination school.

“Six of the 10 graduates shared their transfer institution award letters with us,” she added, “and those institutional scholarships totaled over $80,000.”

Strubberg further added that the Academy grads will pursue a wide range of fields, such as psychology, interior design, molecular biology and biochemistry, cinema arts, business, actuarial science, physical therapy, computer science, and nutrition & exercise physiology.

Growing Program

UHS piloted the ECA alone for the first year, but in the Fall 2021 semester, three other high schools — Washington, St. Clair and Sullivan — joined UHS juniors to make the second class of the ECA. There are 35 ECA students slated to graduate in May 2023.

Strubberg and her department learned several lessons since the program’s inception.

“The most important thing is that students must enter the program willing and ready to grow – both academically and personally,” she said.

“They may be challenged in ways they have never encountered before, which includes an increased demand on their ability to manage time, stress, and intellectual growth,” Strubberg added. “We have embedded these lessons in our revised information sessions, onboarding, and support throughout their time at ECC.”

Just like other first-term ECC students, the Academy students take a Falcon Seminar course, but the high schoolers have, “more frequent contact with supporters along the way,” she said.

According to Strubberg, it takes a special type of student to participate in the Early College Academy.

“Every successful graduate of this program will face a challenge — or even a few,” she said. “These could be academic challenges or feeling overwhelmed by it all.

“One of the most valuable takeaways that students can learn is really a life skill more than an academic skill,” Strubberg added. “It is the importance of being a self-advocate and reaching out to resources and supporters early and often.”

For some, a significant challenge is entering the ECA at the top of their academic class in high school, but then hitting bumps in the road.

“They may get their first C, D, or even F on an assignment, which can be devastating in the moment,” Strubberg commented. “A student’s level of resilience, ability to learn and lean on supporters to push through that experience, course correct, and reengage in the course is what creates a successful ECA graduate.”

Anyone with questions can call 636-584-6723 or email

For more information, visit

Cuba Resident Finds Calling in ECC Welding Lab

June 1, 2022 | Campus News ECC Rolla

Nearly two years ago, Jessica McMillan Brown picked up a copy of the Cuba Free Press that featured a story about a mother and son taking welding courses together at East Central College.

The story was written about Bridget Teaters and her son, Wyatt Watkins, of the Bourbon area, who both were enrolled in the 16-week Fast Track welding program at ECC. Watkins and Teaters earned their welding certificates in 2020.

The thought of enrolling in welding courses intrigued Brown, she said. So, she clipped the article from the paper to hang onto it.

Brown added that she saw similarities between herself and Teaters. They are both women interested in welding, a male-dominated field, they both have sons and are from the same area — Brown from Cuba and Teaters from Bourbon.

Brown explained she had been working in the health care field and following a series of unfortunate events, she began to reevaluate life for her and her son, Justin.

“That’s around when I read (again) the newspaper story about Bridget and her son welding together, and naturally, the story pulled on my heartstrings, a lot,” she said. “So much in fact, that I can honestly say it has changed the course of my life forever.”

Brown was approved for Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development funding and Pell grants. She registered for the FastTrack welding program.

“I knew that continuing my education would be the best thing I could for myself and my family,” she said.

Beginning the Program

Yet, Brown said, she still was nervous about the new venture, and the shift of career focus from one she had worked in for many years.

But Brown received an email from her instructor — Teaters, who was working for her first time as welding adjunct instructor.

“My nerves settled immediately,” Brown said. “That was a good way to start off 16 weeks of classes.”

It wasn’t long and Brown knew she made the right decision.

“ECC and the Business and Industry Center (BIC) have so much to offer, from the most knowledgeable instructors to the extremely helpful and pleasant staff in the BIC, and on the main campus,” she said.

Brown noted that everyone associated with the welding program and the BIC has helped ensure her success.

“It was love at first sight when I was briefly introduced to the welding robot, and the waterjet cutting machine — well basically everything I’ve come in contact with within that facility so far, and it’s bringing out this side of me I had no idea existed until recently,” she said.

Following the 16-weeks of courses, Brown received a certificate of specialization in welding.

Brown is now working on an Associate of Applied Science in Applied Technology degree, which allows her to stack certificates from varying technical areas into a degree.

AWS Scholarship

Last week, Brown was notified that she will receive the American Welding Society (AWS) Samuel Gentry Scholarship for $5,000.

Brown encourages other students to apply for scholarships and grants, like she did, to help cover tuition cost, fees, books, supplies and more.

“I will graduate with my associate degree completely debt-free,” she said. “I think a lot of people never take the chance on going to college because of the debt but there are so many resources out there — if you put in the work and do your research to locate these resources, it literally pays off.”

Women in Welding

When Teaters was working toward a Certificate of Specialization two years ago, she was the only female student in the program.

Brown was one of two females in the welding program while working toward her certificate this past spring.

According to Bobby Bland, welding program coordinator, that fits the trend of a low percentage of women who choose welding as a career.

“Women tend to steer away from the welding industry,” he said. “There is nothing in welding that a woman can’t excel at — from the welding process, supervisory positions, to owning a company — women have the opportunity to have an exciting career in welding.”

Bland, who has worked across the country as a welder, added that women are, “in high demand to fill a variety of welding jobs within Franklin County and across the nation.”

Brown added that a career in welding may not be for everyone, but for her, it was a welcome change.

“I have always had office jobs and I was ready for something new,” she said. “I wanted a hands-on job, one where I could get dirty, and I hope one day my son will have these kinds of skills.”

Brown said she did not know what to expect when enrolling in the welding course, but she is glad she took the chance.

If others read about her journey to ECC, like she did with Teaters, they may make a positive life-changing decision as she did, Brown commented.

“If one person is impacted, that’s great,” she said. “If it is a female, even better.”

“Anyone who is on the fence about a mid-life career change — male or female, it doesn’t matter — don’t wait.  Life is too short to be unhappy in a job.”