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Mike Janecek, automotive instructor, hooks up a clip car to a scanner Friday at North Platte Community College. The clip cars allow students in the automotive technology program to easily observe and practice skills they hear about in the classroom.
Don’t let their size fool you.
The cars parked in the automotive technology shop at North Platte Community College may be little, but the role they play in training students is huge.
In an effort to increase the number of registered nurses in Nebraska with bachelor’s degrees, the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing will provide early, guaranteed admission in the RN to BSN program for qualified students enrolled in associate degree nursing programs at the six community colleges in the state.
The intent of the Nebraska RN-BSN Collaborative is to encourage seamless transfer opportunities for students and enhance communication between the institutions. The agreement also is one strategy towards Nebraska’s goal of attaining 80 percent of registered nurses with BSN degrees, said Juliann Sebastian, dean of the UNMC College of Nursing.
“With an increased need for BSN qualified nurses, this partnership shows a commitment across the state of Nebraska to provide qualified nurses to our local hospitals and clinics,” said Jody Tomanek, area vice-president of academic affairs and North Platte Community College. “The community colleges are pleased to partner with UNMC on this venture that will be beneficial to students, colleges and employers.”
The six community colleges are: Central Community College, Kearney/Grand Island; Metro Community College, Omaha; Mid-Plains Community College, North Platte/McCook; Northeast Community College, Norfolk; Southeast Community College, Lincoln; and West Nebraska Community College, Scottsbluff.
“This will be a wonderful opportunity for students and will help boost the BSN pipeline in the state,” Sebastian said. “One of the most exciting things is each community college worked with our faculty to design the program in a way that will work optimally for students and strengthen opportunities for seamless progression from the associate to the baccalaureate degree.”
She said the program is streamlined and has been customized to meet the needs of registered nurses. Students at the community colleges still will have opportunities to apply for any UNMC nursing program of their choice, Sebastian said, but the agreement provides a unique early entry option for students who meet the qualifications.
Community college students approved for early admission will have completed at least one quarter of nursing coursework and have a minimum GPA of 3.25. Students will be admitted pending completion of the ADN program and attaining their registered nursing license.
The RN to BSN program requires 20 credit hours and is delivered online. An additional 11 credits are required and are met through documentation of professional and educational accomplishments.
The program is designed to bridge the gap between the credit hours students already have taken in their associate degree programs and what they need for a BSN. Flexibility of the program enables students to finish it full time in two semesters or part-time over three years.
Applications will be accepted in February 2015 for the semester that begins in August 2016. Guaranteed spaces will be made available at the beginning of each academic year for a select number of students.
Lynnette Leeseberg Stamler, professor and associate dean for academic programs at the UNMC College of Nursing, said the RN to BSN program provides skills and knowledge in leadership, teamwork, critical thinking, best practices, patient safety and quality improvement. It also provides education in population-based care.
According to a 2012 report by the Nebraska Center for Nursing, 48 percent of the 20,434 registered nurses working in Nebraska have earned a BSN. About 51 percent of nurses in the nation have a BSN degree, Stamler said.
Three instructors from Mid-Plains Community College have been selected as Excellence in Teaching recipients by the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD).
The full-time instructors are Nicole Kissinger and Anne Schmit, and the adjunct representative is Carla Long. It’s the first time MPCC has allowed adjunct faculty to be nominated.
“It is always wonderful when we can recognize the accomplishments of our faculty whether they are full-time or part-time,” said Jody Tomanek, area vice president for academic affairs and NPCC. “This particular award is based on nominations from the faculty, themselves, so to be selected is really a recognition by their peers as well.”
NISOD’s Excellence Awards recognize men and women each year who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment and contribution to their students and colleagues.
The three recipients from MPCC will be presented with awards at NISOD’s annual International Conference on Teaching and Leadership Excellence, May 23-26, in Austin, Texas.
They will receive a specially cast, pewter medallion, and their names, titles and college they represent will be included in a commemorative booklet.
“Recognizing those individuals who have contributed to student success and their colleges’ mission is something we look forward to doing each year,” said Edward Leach, NISOD’s executive director. “The extraordinary work of these men and women includes not only what they do for their students and colleagues, but what they do for the communities in which they live and work. We’re honored to be able to play a part in celebrating their achievements.”
Created in 1978, NISOD is an organization committed to promoting and celebrating excellence in teaching, learning and leadership at community and technical colleges.
NISOD supports its member colleges by providing professional development resources and learning experiences, including practitioner publications, webinars, the international conference and the excellence awards.
The first NISOD Excellence Award ceremony was in 1989. Response was so positive that NISOD launched what has become the largest gathering to recognize contributions and achievements of community and technical college faculty, administrators and staff.
Ryan Purdy speaks during an all-campus meeting earlier this month. Sunday will mark the three-year anniversary of his presidency at MPCC.
It’s been almost three years since Ryan Purdy took over the helm as president of Mid-Plains Community College. Although relatively short in duration, his leadership has been accompanied by a tremendous amount of success.
“There were a lot of good systems in place when I stepped into the job,” Purdy said. “It was just a matter of expanding on the groundwork.”
Knitting, crocheting and beginning clothing construction are just a few of the fun, arts and crafts classes MPCC offers. Complete listings can be found through any MPCC campus.
Crochet For Geeks, Ballroom Dancing and Pesky Virus Removal, those are just a few of the classes that will be offered at Mid-Plains Community College this spring.
“We have classes geared toward anyone 15 or older,” said Angela Raby, area director of the Mid-Plains Center for Enterprise. “The focus is adult short courses, and there’s a blend of online and on the ground training opportunities.”
Administrators at Mid-Plains Community College issued a response Monday to President Barack Obama’s idea that tuition at community colleges should be free.
MPCC President Ryan Purdy said it’s too early to tell exactly what the proposal will mean for community colleges, but he does appreciate the national attention they are getting.
“It’s a great opportunity to identify community colleges as the way to bridge the gap in business, industrial and technical training,” said Purdy.
His concerns include the red tape and accountability that would accompany such an action and whether Nebraska’s community colleges are staffed to handle any mandated compliance requirements.
“Free sounds great if you’re a student,” said Purdy. “But, from the taxpayer standpoint, the cost may exceed the anticipated outcomes.”
He said tuition makes up 20-35 percent of the general fund budgets of community colleges statewide. According to Purdy, the tuition revenues that would have to be replaced by state and federal money would be in the tens of millions of dollars per year just for Nebraska alone.
Obama unveiled the proposal, known as America’s College Promise, on Friday, and the White House issued a press release about the matter.
“Today, more than ever, Americans need more knowledge and skills to meet the demands of a growing global economy without having to take on decades of debt before they even embark on their career,” the press release reads.
The proposal is likened to a movement about a century ago to make high school widely available. The White House credits that movement to a rapid growth in the education and skills training of Americans, which drove decades of economic growth and prosperity.
“America thrived in the 20th century, in large part because we had the most educated workforce in the world,” the press release reads. “But, other nations have matched or exceeded the secret to our success.”
Success of the new proposal would require a team effort, according to the White House. Community colleges would have to strengthen their programs and increase the number of students who graduate, states would have to invest more in higher education and training and students would have to take responsibility for their education, earn good grades and stay on track to graduate.
The White House maintains that if all states participate, an estimated 9 million students could benefit, and a full-time community college student could save an average of $3,800 in tuition per year.
MPCC officials don’t believe attendance costs should ever be a deterrent to people taking college classes.
“Our Mid-Plains Community College system prides itself on its accessibility, and probably more importantly, its affordability,” said Chuck Salestrom, area associate vice president of public information and marketing for MPCC. “We have a wide variety of funding mechanisms in place to underwrite costs such as Pell Grants, scholarships and tuition waivers. If used correctly, a student can graduate here with little or no debt.”
Those interested in taking aviation classes will now be able to do so through Mid-Plains Community College via distance learning. The course is currently taught in Valentine.
“We look forward to offering this course in other areas,” said Jennie Nollette, Valentine extended campus coordinator. “We had interest in North Platte and Ogallala, so it seemed like a great time to get this started.”
Les Olsen will teach both a Basic Ground Training and an Advanced Ground Training class – each worth three credit hours. The classes are offered at the same time, so students will have to choose one or the other.
Basic Ground Training is for people interested in earning either a pilot’s certificate or a ground instructor certificate. Successful completion prepares students for a federal written exam.
Advanced Ground Training is for those wanting more than a basic knowledge of flight. The focus is advanced systems, instrument flight and complex aircraft operation. Completion qualifies the student for instrument flight written examinations.
The classes are scheduled for 7-10 p.m. on Tuesdays from Jan. 27-May 12. The cost of each is $282. Registration can be done online at mpcc.edu, or by calling 402-376-8033.
It’s easier than ever to receive an education from North Platte Community College. That’s because NPCC is increasing the number of night classes it typically offers in an attempt to work around people’s busy lives.
“For the most part, Mid-Plains Community College is about the ‘As’ - accessibility and affordability,” said Chuck Salestrom, area associate vice president of public information and marketing for MPCC. “Classes, both academic transfer and technical, taught at night are a viable option to learning for the love of learning or the completion of a degree or certificate.”
A variety of night classes for academic credit are available. They include those in the accounting, arts, business, chemistry, computer science, education, medical laboratory and information technology fields among many others.
Emergency medical personnel have the chance to learn about patient assessment, airway management and ventilation, instructor training and emergency medical technician skills.
Fire prevention and investigation and Hazmat awareness and operations are some of the things discussed during fire science technology night classes.
Classes for the technical trades are also offered. They include training in refrigeration and air conditioning, automotive preventive maintenance and minor repair, welding and auto body painting and refinishing.
Introduction to coaching, power sculpting and prevention and care of athletic injuries are among the physical education classes featured.
Numerous hobby classes such as furniture upholstering, furniture repair and cabinet making are also available.
Many of the night classes start Jan. 12 and run through April or May. Sessions last approximately three hours.
Scholarships and tuition waivers may still be available for those who qualify, and people 62 or older can take advantage of a senior discount.
Registration can be done online at mpcc.edu, or by calling 800-658-4308 ext. 3774.
A professional truck driving course is being rolled out at Mid-Plains Community College this month. Classes begin Jan. 12.
“We are so excited to offer this course to meet area workforce development needs,” said Crystal Welch, area operations manager for the MPCC Center for the Enterprise. “This is a blended course with online classroom instruction. It provides flexibility to students who have full-time jobs, but want to explore a new career.”
The intensive eight-week program is designed for people without trucking experience who want to complete commercial driver’s license (CDL) training in as little time as possible.
It prepares students for a career in intrastate and interstate commerce. Training includes driving on city streets and rural roads as well as on two-lane highways and interstate systems.
Chris Barber, of Cozad, takes advantage of the Career Services Testing Center on Monday at North Platte Community College. In addition to educational testing for students, the center also provides certification testing for the public.
North Platte Community College remained relatively quiet leading up to the winter holiday break this week. There was, however, one exception.
A steady stream of people flowed through the Career Services Testing Center on the north campus. Most were there to take pre-employment testing – in the hopes of starting a new year with a new job.
Data Analysis has been named the continuing education Course of the Year for 2014 by the Learning Resources Network (LERN), the leading continuing education association in the country.
The continuing education unit at the Mid-Plains Center for Enterprise offers a certificate in data analysis. The course is composed of three one-month online courses. Data analysis experts serve as instructors, providing frequent feedback and online discussion.
“Data analysis is a new 21st century skill for the workplace,” said William Draves, LERN president. “The interest in it from people in all sorts of occupations and fields zoomed this year. The vast majority taking courses in data analysis see it as part of their job - as one of the new skills they need to incorporate into their skill set.”
According to Draves, the area of data analysis has emerged in just the last few years. Popularity-wise, it has replaced social media in business, the previously top trending course in continuing education.
LERN data shows that nationally more than 100 continuing education units in colleges and universities that didn’t provide data analysis last year now offer it.
“We have had all this data. Now we can do something with it,” says John Rutledge, who teaches a course in data analysis. “Data analysis is now an integral part of a business organization’s drive for efficiency. It can help increase income or decrease expenses. It also drives efficiency in the use of people’s time.”
LERN is the largest continuing education association in the nation, counting more than 1,100 educational institutions throughout the U.S. and Canada as members.
More information about Mid-Plains Center for Enterprise offerings, is available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jane Hornung receives a plaque from Mid-Plains Community College President Ryan Purdy on Wednesday night during her final MPCC Board of Governors meeting. Hornung has served on the board for the past 29 years.
It was a good time to leave.
That’s how Jane Hornung felt about stepping away from the Mid-Plains Community College Board of Governors after 29 years of continuous service.
“I think the board is in a good place,” said Hornung, of Arnold. “I feel like I can leave them and they will behave themselves when I’m gone. The leadership at the college is stronger than it’s ever been.”
Mid-Plains Community College President Ryan Purdy presents Pat Wood with a plaque Wednesday night. Wood was honored during a MPCC Board of Governors meeting for his time spent serving on the board. Other outgoing board members recognized included Jane Hornung, Glenda Hasenauer and David Lynch, who resigned earlier this year.
Marge Kouba, nurse educator for Mid-Plains Community College, moves an enteral feeding pump Wednesday in the Health and Science Center. Kouba is retiring after nearly 40 years in the nursing profession.
She’s spent her life caring for others, now Marge Kouba is getting the chance to enjoy some time to herself.
“I think I wrote down Dec. 23 as my retirement date,” said Kouba, nurse educator at Mid-Plains Community College. “But, because of Christmas break, my last day will actually be Friday.”
Trevor Blake practices his nursing skills on a mannequin simulator Tuesday at the North Platte Community College Health and Science Center. He’s one of five men in the Mid-Plains Community College nursing program this year.
Who says nursing is only for girls? Trevor Blake doesn’t believe it is, and he’s out to prove the stereotype wrong.
Berva Arensdorf, area employment services coordinator for Mid-Plains Community College, proofreads a résumé Tuesday. It’s one of many ways staff at the MPCC Career Services Center prepare college students for life after graduation.
Not all college students know what they want to be after they graduate.
Narrowing down options and finding the best match for a particular personality can be challenging, which is where the Career Services Center at Mid-Plains Community College comes into play.
“If our students have gone through the technical preparation for a job, then I think we owe it to them to make sure they’re prepared for the application process,” said Berva Arensdorf, MPCC area employment services coordinator.
The Career Services Center is a comprehensive assessment and career planning resource available for free to students within MPCC’s 18-county service area.
“We offer formal workshops, but can also work with people on an individual basis whenever they need us,” said Arensdorf.
A variety of screening assessments are used to help students discover their strengths, interests, values and aptitudes. Data showing projected job outlooks, salaries, education requirements and training opportunities is also provided.
The Career Services Center walks students through every step of the job application process, from creating a cover letter and résumé to preparing for an interview.
“I always tell students there are some things they have complete control over,” said Arensdorf. “Résumés and cover letters can be error-free, but when it comes to interviews, those are a little bit harder to plan for. If there’s one thing we see on a regular basis, it’s a lack of interview preparation and understanding of how important practice is.”
Staff in the Career Services Center conduct mock interviews upon request. If distance is an issue, Arensdorf sets up practice interviews between students and qualified individuals closer to them.
“We teach job applicants what to wear to an interview, how to interact with employers, how to appear confident - basically everything from the opening handshake to the thank-you note at the end,” Arensdorf said.
The Career Services Center serves as a liaison between local employers and students. It maintains an electronic job posting system where businesses can advertise their openings online. It also assists in arranging field trips to employer sites and visits by potential employers to MPCC classrooms.
“It’s good community service for our college to reach out to local employers and ask if there’s something we can do for them,” said Arensdorf. “We don’t ever want to place students, but we do want them to be ready should an opportunity present itself.”
Those interested in receiving help with the job application process can contact the Career Services Center at email@example.com, or reach Arensdorf directly at 535-3619.
People searching for last minute Christmas gifts don’t have to look any farther than Mid-Plains Community College. MPCC is offering tuition gift certificates – an increasingly popular option that helps defray the cost of classes and other college-related expenses.
Networking is a big part of what the Mid-Plains Center for Enterprise does. Course offerings in everything from leadership and management training to customer service give the CFE the ability to influence as well as educate the communities it serves.
What role do community colleges play in rural development? A big one, if you ask Angela Raby.
Raby is the area director of the Mid-Plains Center for Enterprise, the continuing education and community service division at Mid-Plains Community College.
Lisa Tsauchner, co-founder of the “Open for Business Magazine,” will lead two Business Boot Camp workshops Dec. 6 at North Platte Community College. They will focus on legal issues and creating successful relationships with customers.
Established businesses and potential start-ups have one last chance to enroll in the Mid-Plains Center for Enterprise Business Boot Camp.
“These Business Boot Camp courses are intended to provide valuable insight for individuals going through the start-up or expansion phase of business,” said Charlie McPherson, area Nebraska Business Development Center coordinator. “The classes will discuss in great detail how to enhance your understanding of employer responsibilities and comprehend basic business law practices. It will also explore customer service principles to help build and sustain a relationship with your customer base.”
Lisa Tsauchner, co-founder of the “Open for Business Magazine,” will lead two educational workshops Dec. 6 at North Platte Community College.
Mid-Plains Community College is teaming up with other organizations across the country to promote #GivingTuesday on Dec. 2.
“It’s a simple idea,” said Carol Bodeen, the college’s area director of development. “#GivingTuesday is a day dedicated to giving back.”
More students than ever will now have access to online courses and programs through Mid-Plains Community College.
MPCC officials received notice Nov. 18 from the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA) that the college has been accepted as a participant in the SARA initiative.
That makes it one of 11 postsecondary institutions in Nebraska that can offer classes to people residing outside the state. As of Monday morning, four out of six community colleges in Nebraska were approved, but none of the universities were.
Sarah Thelen is a finish carpenter in Omaha. She got her training at North Platte Community College.
Sarah Thelen is used to having people tell her she can’t do things because she’s a woman. The criticism doesn’t break her spirit – it motivates her to push harder.
“I don’t hear the comments much from my generation – it’s older generations and usually homeowners,” said Thelen. “I don’t listen to it. It just makes me want to prove them wrong.”
Thelen, a Burwell native, is a finish carpenter for high-end homes in Omaha. She installs handrails and spiral staircases and builds custom furniture, mantles, benches and cabinets.
Rex Kemp, heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration instructor, works with student, Vinh Tran, Thursday at North Platte Community College. Kemp said the demand for skilled HVACR technicians is tremendous.
It’s a small investment for such a large return.
“Students that go through this program and want a job – have a job,” said Rex Kemp, heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration instructor at North Platte Community College.
Kemp teaches a rigorous 11-month course that prepare students for skilled positions installing and servicing heating and cooling systems as well as commercial refrigeration units.
Classes include elements from electrical, welding, mechanics and building and construction trades. Kemp focuses on hands-on learning and makes sure his students receive real world experience by working with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity.
“He’s the best teacher I’ve ever had,” said Vinh Tran, a student originally from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam who now lives in North Platte. “He takes care of his students.”
Tran said he decided to pursue an HVACR career because of the potential to earn a lot of money.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, salaries for HVACR technicians vary by location and the type of equipment worked on.
The Bureau reports that in 2010, those in the top 10 percent earned more than $66,930. The median salary was $42,530.
And, there’s a demand for the work.
“It’s insatiable,” said Kemp. “Nationwide there’s a shortage of HVACR technicians. A lot of it has to do with the fact that so many of the current technicians are reaching retirement age.”
Kemp said some of the more commonly recognized contractors in North Platte got their start at NPCC. They include Todd Bissell, owner of AJ Sheet Metal, Jim Schneider, owner of Knobel Refrigeration, Brian Lusk, owner of Lusk Heating and Air Conditioning and Duane Norman, owner of Norman Refrigeration.
Many of those businessmen are people Kemp turns to when trying to line up an internship, a requirement for students in the HVACR program.
“They’re always in need of skilled technicians,” Kemp said of the contractors.
Vinh Tran, a student at North Platte Community College, works on a project Thursday at the north campus. Tran is learning about heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration because of the potential that exists to earn a lot of money with a HVACR career.
Over past decade, Kemp has taught students from Scottsbluff, Sidney, Ashland, Fremont and every Nebraska town in between. One even traveled to NPCC from Texas.
“The ages vary,” Kemp said. “Some are right out of high school, and others are in their late 40s or early 50s. A lot of them have four-year degrees, but no job. Several years ago, when the economy tanked, there were quite a few business people looking for other careers. Many came to me.”
Mid-Plains Community College is one of five colleges in Nebraska that offers a HVACR program. It’s the only one west of Kearney.
“We’ve had recommendations from industry officials,” Kemp said. “A smaller class size is one of the big benefits to our program. I would definitely recommend a career in HVACR because of all the potential that’s out there. It’s year-round work, and it can definitely be a lifelong profession.”
Gail Knott is the new director of outreach for Mid-Plains Community College. Knott, who has been the Ogallala extended campus coordinator for the past 14 years, will begin work at North Platte Community College on Dec. 1.
Knott will oversee operations at the four MPCC extended campuses and will be based out of Room 100B in the W.W. Wood Building on the north campus of NPCC.
“I’m really excited and am looking forward to the challenge,” Knott said. “I’ve done this for a while, and it will be nice to bridge the extended campus and the main campus and take that responsibility to the next level. It’s especially exciting with Valentine going through the development and construction of getting its new campus facility. ”
According to Michael Steele, vice president of administrative services for MPCC, Knott brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the outreach director position.
College officials will begin the process of replacing the Ogallala extended campus coordinator position in the near future.
Registration is now open for winterim session classes at Mid-Plains Community College.
All are online. They are targeted at current students who want to complete a class quickly and students attending other schools who need a specific class for their degree.
Classes begin Dec. 15 and continue through Jan. 9.
BIOS 2990, “The Structures of Life,” is an overview of proteins as building blocks of life and the technology of protein discovery. It will be offered by Sara Morris, biology science instructor.
BSAD 1010, “Personal and Professional Development,” taught by Jean Condon, is a 3 credit hour class and is the equivalent of 45 classroom hours. It puts a special emphasis on relating image and social awareness to job success. It also covers on-the-job situations of problem-solving, time management, goal setting, business etiquette, listening skills, work groups and the relationship between productivity and job attitude. There will be a major focus on developing productive work ethics. This class is designed for the Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business.
BSAD 1090, “The Job Application Process,” is a 1 credit hour class that equates to 15 classroom hours. Instruction designed to provide all students with the tools and skills to design an effective job search campaign. Topics will include methods of finding a job, resume preparation, development of customized application letters, interview techniques and preparation of follow-up communications. The student will utilize word processing skills. The class is taught by Berva Arensdorf.
BSAD 2070, “Risk Management for Events and Sports,” is a 3 credit hour class. Students will learn to recognize potential risks in special and sporting events and to prioritize those risks for action and minimization. Practical strategies to manage risks of people, property and reputation are stressed. Students will also learn how to comply with legal regulations such as permitting, insurance, vendor contracts, federal laws, state laws and local laws as they pertain to events. Fire codes, handicap compliance and security considerations when dealing with minors are also examined. Marcus Garstecki is the instructor.
PHED 1810, “Drugs and Sports,” is a 2 credit hour class and the equivalent of 30 classroom hours. The course is as an introduction to the roles that drugs play in modern day sports. The class will cover performance enhancing drugs, as well as the effects of prescription drugs, narcotics, over-the-counter drugs, alcohol, tobacco and nutritional supplements used to enhance an athlete’s performance. The class will study the science of each classification of drug, all social and ethical issues that arise with the topic of drugs and sports and cover the testing agencies, methods and reporting of drug use in sports. The instructor is Jon Olsen.
POLS 1000, “American Government and Politics,” is a 3 credit hour class that examines the organization and operation of the U.S. government. It includes a brief survey of historical foundations along with a strong emphasis on current political events and public policy. The class will be taught by Doug Clouatre.
SOCI 1530, “Introduction to Sociology,” is worth 3 credit hours. It’s an analysis of society, including the development of the social system, group formations and types of social organizations and the basic elements affecting those classifications. Allen Settles is the instructor.
ARTS 1210 “Art Appreciation” is a 3 credit hour class. It’s an overview of the language, process and history of the visual arts and artists of both past and contemporary society. The class is designed for non-art majors.
For more information or to register, call (308) 535-3774 in North Platte or (308) 345-8102 in McCook.
With the deadline less than three weeks away for the “new and improved” business Hormel Entrepreneurship Competition, contest organizers are encouraging business owners of all ages to solidify their business dreams by taking the first step to fill out the simple application form.
Nebraska Distance Learning Association members joined Gov. Dave Heineman for a proclamation signing, during which Nov. 10-14 was declared Nebraska Distance Learning Week. They were Gordon Roethemeyer, Mary Lister, Laura Huntimer, Mike Irwin, Al Steckelberg, Heineman and Linda Dickeson.
Gov. Dave Heineman has proclaimed Nov. 10-14 as Nebraska Distance Learning Week. In doing so, he has drawn attention to a progressive form of education, gaining speed around the state because of its success rate, accessibility, flexibility and cost-effectiveness.
The benefits are nothing new to Mid-Plains Community College. Officials there have been touting the advantages of distance learning for years.
“Distance learning has been around in some form or another since the mid ’90s,” said Mary Lister, area Blackboard coordinator. “Basically, it’s an Internet connection between two or more locations.”
At one of the sites, there is an instructor leading the course. That teacher can be seen and heard by students in other classrooms, sometimes hundreds of miles away, thanks to video chat capabilities.
“It used to be we could only offer distance learning in up to three locations,” Lister said. “Now, we can provide services to eight or more thanks to the type of connection we use and the Internet speed we have.”
Abby Kurtzer, of Haxtun, Colo., takes part in a distance learning class Monday at North Platte Community College. This week is Nebraska Distance Learning Week.
MPCC offered 426 distance learning courses and served more than 3,100 students during the 2013-14 school year. Of those courses, 390 were dual credit, meaning high school students had the opportunity to take them and earn both high school and college credits simultaneously.
“Our youngest daughter graduated from high school with 19 credit hours,” Lister said. “Because she played volleyball, having some of the classes out of the way helped lighten her load during sports season.”
Lister estimated that about 95 percent of the dual credit courses taken via distance learning will transfer to other colleges and universities. They include: college algebra, art appreciation, critical thinking, expository writing and public speaking.
The types of students that take distance learning courses following high school graduation vary. Many are nursing hopefuls from rural areas.
“We have one student right now who is a stay-at-home dad with six kids –the oldest of which is in second grade,” said Lister. “He also has a set of twins and a set of triplets. When they lay down for naps, that’s when he jumps online and works on assignments.”
According to Lister, MPCC can offer distance learning almost anywhere in Nebraska.
“We’ve been to Shelton High School, Pleasanton High School and Southern Valley Schools at Oxford,” Lister said. “We take math classes to Ovid, Colo. If there’s a student out there that needs a class – we’ll make an effort to make it available to them.”
So what’s next for distance learning? It appears the sky is the limit.
“It’s hard to say because technology is ever-changing,” Lister said. “One thing I do know is that there’s no end to distance learning. It’s definitely here to stay.”
Tasia Stumpf, of Ogallala, and her mother-in-law, Lisa Behrends, of Grant, practice nursing skills on a mannequin Friday at the North Platte Community College Health and Science Center. Both were named MPCC Student Nurses of the Month for October.
There’s no easy way to become a registered nurse. It takes hard work, patience and dedication – something Lisa Behrends, of Grant, and Tasia Stumpf, of Ogallala, have learned firsthand.
Unlike many students, however, Behrends and Stumpf had a support system in place long before they signed up for their first classes. That’s because for them nursing school is a family affair.
“Tasia is my daughter-in-law,” said Behrends. “She married my son, Jesse, so I call and ask her nursing questions all the time.”
Stumpf is a year ahead of Behrends with her studies. She started her prerequisites in the fall of 2008, and enrolled in the RN program at Mid-Plains Community College last year. Behrends began her prerequisites in 2010 and entered the RN program at MPCC this year.
They didn’t decide to take the course together, it’s just something that happened. Both have histories in the medical profession.
“I’ve been working as a certified nursing assistant and medical aid at a nursing home in Grant and at the Grant Medical Clinic,” Behrends said. “Right now, I fill in as needed, but am primarily focused on school.”
Stumpf has been employed at the Ogallala Community Hospital since she was 18. Her initial intentions weren’t to become a nurse.
“I wanted to be a cop, but had a son when I was 19,” said Stumpf. “My life took a different path. I started at the hospital doing dietary work, then moved on to medical records, then to the front desk, and now I fill in as a medical assistant as needed. I will be full-time after I finish school.”
Both women took advantage of the online prerequisite classes MPCC offers as well as MPCC’s extended campus in Ogallala.
Now that they are in the RN program, Stumpf drives to North Platte for classes three days a week, and Behrends is on the road four days a week.
“It’s really not that far,” Stumpf said. “If it weren’t for MPCC, my husband and I would’ve had to have moved so I could go to nursing school. That’s hard to do when you have three kids.”
As it is, Stumpf will graduate in May of 2015, and Behrends will graduate in May of 2016. Both want to end up in rural hospitals.
“I can’t wait to work with people again,” said Behrends. “That’s what I miss about going to school – the constant interaction with patients.”
Stumpf loves the personal aspect to nursing as well.
“I just like taking care of people and helping them feel better,” Stumpf said. “I’m looking forward to being done, but am really enjoying my time at MPCC, too. The teachers are excellent and so is the curriculum. It’s tough, but I know I’ll be prepared for anything after I graduate.”
Classes at Mid-Plains Community College campus locations are set to begin Aug. 25, but there is still time to register for the Fall 2014 term. Whether you are interested in updating your computer skills, improving your golf game, or taking the classes you need for your associate’s degree, MPCC is the place that can make it happen.
Fall Term classes will begin on Monday, Aug. 25, at all MPCC locations.
It should be noted that daytime classes at the main campuses in McCook and North Platte will not take place on Aug. 25 due to New Student Orientation, however evening classes that begin at 5 p.m. or later will take place as scheduled.
Twenty-four students in the Mid-Plains Community College Licensed Practical Nursing program had their pinning ceremony Thursday at North Platte Community College. Graduates include Hannah Magill of Broken Bow; Ellie Edson, Kayla Pethoud and Karri Stapp of Cozad; Anna McDaniel of Crookston; April Hickman of Dunning; Ashley Kautz of Grant; Rhea Hernandez, Theresa Rydalch and Marie Sahm of McCook; Becky Carson-Fitzgerald, Kayla Dotson, Melissa Gore, Ronda Haumann, Paula Konruff, Amber Simcox, Kassandra Stahl, Kristi Vierya and Chelsea Worth of North Platte; Brandy McConnell of Sutherland; Pacanda Carfield of Trenton; and Sarah Arnold, Holly Hockenbary and Anna Maas of Valentine.
Twenty-four students in the Mid-Plains Community College Licensed Practical Nursing program will have their informal pinning ceremony at 11 a.m. on Thursday, July 31, in the McDonald-Belton Theater on North Platte Community College’s South Campus.
David Pedersen, attorney for Mid-Plains Community College, administers the Oath of Office to Jo Etta Brown of Brule after she was selected as the MPCC Board of Governor’s District 2 representative Wednesday evening. Brown will complete the term of former board member David Lynch.
The following is a list of Mid-Plains Community College full-time students (from all campus locations) who completed 12 or more credit hours in college-level courses and maintained an overall 3.9 or greater (on a 4.0 scale) grade point average (GPA), which qualifies them for the President’s List for the Spring 2014 Term.
The following is a list of Mid-Plains Community College full-time students (all campus locations) who completed 12 or more credit hours in college-level courses and maintained an overall 3.5– 3.89 (on a 4.0 scale) grade point average (GPA), which qualifies them for the Dean’s List for the Spring 2014 Term.
The Mid-Plains Community College Rodeo Club officially became full-fledged college athletic team after a vote by the MPCC Board of Governors at their April meeting.
In memory of Dundy County residents Jim and Marjorie Reisher, the family has established a scholarship fund at Mid-Plains Community College designed to benefit current or prior residents of Dundy County or current/former students in the Dundy County-Stratton school system.
Mid-Plains Community College Area Technology Specialists Farra Morgan and Matthew Schranz have been working in recent weeks to upgrade distance learning classrooms at the college with digital technology, thanks in part to an $118,000 funding partnership with the USDA Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program.