April 2020 Central Connection

April 2, 2020

CCC moves forward in these uncertain times

It’s not 6 a.m. or Sunday or a summer Friday afternoon.
It’s 11 a.m. on Wednesday, April 1, and this hallway
at Central Community College-Grand Island reflects
the quiet emptiness the coronavirus pandemic has
brought to schools, businesses, churches and other
locations as many people stay home.

At this time ... for now ... not yet.

These phrass reflect the ever-changing landscape when it comes to the coronavirus outbreak.

Central Community College has taken numerous steps to protect the well-being of its employees and students while still providing essential services to its community residents.

“We continue to be in near daily contact with local health departments and state agencies and collaborate with them on our decisions regarding our open or closure status,” said College President Dr. Matt Gotschall. “We’re enforcing federal, state and local directives in regards to quarantines, isolations, sanitation, social distancing and limits of groups.”

The most recent request came April 1 from Gov. Pete Ricketts. Because of community spread, he asked anyone who lives with someone experiencing new symptoms of fever, cough or shortness of breath to stay home until the ill person is cleared by the health department. CCC has now made this a requirement for its employees.

Here are other steps the college has taken, or is taking:

  • Moving all lecture classes to remote delivery. This doesn’t include labs, clinicals and practicums requiring hands-on components or experiences. Online classes continue, and campuses and centers are still open.
  • Preparing and holding resource sessions to help faculty members in moving their coursework to remote delivery.
  • Providing emergency leave for staff not allowed to work remotely but who face unplanned child care closures or who are in self-quarantine, self-monitoring or high-risk categories.
  • Approving full-time and part-time faculty members as temporary remote workers.
  • Limiting non-resident visitors to residence halls and providing students moving out of halls with a prorated refund of room and board. The resident halls are still open.
  • Moving to more restrictive and sanitary food service options including all “grab and go” options. The bookstores are closed but their services are still available online.
  • Hanging signs about good hygiene and social distancing and sharing significant announcements through email, Facebook, the college website, press releases and RAVE text/voice/email alerts.
  • Cleaning and locking rooms after sanitizing them. Cleaning supplies have been ordered, and the custodial staff and cleaning contractors have been instructed on effective cleaning procedures.
  • Updating computers and software for remote access by employees as needed and approved.
  • Canceling and postponing community education classes, large meetings, conferences, student visit days, career fairs, banquets, athletic events and practices, and individual recruitment tours. Plans for commencement are still pending.
  • Suspending CCC domestic and international travel through the spring semester and canceling planned student to Ireland and New Zealand.

Multiple employees and students are under self-quarantine or self-monitoring because of recent travel, high risk groups or potential exposure.

“I appreciate everyone’s continued alertness and engagement as our area, country and world continue to learn and adapt to the effects of this outbreak,” Gotschall said. “I encourage everyone to continue to practice proactive steps to keep themselves and others healthy.”

Great employees earning great honors

Congratulations to the following Central Community College employees!

League Excellence Award

Flashing smiles at the 2020 Innovations
Conference March 1-4 in Seattle were
(clockwise from bottom left):
Lauren Gillespie, Steve Heinisch, Bruce
Bartos, Jeff Schulz and Becky Fausett.

The League for Innovation in the Community College presented this award to Bruce Bartos, advanced manufacturing design technology instructor at the Hastings Campus; Becky Fausett, Project HELP director; Lauren Gillespie and Steve Heinisch, biological sciences instructors at the Columbus Campus; and Jeff Schulz, sociology instructor at the Grand Island Campus.

“It was a privilege to select these recipients for the League for Innovation in Community College’s League Excellence Award,” said College President Dr. Matt Gotschall.

“They have each demonstrated leadership and excellence in their programming, research, grants, teaching and/or support for students,” he added. “Although located in central Nebraska, their innovative approaches have provided positive national exposure for Central Community College.

The League for Innovation has been dedicated to informing, inspiring, and celebrating innovation in learning, teaching, staff development, and student success for over 50 years.

Dale P. Parnell Faculty Recognition


Lacritia Spanel, an English instructor at the Hastings Campus, has received Dale P. Parnell Faculty Distinction Recognition for 2020.

Named in honor of former AACC President and CEO Dale P. Parnell, this designation was established to recognize individuals making a difference in the classroom.

The recipients demonstrate passion for and support students inside and outside the classroom, participate in college committees, and go above and beyond what is required to ensure students are successful in their academic endeavors.

LERN Contract Training Award


Doug Pauley, associate dean of training and development, and the training and development division have received a LERN Contract Training Award.

The award recognizes LERN member contract training teams that demonstrate exemplary best practices.

Submissions from the award winners are shared at the Contract Training Conference, throughout the year in the LERN Club and by utilizing other LERN communication tools.

CCC’s submission was for the Tyson project at CCC-Lexington.


Now I have you ...

Two Nebraska state troopers and their canine gave a demonstration Feb. 21 at Sandy Creek High School. Michael David, criminal justice instructor at Central Community-Grand Island organized what he described as “a great event. I made sure my criminal justice students from the high school sat in the front row, and I gave them credit for bringing the program to the rest of the (Sandy Creek) students. (Photo by Jamey Peterson-Jones)

Board gains new member

Linda Heiden of Bertrand was sworn in as a new member of the Central Community College Board of Governors at its March 19 meeting.

She is filling out the unexpired term of David Stubbs, who died Feb. 5.

“I think the mission for our community college is outstanding,” she said when she applied for the position. “It would be my pleasure to participate in the school’s goal to educate and serve others.”

For Heiden, this is a return to the CCC board. She was a member in the early 2000s but left to assist a cousin who was running for a congressional seat.

She also has a wealth of experience from serving on other boards, including her current role as a member and past president of the Bertrand Board of Education.

Heiden also has spent more than 20 years of serving the State of Nebraska as a public member on several health boards. She is a past member of the State Board of Health, Board of Cosmetology and Board of Veterinary Medicine and a current member of the Board of Optometry.

She has a bachelor’s degree in home economics education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Just after she graduated, her father died so she returned home to take over the family’s farming interests and insurance agency. Although she has sold the agency to the GTA Insurance Group, she still works there as an account executive.  

She and her husband, Greg, have two grown children.

In tribute: Bob Theilen

Robert “Bob” Theilen, 88, of Columbus died Feb. 28 at Bryan LGH West Campus in Lincoln.

Services were March 4 at Peace Lutheran Church in Columbus with burial at Roselawn Memorial Cemetery.

He was born June 26, 1931, in Columbus, to Otto and Martha (Ernst) Theilen. He graduated from Kramer High School in 1950 and went on to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fine arts from the Kansas City Art Institute in 1955.

He married Violet “Vi” Stevenson on Sept. 21, 1957, in Columbus.

He joined Behlen Manufacturing in 1955, and held multiple positions, finishing his career in human resources, creating Behlen’s Building Blocks. He was acting general manager for Wickes Companies, and partnered in the management buyout of Behlen Manufacturing from Wickes Corp. in 1984. Over the years, he was a graphic artist, advertising manager, general sales manager, interim general manager, human resources manager and vice president of communications. He semi-retired from Behlen in 1991 but continued to serve on the company board of directors.

He was active in the Columbus community, including serving a member of the founding committee that established Platte College, now Central Community College-Columbus. He also served as chairman of the Columbus Public Schools Foundation and was a member of the State Board of Directors of Lutheran Family Services, Regional Board of Directors of Lutheran Family Services, Score Organization and Peace Lutheran Church.

Survivors include his wife; a daughter, Elizabeth Drinnin of Clarks; a son, John “Tom” Theilen of Columbus; six grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Dr. Ernest Theilen; and his sister, Elaine Shreve.

Gass Haney Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

Employee news

Administrative Office

Andrea Persampieri has joined the staff as the innovation and instructional administrative coordinator.

Columbus Campus

Jason Davis is changing positions from associate dean of skilled and technical sciences to associate dean of extended learning services in Hastings.

Shelley Frear has resigned as TRiO coordinator.

Amanda Rutter has joined the staff as a nursing instructor.

Grand Island Campus

Marie White has been promoted from nursing pathway retention coach to nursing instructor.

Hastings Campus

Four plays by biological sciences instructor Robin Buckallew will be performed during an evening of shorts at 7 p.m. on May 7 at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs.

The plays are:

  • “Leaving Water.” This story tells about loss through the eyes of a woman who is no longer able to do the job she loves.
  • “The Prime Directive.” In this futuristic tale, strange religious practices are centered around 20th century television and movies.
  • “The Buzz.” This tale examines what might happen when colony collapse disorder begins to decimate the bee population.
  • “Water Wars.” A mayor of a small town has a run-in with the EPA over water issues.

Nathan Consbruck has resigned as building maintenance technician.

Vicki Kucera, area director of student financial aid services, has received the NeASFAA Distinguished Service Award from the Nebraska Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. The award recognizes her service to the financial aid industry at the state, regional, and national levels.

Kearney Center

Paige VanWinkle has joined the staff as a nursing instructor.