April 2022 Central Connection

April 1, 2022

New UNK, CCC partnership forms a business pathway

A new partnership between Central Community College and the University of Nebraska-Kearney forms a business pathway that will allow students to complete one of three associate degree options at CCC before transferring those credits toward a bachelor’s degree at UNK.

“This partnership provides more flexibility for students,” said Bree Dority, associate dean of the UNK College of Business and Technology. “Earn your associate degree first, then take the next step to obtain your bachelor’s degree.”

The 2+2 guided pathways serve as road maps students can follow from the start of their CCC program through the completion of their UNK degree.

All the eligible CCC degrees and most of the UNK programs are offered both in person and fully online so students and working professionals can choose a course delivery method that best fits their schedule.

“It is important to Central Community College to provide great local transfer options like this to our graduates,” said Candace Walton, CCC vice president of innovation and instruction. “Central Nebraska directly benefits from the excellent business education programs at CCC and UNK. Our students receive the benefits of studying here at home, where they learn, live, raise their families and work.”

Students who take advantage of the pathway program complete their first 60 credit hours through CCC, which offers an associate of applied science degree in business administration. Students specialize in either business administration or accounting, with opportunities to earn certificates in entrepreneurship and logistics.

The other option is an associate of arts degree through the academic transfer program.

After graduating from CCC, students take their final 60 credit hours at UNK, which offers a bachelor of science degree in business administration. There are five emphasis areas to choose from: accounting, finance, management, marketing and supply chain management. The UNK business programs are accredited by AACSB International.

In addition to gaining hands-on experience and real-world knowledge in the classroom, UNK students have the chance to network with business and industry leaders across the region.

“High-quality programs are not possible without high-quality, student-focused faculty,” said Tim Jares, dean of the UNK College of Business and Technology. “Our faculty are dedicated to providing extraordinary experiences inside and outside the classroom that position our students for success in life after college.”

Students enrolled in the business pathway program can apply for scholarships and other financial aid at UNK.

The business pathway is the second program launched by UNK and CCC as part of the Equity Transfer Initiative, a two-year partnership aimed at increasing transfer and completion rates for Black, Hispanic, adult and first-generation learners.

The national initiative is led by the American Association of Community Colleges in collaboration with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.

Brandon Stalvey, enrollment
specialist at Central Community
College-Hastings, dishes up
prime rib at the annual
Candlelight Dinner.

Annual event provides fine dining, fine service

“Mardi Gras” was the theme for this year’s Candlelight Dinner on March 1 at Central Community College-Hastings.

The annual event is a full-service dinner for students that is served by CCC faculty and staff volunteers. Tables are decorated to fit in with the theme, and larger decorations outside of the cafeteria provide a prime photo-taking place for individuals attending the dinner.

Students are encouraged to dress up and to bring family and friends with them.

“This is a great tradition that allows students and faculty and staff to interact outside of the typical school day,” said Julie Mullen, academic transfer specialist at CCC-Hastings. “Everyone looks forward to it.”

Fire school benefits rural Nebraskans

Not everyone thinks about conferences when they list the ways Central Community College serves its 25 counties, but maybe they should.

“Conferences are a way we can serve the community on multiple levels,” said Elena Olson-King, learning center manager at the Holdrege Center. “It’s one of the most important things we do.”

She used the 29th Annual Mid-Winter Fire School as an example. It drew 126 people to Holdrege High School on Feb. 20 for training on such topics as assessment, strokes and spine immobilization.

“It’s very convenient for us. It’s literally right in our backyard,” said Kevin Stehl, chief of Bertrand Volunteer Fire and Rescue. “We are a volunteer department. The closer the training, the more likely it is that my crew can attend and expand their knowledge and skill set so we can serve our constituents well.”

That convenience is the end result of months of planning. King said the process begins in August or September with the Central Nebraska Volunteer Firefighters Association arranging presenters. CCC eventually steps in to develop promotional materials, send mailers, and start and maintain a student list.

The day of the conference, CCC personnel handle registration, name tags and payment, allowing conference participants to focus on interacting with each other.

“The conference has a social aspect,” King said. “They’re in a stressful line of work and this is an event where they can talk and laugh with other people who know what it’s like.”

And, of course, there’s the training, which is worth six continuing education hours. Stehl said the event includes nuts-and-bolts classes for new firefighters and different classes from year to year for veterans. Emergency Management Services classes also make the conference a good option for EMT volunteers.

“The convenience and diversity of classes are most important. Also, it’s very affordable,” Stehl said. “There used to be more trainings in the western half of the state, but to my knowledge they have migrated east.”

King said offering conferences in central Nebraska not only saves area residents from having to drive to Omaha or Lincoln, but it also keeps the economic benefits of purchased gas, food and hotel rooms from migrating east.

The bottom line, though, is that “these people save lives,” she said, “and this conference better prepares them to serve their community’s most basic needs.”

Reaching for her dreams
Gabriela Favela of Grand Island hoped the people attending the Heartland United Way’s 75th annual banquet March 24 would understand the meaning behind her words. They did, applauding her after she described reaching for her dreams, beginning with improving her English and getting her GED. She credited Central Community College’s adult education staff for their encouragement and support and said they truly change people’s lives. Attending the luncheon were (left to right) Favela; Christine Haba, AE assistant director; Sherry Seibert-Bough, AE coordinator; and Favela’s sister, Karina Carrasco.

Agee to speak in Grand Island

Nebraska author Jonis Agee will present a program, “Bones of Paradise: A Novel Examined,” at 5:30 p.m. on April 21 in Room 525 at Central Community College-Grand Island.

Her novel, “Bones of Paradise,” is the 2022 One Book, One Nebraska selection. The multigenerational saga is set in the Nebraska Sandhills in the years following the Wounded Knee massacre. It weaves vengeance, race, guilt and betrayal into its pages and features characters shaped by violence, love and a desperate loyalty to the land.

During her program she will discuss how she came to write this story in this setting and share her approaches to research and character development.

Agee is the Adele Hall Professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she specializes in fiction, creative fiction and modern and contemporary American literature. She graduated from Omaha Central High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa and a master’s degree and doctorate from the State University of New York-Binghamton University.

About 300 programs are available through the Humanities Nebraska Speakers Bureau. The Grand Island program is made possible by Humanities Nebraska, the Nebraska Cultural Endowment and the CCC library. There is no admission fee.

News briefs

Equity Action Council receives award

The Central Community College Equity Action Council (EAC) has received the Promising Practice in Social Justice award from ACPA-College Student Educators International. The award was presented by the Commission for Two-Year Colleges at the 2022 ACPA Annual Convention March 6-9 in St. Louis, Mo.

Ashley Weets, student and enrollment services director at the Kearney Center, nominated the EAC for the award.

The EAC is led by Lauren Slaughter, college equity and compliance manager, and Sean Griffin, associate dean of students at the Hastings Campus. It also includes the following chairs: Danielle Schwinn, technology integration specialist for the Faculty Resource Center, Race and Ethnic Subcommittee; Jason Davis, associate dean of extended learning services at the Hastings Campus, Mental Health Subcommittee; Lauren Gillespie, biological sciences instructor at the Columbus Campus, Sex and Gender Subcommittee; Kimberly Milovac, student activities and engagement director at the Hastings Campus, and Catrina Gray, area-wide apprentice coordinator, Poverty Subcommittee; and Dixie Codner, library resource center supervisor, Religion and Other Affiliations Subcommittee.

CCC named Military Friendly School

Central Community College has earned the 2022-23 Military Friendly School designation, ranking nationally in the top 10 gold level for small colleges.

Institutions earning the designation were evaluated using both public data sources and responses from a proprietary survey. More than 1,800 schools participated in the 2022-23 survey with 665 earning special awards for going above the standard.

Final ratings were determined by combining the institution’s survey scores with an assessment of its ability to meet thresholds for student retention, graduation, job placement, loan repayment, degree advancement or transfer and loan default rates for all students and, specifically, for student veterans.

The 2022-23 Military Friendly Schools list will be published in the May and October issues of G.I. Jobs magazine and can be found at the Military Friendly website.

Honors go to Phi Theta Kappa chapters

Central Community College’s Phi Theta Kappa chapters were recently honored by PTK’s Kansas/Nebraska Region.

Chi Sigma Chapter, CCC-Columbus

The chapter received a first place in the Most-Improved Chapter category as well as third places in the Great Idea and Service categories.

Chi Sigma member Litzy Perez of Columbus received the Kansas/Nebraska Life Happens Scholarship for the 2022 fall semester.

Alpha Tau Tau Chapter, CCC-Grand Island, CCC-Kearney

Adviser Ruth Kirkland received the Horizon Adviser Award for making significant contributions to the chapter, including serving as its advocate on campus and encouraging members to be involved at all levels of Phi Theta Kappa.

Beta Alpha Delta Chapter, CCC-Hastings

Adviser Julie Mullen received an award for completing the Five Star Adviser Plan, which provides participants with the information they need to serve as successful chapter advisers.

In tribute

David Kusek, 50, of Juniata died March 28 at his home.

Services were to be held April 2 at St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Doniphan with burial at St. Patrick’s Cemetery.

He was born April 9, 1971, to Denis and Joyce (Roschynialski) Kusek in St. Paul.

He is a Loup City High School graduate who later earned a degree in nursing home administration. He married Karla Kula in 2000.

He was a nursing home administrator and an insurance agent before coming to work at CCC as a groundskeeper and maintenance technician.

He was an active member of the Knights of Columbus Council #11824 and served as a 4th Degree Knight.

Survivors include his daughter, parents and three brothers. He was preceded in death by his wife and grandparents.

Apfel Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Memorials are suggested to Kelsey Kusek for later designation.

Employee news

Administrative Office

Marketing Director Amanda Groff has received a Gold Paragon Award from the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations in the long-form promotional video for the Bunker University documentary. The award was presented at the NCMPR national conference, which was held March 24-26 in Denver.

Wyatt Wiedel has joined the staff as an information technology systems specialist.

Columbus Campus

Sue Baer of Columbus has retired from her full-time position as an administrative assistant for the training and development department at Central Community College-Columbus.

She will continue to work at the college on a part-time basis.

Baer joined the CCC staff in 2008 and first worked for Lenore Koliha, environmental and safety director.

She previously had worked as an apparel manager at the Columbus Kmart and at Nebraska Pork Partners.

Baer is a graduate of Iowa State University with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and is a member of Saint Isidore’s Catholic Church in Columbus.

She and her husband, Wayne, have two children and two grandsons.

Kerri Bellamy is the new associate dean of skilled and technical sciences.

Resignations have been submitted by Tony Blaser, recruiting coordinator, and Anthony Burnham, associate dean of academic education.

Financial Aid Director Lisa Gdowski received the Distinguished Service Award March 24 at the NeASFAA Conference in Norfolk in recognition of her service as the organization’s treasurer.

She also was recognized by the national chairperson as one of only three aid administrators in Nebraska to achieve national certification.

Grand Island Campus

Hodan Farrah has resigned as counselor and prevention coordinator.

Denise Kingery has been promoted from occupational therapy assistant program administrative assistant to nursing program coordinator.

Lisa Mount is the new library resource center supervisor.

Callie Watson, director of the occupational therapy assistant program, received the 2022 Occupational Therapy Practitioner of the Year from the Nebraska Occupational Therapy Association at its conference in February.

Hastings Campus

Jordan Janssen has joined the staff as coordinator for the Veterans and Military Resource Center.

Aaron Thiessen, groundkeeper supervisor, received the Arbor Day Gold Leaf Award for Outstanding Landscape Beautification from the Midwestern Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture at its annual conference in Omaha. 

Award recipients have made significant contributions through tree planting and landscaping that enhances environmental protection, conservation, beautification, air purification, or wildlife protection.

Kearney Center

Michaela Peters is the new accounting clerk and learning center assistant.

Deb Schaaf has resigned as a nursing assistant and medication aide trainer.