Category Archives: Award/Honors

Richland College Awarded City of Dallas Zero Waste Management Gold Level Green Business Certification

Richland College is passionate about going green, and the college has once again been recognized for its efforts. In late 2017, Richland College was awarded the City of Dallas Zero Waste Management Gold Level Green Business certification. Richland College is the first and only educational institution in the city to earn this recognition.

This certification distinguishes businesses and institutions that prevent waste, incorporate recycling and promote reuse, reduce and compost in its operations. There are three certification levels offered, and Richland College was awarded the gold level–the highest level. Richland College received this recognition for providing and tracking the recycling of 38 different materials while maintaining and monitoring an onsite waste-management program. Last year alone, Richland College recycled 485 tons.

“To be awarded the Gold Level Green Business certification through the City of Dallas Zero Waste Management offers Richland College several advantages,” said Sonia Ford, sustainability project coordinator and a member of the Dallas County Community College District Sustainability Team. “These include recycling assistance, a green business certification decal or certificate to display on our campus, permission to display this logo on our website and in other media, a listing on the city’s commercial recycling website and dallasrecycles.com and recognition at the city’s Green Business Leaders event. In addition, City of Dallas Zero Waste Management has officially posted Richland College’s certification video and content on all of its social media.”

Any business in Dallas that incorporates green practices and conserves resources can apply to become Green Business certified at either a bronze, silver or gold level. Businesses that receive this certification will save money, assist in protecting the environment and have their business recognized for its efforts in a variety of ways. The City of Dallas Zero Waste Management plan was passed in 2013, with a goal of having zero waste by 2040. For more information about The City of Dallas Zero Waste plan and Richland College’s certification, visit http://dallascityhall.com/departments/sanitation/Pages/greenbusiness.aspx.

Richland College has tracked energy consumption since 1975, and it records and assesses key performance indicators for energy and water usage and recycling. In 2010 and 2011, Richland College was awarded the Environmental Protection Agency WasteWise Award for University and College Partner of the Year. Richland College also won the national Recyclemania Grand Championship in 2016 and the Texas Grand Championship each year from 2010 to 2017. For more information about Richland College’s green initiatives, visit www.richlandcollege.edu/greenrichland.


Headshot of Kay Eggleston Richland College President Honored at Richardson State of the City Address

Richland College and its president Kathryn K. Eggleston, Ph.D., were honored by Richardson mayor Paul Voelker during his Jan. 31 State of the City address as examples of the quality of education available locally in the Richardson area.

“[Eggleston] was one of 19 campus executives in the U.S. awarded last year’s Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction from Phi Theta Kappa, the world’s largest and most prestigious honor society for two-year colleges,” said Voelker. “The award recognizes educators who advance the goals of academic scholarship, leadership and service.”

This distinguished higher education award is named for the late Dr. Shirley B. Gordon, Phi Theta Kappa’s longest-serving Board of Directors chair. College presidents and campus CEOs are selected for this award based on outstanding efforts in promoting the goals of Phi Theta Kappa at their institutions. Nominees must have served as president at least five years at the current institution and demonstrated a strong level of support for Phi Theta Kappa during their tenure.

Along with Eggleston, Richland College was also recognized for being awarded more than $2 million in workforce training grants to support Richardson-based companies RealPage and Associa in delivering training programs to their employees. In addition, in support of Richardson’s “Telecom Corridor” legacy, Richland was credited for its exceptional science, technology, engineering, digital arts and math (STEAM) programs, particularly its partnership with Girls Inc. for an annual summer camp focused on young women to encourage them to pursue careers in robotics, digital arts and other STEAM-based programs. Also mentioned was Richland College’s vital role in college degree completion through its focused work with local primary and secondary school students and its dual credit course delivery in local high schools, which was expanded last year to include a study abroad program in China.


Richland College music students perform during “Portraits of Night,” the fall 2017 music department fall concert. Richland College Music Department Receives National Association of Schools of Music Accreditation

The Richland College music department recently received accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM). This prestigious accreditation was announced at the NASM annual meeting in Arizona on Nov. 19.

“This accreditation means that the Richland College music program meets all the same standards for the first two years of music study as any four-year institution, making our transfers transparent,” said Diane Hilbert, executive dean of the Richland College School of Humanities, Fine and Performing Arts. “It means that we now have a voice at the national table to participate in national and state concerns regarding music education and to work with our colleagues in planning for the future of music education and the needs of our students and the changing workforce they will enter.”

For the past four and a half years, the music faculty have been working through the process to be granted accreditation by NASM. At the NASM Annual Meeting, 312 applications for new and renewal accreditation were reviewed by the NASM Commission on Community College Accreditation. Richland College was one of only two two-year institutions in the United States that were approved for new accreditation, and the fourth two-year institution in Texas to be nationally accredited by NASM. Other Texas two-year institutions to receive this accreditation include Del Mar in 1948, Odessa College in 1964 and Amarillo College in 1966.

Before receiving this accreditation, Richland College completed a thorough application process. This involved Hilbert attending the American Association for Women in Community Colleges (AAWCC) Leaders Institute and completing a process map and budget project, inviting a NASM consultant to evaluate all aspects of the Richland College music program, completing a self-study, receiving a site visit from the accreditation team, responding to recommendations from the team and submitting recommendation updates to the commission.

“This would not have been possible if it had not been for our music faculty and our students’ commitment to the quality and growth of the music program,” said Hilbert. “Additionally, the process of the self-study enabled us to identify opportunities for improvement and to plan strategically for the future needs of the program.”

Founded in 1924, NASM is an organization of schools, conservatories, colleges and universities with approximately 650 accredited institutional members. It works to establish national standards for undergraduate and graduate degrees and other credentials for music and music-related disciplines, and to assist institutions and individuals engaged in artistic, scholarly, educational or other music-related endeavors. For more information, visit nasm.arts-accredit.org.

The Richland College music department combines comprehensive academics, laboratory and ensemble work and applied instruction to prepare students for advanced musical study, build base-level credentials for working musicians and enrich general education for non-music majors. Programs offered include band, choir, jazz, orchestra and steel band. For more information about the Richland College music department, visit richlandcollege.edu/music.


military friendly school Richland College Designated As Military Friendly School For Ninth Consecutive Year

Richland College flag, Texas flag and American flag.

Richland College has been recognized as a top college choice for veterans and active duty

military members for the ninth consecutive year. The college is included on the 2018 Military Friendly® Schools list, which honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace America’s military service members, veterans and spouses and to dedicate resources to ensure their success in the classroom and after graduation.

“I believe it is important for Richland College to strive to do what we can do to serve those who have served our country and their families,” said Kim Archer, Richland College’s veteran services coordinator. “Having the Military Friendly® designation is one of the ways to ensure we are reaching new targets each year.”

The Veteran Services office at Richland College works with veteran students and their families to help them complete their educational goals by maximizing their military education benefits. Many resources are available through Veteran Services, including assistance with benefits, financial aid and a variety of other support services for the college’s veteran and military students, dependents and spouses.

Richland College offers eligible students and spouses NAVPA scholarships, Hazelwood and Montgomery G.I. Bill® services and opportunities. In addition, Richland College is one of two Texas institutions awarded a $3.25 million Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to help veterans find immediate employment. Veterans benefit from the grant with manufacturing and electronics technology programs that include partnerships with 14 Dallas employers. The grant includes the Veterans-Focused Engineering Technology Project (VFETP) to meet the needs of local veterans and others who seek training to enter or re-enter the local job market. The college also hosts events to market and support veterans, including Military Appreciation Day and more.

The Military Friendly® Schools list is created by Victory Media, Inc., a leading media outlet for military personnel transitioning into civilian life. The Military Friendly® Schools list is also published in G.I. Jobs, Military Spouse and Vetrepreneur magazines. Access the list on militaryfriendlyschools.com.

For more information about Richland College’s Veteran Services, visit richlandcollege.edu/services/veterans.


Waiting for Godot Richland College Theatre Department Wins Awards at Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival

The Richland College theatre department received several awards at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF), Region Six Texas State Festival, held at Angelo State University (ASU) Oct. 25-28.

Richland College performed a production of “Waiting for Godot” at the festival. Students Carter Brown, Jabin Lewis and Shae Hardwick received Excellence in Acting awards, and Marissa Gutierrez received a Stage Management award.

In addition, Richland College’s performance was awarded Respondents’ Choice Best of Festival, chosen by respondents Tom Miller, from New York City’s Actors’ Equity Association, and Tom Burch, assistant professor of scenic design at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. The show also received Directors’ Choice Best in Festival, voted on by the directors of each show in the festival.

“Richland College was represented with pride and honor at the Texas State Festival of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival,” said Andy Long, lead faculty of theatre at Richland College. “Our freshmen and sophomore students not only held their own at a play festival, where productions consisted of juniors and seniors and even graduate students, but also the Richland College production of “Waiting for Godot” walked away with the top two awards. The commitment and determination of our young students was remarkable to see as they focused their attentions and abilities on success and then accomplished it. I am immensely proud of our students.”

Richland College is currently being considered for participation in the 2018 KCACTF Regional Festival, hosted by ASU Feb. 28-March 3.

Kennedy Center American College Theatre is a national organization focused on celebrating the educational and creative process of university and college theatre. Through its state, regional and national festivals, it honors excellence in overall production and individual recognition to students in playwriting, acting, criticism, directing and design. It includes more than 600 academic institutions nationwide participating in eight regional festivals. Richland College is part of Region Six, which also includes college theatre programs at universities and colleges in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico and Oklahoma. For more information about KCACTF, visit kcactf.org.

For more information about the Richland College theatre department, visit alt.richlandcollege.edu/theatre.


Headshot of Gary Hensler Richland College Dean Named T.A.C.E. Regional Representative

Headshot of Gary HenslerGary Hensler, Richland College dean of continuing education and workforce training, was recently named a regional representative for the Texas Administrators of Continuing Education (TACE) for community/junior colleges.

“I am very excited to have this opportunity to serve in this role for TACE,” said Hensler. “I was elected by my peer representatives in the colleges in the north region.”

As the north region representative, Hensler will serve as the catalyst for information for Collin College, the Dallas County Community College District, Grayson County College, Navarro College, North Central Texas College, Tarrant County College, TSTC – Breckenridge, Vernon College and Weatherford College.

Hensler has worked at Richland College since July 2016. Some of his previous positions include the director of market operations for Strayer University, director of enrollment services at Academic Partnerships, the director of admissions and registrar at Grayson County College and the director of recruitment of ITT Technical Institute.

TACE is Texas’ premier professional association for individuals working in continuing education at Texas community and technical colleges. Its purpose is to promote the development of quality continuing education and workforce programs and the professional development of continuing education professionals. The association works to provide members with information about issues affecting the community/junior colleges and continuing education; to function as a representative agency on legislative and other issues regarding continuing education on behalf of community colleges; to maintain a communication network for the exchange of information and ideas; to support professionalism, integrity and quality continuing education instruction in Texas; and to support appropriate funding of Texas public community college continuing education programs.

For more information on TACE, visit taceonline.org.


Richland Collegiate High School Principal Receives T.A.S.R.O. Administrator of the Year Award

Richland Collegiate High School (RCHS) principal Craig Hinkle recently received the Texas Association of School Resource Officers (TASRO) 2017 Administrator of the Year Award. This prestigious award is designed to honor administrators who have gone the extra mile to make sure their staff and students are safe and thriving.

Hinkle has served as principal since 2015, where he works with staff to address teaching and learning needs of teachers and students and makes himself available for the RCHS Student Resource Officers (SRO), students, staff and faculty.

“I am humbled and honored to be selected for the award, but the reality is that Corporal Vincent Brooks, our SRO, is deserving of the award,” said Hinkle. “Without his hard work on a daily basis in developing relationships with our students this would not have been possible.  He goes above and beyond to make sure our kids are taken care of and are safe and secure.”

Hinkle has worked with high school students for more than 20 years. He started his career in 1996 as a high school teacher in Brownwood, Tex. In 2012, he graduated with his master’s degree in Education Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Texas at Arlington. He has been working with RCHS since he was hired as an assistant principal in 2013. Later, he received the 2016 DCCCD Administrator of the Year Award for his excellent service to RCHS.

As RCHS principal, Hinkle increases student engagement by helping to shape students for future growth. He also supports the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) police and the RCHS SRO, and involves the SRO in daily decisions, classroom presentations and keeping the SRO informed of future activities. In addition, he addresses students and staff when safety exercises for the school are conducted, and assists with First 5 Minutes safety training for campus personnel.

The Texas Association of School Resource Officers is a nonprofit corporation for school-based law enforcement officers, school administrators and school safety/security personnel. It was created for the advancement of education and charity; to provide a means to disseminate, share, advise and coordinate information on the value of qualified law enforcement officers to teach elementary through senior high school students the principles of good citizenship and community responsibility; and to demonstrate the dangers associated with substance abuse, criminal activities, immoral and unethical behavior and other anti-social behavior.

Richland Collegiate High School is a school designed to provide a rigorous academic experience for high school juniors and seniors. Students complete their last two years of high school at Richland College by taking college courses and earning college credits. These students can potentially graduate simultaneously with both their high school diploma and an associate degree, prepared to transfer to a four-year university. Tuition and books are free, making RCHS an educational and affordable choice.

For information about Texas Association of School Resource Officers, visit tasro.org. For information about Richland Collegiate High School, visit alt.richlandcollege.edu/rchs.


Richland College President Receives Shirley B. Gordon Award from Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society
Dr. Eggleston on stage waving at the crowd after accepting her award

Richland College president Kathryn K. Eggleston, Ph.D., recently accepted the Phi Theta Kappa Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction at the annual Phi Theta Kappa convention in Nashville, Tenn. Photo courtesy of Phi Theta Kappa.

Richland College president Kathryn K. Eggleston, Ph.D., was one of nineteen presidents/campus CEOs awarded the Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction at Phi Theta Kappa’s annual convention in Nashville, Tenn., Apr. 6-8.

College presidents and campus CEOs are selected for this award based on outstanding efforts in promoting the goals of Phi Theta Kappa at their institutions. Nominees must have served as president at least five years at the current institution and demonstrated a strong level of support for Phi Theta Kappa during their tenure.

The award is named for the late Dr. Shirley B. Gordon, Phi Theta Kappa’s longest-serving Board of Directors chair. Gordon was named Phi Theta Kappa’s Most Distinguished College President in 1984.

Following acceptance of the award, Eggleston said, “I am honored to be recognized as a national recipient of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society’s 2017 Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction for advancing the goals of academic scholarship, leadership and service among Richland College’s outstanding honor students. I am proud to note that Richland’s Alpha Alpha Xi Chapter continues to sustain annually its Five Star Chapter rating, the highest level of accomplishment by college chapters.”

In addition to the Shirley B. Gordon Award, Eggleston was also recently inducted into the Texas Hall of Honor for Chief Executive Officers for the Texas region of Phi Theta Kappa for her and Richland College’s outstanding support of Phi Theta Kappa.

Phi Theta Kappa is the international honor society for community colleges. Founded in 1918 to give prestigious recognition to students with excellent scholarship and character, Phi Theta Kappa has always maintained fidelity to its founders’ commitment to provide enrichment in four hallmarks: scholarship, leadership, service and fellowship. Phi Theta Kappa features some of the nation’s finest educational programs for community college students.

Richland College’s Phi Theta Kappa Alpha Alpha Xi Chapter was recognized as a 2015 Top 100 Distinguished Chapter at the International Level, was the 2015 8th Most Distinguished Chapter in Texas Region and was the 2015 Most Distinguished Chapter for Honors in Action Theme 3: Quest for Human Expressions. In 2017, chapter secretary Elizabeth Mareesa won a “Distinguised Member” medallion at the Phi Theta Kappa Texas Regional Conference.

For additional information about Phi Theta Kappa at Richland College, visit alt.richlandcollege.edu/phi-theta-kappa.


Richland College Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Success Selected for 2017-2018 Aspen Presidential Fellowship

Zarina BlankenbakerRichland College executive vice president for academic affairs and student success Zarina Blankenbaker, Ph.D., was recently selected for the prestigious Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence, a highly selective leadership program aimed at developing a new cadre of outstanding leaders capable of transforming student success at community colleges across the U.S. The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC.

Blankenbaker was one of only 40 fellows selected nationwide for this honor and will embark on a year-long fellowship beginning July 2017. Delivered in collaboration with the Stanford Educational Leadership Initiative and top community college leaders, the program focuses on a new vision of leadership and aims to guide new and aspiring community college presidents to change dramatically student outcomes in several areas: learning, completion while in community college, completion of bachelor’s degrees after transfer, employment and earnings after graduation and equitable access and success for underrepresented minority and low-income students.

“As a community college leader with a personal commitment to providing equity, I am delighted with the opportunity the Aspen Presidential Fellowship will provide to prepare me with the exceptional leadership knowledge, skills and abilities to design the desired, holistic learning experiences necessary for students to complete their educational goals with the creative talent requisite to solve problems of the 21st century,” said Blankenbaker.

The selection criteria for the fellowship included Blankenbaker’s abilities in taking strategic risks, leading strong teams, cultivating partnerships and focusing on results-oriented improvements in student success and access.

According to the American Association of Community Colleges, 365 presidents left their posts during the past year. This rate of turnover is happening while increasing numbers of students—including growing numbers of minority, low-income and first-generation-to-college students—are attending community colleges.

The 2017-2018 Aspen Presidential Fellows hail from 24 states and 38 community colleges. For information, visit http://as.pn/1ky.

The Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence is funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, College Futures Foundation, ECMC Foundation, Greater Texas Foundation, Joyce Foundation and Kresge Foundation.


Richland College Designated as a Tree Campus USA

Richland College has recently been designated as a Tree Campus USA College by the Arbor Day Foundation. This designation recognizes college and university campuses that effectively maintain campus trees, connect with the community to foster healthy urban forests and strive to engage their students in service learning forestry projects.

There are many benefits to being a Tree Campus USA College. A commitment to trees can greatly reduce the amount of energy the campus needs to generate; planting and maintaining trees on campus reduces carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; and green spaces give students and faculty a place to relax with others. The Tree College USA program helps colleges and universities establish and sustain healthy community forests.

“We in facilities services are extremely excited that Richland College has been presented the designation of Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation,” said Ken Dunson, facilities director at Richland College. “With Richland College’s history of participation in Arbor Day events, the practice of honoring 20-year employees by designating existing trees on campus with their name plaques beneath them, the annual practice of planting new trees and the time and care our landscaping services professionals spend with all trees on campus, it was only natural we apply for this great honor. We are pleased to be chosen and will devote the resources and energy necessary to maintain this distinguished designation.”

Richland College had to meet five qualifications to be recognized as a national Arbor Day Foundation Tree Campus USA College. These standards are: establishing a campus tree advisory committee, giving evidence of a campus tree care plan, verifying dedicated annual expenditures on the campus tree plan, hosting an Arbor Day event and implementing a service learning project that is designed to engage students.

Texas has the most Tree Campus USA schools in the nation. Other Dallas Community College District colleges have made this distinguished list in previous years, including Brookhaven College, Eastfield College, North Lake College and Mountain View College.

Tree Campus USA is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation and administered locally by the Texas A&M Forest Service (TFS). The Arbor Day Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit conservation and education organization. It has one million members, donors and partners who support its programs to make the world greener and healthier.

Since 1915, TFS has been protecting and sustaining forests, trees and other natural resources. The organization also offers programs and services to help others make the most of their land for future generations.

For more information about the Arbor Day Foundation, visit arborday.org. For more information about the Texas A&M Forest Service, visit tfsweb.tamu.edu.