Category Archives: Employee Success

Headshot of Kay Eggleston Richland College President to Serve on American Association of Community Colleges Board of Directors

Richland College president Kathryn K. Eggleston was recently elected to serve on the American Association of Community Colleges board of directors, with her three-year term beginning July 1.

Eggleston will be one of 32 community college representatives serving on the AACC board of directors. The board acts on behalf of AACC institutional members to create and maintain a vision for the association and to determine and ensure it is adhering to appropriate standards of performance.

As a newly elected AACC board member, Eggleston says she “looks forward to advancing key national strategic initiatives to help the more than 1,100 member community colleges to serve better their students and achieve greater success outcomes.”

Eggleston has previously served AACC in multiple capacities, including with the Commission on College Readiness, Commission on Leadership and Professional Development, Commission on Communications and Marketing and the AACC 21st Century Initiative Implementation Team 9: Faculty Engagement and Leadership Development.

Each year following its annual August board meeting, AACC solicits nominations for board seats from CEOs and presidents of institutional members. In November, the Committee on Directors and Membership Services reviews the nominations and develops the slate, which is approved by the board. Election ballots are then sent to AACC member CEOs in February to vote on the board nominees. Upon development of the slate, AACC received 19 letters of recommendation from community college representatives nationwide in support of Eggleston’s nomination to the board of directors.

“[Eggleston’s] previous and continuing service on AACC commissions, the Baldrige Foundation board, multiple chambers of commerce and the North Texas Community College Consortium are well-documented and noteworthy,” wrote Brookhaven College president Thom Chesney in his letter of recommendation to AACC. “I would add to that the deep and caring commitment she has given to employee development at Richland College by creating career pathways and support for her team members to excel at every level.”

As the primary advocacy organization for community colleges in the U.S., AACC represents nearly 1,200 two-year, associate degree-granting institutions and more than 12 million students. The association promotes community colleges through five strategic action areas: recognition and advocacy for community colleges; student access, learning and success; community college leadership development; economic and workforce development; and global and intercultural education.

For additional information about AACC, visit

Shannon Cunningham, M.T. Hickman and Dwight Riley pose together, with M.T. holding her award from MPI. Richland College HEEM Lead Faculty M.T. Hickman Honored with Leadership Award from MPI DFW Chapter

M.T. Hickman, lead faculty of Richland College’s Hospitality, Exhibitions and Event Management program, was honored with the Colleen Rickenbacher Leadership Award at the 16th annual Certified Meeting Professional and Certificate in Meeting Management Recognition Event, hosted by the Dallas/Ft. Worth chapter of Meeting Professionals International April 26.

Hickman was one of three finalists for the award, and her selection was based on her impact on enhancing the relationships with meeting professionals and students in Richland College’s HEEM program. Her efforts have not only raised the visibility of the program, but she has a history of actively engaging students at industry events and encouraging them to join professional organizations and pursue industry certifications.

“M.T. is passionate about the industry and works hard to provide hands-on learning opportunities for Richland College HEEM students,” said Dwight Riley, dean of the Richland College School of Business. “She is a leader who inspires her students and colleagues to pursue their dreams.”

The Colleen Rickenbacher Leadership Award recognizes a member of the MPI Dallas/Ft. Worth chapter who makes a difference in the meetings industry through leadership contributions, commitment to education and advocacy in the cause of professional certifications.

Hickman, a CMP and Certified Protocol Etiquette and Civility Professional, is also a co-founder and current co-chair of the IMEX America and IMEX Frankfurt Faculty Engagement Programs that are part of the annual IMEX America and Frankfurt exhibitions for incentive travel, meetings and events. The Faculty Engagement Programs bring together faculty from around the world to discuss issues in meetings and events related to preparing students for careers in the industry.

In addition, for 16 years Hickman has brought together industry leaders and students to plan and produce the HEEM Scholarship Luncheon and Silent Auction, an annual event that has now raised more than $50,000 in scholarship funds for HEEM students at Richland College.

The Richland College HEEM program offers courses in the hospitality industry that prepare students for jobs as a marketing coordinator, show director, sales administrator, meeting manager, special events coordinator and event planners. Students can complete the Meetings and Events Management certificate, Hospitality and Tourism Management certificate or the Hospitality, Exhibitions and Event Management Associate of Applied Sciences degree.

MPI is the largest meeting and event industry association worldwide. Founded in 1972, MPI provides innovative and relevant education, networking opportunities and business exchanges and acts as a prominent voice for the promotion and growth of the industry. MPI has a global community of 60,000 meeting and event professionals and more than 90 chapters and clubs in 19 countries.

Two Richland College Computer Information Technology Faculty Members Named Expert Level Instructors by Cisco Networking Academy

Richland College computer information technology faculty members Rod Lamb and Rich Park were recently honored by Cisco Networking Academy with the Expert Level Instructor Excellence Award, a distinction that recognizes Lamb and Park as being in the top 10 percent of the academy’s instructors globally.

Lamb, also the computer information technology program administrator, has more than 18 years of experience as a Cisco Networking Academy instructor and has been previously awarded the Expert Level Excellence Award in 2014, 2015 and 2017. In addition, he has also twice received the Advanced Level Excellence Award, recognizing the top 25 percent of instructors globally.

Park also has more than 18 years of experience as a Cisco Networking Academy instructor and was previously awarded the Expert Level Excellence Award in 2013, 2016 and 2017. He also has twice previously received the Advanced Level Excellence Award.

“It’s nice to get the recognition,” said Lamb. “I think it shows the quality of the instructional faculty we have here, and I think that’s what spoke to me the most when I got it: the level of knowledge and expertise we have at Richland College.” Lamb went on to explain that very few other colleges had more than one instructor on the list of Expert Level Excellence Award winners.

Cisco Networking Academy program awards are determined using an instructor recognition score based on several factors, including participation in regional instructor online groups; participation in Cisco professional development opportunities; attention to student needs, measured by satisfaction with lab facilitation and student interest in the courses; student performance on the first attempt of the final exam; and instructor use of Cisco resources such as assessments.

Richland College offers courses that prepare students for the Cisco Certified Networking Associate and Cisco Certified Networking Professional exams. In this training, students learn how to design, build and secure intelligent networks while developing other skills such as leadership and collaboration. The CCNA certification is a foundation-level networking certification, while the CCNP is more advanced and shows that the certificate holder has the networking expertise to meet the needs of varying IT and networking job roles.

Cisco Systems, Inc. develops, manufactures and sells networking hardware, telecommunications equipment and other high technology services and products and is the largest networking company in the world.

Cisco Networking Academy program began in 1997 when Cisco donated networking equipment to a local school, but it sat unused because no one was trained on it. Realizing this gap, Cisco stepped in and trained the staff to build their network, and Cisco Networking Academy Program grew from a single school to an ever-expanding community of students, educators, employers, non-governmental organizations, Cisco employees and customers. Cisco Networking Academy has impacted more than 7.8 million students in 180 countries, partnering with 22,000 educators and instructors at 10,400 academies.

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

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

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 Proclamation for National Police Week

Police officers posing on the Richland College campus

Whereas, The Congress and President of the United States have designated May 15th as Peace Officers’ Memorial Day, and the week in which May 15 falls as National Police Week; and

Whereas, the members of the law enforcement agency of Richland College play an essential role in safeguarding the rights and freedoms of Richland College and the community it serves; and

Whereas, it is important that all citizens know and understand the duties, responsibilities, hazards, and sacrifices of their law enforcement agency, and that members of our law enforcement agency recognize their duty to serve the people by safeguarding life and property, by protecting them against violence and disorder, and by protecting the innocent against deception and the weak against oppression; and

Whereas, the men and women of the law enforcement agency of Richland College unceasingly provide a vital public service;

Now, therefore, I, President of Richland College, call upon all faculty, staff, and students of Richland College, and upon all patriotic civic and educational organizations to observe the week of Sunday, May 15, through Saturday, May 21, 2016, as Police Week with appropriate public and private ceremonies and observances in which all of us may join in honoring law enforcement officers, past and present, who, by their faithful and loyal devotion to their responsibilities, have rendered a dedicated service to their communities and, in doing so, have established for themselves an enviable and enduring reputation for preserving the rights and security of all citizens.

Furthermore, I also call upon all faculty, staff, and students of Richland College to observe this period of Police Officer Memorial Week in honor of those law enforcement officers who through their courageous deeds, have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their community or have become disabled in the performance of duty, and let us recognize and pay respect to the survivors of our fallen heroes.

In witness thereof, be it resolved affixed with the Seal of Richland College.

Kathryn K. Eggleston, Ph.D.,

Robert Baker, J.D.,
Chief of Police


Richland College featured for adjunct faculty engagement

CCCSE-PTF_Special_ReportPG1Richland College‘s effective practices in engaging adjunct faculty are featured in a report released this week by the Center for Community College Student Engagement.

Richland College is one of nine community colleges profiled for “Contingent Commitments: Bringing Part-Time Faculty Into Focus.” The report explores policies and practices related to part-time or adjunct faculty who teach more than half of the credit students at most colleges.

“Contingent Commitments: Bringing Part-Time Faculty Into Focus” aims to help college leaders work more effectively with part-time faculty so more students have access to the educational experiences and support they need to succeed in college.

Read the full report

Students, faculty honored for achievements
The 2013-14 Richland College Student Wall of Honor recipients, from left: Karen Cuttill, Tsegazeab "TJ" Gebreyohannes, Martha Camarillo and Horacio Velador (Jorge Valderrama not pictured).

The 2013-14 Richland College Student Wall of Honor recipients, from left: Karen Cuttill, Tsegazeab “TJ” Gebreyohannes, Martha Camarillo and Horacio Velador (Jorge Valderrama not pictured).

Richland College recognized outstanding students and teaching practices in a ceremony on April 2. The 2013-14 Student Wall of Honor recipients are Martha Camarillo, Karen Cuttill, Tsegazeab “TJ” Gebreyohannes, Jorge Valderrama and Horacio Velador, who were honored for their outstanding academic achievements, perseverance through adversity and contributions to the community. Current and former students, in both credit and continuing education, are named to the Wall of Honor each spring. Read the recipients’ bios on the Wall of Honor webpage.

The 2013-14 Richland College Student Engagement Awards recipients, from left: Professor Vicki Mayhan,  Professor Gabe Edgar and Dr. Lesley Daspit.

The 2013-14 Richland College Student Engagement Awards recipients, from left: Professor Vicki Mayhan, Professor Gabe Edgar and Dr. Lesley Daspit.

Richland College also honored the following instructors with the 2013-14 Student Engagement Awards: Professor Gabe Edgar for his innovative use of iPhones to ePortfolios with ESOL students; Dr. Lesley Daspit for leading her Anthropology students in a Garbology research project; and Professor Vicki Mayhan for designing an opportunity for her art students to create works for the Network of Community Ministries’ Clinic.

Richland College president served on refugee report review committee

The Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF), in collaboration with the Association for Asian American Studies, released a new, national report, “Invisible Newcomers: Refugees from Burma/Myanmar and Bhutan in the United States,” that gives voice to and provides comprehensive data about the challenges surrounding these refugee populations.

Kathryn K. Eggleston, Richland College’s president, served as a member of the review committee for the “Invisible Newcomers” report. Richland College is a designated Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI).

The need for a report such as “Invisible Newcomers” was identified through continual assessment of APIASF’s scholarship application cycle, said Neil Horikoshi, APIASF president and executive director.

“We discovered that a growing number of our applicants and scholarship recipients are from the Burmese and Bhutanese communities,” Mr. Horikoshi said. “Further investigation into these groups demonstrated the need for access to educational resources as well as additional research to inform policymakers, higher education leaders and other resource providers about the experiences of students.”

The report found that serious challenges for Burmese and Bhutanese refugees include difficulty navigating systems to access long-term funding and support services; limited English proficiency; intergenerational conflict between children/youth and elders; and the inability to communicate in various realms, including educational access and employment resources.

The APIASF identified several policy implications and made recommendations including:

  • The length of time that adult refugees are eligible for English language education and social support services should be extended.
  • Special attention needs to be paid to the educational outcomes of the refugee population who arrive during their teen years. Some 39 percent of Burmese refugees in the United States have dropped out of high school. This population needs programs to help ease their transition. Intensive educational and social support should be provided to teens to help increase high school graduation rates.
  • Job training and job development are critical factors contributing to improved socioeconomic status. Organizations should strategically provide training to refugees that will lead to permanent positions and focus on areas with future job growth.

Richland College works closely with the APIASF. For the 2013–14 academic year , Richland College was one of only nine higher education institutions in the U.S. through which the APIASF offered scholarships to AANAPISI students.

In 2010, Richland College received a five-year AANAPISI grant from the U.S. Department of Education that will total more than $1.4 million in funding. This AANAPISI funding impacts many of Richland College’s underserved students, as 14 percent of the college’s student population is composed of Asian American students with at least half of those demonstrating financial need.

Richland College professor pens book on persuasive writing

Scan the shelves or peruse the website of any bookseller and you’ll find a plethora of published works on business writing. However, you will find very few books on the art of persuasive business writing.

That is what led Royce Murcherson, a professor of technical writing at Richland College, to pen a new book that helps workers in any industry at any level produce concise and compelling communications.

“There were a bazillion books on business writing out there but none were persuasive,” Dr. Murcherson said. “We’re surrounded by so many messages and they are coming so quickly. In business, we need to make a good impression just as quickly. This new model for persuasive writing is needed now more than ever to help us write documents that get results.”

Dr. Murcherson’s book, The Guide to Persuasive Business Writing: A New Model That Gets Results (Kendall Hunt, 2013), outlines a “common-sense model” for business writing based on the ideas of Stephen Toulmin, a British educator who wrote about and taught methods for developing practical arguments.

Toulmin’s ideas were quite familiar to Dr. Murcherson, who earned a Ph.D. in composition and rhetoric and has taught at Richland College since 1997. In her book, Dr. Murcherson invites readers to think of every business document – whether it is an email, memo, letter, job application or report – as an argument. She outlines Toulmin’s model and provides multiple examples of various forms of business writing.

Dr. Murcherson also gives an overview of business ethics and the importance of tone and professionalism in workplace writing.

“What I teach are puzzle pieces, not a formula,” she said. “You learn how the elements work and adapt them to the kind of communication needed.”

The Guide to Persuasive Business Writing started because Dr. Murcherson knew her students needed to learn these skills but she quickly realized it was more than a college textbook.

She has offered professional development sessions based on her book for faculty and staff members at Richland College and at other institutions in the Dallas County Community College District. Dr. Murcherson’s “Writing to Win” sessions have been received enthusiastically.

“I thought we would do one ‘Writing to Win’ session but it turned into four this fall and another in the spring,” she said.

Dr. Murcherson aims to help people create a successful “narrative” through their excellent business writing.

“On the first day of the job, every day on the job, you will be creating your own narrative, writing your story, creating an image,” she said. “And the quality of your story will depend on how you communicate it. Good persuasive writing will have much to do with this. Make your narrative a bestseller.”