Category Archives: News

four women from russia are at the front of a classroom, addressing students who are not pictured. Richland College Hosts Presentations from Russian Women to Further Mission of Teaching, Learning and Community Building

Richland College students, faculty and staff had the opportunity to engage in discussions and hear the stories of four women from various regions of Russia during two presentations hosted by the Richland College Institute for Peace, Richland College Honors Program and the Global Education Development Advisory Council on March 29.

The women were Lena Novomeyskaya of Yekaterinburg and born in west Ukraine, Elena Ivanova of St. Petersburg, Tatyana Bukharina of Yalta in Crimea and Natalie Ivanova of Krasnodar. They came to the U.S. as part of the first Russians Meet Mainstream America (RMMA) program developed by the Center for Citizen Initiatives (CCI), an organization dedicated to reducing tensions between the U.S. and Russia and debunking misunderstandings through citizen-to-citizen exchanges, public relations and social media efforts in both countries.

During the sessions at Richland College, the women addressed the audience and told stories about their histories and what it has been like to live in Russia, including how their lives changed when the Soviet Union was dissolved. Discussion also included their perceptions and opinions of Americans, the Russian economy, Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Russian annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and other timely issues. The purpose of the discussions was not to argue or debate, but to share different points of view to educate the citizens in both countries.

“I was brought up on the idea that America is a friend of Russia,” Natalie Ivanova told the audience during the second presentation. “My father participated in the Stalingrad battle in 1942 during the second World War. He was wounded in this battle, and when I was a child he told me a lot of stories about the war, and he told me that he was very grateful to the United States.”

Bukharina’s story received particular interest from many audience members when she discussed her home in Crimea, a peninsula on the northern coast of the Black Sea in Eastern Europe that, while previously a Russian province, became a Ukrainian territory in 1954. In 2014, Russian troops captured strategic sites across Crimea and annexed the territory, a move that was generally condemned by many world leaders because it was considered to be a violation of both international law and Russian agreements that safeguarded the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

Bukharina told the audience about how, despite international opinion to the contrary, many Crimean citizens supported this annexation by Russia for many reasons, including Ukraine’s violation of Crimean human rights, such as cutting the water supply to many citizens, including farmers.

“This morning I checked my [e]mail, and my friends know that we are here with the program Center for Citizen Initiatives, and that we’re working as volunteers, and friends from Sevastopol wrote, ‘give a big thank you to the American people for returning Crimea back to Russia,’” Bukharina said. After a pause, she added, “Are you surprised?”

Honors English student Ryan Morrow participated in the question-and-answer session, and later he commented on what he learned about the effects the dissolution of the Soviet Union had on the Russian people, a common thread discussed by all four women.

“I didn’t realize how much of an economic effect the end of the Soviet Union had on the Russian economy and how much work, or how much damage, it actually did that is still persistent in their society,” said Morrow.

Similarly, Morrow’s classmate Victoria Patterson felt the presentation opened her eyes more because the women discussed many issues that are generally not mentioned by the American media.

“I think it’s really interesting how they’re saying Americans really aren’t portrayed negatively over there, yet our media typically demonizes them so much,” said Patterson. “I didn’t know most of the stuff about what happened in Crimea that Tatyana [Bukharina] was talking about, so I think it’s interesting how much we have kind of been allowed to hide.”

“What is most valuable about this meeting between Richland College students and our Russian visitors through CCI is face-to-face dialogue that brings authenticity and honesty to the forefront and dissolves the barriers created by second- or third-hand news and simple ignorance,” said English faculty member and Richland College Institute for Peace and Human Rights coordinator Scott Branks del Llano, Ph.D. “Conversations are wonderful equalizers, and this event offered humane and compassionate conversations where empathy and peaceful understanding rose above the suspicion and divisiveness that permeates much of the media regarding Russian and U.S. relations. We need to engage in many more such forums of hospitable dialogue.”

In addition to Dallas, this first RMMA delegation’s itinerary includes Atlanta, Fort Worth, San Francisco and Washington D.C.

CCI was founded in 1983 with the hope that ordinary Americans could help bring about a constructive relationship with the Soviet Union. A CCI travel program soon became a reality, with American citizens visiting Russia and Soviet republics, with the travelers developing Soviet contacts. In 1988, Soviets Meet Middle America (SMMA) was the first program that brought non-party member Soviet citizens to the U.S.

Other past CCI successes include helping bring Alcoholics Anonymous to Russia; creating an economic development program in 1989 to train young English-speaking Russian entrepreneurs in how to start a business by organizing internships for them in American companies; shipping both cold-tolerant seeds and emergency food boxes when the Soviet Union dissolved; founding programs to train Russian small business owners and to train young Russian women in the apparel industry to encourage self-employment; and teaching orphanage children computer technology skills. In 2010, CCI closed its doors after funding had evaporated during the prior several years.

CCI was revived in 2015 by its founder and president Sharon Tennison, and a travel program was restarted for Americans to visit Russia. RMMA was then initiated in 2018 in response to the growing tensions between the U.S. and Russia, with the intent of bringing Russian citizens to the U.S. to discuss major issues between the countries and reduce stereotypes and misinformation.

The Richland College Institute for Peace is committed to educating for peace, justice and the abolition of conditions that give rise to violence and war. It fosters an interdependent community that actively pursues peaceable living, resolution of conflict and respect for human dignity, contributing to the goal of global peace, justice and friendship among peoples. Programs for students, employees and the community are offered through the traditional academic curriculum, continuing education, professional development and teleconferences.

The Richland College Honors Program provides highly qualified students with an enriched and challenging academic community where they develop the capabilities necessary to excel in their educational and career goals.

For additional information, visit ccisf.org, richlandcollege.edu/peace and richlandcollege.edu/honors.


TWCIT Consortium check-signing ceremony Richland College Receives $523,089 Grant from Texas Workforce Commission in Check-Signing Ceremony

Richland College, Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), City of Richardson and local Richardson information technology industry representatives participated in a check-signing ceremony March 22 at Argo Data Resource, Inc. Richland College was awarded a $523,089 Skills Development Fund grant by the Texas Workforce Commission to train 197 IT employees, totaling more than 8,334 training hours, for Richardson’s first IT Consortium, consisting of Richardson employers Argo Data Resource, Inc., a financial and healthcare software company; GXA Network Solutions, an IT help support company; and the Wilkins Group, a telecommunication support company.

Training under the grant includes business technical, general technical and non-technical training in subjects ranging from specific software applications to accounting to customer service and more. In addition to training incumbent employees, this grant will add 21 new jobs to the IT Consortium companies.

“This training, delivered by Richland College Garland Campus, empowers employees through enhanced skill development and provides the companies with a competitive edge in an ever-changing global IT market,” said Richland College president Kathryn K. Eggleston, Ph.D.

At the ceremony, Eggleston also spoke about the impact this training will have on their employers and the local economy, as well as applauding each company involved for their dedication to enhancing the skills of their workforces and expanding the economic base of Richardson, the North Texas region and the state of Texas.

“Richland College appreciates the ongoing confidence the Texas Workforce Commission, the Richardson business community and company partners place in us as a dependable, experienced, high-quality, results-focused training provider,” Eggleston said. “We remain ready and willing to serve.”

“Everything requires IT. That’s what makes what you’re doing here so impressive,” Texas Workforce Commission commissioner representing labor, Julian Alvarez, said. He addressed the gathered crowd and discussed technology’s rapid growth and change and how businesses statewide in all sectors require employees with IT skills, noting that Richland College has been listening to the local business community and providing customized training to fit the needs of these employers.

“The regional impact of this training, and the commitment by our three entities today, is $4.4 million in the local community, and that’s just one grant that we’re doing,” said Alvarez.

At Argo Data Resource, Inc., GXA Network Solutions and the Wilkins Group, training is already underway, with additional courses to be taught during the coming months.

“We’ve gained skills that we’re going to use to implement better IT projects and better IT solutions that will help build stronger Texas businesses,” said George Makaye, president of GXA Network Solutions.

Upon completion of this training, Richland College hopes to continue working with the Texas Workforce Commission to receive additional Skills Development Fund grants to offer training opportunities to additional Richardson-based IT businesses every six months.

“We are very thankful for the continued partnership between Richland College and the Texas Workforce Commission,” said Richardson mayor Paul Voelker. “During the past several years, their combined efforts have created millions of dollars in training opportunities for Richardson businesses, and this latest investment will serve as another prime example we will use to retain and attract jobs to our Telecom Corridor® area.”

The Richardson Economic Development Partnership, a joint initiative established by the City of Richardson and the Richardson Chamber of Commerce dedicated to building a vibrant and thriving local economy, has now assisted Richland College in facilitating Skills Development Fund grants totaling nearly $3 million to five Richardson companies since 2014.

“We’re thrilled that connections made through the chamber helped bring together Richardson businesses with this highly technical training,” said Richardson Chamber president Bill Sproull. “We’re proud of Richland College’s partnership in preparing our workforce for the valuable technical opportunities we continue to attract to Richardson.”

For additional information about the Skills Development Fund program with Richland College and the TWC, visit https://www.richlandcollege.edu/aboutrlc/garland-campus/pages/skills-development-fund.aspx.


Richland College Student Green Team Hosting Used Clothing Fundraiser March 19-April 8

Spring is a season of starting fresh, giving back and going green, and the Richland College Student Green Team (SGT) is doing just that and has partnered with the World Wear Project Green Fundraiser Program to host a Clothing Recycling Project fundraiser.

From Mar. 19-Apr. 8, a World Wear Project donation bin will be located in the first parking row of Parking Lot E on the Richland College campus. The SGT invites the community to stop by the bin and donate gently used clothing, shoes, purses, belts, wallets, hats, backpacks, toys, pots and pans and more during this fundraiser. Many of the donated items will be shipped globally to help businesses and disaster victims and will help reduce the amount of waste taking up space in local landfills. In addition, the SGT will earn 12 cents per pound to help fund their educational resources, project materials, supplies, field trips, team T-shirts and recognition awards.

“Last April, we conducted a test pilot of having the World Wear Project bin temporarily in Parking Lot E, and we collected 672 pounds of items, raising $80,” said Sonia Ford, Richland College sustainability project coordinator and a member of the Dallas County Community College District Sustainability Team. “This year we have selected a more visible location, extended the timeframe from two weeks to three and increased the Student Green Team member participation to bring awareness to the fundraiser and have increased our advertising efforts. We hope to collect more items to help the community recycle, divert more materials from landfills, help those in need and raise money for the SGT.”

The mission of the SGT is to promote sustainability awareness and encourage environmentally conscious behavior through raising awareness about ecological issues and engaging in environmental, recycling and conservation energy activities to build a more sustainable local and world community for a greener tomorrow.

The World Wear Project is a nonprofit organization that makes clothing and shoes affordable and available to people domestically and internationally; helps schools, places of worship, community centers, charities and other nonprofits generate needed funds; and promotes global responsibility. More information is available at worldwearproject.com.

Richland College has tracked energy consumption since 1975, and it currently provides and tracks the recycling of 38 different materials while maintaining and monitoring an onsite waste-management program. Last year alone, Richland College recycled 485 tons of materials. In 2017, Richland College became the first and only educational institution to be awarded the City of Dallas Zero Waste Management Gold Level Green Business certification for its efforts in preventing waste, incorporating recycling and promoting reuse, reduce and compost in its operations. 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 richlandcollege.edu/greenrichland.

Richland College is located at 12800 Abrams Rd.


Richland College Looks Back at Accomplishments from $3.25 Million U.S. Department of Labor Grant

When Richland College was awarded the $3.25 million Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor in Sept. 2014, the potential impact on local industry was evident. The funds from this grant, along with multiple partnerships with employers in Dallas, Richardson and Garland, would equip Richland College with the tools and technology needed to train local veterans and others seeking to enter or re-enter the high-demand technology job market. In turn, local companies would receive qualified employees ready for immediate employment and trained on industry-recognized equipment.

Richland College’s Technology, Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing (TEAM) Center is a very tangible result of the TAACCCT grant funds. The space is fully equipped with leading edge, industry-quality technology that allows engineering and manufacturing students to have relevant, hands-on experience and career-focused training. It features an advanced manufacturing center, electronics engineering equipment, a robotics training lab and multiple classrooms for additional technology training.

It is in this innovative, technologically advanced place that the other tangible results of the grant have been taking shape as students prepare to enter the workforce.

Cisco Iturbe is an electrical engineering technology student at Richland College and a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. He has been attending Richland College for several semesters and is looking forward to graduating soon with one course remaining. His immediate goal is to get a job in the electrical engineering field, and he hopes eventually to own his own business.

After completing four years of active duty and two years in the reserves, Iturbe came to Richland College because of the equipment he saw set up in the labs, which he felt allowed students the opportunity to learn in an industry-standard environment and gain vital hands-on experience. As a student, the variety of equipment available has also provided Iturbe the opportunity to enhance his electronics technology education with experience in other areas that may help him in the future, such hydraulics, manufacturing and robotics.

“For me, doing things hands-on is very important,” said Iturbe. “Once you get your hands on something, it makes a world of difference because if you’ve never touched it, you don’t know what it feels like or what it does. If you don’t know that, then how are you going to do anything with it? So Richland College gives me the opportunity to learn and embed it as a muscle memory, not just an educational memory.”

“I would recommend Richland because of the different areas they teach you,” said Iturbe. “I’m here for electronics, but I’ve learned a few other things that have helped. Richland is here to help in a lot of ways—so many people want to help you. The staff is really uplifting, and the professors really know their stuff.”

According to Garth Clayton, Ph. D., Richland College’s dean of resource development, Iturbe is one of approximately 50 veterans who are now involved in the advanced manufacturing or electronics technology programs in the TEAM Center.

“One of the things we offer here is the replication of the real experience,” said Clayton. “We have invested a great deal of our resources in offering different brands of the same equipment that people use in real life. And what happens is that [the students] learn to do everything here to walk into the job, able to work with whatever the employer provides. So they are hitting the ground running whenever they obtain one of our degrees or certificates.”

Advanced manufacturing student Monica Lee has watched the TEAM Center develop around her and become a thriving learning space as she has studied at Richland College during the past three years.

“I was looking to do something with 3D modeling and design, things like AutoCAD and industrial design. I live here in Dallas, and I was doing research and saw that Richland had those classes offered here,” said Lee. “I came down and checked out the campus and was really impressed with what was available. Even though the lab wasn’t finished when I started, I got to see it come to fruition, and it’s just an amazing facility.”

To prepare Lee and other advanced manufacturing students, the program at Richland College teaches them each step of the process, starting with designing a part on a computer that will later be manufactured. From there, students design how the machine will cut the part, and once that is complete, they simply walk down the hall to the lab and actually create what they designed, cutting the metal and setting up the machines themselves. Lee describes this start-to-finish education as hands-on support to what students learn in the classroom, which to her is key to understanding what goes into the technical requirements of manufacturing.

Lee will graduate this May with not only her class experience, but also on-the-job training through an internship obtained via Richland’s corporate partnership with Raytheon Precision Manufacturing, where she hopes to continue working and growing in her career after graduating with an associate degree.

“All the technology at this internship was the same, and all the skills that I learned here [at Richland College] were immediately used from day one,” said Lee. “It helped me be able to shine in the job because I knew firsthand what was going on. So it was actually really seamless to go from Richland to my internship.”

While Iturbe and Lee are studying in different programs and have different goals, both of them, along with many other students, have benefited from the TAAACCCT grant and Richland College’s TEAM Center.

“Cisco [Iturbe] is a great example of someone who likes our program and can see a future for himself in it, and Monica [Lee] is also an example of the way that our students are able to transition into the workforce very quickly and very easily,” said Clayton. “As part of this community, which includes a very vibrant advanced manufacturing and electronics technology group of corporations and shops, we are pleased to be able to support them in this way.”

As a direct result of the grant, Richland College’s accomplishments to date include: 14,500 square feet of renovated space; $1.3 million worth of capital equipment and $400,000 worth of minor equipment, all installed and now operating since 2016; three additional faculty members and three additional staff members hired; two credit certificate and one continuing education certificate offerings added; 37 Associate of Applied Science degrees and 39 certificates in electronics and manufacturing awarded; 32 Associate of Applied Science degrees and 136 certificates in computer information technology awarded since that program’s inclusion in the grant; 292 students enrolled in electronics and manufacturing programs and 464 students in computer information technology programs in the 2018 spring semester; and 277 passed NIMS credentials in eight different credential exams. In addition, Richland College has also completed a cognitive task analysis and received new courseware for wire EDM, another common manufacturing process.

Even though the grant has ended, Richland College will continue to offer the curricula that were promised in the grant; offer credit for prior learning; add and replace additional equipment such as hydraulics, motor controls, modular assembly systems and programmable logic controllers; and will be adding new automation courses for aerospace, defense and communication needs.

Prior to installing the new equipment in the TEAM Center, Richland College donated all its previous, usable equipment to the Richardson Independent School District and the Garland Independent School District. Richland College also has technology-based early college high school programs with Dallas Independent School District’s Hillcrest High School and Emmett J. Conrad High School, giving high school students the opportunity to earn both their high school diploma and an Associate of Applied Science degree in just four years.

A recent event at Richland College celebrated these accomplishments and the student success that came as a direct result of the TAACCCT grant funds. At the event, Richardson mayor Paul Voelker spoke about the impact the grant had upon Richland College, and as a direct result, the impact of those workforce-ready students entering the local job force, specifically in Richardson’s Telecom Corridor.

“I’m keenly aware of what you’re doing here and the value added,” Voelker told the crowd. “It’s so important today that our employers know that their talent is here, and if it’s not here, we can create it here, or we can reinvent it here because we are always constantly learning.”

“Coming full-circle and seeing the advanced manufacturing capabilities that we can do right here, not only in the USA, but in north Texas, is pretty cool. We can compete with anybody in the world, at any level, because we have the talent and what it takes to make those businesses successful.”

For more information about Richland College’s School of Engineering and Technology or the TEAM Center, visit richlandcollege.edu/et.


Richland College Offers Amazon Web Services Academy Curriculum Classes for Spring and Summer I Terms

Richland College has two upcoming Amazon Web Services (AWS) Academy curriculum classes, beginning March 19 and May 14, designed to prepare students for the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate certification exam.

Taught by Richland College information technology and cloud computing faculty member Juli Hart, AWS solutions architect students will develop technical expertise in cloud computing and will have access to course manuals, online knowledge assessments, hands-on labs, a free practice certification exam and a discount voucher for the actual certification exam.

The classes are Monday and Wednesday evenings at 5:30 and last for eight weeks each.

“Cloud technology is the future,” said Hart. “Having familiarity with it, in some degree, is going to be a requirement for anyone wishing to be successful in IT.”

Cloud services platforms such as AWS provide rapid access to flexible and low-cost IT resources. Using cloud services allows companies to avoid the large, upfront expenses associated with servers, storage and applications, in addition to the heavy lifting and high cost of managing and maintaining that hardware. Cloud computing offers easy access to servers, storage, databases and a broad set of application services over the Internet, allowing users to retrieve and use resources they need almost instantly and only paying for what they use.

With AWS being the industry leader in cloud computing, AWS certification holders are extremely relevant and valued in today’s IT job market. According to the Global Knowledge 2017 IT Skills and Salary Survey, the average salary of AWS-certified professionals is 27.5 percent higher than those without an AWS certification.

For Hart, creating a rapport with her students at Richland College is easy. Hart used to be a Richland College student herself before becoming an instructor. Since then, she has alternated teaching at Richland College with consulting, all the while amassing an impressive list of software certifications, including but not limited to AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate, Linux+ and Network+, in addition to multiple certifications from Microsoft, VMWare, Cisco, Sonicwall, Citrix and Novell. Through this extensive experience, Hart is able to offer her students a real-world perspective as to how the class curriculum will assist their careers in the future, providing first-hand examples of real situations and tying together theories with practical experience.

Hart also recently taught an AWS apprenticeship program, in which military veterans learned about cloud-based solutions while also completing paid internships with Amazon. Through Hart’s instruction and guidance, every student in the first cohort successfully passed the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate certification. Hart will be soon teaching a second cohort of veterans, scheduled to start later this spring.

To register for classes at Richland College, visit richlandcollege.edu.


Early Voting at Richland College and Richland College Garland Campus

Exercise your right to vote! Richland College and the Richland College Garland Campus are early voting locations for Dallas county residents from now through March 2. Election day is March 6. A full list of early voting locations and times can be found at www.dallascountyvotes.org/wp-content/uploads/EVLocationsP.pdf.

Early voting at Richland College is on the main floor of Guadalupe Hall.

To view your voter eligibility, precinct information and sample ballots, visit http://www.dallascountyvotes.org/voter-lookup.

To just view sample ballots, visit the below links:

Democratic Ballot: www.dallascountyvotes.org/wp-content/uploads/180306_Dem-SampleBallot_Web.pdf

Republican Ballot: www.dallascountyvotes.org/wp-content/uploads/180306_Rep-SampleBallot_Web.pdf

Candidate information for the Republican, Democratic, Libertarian and Green parties can be found at www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/candidates/index.shtml.


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.


A crowd standing outside a newly opened hotel with confetti raining down. Richland College’s ‘Travel, Exposition and Meeting Management’ Program Changed to ‘Hospitality, Exhibition and Event Management’

In order to better serve the needs of students, Richland College officially changed the name of its Travel, Exposition and Meeting Management (TEMM) Associate of Applied Science degree program to Hospitality, Exhibition and Event Management (HEEM), effective Jan. 1, 2018.

This change occurred after a survey was distributed to 77 students asking about intentions and goals of the program. With an 84 percent return rate, the survey determined 46 percent of students were most interested in meetings and events, 65 percent of students were interested in pursuing the Associate of Applied Science degree rather than just getting a certificate and 48 percent of students were extremely likely to pursue a career in the industry.

“The name was changed to HEEM so that potential and current students could more clearly recognize the hospitality and event management emphasis of the program,” said M.T. Hickman, HEEM lead faculty and program coordinator. “The word ‘travel’ is often associated with travel agents, who represent a very small segment of the industry. ‘Hospitality’ is a more commonly used term that includes lodging, events, tourism and recreation. This change more accurately describes the program and gives students and employers a better understanding of what we offer.”

Although the name has officially been changed for all new students, it will not affect current students in the TEMM program. In addition, the Hospitality and Tourism Management and Meetings and Event Management certificate programs will remain the same. While the travel and events courses currently offered at Richland College will not change, students will begin to see more hospitality courses added in the future.

“This program provides the education to prepare students for a career in the hospitality, events and tourism industry,” said Hickman. “The certificates build upon each other and lead to the Associate of Applied Science degree. These awards prepare students for entry-level positions in the industry. According to the U.S. Occupation Outlook, the hospitality and lodging industry is expected to grow by 6 percent, and the meetings and events industry is expected to grow by 10 percent by 2026. This program exposes students to the many segments of the industry, which will help them gain an understanding of where they would like to work and build relationships while they are in school.”

The HEEM curriculum is developed in collaboration with a 30-member advisory board whose members represent all segments of the industry. These industry professionals also teach in the HEEM program and mentor students.

Hickman started her career with the Irving Convention and Visitors Bureau and is still active in industry organizations, including the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE), Meeting Professionals International and the Professional Convention Management Association; she serves on the Hotel Association Advisory Board, the IAEE Faculty Advisory Board and the Stephen F. Austin Advisory Board; and she is co-chair of IMEX America and IMEX Frankfurt Faculty Engagement Program. Hickman has directed the Richland College HEEM program for 20 years, has developed and taught several courses in the program and is the student HEEM Club faculty advisor.

The Richland College HEEM program offers courses in the hospitality industry that prepares students for jobs as a marketing coordinator, show director, sales administrator, meeting manager, special events coordinator and event planners among other careers. Students can complete the Meetings and Events Management certificate, Hospitality and Tourism Management certificate or the Hospitality, Exhibition and Event Management Associate of Applied Sciences degree. The average college graduate makes $20,000 more each year.*

For more information about the HEEM program, click here.


Masonry students from the Richland College South Dallas Training Center built brick walls as part of their final project for the construction skills masonry certificate program. First Masonry Training Program Completed At Richland College South Dallas Training Center

For those who have completed the construction skills masonry course at the Richland College South Dallas Training Center (SDTC), putting up walls is easy. This seven-week, non-credit, workforce training course was designed for quick completion, industry certification and has a work experience component for immediate employment success.

Last month, the SDTC graduated its first class of students from this program, at the end of which they literally built walls.

“Masonry has always been a part of my life,” said Javiar Arias, lead instructor for the construction skills masonry class. “The masonry trade comes from my great, great grandfather, and I love teaching it to others. This class will help students not only build a career, but also be a better person in life. Our first masonry class literally showed us how one person can build something with his or her own hands.”

This training program is a mixture of classroom work and hands-on experience, and it takes place off-site at A-Star Stucco and Masonry and the Construction Compliance Training Center of the Hispanic Contractors Association de Tejas.

“I took this class to make myself a better worker and to understand the structural mentality of not only masons, but also engineers and architects,” said Kristopher DeAlva, a recent masonry student. “The part I enjoyed most was learning how to lay a concrete masonry unit and brick. The class helped me understand structures in building as well as architectural design. It opened a new perspective in the path I want to follow in the future to create my own buildings and manage a small business.”

This masonry class prepares students for a job as construction masonry laborers or bricklayers after they complete the program. This was the first time this class has been offered at SDTC, which opened in the spring of 2017.

“I took this class because I wanted a career in something that my family had experience in; I wanted to follow in their footsteps,” said Juan Aguilar, another masonry student. “It was so informative, and the people were great and very well-educated. Not one question went unanswered, and I have never felt more comfortable learning something new. This class helped me further my education on safety and the importance of small details when it comes to construction. I hope to one day have a small business of my own.”

At the end of the course, students showcased their newly acquired masonry skills to construction employers by building a wall unit with a print set, mixing all materials and completing the wall in a set time frame.

“I enjoyed teaching this class,” said Hector Dechner, the instructor for construction math and blueprint reading. “It was successful. The students met all the learning objectives and progressed in basic masonry knowledge. This class will open many opportunities in the construction field for our graduates. It also taught them knowledge and skills necessary for many different job opportunities.”

The SDTC was created through a partnership between Richland College Garland Campus and the Innercity Community Development Corporation in South Dallas Fair Park. It is a workforce training center that offers non-credit, short-term employment training programs in areas including office/accounting skills, construction skills and industrial logistics. Tuition, books and classroom materials are free to those who qualify.

For more information about the South Dallas Training Center, visit richlandcollege.edu/aboutrlc/sdtc.


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.