Monthly Archives: June 2007

June 29, 2007

Dr. Mittelstet signs climate commitment


Richland College president, Dr. Steve Mittelstet recently signed the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). This agreement solidifies commitments from college and university presidents to contribute to a more eco-friendly world, both locally and globally. Richland will be one of only two Texas higher education institutions, the first in North Texas, to make such an agreement.

The ACUPCC signing means that the participating colleges and universities are to complete a thorough plan to achieve climate neutrality and facilitate policies and procedures like collecting inventory of greenhouse gas emissions and conceptualizing goals to reduce those gases as well as encouraging the purchase of energy-efficient appliances. Richland will also make sustainability a part of its curriculum and other educational experiences for students.

Even bigger plans are in the works, as Richland prepares to construct a $40 million, 141,167-square-foot science building. College administrators are striving for platinum status under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. LEED is a nationally recognized standard for the design and construction of high-performing green buildings.

The new science facility will host Richland’s health and science programs. Features will include special construction for harvesting sunlight, cisterns that irrigate rain water to other parts of the campus as well as interactive devices in restrooms that users control. Some building materials will be recycled, such as the carpet, and local vendors will be utilized as often as possible to minimize exhaust fumes from lengthy transports. The décor will even be eco-friendly and is to include a geology pit for a hands-on “field learning” for the students.


Richland named a pilot institution for new student survey

Richland has been selected as a pilot institution in the new Survey of Entering Student Engagement (SENSE), the latest instrument from the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE). Richland researchers, Gloria Washington and Bao Huynh, met with SENSE officials in Austin to plan the pilot administration this fall, which coincides with the First-Year Experience initiative taking place under the direction of Enrollment Services Dean Donna Walker, as an effort to retain more first-time-to-college students in their first few weeks in college and beyond.

Richland Thunderduck makes top ten

The Richland Thunderduck was named #5 of Ten Weirdest Team Names in Sports by People’s Media Company blogger Paul Gerke. To read more, click here.

AAC hosts first annual banquet

AAC Banquet May 31, 2007

Members of Richland College’s African American Connection (AAC) group gather for a group photo after their first annual banquet held May 31 in the Brazos Gallery. AAC is a new organization on campus involved in student and employee mentoring as well as community outreach activities.

RCHS ends year on a high note

RCHS End of Year Party

RCHS students dine at a Texas-style barbeque to celebrate the end of a successful academic year.

Richland Collegiate High School received notification of excellent TAKS scores for RCHS students, with more than 94 percent of the students passing all four areas of the tests. This student learning success can be attributed to RCHS staff members helping students prepare to take the tests and to Richland College faculty for their ongoing commitment to successful student learning outcomes.

On May 5, sixteen-year-old RCHS student Kevin Kotamarti received his high school diploma and associate in arts degree from Richland College. He is the first graduate of RCHS and the the youngest graduate in RLC’s school’s history.

During the final week of classes, faculty, staff, and administrators gathered with RCHS students during an outdoor barbeque luncheon celebrating the end of a successful first year for the charter high school.

African community outreach a success

The Richland College African Recruitment and Retention Team of Wilfred Manyango, Judy Whitted, Delores Elder-Jones, Akua Asante, Bilen Dimiru, Jobickson Modi, and Randy Conine, in conjunction with the Richland College Community Outreach staff, hosted a luncheon for 25 religious and community/social organization leaders serving the needs of African immigrants in Richland College’s service area. The partnering leaders were introduced to Richland College educational offerings and services and how to establish a links between Richland College and prospective African students in the community.

Baldrige principles shared across the country

Richland College Vice President Kay Eggleston, Dean Fonda Vera, and Coordinator Mary Frances Gibbons co-authored an article published in the current issue of the Journal of Applied Research in the Community College titled What Goes Around Comes Around: Using the Malcolm Baldrige Education Criteria for Performance Excellence. The article describes Richland’s performance excellence model, methodology, successes, challenges, and opportunities for improvement. The article also provides guidelines for others to create their own performance excellence models. To view the article, click here.

Additionally, Eggleston and Vera, along with Jean Conway and President Steve Mittelstet were featured speakers in a day-long workshop hosted by Commissioner Raymund Paredes in front of a live audience at the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and webcast to higher education institutions statewide. “Achieving Excellence: The Richland College Experience” provided participants with an overview of the practices, processes, measurements, and organizational culture Richland strategically employs through use of the Baldrige model to achieve performance excellence.

RLC Baseball players rack up awards


Richland student athlete/Thunderduck baseball catcher Ryan Saldivar has been named as the Easton/NJCAA Division III Baseball Defensive Player of the Year. Saldivar threw out 78 percent of the runners who attempted to steal bases on him, was credited with only one past ball, and recorded 240 putouts, 51 assists, and only two errors for a .993 fielding percentage, helping lead Richland to a 37-17 record this season. Offensively, he batted .387 with 10 home runs and led the Division III ranks with 72 RBIs.

Additionally, former Richland College student athlete and current Texas State University senior pitcher Justin Fiske was named to the 2007 ESPN Magazine Academic All-America First Team, selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America. While maintaining a 3.92 grade point average in exercise and sports science, Fiske became the Bobcats’ top starting pitcher this spring, posting a 9-3 record and a 2.01 ERA and being named to the First-Team All-Southland Conference.


Former Richland VP honored with Texas Award for Performance Excellence

Former Richland College Vice President for Student Learning, Dr. Jackie Claunch, was named as one of three recipients of the 2007 Texas Award for Performance Excellence (TAPE). Claunch is now president of Northwest Vista College of the Alamo Community College District in San Antonio. Northwest Vista is only the second accredited higher education institution to receive this award (patterned after the national Baldrige award), following Richland in 2005. The Bill J. Priest Institute, which assisted Richland in its early quality journey, received the award prior to that.

Mittelstet accepts “Innovations” Award


Dr. Stephen K. Mittelstet was awarded the Terry O’Banion “Innovations” Award at the League for Innovation’s Spring Conference, held last March in New Orleans. Named in honor of Dr. Terry O’Banion, President Emeritus and Senior League Fellow of the League for Innovation in the Community College, the award is given annually to an individual who has greatly influenced a transformation in teaching and learning, or to a college that best exemplifies the ideals and characteristics of a learning college as established by O’Banion and the League.

Williams takes on TACTE leadership position

Joyce Williams

Richland College’s Executive Dean Joyce Williams was recently elected to the Texas Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (TACTE) Board of Directors. TACTE is an organization for deans of education in Texas, and its purpose is to stimulate improvement in the education of professional school personnel and to improve teacher education and the teaching profession.

Not so close to home: Russian students take RLC courses through distance-learning collaboration

Richland’s distance learning partnership with Saratov State University in Russia was featured in the May 7 issue of Community College Week. Courses in global issues economics, international media culture, and history were launched for Richland/Saratov students through online technology and LeCroy’s video conferencing capabilities. Additionally, the Richland College distance learning students from Parnu, Estonia recently completed the first American Conversational English on American Culture course offered through this pilot project partnership established in January 2007.

Academic advisors recognized for superior contributions to students

advisors of the year

Academic Advising initiated a reward and recognition program for advisors. This year’s recipient for Full-Time Advisor of the Year is Tara Thompson and the Part-Time Advisor of the Year is Victoria Glass. Thompson and Glass displayed excellence in student advising including their contributions to the improvement of the quality of academic advising, their attitude towards students, as well as excellence in creating or maintaining advising structures and procedures.


New Employees

Guadalupe Preciado Culbreth

Guadalupe Preciado Culbreth, Circulation Assistant, Media

Gina Cooper

Gina Cooper, Administrative Assistant II, Financial Services

Mary Jo Dondlinger

Mary Jo Dondlinger, Instructional Designer, Program Development

Karla Damron

Karla Damron, Instructional Designer, Program Development


Becky Jones’ husband, Randy, passed away at home on May 27 after a courageous battle with cancer. Memorials services were held on May 30 at Restland Memorial Chapel.

A memorial service for Delany Reed, daughter for Nicole Reed, will be held at 11:30 a.m., Friday, July 6 at the Trinity Fellowship Church located at 932 S. Greenville Avenue in Richardson, TX 75081. (at NW corner of Greenville and Buckingham). Attendees are asked not to wear black.

Jeanette Kline, a former Richland Business Office cashier, passed away June 25 in Charlottesville, VA after a long fight with cancer.


Mr. Ralph Esparza,

Thank you for your contribution to my summer program applications. I am extremely grateful for the recommendation letters you provided, and I am excited to say that I have been offered a position as a Welch Summer Scholar.

I have accepted this offer and will be in Lubbock from June 10-July 14. During my time as a Welch Scholar, I will be involved in research under the direction of a professor, advanced chemistry courses, and seminars presented by the chemistry faculty. I am very excited to be taking part in research so early in my scientific career.

I feel that your pre-calculus class was essential in preparing me for a future in math and science. I am currently enjoying my Calculus I course; perhaps I will have the opportunity to take a Calculus II or III course from you next year.

Thank you again for aiding me in these applications.

Caitlin Taylor

Dear Mr. Tony Summers:

Thanks to you and Ms. Vivian Thomas for assisting the Golden Gate Missionary Baptist Church Joseph E. Lockridge Scholarship Foundation, Inc. in screening and selecting the JEL scholars and awards for 2007. Your assistance was greatly appreciated. Working with Ms. Thomas was very easy. She was professional, understanding, and available at all times. We appreciated her spirit of cooperation and willingness to serve the community even though her schedule ws tight. Thank you for helping us in our time of need.

Sincerely,Ruthy Sellers, President (Acting) and Joseph E. Lockridge
Scholarship Foundation, Inc.

Dear Ms. Goodson and Richland College Employee Knitting Class:

The Parkland Auxiliary, Ron J. Anderson, M.D., the Volunteer and Guest Services Departments would like to thank you for giving your time to volunteer. Because of the dedication of its staff and volunteers, Parkland has again been recognized by U.S. News & World Report magazine for the 13th consecutive year as one of the top 100 hospitals in the United States. During 2006, Parkland volunteers contributed 224,802 uncompensated hours of services. Calculating the value of these hours at the federal minimum wage rate, our volunteers benefited Parkland in the amount of $1,157,730 for 2006. National Volunteer Week is Sunday, April 15, through Saturday, April 21, 2007. To commemorate this special week, we would like to acknowledge the hours you gave to Parkland as a volunteer.The Auxiliary sincerely appreciate your contribution to Parkland Health & Hospital System. Your volunteer assistance makes Parkland a better place for its patients, visitors and staff.

Warmest regards,Jeanne Murphy, President
Parkland Auxiliary

Thanks, Thunderducks

Dear Donna Crenshaw and Lea Ann Munkres,

Thank you all for helping me get this first orientation aligned and set up. If I were bringing my child to RLC/RCHS, I know I would be feeling quite welcomed and comfortable due to the caring individuals at this school. I loved the way all students received a folder containing their personal information and handouts related to RCHS/RLC…you’re awesome! There is no public high school in the metroplex that offers such service to prospective students and their parents.

Again, thank you for all your hardwork…especially, while Kristyn and I were away. Know that because of our team efforts, next year is looking very promising.


Rick Garcia

Dear Richland family,

Congratulations to Richland’s record number of graduates–approximately 1,000–over 400 of whom received their diplomas May 4 and 5 outdoors in Richland’s beautiful lakeside setting, as potential rain and gusting wind threatened but failed to stop the congratulatory fireworks sponsored by Richland’s Corporate Training division once again this year. DCCCD and RCHS Board Chair Jerry Prater was on hand at the Saturday ceremony to congratulate not only the Richland College graduates but also our first RCHS graduate, Kevin Kotamarti, who walked the stage twice to receive both his high school diploma and his Associate in Arts. Kevin, age 16, heads for UTD’s School of Engineering, with scholarship, as a junior later this summer. Procession and Recession Parade Marshal Larry Polk also congratulated and challenged participants as Commencement Speaker each night, inviting all graduates to be dreamers who act on their dreams.

Thanks go to Oscar Lopez and the entire graduation committee and the “cast of thousands” it takes to hold this event on campus each night, with all the back-up contingencies required for last-minute weather changes. Each year our graduates indicate they and their families appreciate this effort, especially when it results in the lakeside ceremonies, which nearly 80% of the time it does. Special thanks* also go to our Facilities and Grounds people, our Campus Police, SPAR, Registrar’s Office, Media, Horticulture and Music departments, Disabilities Services, central administration, all our faculty, administrators, and others who lead the commencement parade and graduate honor reception, six District officials in attendance, as well as volunteers from across the campus responsible for this extraordinary event honoring our graduates and their families.

It remains an honor and a pleasure working with all of you, as together with our students–we learn, we teach, we build sustainable local and world community.

Steve Mittelstet

*Inevitably, I inadvertently omit individuals and groups when I provide a special listing for something like this. Please let me know if I have omitted you or your group and I’ll try to make up for it!