Monthly Archives: February 2017

Two More Durham Tech Faculty Accepted to SoTL

Danielle Johnson and Scott Stauble have been selected to participate in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) in the Teaching-Learning Center (TLC).

SoTL is the synthesis of teaching, learning, and research in higher education. The TLC supports full-time and part-time faculty participation in SoTL projects that substantially change the ways in which instructors teach. SoTL is a multi-semester process that culminates in the participants sharing their research and experiences with the larger college community.

Danielle is a part-time early childhood education instructor in the Career and Technical Programs department. Danielle’s project will focus on incorporating new, meaningful group work into her early childhood education courses. She is specifically interested in how group work can foster greater student engagement and increase student success.

Scott is a full-time biology instructor in the Arts, Sciences, and University Transfer department. Scott will globalize his BIO 168 or BIO 169 course. With the college’s renewed attention on globalization through the Global Distinction Program and the resources he can receive from UNC’s World View initiative, his project is especially timely and well supported.

Danielle and Scott will conduct their research over the summer and implement the changes in their courses in Fall 2017. They will report out to the college on their process and results in Spring 2018. Each will receive a $500 SoTL stipend for successfully completing their projects.

Danielle and Scott join current SoTL participants Marina DelVecchio, Jason Moldoff, Jonathan Cook, and Sheza Healey. Jonathan and Sheza will share their results in April; see the TLC calendar for more information. And previous SoTL participants Lea Bingham, and Daysha Lawrence have completed their SoTL projects; look for articles written by them in the latest volume of Learning Matters to be published later this semester.

The next round of applications SoTL applications will be due on September 1, 2017. See the SoTL webpages on the TLC website or contact Gabby McCutchen, TLC director, for more details.

Congratulations, Danielle and Scott! We look forward to hearing about your results!

Durham Tech’s Angie Jones is Making History

cover photo

Photo by: Mel Brown

“Angie Jones, Master Inventor: Black History in the Making”

Story by: Phyllis Coley, Spectacular Magazine

After just one computer course… Angie Jones of Durham was hooked. Now the inventor and Consulting Automation Engineer is on a mission in hopes of spreading technology fever to other young African American females near and far.

She is all too familiar with being grouped in the 2 percent of minorities that make up the technology workforce. She notes, for black women, that number is less than 1 percent.

Angie remembers plenty of times when she was the only African American female in her college classrooms as well as her early work settings.  “It was 12 years before I got to write a program with another black woman,” she said. “There’s something wrong with that.”

Angie is a trailblazer in her field.

The professional “techie” works as a Consulting Automation Engineer at LexisNexis, located on the campus of NC State University. She holds 20 patents in the US and China and is considered a Master Inventor in the industry, known for her innovative and out-of-the-box thinking style.  Angie shares her wealth of knowledge by speaking and teaching internationally at software conferences and serving as an Adjunct Computer Science Professor at Durham Technical Community College.

Among other notable publications, Angie has been featured in Ebony Magazine as one of the country’s 30 young leaders under the age of 30.

She has dedicated countless hours to exposing more women like herself to the world of technology.

Angie is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Tennessee State University as well as a master’s degree in Computer Science from North Carolina State University. She said her father encouraged her to go into the field of technology.

Her love of fashion and gaming led her to develop Diva Chix, an online fashion designing game.

She said before then, computer fashion games were less than challenging. “After your dressed up the doll, that was it,” she said, “It got boring really fast.”

Angie’ online fashion game keeps its participants engaged. The players graphically design the clothes and upload them to the website. In its eighth year, the game has drawn more than 250,000 players nationwide.

Players from all over the country are able to communicate and collaborate while they are competing for the top spot.

But it’s not just a game. The Diva Chix mission is twofold. Angie’ first mission was to make gaming and fashion more fun and interesting.

The next goal is introducing young girls to the field of technology and how to run their own businesses. For example, the gamers learn basic principles of business such as supply and demand and team building. “They learn how to run their own shop,” she said.

Angie said the demographic makeup of her classroom at Durham Tech still mirrors the technology industry numbers across the country. That is why initiatives like hers and CODE2040 are so important.

African American females can offer a different perspective in this ever growing field simply because they come from a different background.

“You can come up with your own ideas and be successful in this field,” Angie said. “We can solve real world problems.”

Angie extensive work doesn’t stop there. She also volunteers to teach technology workshops such as Designing Mobile Apps and Website Development for several organizations in the community such as Black Girls Code, TechGirlz, Hi-Tech Teens, and Alpha Kappa Alphas SMART Camp. She also mentors black technology students from Duke and North Carolina Central Universities.

Last year, she joined forces with Doug Speight and the CODE2040 initiative under the American Underground umbrella in Durham. She is now the lead of the Raleigh-Durham Chapter of Black Girls Code, a group that focuses on teaching tech to black girls ages 7 to 18 years old. The organization recently sponsored an outing for the young girls to see the inspirational movie ‘Hidden Figures’.

Angie loves to see the girls let their imaginations run wild.

Angie said the opportunities in technology are endless, adding there are jobs in programming, graphic design, robotics and developing mobile apps. “I never met a programmer … I didn’t even know what that was,” she said. “I want girls to know that this is a possible career path.”

Full Story:

Hometown Hero: Leah Tilden

Leah1-300x220Congrats to our very own Leah Tilden, Coordinator, EMS Extension Services, for being recognized as WCHL’s Hometown Hero! 

Story by: Victor Lewis, WCHL

This week’s Hometown Hero, Leah Tilden, is a Level II EMS instructor and UNC alumnus with a degree in psychology and a graduate certificate in community preparedness/disaster management.

“It’s an exciting time in EMS,” said Tilden. “Because community paramedicine is becoming a really big thing. We’ve realized that EMS providers shouldn’t just be taking people to the emergency room, they should be helping them mitigate the reasons that cause them to end up in the emergency room.”

Tilden teaches at Durham Technical Community College’s Orange County Campus, leading classes and practical exercises with future EMTs.

“I am continuing education coordinator for [Durham Tech’s] EMS program,” said Tilden. “So I help manage all of the initial provider EMT paramedic classes, continuing education for local fire departments, and American Heart Association CPR and first aid classes.”

Tilden has extensive experience in the field of emergency medicine and crisis relief, but her career began by taking a chance on a course during her time as a student at UNC.

“I thought I was originally going to go into psychology and took the EMT class for fun. I fell in love with EMS and kind of just kept pursing that direction … I ended up getting my Master’s in public health from East Carolina”

After discovering her passion for EMS work, Tilden took to working locally to gain experience and insight.

“I started about 16 or 17 years ago with South Orange Rescue Squad out of Carrboro,” said Tilden. “An all-volunteer organization, we do everything from EMS service in the local area, water rescue, confined spaces, high angle … I really got my start in water rescue. It’s what I’ve always really loved most.”

Tilden’s commitment to serving the community doesn’t end in crisis situations and ambulances, however. According to Roxie Edwards, a co-worker at Durham Tech, Tilden “was the reason we far exceeded donations for the Food Bank,” referring to donations to Durham Tech’s “Campus Harvest” pantry.

“My family has always been really big into volunteering and giving back to our community, as long as I can remember,” said Tilden. “People with food insecurities has been what’s called to me. I give to my local pantry and Durham Tech has a pantry that supports our students, so I help organize a couple months a year where the EMS program actually sponsors Durham Tech’s food pantry specifically.”

Working within any given community helps to forge strong bonds with those living there, but work that contributes to the overall good of the whole inevitably makes those ties bind even tighter. Work like teaching, or providing food and medicine.

“Leah strives to make sure that our EMS students receive the best teaching we have to offer,” said Edwards. “She is always there, willing to help anyone accomplish their goals.”

Luckily for Leah, and for the rest of us, she finds joy in what she does.

“I love what I do and not everybody gets to say that,” said Tilden. “I started thinking I was going to go one way in my career and end up an EMS, which I really loved, and then that turned into a teaching career. There’s nothing better than getting to teach what you love, so I get to help bring all these new EMTs and paramedics into our community.”

Not Just Desserts — A Sweet Success!

Vday 5A sea of sweets swept through the Wynn Center Lobby yesterday at Durham Tech Community Circle’s 2017 Not Just Desserts Bake Sale and Silent Auction to raise funds for scholarships. Among the silent auction items was a beautiful gift basket donated by Mark Hand and a series of classical music CDs from Christian Austell; the sweets were made by Durham Tech’s faculty and staff. A special congratulations to the winning bidders and raffle winners below!

The Community Circle is happy to report that $400 was raised to benefit the Bonnie Vick Stone Memorial Scholarship for Durham Tech students. Thank you to the Durham Tech Foundation, everyone who donated treats and to all who came out supported this great cause. Hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

*Irene Laube — Mad Hatter Strawberry Shortcake

*Andrei George – Spring Picnic Basket for Two

*JaNel Moore and Melissa Chappell — Janice Kerber’s Sourdough Bread

*Lori Heiger — Starbucks Gift Card (raffle) 

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Durham Tech’s Wilder and Parrish get published

Durham Tech’s very own Paula Wilder, Director of Academic English as a Foreign Language, and Michele Parrish, Instructor of Information Systems Security/Networking Technologies, had articles recently published in prominent online journals.

Wilder’s “Fostering an Environment for ESL Student Success in College and University Writing” was published in NC State’s Dialogues: An Interdisciplinary Journal of English Language Teaching Research Vol. 1.1. Her article seeks to increase awareness of students’ cultural, linguistic, and syntactical differences and help faculty provide students with a place to discuss the writing differences among their cultures and foster opportunities for students to succeed in their writing assignments. Read more. Additionally, Wilder will be speaking at the TESOL 2017 International Convention and English Language Expo on March 20 from 5:00 – 9:00 pm in Seattle, Washington. Wilder’s topic will be “Designing Interactive Classrooms: Discussion Strategies for ELLs.” Learn more.

Parrish’s “Software Defined Networks: What Is it and Why Do We Need It?” was published by InfoSec Writers, an online source for information security. In the article, Parrish examines components of Software Defined Networks (SDN), types of SDNs, and reasons and benefits for using SDN. This is the fourth article written by Parrish that has been published by InfoSec Writers; all written as part of her work earning her Masters in Network Technology from East Carolina University, with a concentration on Computer Networking Management. She will graduate in May 2017. Read more.

Paula and Michele, we are so proud of your accomplishments and for representing the Durham Tech community in such a positive light! #DoGreatThings



Dr. Ingram recognized for community impact

Dr. Bill Ingram stands with Elon University President Leo Lambert at the award presentation at North Carolina A&T State University on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2017.

Dr. Bill Ingram stands with Elon University President Leo Lambert at the award presentation at North Carolina A&T State University on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2017.

Durham Technical Community College President William Ingram was recognized during an award ceremony Wednesday for his outstanding community impact and passion for student engagement.

The 2017 Leo M. Lambert Engaged Leader Award was presented to Ingram during a North Carolina Campus Compact (NCCC) Presidents Forum award ceremony at North Carolina A&T State University. Ingram become the first community college president to receive the award since its inception in 2012.

More than 35 college presidents and chancellors attended the ceremony, which honored the more than 30 years Ingram has served Durham Tech and the Durham community. The award recipient was nominated and selected by fellow presidents and chancellors whose institutions are members of the Campus Compact.

“Dr. Ingram has used his experience to support those who need it the most,” Dr. Nido Qubein, president of High Point University and executive board chair of NCCC, told the audience during the award presentation Wednesday.

Ingram first came to Durham Tech in 1983 as director of the Continuing Education department, and later succeeded in a variety of administrative posts, including as the college’s chief instructional officer. In 2008, Ingram became the college’s fourth president where he has worked to support student success and strengthen community connections. To celebrate the college’s 50th anniversary in 2011, Ingram declared a “Year of Service,” which tripled student volunteerism at the college and exponentially grew service-learning course offerings.

In 2011, Ingram worked with local officials to pass a quarter-cent increase in the county sales tax, with proceeds going to improve public education in Durham. His efforts resulted in Durham Tech receiving $1 million annually, which is allocated for the college’s ConnectFunds, a need-based financial aid program that assists recent graduates of Durham Public Schools and county residents, including those enrolled in Durham Tech’s Adult High School Diploma program. ConnectFunds have helped hundreds of residents meet their education and career goals.

In 2015, Ingram created the Center for College and Community Service to unite service learning, co-curricular service and volunteerism, and the Campus Harvest Food Pantry. The pantry distributed more than 30,000 pounds of food to 500 students in 2016 alone. The Center also hosts the Retired Senior Volunteer Program of Durham, which places community members aged 55 and up at non-profit agencies to help meet critical community needs.

Beyond Durham Tech, Ingram serves on the boards of directors for the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce, the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Made in Durham, a cross-sector community partnership that aims to create educational and job opportunities for disconnected youth. He is past president of the Durham Rotary Club, a former trustee of the Durham County Public Library, and former chair of the Durham Public Education Network.

President Ingram is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and holds master’s and doctorate degrees from North Carolina State University. He is a graduate of Leadership Durham, Leadership Triangle, Leadership Chapel Hill-Carrboro, and the Advanced Future Leaders Institute of the American Association of Community Colleges.

Jaynes: Reflections on What Excellent Community Colleges Do

Below are remarks by Tom Jaynes, senior vice president of Institutional Advancement and Support, provided during Durham Tech’s employee meeting on January 31.

At the beginning of this academic year, Dr. Ingram encouraged us to focus our attention on helping students finish what they start.  As you may know, national, state, and local attention to student completion and graduation rates has been growing.  Several factors contribute to this attention – increased use of performance funding using completion rates, national attention to low completion rates for community college attendees, concerns about income and racial inequities in completion, as well as local questions from our trustees and our community partners about our college’s student completion rates as compared to other NC Community College students.

FILE PHOTO: Senior Vice President Tom Jaynes speaks at Convocation in the Multi-Purpose Room in 2015.

FILE PHOTO: Senior Vice President Tom Jaynes speaks at Convocation in the Multi-Purpose Room in 2015.

I think it’s safe to say that we commonly agree that helping students finish what they start is important. I bet that we also agree that designing our strategies, finding ways to scale, measuring our progress, funding these changes, and achieving higher completion rates is quite complex and often feels daunting.  I know this challenge is something that keeps me up at night.  I often ask myself and you – with all we’ve done over the past decade at Durham Tech to impact student success, why haven’t we experienced significant gains in student completion?

Part of my work plan for this academic year includes gaining a more comprehensive understanding Durham Tech’s completion work.  One way I am doing this is to compare our policies and practices with two other North Carolina community colleges.  I selected Davidson County Community College and Rowan-Cabarrus Community College because they are similar in size and because they have higher, consistent completion rates than we do on the NC community college state standard for completion.  At this point, I have compared our demographics, our graduation practices, our financial aid offerings, our early alert and First Year Experience courses, our withdrawal and attendance policies, and our financial support systems for students.  I won’t bore you with the details for each of these comparisons, but the bottom line is this.  From my perspective, Durham Tech offers the same or more distinct support systems (e.g. emergency financial assistance, GoPass transportation, scaled FYE courses, mandated orientation, etc.) to our students.  When it comes to our support systems and our policies and practices, we look quite similar to these two colleges with higher completion rates.  So, my question remains – what gives?

National organizations like Lumina, Achieving the Dream, Completion by Design, and the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence are all focusing resources and talent toward helping community colleges find answers.  To consider these strategies, Dr. Ingram recently asked our Board of Trustees and our President’s Cabinet to read a recent book titled “What Excellent Community Colleges Do” by Joshua Wyner.  This book is organized in chapters on four critical change areas – promising practices for completion, equity and developmental education, learning outcomes, and labor market integration.  The book profiles colleges that have won or were nominated for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, a national award given to a college that demonstrates gains in student success.

Permit me to highlight information found in the chapter on completion, share a few key principles, and provide you with a quick snapshot of how we, Durham Tech, compare to these national promising practices.

I will start by sharing some of the context of why this “completion” problem exists as posited in the foreward to this book, written by Anthony Carnevale.  Carnevale frames the history of community colleges by pointing out that we were essentially created in the mid-twentieth century to promote and provide access to students who were not traditionally admitted into universities.  He then goes on to point out that this sole focus of our mission of providing greater access translated into years of progress on open door access without the complementary and necessary focus on completion and progression.  Those of you who have worked here at Durham Tech for many years likely remember that point in the early 2000s when we began to collect retention, progression and completion data for the first time, and we were shocked at what the data told us.  Few students completed.  Few students persisted even past the first semester of enrollment.

Carnevale writes in his forward:

Simultaneous recognition of community colleges’ importance and poor student outcomes translates into enormous pressure. State funding is increasingly being tied to graduation rates (rather than to the number of students enrolled, the traditional method). Federal and state agencies are requiring more public reporting on completion and employment outcomes. And for-profit competitors—investing in technology-based instructional delivery and using private-sector marketing techniques—are enrolling more and more students, including the low-income and minority populations long served by community colleges. To attract students and public dollars in an era of accountability, transparency, and competition, community colleges must deliver significantly more degrees of higher quality at a lower per-pupil cost to an increasingly diverse student population—an equation that adds up to an immense challenge. In the balance is not just the colleges’ survival but also continued opportunity for Americans—particularly the less advantaged—to access the knowledge and skills they need to have a secure future and to fuel our nation’s economic growth. But improvement is not coming easily, or quickly. Almost a decade into a new reform movement, there is not yet complete agreement about what community colleges should aim for, let alone good systems for measuring whether those goals are being attained. And there is not yet even universal acceptance of what, to most reformers, is a vital premise: it doesn’t matter how many students enter community colleges’ doors unless they exit with a meaningful credential in hand.

So here we are.  Ten years in and we are still working hard to solve an immense challenge – increase our student completion rates.

Wyner’s chapter on completion suggests that the direction community colleges should take involves two primary strategies.  Here’s what he says about completion:

But how can institutions filled with millions of students who have historically succeeded at the lowest rates lead the charge to higher completion rates? As community colleges attempt to improve graduation rates, the most effective among them acknowledge that their students have little framework for understanding the actual value of completing a college degree as quickly as possible or navigating the often-opaque world of course and program choices. Two goals emerge as critically important: creating clearer pathways to community college credentials and bachelor’s degrees, and ensuring that students make better choices along the way.

Doesn’t this sound familiar?  Don’t these two principles already resonate here at Durham Tech?  Haven’t we already begun this work?

The answer is … yes, we have.  Durham Tech is already tackling many of the strategies for completion that are outlined and suggested as promising practices by Aspen Prize colleges.

Consider the great work that Durham Tech has done to implement a call center, to introduce texting services for registration and advising line management, to implement Self-Service as a tool to provide online academic plans for students, to advise students each and every term, to create great programs like C-Step and Eagle Connect, to create university course selection guides, and of course, to continue to ensure that the academic rigor of our courses is excellent.

So why haven’t our completion rates changed?  Wyner suggests some additional promising practices as well.  To my knowledge, we have discussed some of these, perhaps piloted some, but have not yet tried any to scale.  Would we be willing to prescribe student schedules for programs that are not health tech programs?  Lake Area Technical College doesn’t give students options for courses.  They ask students to select programs and then tell them their schedules. Should we limit entering student choices to career cluster pathways?  CUNY now gives entering students six basic pathways at the start to ensure no loss of early credits. Have we designed our course offerings for new students in a structured way that makes it easier to gain early credit completion?  Miami Dade found that by restructuring entry courses into pathways, they increased early credit completion by 25%.  How might we expand our middle college and CCP pathways into 3 + 1 offerings? NOVA starts students in high school, structures two years in the community college and transfers students as seniors into universities. Could and should we advocate for guaranteed admission for only associate degree graduates?  Valencia and the University of Central Florida have come to an agreement that only associate degree graduates will be admitted. These are some interesting questions for us to consider as we move forward.

In addition to national promising practices, I think it’s very important that we learn from each other.  Take time to learn from our Health Technologies faculty about the comprehensive work they have accomplished to increase enrollment and persistence rates.  Learn about stackable credentials from our Information Systems faculty. Be inspired by the deep peer review and relationships developed among our English 111 faculty. Consider the personal approach to advising from our Criminal Justice program. Understand the importance of orientation and other connection strategies from our College Success faculty.

The college has worked hard over the past several years to implement key student completion initiatives, including required first-year experiences, integrated online advising and planning, required advising and redesigned placement, redesigned developmental education, new career pathways, short-term credential programs, an array of financial supports like ConnectFunds, GoPasses, and a Food Pantry.  But, we have not yet seen significant gains in overall completion.  What more, what less, or what differently must we do as a college from your perspective to increase student completion?

I encourage our community to continue this conversation until we do realize our ultimate goal, to help all students succeed.


Tom Jaynes

Senior Vice President, Institutional Advancement and Support

Let’s celebrate February anniversaries and birthdays!

February Anniversaries (Years)

Robbi Badgett (32); Penny Gluck (22); Don Wheeler (14); Quincy Wright (10); O’Dell Hill (9); Jamaal Walker (8); Lisa Inman (6); Earl Stenlund (4); Sherron McDonald (4); William Gluck (3); Catina Hill-Wafula (2); Courtney Gaylor (2); Robin Griffin (2); Denise Walz (1)

February Birthdays (Day)

Dr. John W. Cain (2nd); Isaac G. Thomas (2nd); Lori L. Lewis (3rd); Dr. Christine Kelly-Kleese (4th); Heidi E. White (4th); Jamia W. McIver-Eshiet (5th); Ernest Jannetta (5th); Timiya Mccormick (6th); Jacequeline I. Mitchell (8th); Shana C. Curl (9th); Stephen M. Brooks (13th); David L. Wright (13th); Patricia S. Pendergrass (16th); Justin B. Bordeaux (18th); Robbi L. Muckenfuss (18th); Larry F. Haynes (20th); Douglas F. Aitkin (22nd); Stephanie D. Dawson (22nd); Dr. Constanza Gomez-Joines (25th); Bill W. Stuart (25th); Joseph C. Solomon (26th); Jessica P. Lombardi (27th); Janice C. Murphy (28th)

Durham Tech employees take on new roles

Durham Tech congratulates the following employees on their new roles:

Steven Kerrigan – Chair/Instructor, Humanities and Fine Arts

Marissa Sullivan – Chair/Instructor, Social Science

Nathan Hardin – Interim Director, Marketing and Communications/Public Information Officer

Janet Alspaugh – Interim Clinical Coordinator/Instructor Opticianry

Marshall Fuller – Interim Director, Facility Services

Greg Miller – Interim Director, Emergency Medical Services

Tracy Bennett – Interim Program Director, Opticianry

Candace Rashada – Interim Director, Career Readiness and HRD