2019 was a busy year at Temple College as we welcomed a new president and began several major new initiatives. Here are some of the highlights from the year.
- New president starts
Dr. Christina Ponce came on board as the 11th president of Temple College in January 2019. President Ponce had a busy year getting to know faculty, students and staff, and meeting with community members from across the Temple College service area,
- Circle of Support Student Resource Center opens
In August, the college opened a new Circle of Support Student Resource Center in the Arnold Student Union. The resource center includes a food pantry, an office staffed by a social worker and an office where students can apply for emergency loans. Opening the resource center was part of the college’s new Circle of Support initiative, which is designed to help students with non-academic needs such as childcare, food, housing, mental health care and transportation that may be keeping them from meeting their educational goals. The college received a $60,000 grant from the Temple Industrial Foundation to hire its first social worker.
- New partnership with Temple ISD
In July, members of the Temple College Board of Trustees and the Temple ISD Board of Trustees held their first-ever retreat to discuss strategies to encourage more students in Temple to continue their post-secondary education after high school and to establish new ways for more students to earn college credit while they are still in high school. The meeting has led to an ongoing partnership between the two organizations, with Temple College faculty, staff and students making regular visits to the high school, middle schools, and even elementary schools to promote a college-going culture.
- College adds new degree options
Several new degree programs were added in 2019, including an Associate of Arts in Teaching that provides a specialization for students who want to teach grades 7 through 12, an Associate of Science in Multidisciplinary Studies designed for TBI students who would like to transfer into bachelor’s degree STEM programs at four-year colleges and universities, and an Associate of Applied Science in Drafting/Design Engineering Technology that is designed for people who would like to work as engineering technologists or transfer to a four-year university to earn a bachelor’s degree in engineering.
- Biology students receive grant to conduct research on zebra mussels
In July, three research projects developed by Temple College biology students received funding from the Temple Health & Bioscience District. All three projects focus on zebra mussels in area lakes. Students Brittany Lokcu, Josiah Moore and Tyler Wilson are conducting the research under the direction of faculty members Kimberley Clawson, Dr. Philip Greco and Dr. Jason Locklin.
- Work begins on new Facilities Master Plan
The Board of Trustees voted to hire the architectural firm Stantec to assist the college with developing a new Facilities Master Plan. Representatives from Stantec spent a week visiting all Temple College facilities in November and gathering input from various constituencies. The group is expected to return in February 2020 to present various plan concepts to the campus community.
- PTK, Master Gardeners team up to build new garden on campus
In September, members of the Bell County Master Gardeners helped faculty, students and staff plant a new garden on campus that will benefit the student food pantry known as the Leopard Pantry. The project was spearheaded by members of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society.
- Softball team wins conference, plays in national championship
In May, the Temple College softball team won the Region V North title and advanced to the NJCAA Division 1 softball championship for the second year in a row. The team was knocked out of the tournament on day three by top-seeded Seminole State, but first-year player Mackenzie Purcell was named to the All-Tournament Team. Players Breanna Hernandez and Tiler Noyola were later named to 2019 NJCAA Division 1 Softball All-America teams.
- Faculty members earn recognition
Temple College faculty and staff members earned a variety of recognition in 2019:
- Biology professor Dr. Sudeep Majumdar received the 2018 Claudia and W.T. Barnhart Teacher of the Year Award. Majumdar was also one of seven faculty and staff members who were selected to receive 2019 awards from the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD), an organization committed to promoting and celebrating excellence in teaching, learning and leadership at community and technical colleges.
- In November, EMS professor Diedra Blankenship received the 2019 Texas EMS Educator of the Year Award.
- Basketball coach Kirby Johnson reached several milestones in 2019, including his 800th career win and 100,000 points scored by players under his direction.
- Students earn recognition
Temple College students earned a variety of recognition in 2019:
- One hundred students were inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa honor society – 30 in the spring and 70 in the fall.
- Temple College students Khai Nguyen and Gladys Uwakweh were named to the 2019 All-Texas Academic Team.
- Seven students earned NJCAA Academic Student-Athlete Awards.
- Several students signed to play sports at four-year universities, including basketball player Kedrian Johnson, who signed with Big 12 powerhouse West Virginia.
- Twelve students from Temple College were selected for All-State music ensembles that performed at the Texas Music Educators Association Convention in San Antonio.