CVTC Magazine: Winter 2020

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3 | GETTING STARTED Construction work begins on CVTC referendum projects. 4 | BUILDING LEADERSHIP SKILLS CVTC graduate rising to the top in nursing. 8 | GIVING THE BREATH OF LIFE Respiratory Therapy graduate leads, cares for COVID patients.

LEADING DURING UNCERTAIN TIMES The COVID-19 crisis has changed life for everyone. What stands out as CVTC enters a new academic year? This year is unlike anything we have seen before, which makes adjusting more difficult. Throughout its history, CVTC has been in a leadership position during times of crisis and change. The pattern has been that when hard economic times come, our enrollment increases as we help people learn new skills. During this downturn, enrollment has declined slightly, after recent years of increases when the economy was strong. That is likely due to people’s hesitation to risk exposure to the virus. Also, people out of work because of COVID may be expecting their old jobs to come back, so they’re taking a “wait and see” approach. During previous downturns, the situation was clearer. What we can be sure of is that no matter which direction economic recovery takes, CVTC will be expected to lead, and we will be up to the challenge. How has CVTC adjusted for this academic year? This year is in many ways a continuation of the adjustments we made last spring when we had to end in-person classes for a time. More programs are now fully online, like Business Management, Digital Marketing, General Education,



Liberal Arts and Information Technology. In some programs, students need to be in labs to do the hands-on work that is the heart of the instruction. We developed ways to keep people as safe as we can, with screenings before people enter our campuses, mask requirements and increased lab times so the students can maintain social distancing. These classes often include workers in essential fields like healthcare, emergency services, transportation and manufacturing. What might continue to be different even after the COVID crisis has passed? We will certainly have more online instruction. We were heading in that direction before the crisis because of student demand. We may see an increase in interest in information technology. Companies found that work-from-home and virtual meetings can work and will continue to make greater use of them. That often signals a jump in the development of technology to facilitate the changes in how businesses operate. We expect to play a pivotal role in training the people who do this kind of work. There are sure to be changes in how healthcare providers view their need for professionals in various fields. Fortunately, in these and all other parts of the economy, we have an excellent network of professionals advising our deans and program directors on what directions our programs should take. That’s what we do, and we will be ready.



CHIPPEWA VALLEY TECHNICAL COLLEGE 620 W. Clairemont Ave. Eau Claire, WI 54701-6162 715-833-6200 800-547-CVTC

Accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association, Issue Date: Winter 2020. Published biannually. © 2020 Chippewa Valley Technical College. All rights reserved.

CVTC does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age in employment, admissions, programs, or activities. General inquiries regarding the College’s non-discrimination policies may be directed to: Director of Human Resources • Chippewa Valley Technical College • 620 W. Clairemont Ave. Eau Claire, WI 54701 • 715-852-1377 • WI Relay: 711

CVTC REFERENDUM PROJECTS UNDERWAY Ground broken for Manufacturing Education Center expansion on Nov. 9 Work is underway on the Chippewa Valley Technical College referendum projects! A groundbreaking ceremony held at the Manufacturing Education Center on Nov. 9 marked the start of construction on a 10,000-square-foot addition onto the southeast corner of the building to expand the Welding program facilities. The Automation Fabrication Lab will help address employers’ demands for trained welders, allowing for curriculum enhancements for automation and robotic welding. The new space will include robotic welding cells, laser-cutting technology and metal fabrication equipment. Access to this equipment will allow for advanced program integration and manufacturing training, combining skill sets in welding, mechanical design and machine tool. “The Manufacturing Education Center was originally built with dollars from the 1997 referendum,” said CVTC President Bruce Barker, who gave opening remarks at the groundbreaking. “Manufacturing is the largest employment sector in the CVTC district, and it is critical that we maintain our commitment to this vital wealth-creating part of our economy.” SDS Architects designed the addition. Market & Johnson is the general contractor. Construction is scheduled for completion in June, with facility use starting in the Fall 2021 semester. But that’s just the start. Voters approved the $48.8 million referendum by an overwhelming margin last April. Referendum-related projects will be completed over the next three years. One of the centerpieces will be construction of an approximately 116,000-square-foot Transportation Education Center at the CVTC West Campus. The facility will be dedicated to educating new students and retraining

displaced and incumbent workers in transportation occupations. Programs located in the facility will include Automotive Technician, Auto Collision Repair & Refinish Technician, Diesel Truck Technician, Truck Driving and Motorcycle, Marine and Outdoor Power Products; along with associated welding training. Construction drawings will be completed by the end of the year, with a bid opening in February and construction beginning in April. Completion is scheduled for June 2022. Construction of an expansion and remodeling project at the Emergency Service Education Center is also expected to start in April 2021, with completion in June 2022. Expansion will occur through construction of a 25,966-square-foot addition, including a new 50-yard firing range, apparatus bay and expanded student commons. Remodeling of 22,685 square feet of the center will create a defense and arrest tactics room, fitness area, sim-

ulation space and improved space for Emergency Medical Services. The referendum included several smaller projects that will also be in development in the coming years. CVTC is conferring with local leaders and community members to discuss the best options for development of 6.7 acres of land acquired from the former Moody’s auto dealership property adjacent to the CVTC River Falls Campus. Improvements are also planned at the Chippewa Falls and Menomonie Campuses. Area high schools will benefit from the referendum with the development of mobile labs to take CVTC technology and instruction to rural areas. “Today’s groundbreaking represents the start of the major work on our referendum projects, which will help strengthen our close working relationship with the employers in the region and enhance our ability to meet the workforce needs of the region,” Barker said. “This is a great day for CVTC, our students and our industry partners.”

BUILDING LEADERSHIP SKILLS CVTC alumnus Travis Christman rising to the top in nursing After demonstrating his skills in several aspects of the nursing profession, Chippewa Valley Technical College graduate Travis Christman showed he had leadership skills as well. As the clinical director at HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s Hospitals, Christman leads a large team of other nurses. He finds it rewarding in a way somewhat different from active patient care nursing. “When I was a CNA and patient care nurse, I had an impact on the lives of the patients I cared for,” Christman said. “Now as a leader, I have an impact on all the nurses who report to me and impact all of the patients they care for. Now I have an impact on all the patients that come through the hospital.” Christman, 38, started out having an impact on bicycle riders in the Eau Claire area. The 2000 North High School graduate had been repairing bikes for people since he was 15. “I was unsure what I wanted to do after high school, so I worked full time. I’m into biking, so I became a bike shop mechanic.” As he contemplated a different future for himself, he received advice and encouragement from his two sisters, Tracy, who is nine years older, and Tara, five years older. Both are in healthcare. They thought he would be a good nurse. “I’ve always been a people person, and nursing is one of the professions in which you can get a job right away, so I was open to the idea.” Christman said. He became a CNA through a program at what was then called Lakeside Nursing Home in Chippewa Falls, then took a job at Oakwood Villa in Eau Claire, where he worked for two years while still repairing bikes. “I started at CVTC in 2002 doing my generals while on the Nursing waiting list,” Christman said. “At work, I transitioned to a CNA position at the Neural Scanner and Trauma Unit at Mayo.”


Christman entered the CVTC Nursing-Associate Degree program in 2004, graduating in 2006. “From the time I started CNA work, I was convinced that nursing is what I wanted to do,” he said. “I find it to be a very honorable profession helping people



when they need you most. I was 20 years old and helping elderly men and women. I really found it satisfying.” When he became a registered nurse, Christman’s career was characterized by a diverse set of experiences that would serve him well as he quickly rose to leadership positions. He started out at St. Mary’s in Madison. In 2007, he married his wife, Elizabeth, whom he met in 2004 at Mayo. She had finished her bachelor’s degree in nursing, and was also hired at St. Mary’s. Christman started his BSN in 2012 through an online university. Although he enjoyed the chance to get out of Eau Claire into a larger city, he and Elizabeth came back to Eau Claire, where Travis took a job in the Gastroenterology Department at Mayo and began the process of expanding his nursing and leadership skills. After two years, Christman made the leap to Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS). “I was doing the same thing every day and my skills were starting to erode,” he said. “The move was to expand my horizons.”

position someday, though he likes his current position and wants to stay in the Eau Claire area, where he got his start in life and in healthcare. Christman has maintained strong connections to CVTC. He has been a member of the CVTC Alumni Association board for the past year and is on the advisory committee for the Open Educational Resource Nursing textbooks project led by CVTC. “CVTC has afforded me a lot of opportunities and prepared me well for the workforce and eventual leadership,” he said.


He worked in the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit at Sacred Heart, caring for patients coming out of surgery. From there, he became a charge nurse, leading day-to-day operations in a unit and supervising other nurses. Christman was then promoted to the position of assistant director of the Short Stay Care Unit at Sacred Heart. While rising in his profession, Christman completed the Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Eau Claire program. His next move was as director of the Cardiology and Progressive Care Unit. “I still remain in that position, but my responsibilities have expanded,” he said. In that role, he had responsibility for two hospital units, with about 120 nurses reporting to him. He also picked up responsibilities for budgeting. Now in his current position as clinical director, he is one of four people in leadership positions who report directly to Chief Nursing Officer Jennifer Drayton.

Travis Christman’s wife, Elizabeth, also has strong connections to CVTC. She is one of the lead authors of a series of open educational resource (OER) textbooks in nursing, a project led by CVTC. See page 12 for more on this project that is drawing attention from all over the United States and many foreign countries. Although Elizabeth has plenty of experience as a patient care nurse in Madison and Eau Claire, since 2011 she has worked full time as a nursing educator. She is certified through the National League of Nursing as a certified nurse educator and also holds a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree with an emphasis on nursing leadership. “I started teaching at CVTC in 2012,” Elizabeth said. “Then I transitioned to teaching online for Southern New Hampshire University as a member of the clinical faculty. My job right now is for CVTC as an instructional designer for the OER project. I also am writing and editing for the textbook." Elizabeth considers it among the most important work of her career, and her experiences at CVTC convinces her of that.

“Travis is an outstanding leader who is able to engage his teams and move processes forward thoughtfully,” Drayton said. “He has several years of leadership experience and is constantly learning and growing, which is exciting to watch. His contributions to our hospitals are priceless and we are very grateful for his dedication and commitment to our mission and values.”

“At CVTC, I saw firsthand that textbook prices were a barrier to students,” she said. “They would come into my office and borrow textbooks because they couldn’t afford to buy their own. That’s why I’m passionate about this OER project and wanted to be a part of it. I still remember the names and faces of those students who came in to borrow textbooks.”

Christman sees his career heading toward a chief nursing officer

It’s a perfect job for a professional nursing educator. She works at home training the next generation of nurses and takes care of the couple’s daughters, ages three and eight. CHIPPEWA VALLEY TECHNICAL COLLEGE MAGAZINE


A TWO-GENERATION TEAM Father, son CVTC graduates operate Coulson Precision Tooling

Scott Coulson moves around his 12,000-square-foot shop in Chippewa Falls, taking pride in showing what his company, Coulson Precision Tooling, Inc., can do. He shows a coin-sized part like many others his company produced over the years for area computer companies with famous names like Cray Research, SGI, Johnson Matthey and TTM. He shows examples of window trim products located towards the back of the plant, some with a plastic coating around a metal core, produced through the extrusion dies they make. And there are the colorful, heavy doll-sized beauty salon chairs that go with the American Girl doll series. Scott’s son, Kyle, who has been taking over more management duties, feels the same pride in what their small company is able to do. Father and son also share the bond of being Chippewa Valley Technical College alumni, from what is today called the Machine Tooling Technics program. When Scott entered the program in 1967, the equipment he now has in the plant didn’t exist. Still, he credits the program



with providing him with the base knowledge he needed to grow with the industry. When Kyle started the program in 1997, the CVTC Machine Tool lab already had an established CNC program and was in its early stages of partnering with Haas Automation, Inc. The father-son team are veteran machinists who have grown with the times, running a company that has done the same. “When I started, the first year was general machine shop,” Scott said. “The second year we had an advanced tool and die course. There were about 50 students in the program.” The students also had drafting classes years before computer-aided design (CAD) software. Back then, most of the CVTC Machine Tool graduates went on to apprenticeships at FMC in Fridley, Minn., a naval ordinance plant that manufactured big guns and missile launchers for ships. During Scott’s apprenticeship at FMC, he was moved around to different machining departments. “It’s a big part of how I built my experience,” he said. “I didn’t realize it at the time.”

After that, Scott worked another job doing more precision tooling work, but eventually found his way back to Wisconsin and for 11 years worked at Johnson Plastics in Chippewa Falls. The demise of that company led to what is today a robust machining industry in the Chippewa Valley. Several of the machinists started their own companies making extrusion dies to produce flat-panel products like wraps and product packaging. For many years, the majority of the companies in the U.S. making such dies were in the Chippewa Valley, and the local industry remains strong today. Scott took a different path. “I had a little hobby shop in my basement,” he said. “I liked to putz with guns, and I liked to make little things.” Scott set up shop in a 25’x40’ garage and Coulson Precision Tooling was born. “I made anything I could get in the door,” he said. Eventually, he acquired an EDM machine for electrical discharge machining, a fabrication process that creates a desired shape using electrical discharges. It is useful for making molds or odd-shaped parts. “Not a lot of businesses had an EDM,” Scott said. “I had an opportunity to do work for one of the companies that started up and had Cray Research in town that gave me a lot of business.” The acquisition did not lead to exclusive specialization. Scott built a reputation of being able to make just about anything in the machining world. In contrast to the many flat-panel extrusion die companies in the Chippewa Valley, Coulson Precision Tooling handles profile extrusion dies, which produce shaped products like door and window trims and countless other applications. In 1987, Scott built the first part of the plant on Olson Drive in Chippewa Falls. There have been two major additions since. Kyle started working at the plant while a student at Chippewa Falls Senior High School, where he was taking tech ed

classes, including CAD. He had his first exposure to a CNC machine at the plant, so he was familiar with them when they were introduced at the CVTC lab. “The CVTC program interested me because I was around machining all the time,” Kyle said. “I touched on it in high school and in the family business.” The new CNC machines at CVTC were Haas Automation, Inc., machines provided by a partnership arranged by then-Program Director Steve Michaud and CVTC President Bill Ihlenfeldt. “As I was getting to my fourth semester, we had four Haas machines to use in the lab,” Kyle said. “We had CNC machines at our shop, but they were a different brand. I was familiar with CNC, but at the time, most of the students had never touched one.” Scott, who served on the Machine Tooling Technics Advisory Committee for over 20 years, gives CVTC credit for its leadership. “The college is very responsive to what the industry needs,” he said. Kyle has seen many changes in what the family company does. “When I was in high school, it was a lot of parts for Cray Research,” he said. “When I started full time, Johnson Matthey was a bigger client. We made a lot of processing equipment.” Today, Kyle spends most of his time working with the wire EDM machine and does the design work on the profile extrusion dies. "The COVID-19 outbreak slowed business a bit," Scott said. But the plant remained open during the COVID shutdown, as machine shops are considered essential businesses. The business remains successful, with loyal employees who have worked there from 15-33 years. Throughout the years, the majority of Scott’s employees have gone through the Machine Tooling Technics program. For that, Scott is thankful to have CVTC in the area.



GIVING THE BREATH OF LIFE CVTC grad leads a team of respiratory therapists at Mayo in Eau Claire Kirsten Holbrook, a 2012 Chippewa Valley Technical College Respiratory Therapy graduate, knows when she is needed most, and she takes pride in coming through for patients in a moment of crisis. “One of the scariest things that happens to people is when they can’t breathe,” said Holbrook, one of the respiratory therapy (RT) supervisors at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire. “When things go bad, we’re the ones they call.” Respiratory Therapy wasn’t the first profession for Holbrook, 47, but is the one she has come to love. She rose to a supervisory position three years after her CVTC graduation and now oversees 17 RTs at Mayo’s Eau Claire hospital. Holbrook is also one of two delegates for the Wisconsin Society for Respiratory Care (WSRC), representing Wisconsin at the national level on professional issues. Most people had probably never heard of respiratory therapists – until COVID-19 hit and their work became critical. “COVID-19 has put a spotlight on us,” Holbrook said. “Everyone was talking about ventilators, and we run the ventilators.” It took a little while for Holbrook to step into healthcare. She graduated from Eau Claire North High School and UW–Eau Claire. She moved to Missouri, where her husband, Travis, a law enforcement officer, secured a job. Travis is now with the

Eau Claire County Sheriff’s Department. Kirsten worked as a paralegal with on-the-job training before coming back to the Eau Claire area. “My daughter was going to start school in kindergarten, and I wanted to get out from behind a desk and deal with people,” Kirsten said. Kirsten took a career assessment at CVTC, and respiratory therapy jumped out at her. “All of the goals that an RT can achieve were part of my career goals,” she said. “We are able to work autonomously and determine what the patient needs. And I like being part of an interdisciplinary team.” RTs are experts in the cardiopulmonary area of healthcare. “We are basically heart-lung specialists,” Kirsten said. “We know how those organs affect all aspects of your body." Kirsten took the job with Mayo after her CVTC graduation and quickly worked her way up to a supervisory position. “I’m a working supervisor,” she said. “In recent weeks, I have spent more time as a therapist than a supervisor.” Theresa Meinen, one of Kirsten’s instructors at CVTC, is not surprised she rose to leadership. “Kirsten is one of the most professional people I have known,” Meinen said.” She treats her patients and colleagues with the utmost respect.” Susanne Degen, vice chair of administration for Mayo Clinic Health System in northwest Wisconsin, says Kirsten truly practices the core Mayo Clinic values. “Kirsten is a dedicated respiratory therapy professional who always puts the needs of her patients first.” Kirsten’s recent increased time in patient care is because RTs are so critical today. “Caring for patients with COVID-19 is time-consuming because of all the personal protection equipment we have to put on,” she said. “We are completely involved with the healthcare team in taking care of them.” Kirsten noted that COVID patients sometimes cannot oxygenate well, and in those instances, they help turn the patients over to lie on their stomachs, a process they call “proning,” which helps the patient gain more oxygen. “The COVID patients take a lot of time and care, but when they are finally ready (for discharge), they know we have saved their lives,” Kirsten said. And that’s what it’s all about for Kirsten and her fellow Mayo RTs – a team that includes 33 CVTC graduates.

TRUCK DRIVING PROGRAM GETS A BOOST Generous offer on Kenworth trucks increases fleet Chippewa Valley Technical College Truck Driving students are driving around area streets and highways in some new trucks this fall, thanks to a generous deal on Kenworth Trucks, a major manufacturer that boasts of being “the world’s best.” “Kenworth is right up there in quality,” Karl Pinter, director of the CVTC Truck Driving program, said. “Kenworth and Peterbuilt are top brands in the industry, so the students are driving the trucks they will be using in their future careers.” In August, just before the start of the fall semester, CVTC acquired eight new Kenworth trucks – called the “tractors” that pull large trailers, with the combined units making up the “18-wheeler” semis commonly seen on the nation’s highways. “Wisconsin Kenworth offered us eight trucks at a considerable discount,” Pinter said.

tremendous opportunity. Wisconsin Kenworth’s very generous offer allowed us to buy eight. This is the most trucks we’ve ever acquired at one time.” “CVTC’s Truck Driving program is essential to the area trucking industry, especially at a time when there is such a shortage of drivers,” said Jeremy Asher, account manager at Wisconsin Kenworth. “Wisconsin Kenworth is proud to support a program that is supplying the area with much-needed trained drivers.” Asher added that they are also proud to support the CVTC Diesel Truck Technician program which provides mechanics. “Our service advisor, Brad Hietala, is on the program's advisory committee.”


Pinter noted that CVTC had budgeted money to buy some new trucks this year, so he contacted dealers to negotiate, including the local Kenworth dealer, Wisconsin Kenworth in Menomonie. CVTC also bought a single Kenworth truck from the dealership last year. “We were slated to buy some trucks, but not this many,” Pinter said. “We were going to get three or four. This was a

Pinter immediately had the CVTC logo decals placed on the cab doors, a job handled by La Crosse Sign Group of Eau Claire. The trucks are already in use. Pinter said they are on-the-road trucks. Older trucks are used in the CVTC driving range. CVTC now has a fleet of 26 trucks, Pinter said. “This is a win-win for everyone,” Asher said. “CVTC is training the next generation of truck drivers and some of them are likely to become owner-operators someday, start their own trucking companies or hold decision-making positions at a company. Having them develop a fondness for the quality of Kenworth trucks early in their careers is good for business.”



CULTURAL ADAPTATION Pereira family finds help from CVTC as they learn our language Becoming familiar with the language and culture of a new nation is challenging enough for immigrants. Add to that the challenge of starting a new food-related business during a pandemic and economic downturn, and you arrive at what the lives of the Pereira family members are currently undertaking. Miriam, 60, and Geraldo Pereira, Sr., 61, arrived in the Chippewa Valley last year from their native Brazil. They are taking English Language Learner classes through Chippewa Valley Technical College, which is helping them learn the language, as well as the culture of America. Most of the rest of their time is taken up with Montebelo, their new business making and packaging “pao do queijo,” a Brazilian cheese bread sold at nine area grocery stores and supermarkets. Fortunately, they are not on their own in America. Their son, Geraldo, Jr., 30, a CVTC IT-Software Developer student who previously went through the ELL program, is helping them adapt, as is their daughter, Tanara, 34. She has been in America for about 15 years and operates her own business here. “The initial idea and also the investment for Montebelo came from Tanara,” Geraldo Jr. explained. “My parents came with the bread-making process.” The cheese bread is a traditional Brazilian food. “I was born in the state in Brazil where the bread was first made,” Miriam said. “My mother would make it and taught me to make it. I have been making it since I was very small. Cheese bread is consumed for breakfast. You can find it in any coffee shop.”

Tanara was the first to come to America as a foreign exchange student at an Eau Claire high school. She came back and


“I came to learn English, and it was easier to be in a place where I know someone,” Geraldo, Jr. said. “My sister gave me all the support to come and acclimate me to the city.”


It is a gluten-free bread, with tapioca flour as the main ingredient. Monte- GERALDO, JR. belo’s bread is sold as small frozen formed pieces of the raw dough, which consumers bake at home. The resulting pieces have a crusty outside and a chewy inside. The cheese flavor is unmistakable and a cornerstone of the product.


worked in Florida for a time before moving back to Eau Claire to settle and earn her citizenship.

Geraldo, Jr., said CVTC has been an integral part of his family’s adaptation to life in America. “Tanara heard about CVTC’s program for English learning, and I had just arrived here and was looking for a place to have experience with the language,” Geraldo said. “It was amazing. It was not just learning the language, but also the culture of the place, like the habits of the people here.”

Geraldo, Jr., returned to Brazil to finish his schooling there, then came back on a student visa to the IT-Software Developer program. The time seemed ripe for the parents to come join their children. Moving to America was long a dream for Geraldo, Sr., much less so for Miriam, she confesses. “I wanted to come to America for two reasons - to stay close to my daughter and have a better life quality in a developed country,” Geraldo, Sr., said.

Tanara is the owner of Eau Claire Body Care, a beauty treatment and hair removal service. “I had to think of an idea for my parents to make a living in America,” Tanara said. “They were entrepreneurs in Brazil, and I thought it would be nice to be business owners in America. I’ve always been passionate about culture and this seems to be kind of a foodie type of place. And I thought, why not introduce something that is cultural, which is the cheese bread.” Geraldo, Jr., put together a business plan, and the family found kitchen space in Banbury Place. He was involved in getting his parents started but is unable to help with operations of the business due to his student visa status. It was difficult getting started. Geraldo, Jr., explained that as the pandemic started to grow, grocery stores were concentrated on staples, not new products. They started with Just Local Foods in Eau Claire and the Menomonie Food Co-op. Tanara’s familiarity with the Eau Claire area and her business contacts were invaluable. Tanara got the word out on social media and Geraldo, Jr., used his skills to set up their website.

Miriam, though still early in her learning process in ELL, has had experiences similar to what her son felt. “It gives me a chance to talk with classmates in English, and that helps me improve,” she said. “The teacher also helps us learn the culture of America, and to find public services we might need. CVTC has been very good for me.” The idea of going into business was not new to the family, which previously ran a bookstore and a gift shop in Brazil.

Getting the product into the local Woodman’s and Festival Foods supermarkets was the next big step, and the product has been slowly growing ever since. “The support of local businesses, the community support of friends and family around here has been amazing,” Geraldo, Jr., said. And that goes for the help the family has received from CVTC. “My parents are still learning - and I’m still learning English,” Geraldo, Jr., said. “CVTC is helping them like they helped me. It’s really amazing to have that support given directly to you.”



OPEN NURSING TEXTBOOK PROJECT HONORED A Chippewa Valley Technical College-led effort that resulted in the publication of the first open education resource (OER) nursing textbook has earned the Best OER Award of Excellence from Open Education Global, a non-profit supporting the development and use of open education around the world. The electronic version of the textbook, Nursing Pharmacology, became available in June and the print version in August.

It has already been adopted by CVTC and three other state technical colleges. It is expected to be adopted by the entire WTCS system and colleges across the country in the coming years. The textbook is the first of five nursing textbooks to be developed by the project, which is made possible by a $2.5 million U.S. Department of Education grant involving all 16 Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) schools, with CVTC as the lead institution. Nursing students throughout the country will save thousands of dollars on textbooks as a result of the project, which should be completed by Summer 2022. Five developing authors, thirteen contributors, thirty-two national peer reviewers, and an advisory committee collaboratively created the Nursing Pharmacology textbook under the leadership of the CVTC Open RN team. CVTC Nursing Instructor Kim Ernstmeyer was the lead author.

Since the book was published, there have been over 8,000 international users of the free e-book and over 300 downloads of the pdf version by over 200 colleges and universities. The textbook has also been uploaded to LibreTexts for easy remixing by faculty, and an affordable print version is available to students in college bookstores and on Amazon. “The Open RN team is honored to receive the Best OER Award for Excellence,” Ernstmeyer said. “We look forward to impacting even more students and faculty as additional Open RN textbooks are published. Creating high-quality OERs takes a village of developing authors, contributors, peer reviewers and advisory committee members. We are thankful for the support of Open Education Global, the international OER community and all our partners who helped make this project happen.”


CVTC PROGRAMS EARN ACCREDITATION Two CVTC programs have earned accreditation, certifying that they maintain national standards established by third-party professional organizations. Culinary Management is accredited by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation’s Accrediting Commission. It is the initial accreditation for the program started in 2018. Machine Tooling Technics, which became the first program in the state accredited by the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) in 2015,

has earned reaccreditation for another five years. “Accreditation creates public trust by showing we have established standards and have outside professionals validating what we are doing,” said Jonathan Fike, chef instructor. The Machine Tooling Technics accreditation is the result of a rigorous examination determining that the program meets the quality standards as established by NIMS on behalf of the nation’s precision manufacturing industry.

INSTRUCTION IN THE TIME OF COVID Chippewa Valley Technical College’s science instructors gathered in the summer to assemble lab kits for students to take home and use when the new academic year opened Aug. 24. Instruction in the classes has been online with lab experiments done with the kits at home. The change represents one example of how this academic year is shaping up to be different from any before it. “Since the CVTC General Education team decided to go totally online in June, the science faculty began hunting for lab kits, but the vendors were sold out for fall. So, we got together and made our own,” Mary Purvis, science program director, said.

In some programs, like Welding, Culinary Management and Electrical Power Distribution, students need to be in labs to do the hands-on work that is the heart of the instruction. Lectures that were held in classrooms have now moved online. For the fall semester, 41.5 percent of CVTC classes are held face-to-face, with 32.9 percent online and 25.6 percent as a mixture, according to Registrar Jessica Schwartz. This compares with the Fall 2019 breakdown of 69.2 percent face-to-face, 12.6 percent online and 18.2 percent mixture.

The goal was to continue to deliver the quality technical education CVTC is known for while keeping everyone as safe as possible, according to Dr. Julie Furst-Bowe, vice president of instruction. “A lot of programs are fully online, like Business Management, General Education, Liberal Arts and some Information Technology,” Furst-Bowe said. “In most cases, we have a section of each class that is in a classroom or a hybrid format. But students’ preference is for online.”

GRANT TO BOOST RETENTION A five-year $2.2 million grant will enable Chippewa Valley Technical College to help more students finish their college education and also help with e-learning efforts that are being used more during the time of COVID-19. The Title III Strengthening Institutions Program Grant awarded in late September through the U.S. Department of Education aims to increase student retention rates through a program of academic, financial and social support systems. “At CVTC, we have been strongly focused on student success and completion for several years,” said Rachelle Phakitthong, director of curriculum and professional development, who has been designated the grant project director. “Among

the things this grant is going to do is allow us to establish a robust degree planning process by adding some new tools and allowing students to follow a guided path while monitoring their progress.” The grant will also allow increased e-learning support for both students and faculty teaching online courses to narrow the success level gap between online and traditional delivery methods. Another focus of the grant project is to decrease non-cognitive barriers to student success. “Many times, when we lose students, it’s not because of academic ability, but money, or some other things going on in their lives,” Phakitthong said.

FROM THE CVTC FOUNDATION There are many ways to support CVTC

Hand-holding-heart PHILANTHROPY


At CVTC, philanthropy is part of an ongoing effort to put student success at the forefront of all we do. Gifts to CVTC Foundation, Inc., support current students, faculty and staff development, facilities and technology, and the communities we serve. Making a gift is an impactful way to show your pride in CVTC or make a difference because it feels good. Thank you for your past support and future consideration!

Gifts of tangible personal property are often referred to as in-kind gifts. Property contributed to the CVTC Foundation, Inc., for use by the College is considered an in-kind gift. In 2019, CVTC Foundation, Inc., received from friends of the College in-kind gifts valued at approximately $147,912. This year, medical equipment, automobiles, farm equipment, surgery beds, a transformer, and underground locating equipment, among other items, were donated. These donations help support program activities.

Diploma SCHOLARSHIPS Providing scholarships to students has been a main emphasis of Chippewa Valley Technical College Foundation, Inc., since its founding in 1977. Last year, CVTC students received 374 scholarships totaling $254,648. Scholarships are made possible by the generosity of the supporters of the CVTC Foundation. Many scholarships are supported by endowment funds, which grow assets through new gifts and investment income. Endowments can be designated by a donor to support a student scholarship, program or initiative at CVTC. Many local non-profit groups and community service organizations also choose to support CVTC students through offering scholarships. Talk to your organization’s leaders about how sponsoring a scholarship can advance your group’s goals.

User-edit LEAVE A LEGACY Many individuals and families choose to leave a legacy at CVTC. A planned gift, as part of long-term estate and financial plans, will support CVTC students and programs far into the future while ensuring that your loved ones are well cared for. Our planned giving resources explain the different ways you can give and assets you can use to fund your gift. Learn how to plan for tomorrow at Chippewa Valley Technical College Foundation’s gift-planning website,

In-kind gifts that will help further the mission of CVTC and CVTC Foundation, Inc., will be considered for acceptance. Donors of gifts in-kind can generally receive a tax deduction equal to the fair market value of the property at the time of contribution. Contact the Foundation or the program directors to learn more.

THANK YOU! CVTC Foundation, Inc., appreciates the support and generosity of our donors and our communities. With your help, we are able to fulfill our mission of helping students move forward in their educational journeys, helping faculty and staff stay on top of current technology and workforce trends and ensuring our facilities support cutting-edge workforce training.

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TOP EDUCATORS HONORED Awards presented for excellence, new faculty recognitions Passion for their profession and a gift for engaging with students have earned two instructors Chippewa Valley Technical College’s highest teaching award. Chrystal Reidt, a full-time Welding instructor since 2008 and Ron Keys, a Chemistry and Physics instructor since 2001, were named the 2020 winners of the John Frank Excellence in Education Award. In addition, English Instructor Andrew Freeburg was honored with the Domer Award for new faculty members and History Instructor Jonathan Hedeen was named the winner of the Kohler Award for part-time faculty members. “Chrystal strives to give her students the best experience possible,” Jeff Sullivan, dean of apprenticeships, manufacturing, engineering and IT wrote in support of Reidt’s nomination for the award. “Chrystal is truly concerned about the success and well-being of all her students. She demands excellence, yet expresses caring and concern for each student.” Reidt said her philosophy is to focus on preparing the students to succeed in industry. “My main goal is to help people, and I have been accused many times of having high standards,” she wrote. “If I fall back to lower standards, my students fail in industry, and that is unacceptable to me.” Students have commented on Reidt’s personal relationship with her students. “One thing I love about having Chrystal as a teacher is that I can joke around with her and she will joke right back,” wrote one student. “There are times where I just need a few minutes break so I will just talk to her about life.”


not wanting to go to work as a professional educator. I am constantly searching for that next exciting lab or updating a mediocre lab to higher standards.” “Ron and I have taught side by side in the Science Department for over fifteen years,” wrote Mary Purvis, science program director. “During that time, I have observed that Ron is passionate about science, science teaching and his students. He is constantly trying to find new and better ways to teach science in fun, relevant, up-to-date and interesting ways.”


Former student Mik Devereaux noted in support for Ron Keys that she previously hated taking chemistry classes and hoped the one with Keys would be different. “He was upbeat, cheerful, funny and full of life,” Devereaux wrote. “As the semester progressed, I saw an educator fully devoted to his students and their learning. His lessons were engaging and fun.” “My personal philosophy of teaching always culminates with one word – passion,” wrote Keys. “There has never been a single day in my 30-plus years of teaching that I awoke

Freeburg was nominated by ten students for the Frank Award, despite being ineligible as a new faculty member. He was presented with the Domer Award for new faculty members. “Andy is a charismatic instructor who has the ability to engage every single student in the classroom,” said student Jack Shaw. “He not only challenges students to use critical thinking and reassess their own personal perspectives, but he is incredibly supportive and encouraging of his students as well.” “Characterized by his students as ‘passionate, invested and funny,’ Andrew utilizes student-centered and innovative teaching practices that hold all students accountable for participating in ways that are equitable and engaging,” CVTC’s College Curriculum & Professional Development office wrote.

“Jonathan Hedeen brings passion to the topics he teaches and aims to help students understand the connection between learning U.S. History and how this knowledge will help them in their future endeavors,” Stephanie Vobornik, assistant director of Curriculum & Professional Development wrote.

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