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Faculty, students honored

Monroe County Community College

May 18, 2010 Vol. 54, Issue 4

Is your campus safe? Some students may complain about the small size of MCCC’s campus. But when it comes to campus crime and security, the college is fortunate. MCCC’s head of security, Bill Myers, receives about a dozen inquiries a day about various incidents on campus, but they usually turn out to be nothing more than a stolen pack of cookies or a suspicious person. Most of the incidents that have occured on campus in the past year involve stolen items from a car in the parking lot or from a locker in the Health Education Building. Since January 2009, there have been eleven incidents such as those that have occured. The most serious incident on campus occured in March 2010, when over $8,000 of merchandise was stolen from MCCC’s bookstore.

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Roman takes over as dean Danny Shaw Web editor

Dr. Cynthia Roman is the new dean of the Health Sciences Division and director of Nursing at MCCC. Roman holds a doctorate degree in higher education, is a licensed RN and certified nursing educator, and served as a pediatric nurse for eight years. Most recently she served as a faculty member in Henry Ford Community College’s nursing program. “Her background is going to fit perfectly for our college,” said Paul Knollman, dean of the MCCC Business Division and chair of the selection committee. “I have high hopes that she is a great match for us.” Dr. Grace Yackee, vice president of

For details on campus crime turn to page 8.

instruction, said MCCC is fortunate to have Roman join the faculty. “Dr. Roman has extensive experience as a community college nursing faculty, program coordinator and director, and practicing nurse,” Yackee said. Yackee said Roman chaired the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission self-study at Henry Ford. That experience will benefit MCCC when the nursing program conducts its own self-study in October, Yackee said. “She is very much looking forward to starting her new position at the College and working with the Nursing faculty to prepare for the NLNAC comprehensive self study,” Yackee said. Roman is scheduled to begin at MCCC on Monday, May 24.

Congratulations MCCC Class of 2010

Photo courtesy of MCCC photographer Mark Spenoso

MCCC’s class of 2010 turns to look at their family and friends in attendance at the May 7 commencement ceremony in the Health Building. Family and friends in the audience stood and were acknowlegded for their support and encouragement. The 209 graduates in attendance listened to speeches from Vice President of Instruction Grace Yackee, 2010 Alumnus of the Year Ignazio Cuccia, and student speakers MaryGrace Cuccia and Sarai Richter. The student speakers revelled on their experiences at MCCC, and expressed their high hopes for the future. Ignazio empowered students with his encouraging thoughts for the future, reminding them of the great power they have that cannot be taken away. Throughout the evening, a feeling expressed by MCCC graduate Elijah Skiver seemed to be shared by the class of 2010: “It’s finally paying off.” See GRADUATION SPECIAL, Pages 4-5

Graduation requirements changed for 2011 Board of Trustees also approve Strategic Plan as guide for 2010-2013 Asia Rapai Staff

MCCC’s Board of Trustees approved a change from course-based graduation requirements to competency-based at its meeting April 26. The change for the general education

INSIDE: Campus News.........2 Campus News.........3 Graduation.............4

requirements for graduation will go into effect for students who will be starting classes in the 2011-2012 school year. “The focus will be put on student learning instead of teaching,” Vice President of Instruction Grace Yackee said. MCCC will focus on providing students with a learning competency goal and a learning outcome. Less focus will be put on specific courses required for graduation, Yackee said. Critical thinking is one of the competencies students are expected to learn and demonstrate. MCCC’s faculty and staff reviewed and approved this curriculum model during a two-year process, Yackee said.

The trustees praised the involvement by the faculty and staff in determining the new curriculum. “You people out there teaching should figure it out and we should approve it,” Trustee Joe Bellino said. Exactly how students will demonstrate that they’ve met the new competency standards is yet to be worked out, Yackee said. Faculty members will bring their ideas to the Curriculum Committee for review, she said. Instructors will have to demonstrate what competencies they can provide in each of their courses. “Assessing these learning outcomes is really the big challenge,” Trustee Linda

Lauer said. To provide a road map for meeting goals at MCCC, the Board of Trustees also approved a Strategic Plan for 20102013. At the board meeting, Yackee said the revision to MCCC’s curriculum and the adoption of the Strategic Plan are examples of shared governance, something the college is trying to strengthen. In the past, MCCC had sometimes been faced with a lack of vision and planning, but the Strategic Plan will show exactly where the college is going for the next three years, Randy Daniels, vice

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Graduation..............5 Campus News.........6 Feature....................7 Special Report........8

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“The focus will be put on student learning instead of teaching.” Grace Yackee Vice President of Instruction

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2 THE AGORA Changes Continued from page 1 president of Student and Information Services, said. Daniels said the plan will be re-developed every three years, but that the document is a work in progress. “The work will not conclude at this point,” he said. The decision-making model touched every group and several committees at MCCC, Daniels said. “We will still be talking about how we – in each area – will achieve these goals,” he said. The Strategic Plan includes a planning process for the college and explains how the plan was determined and how it will be followed over the next three years. It also includes the college’s philosophy and educational objectives, as well as priorities within the planning process. The priorities include educational excellence, a culture supported by evidence, management of resources, shared communication, and connections within the community. The purpose of the plan is to

Campus News

May 18, 2010

MCCC’s new General Education Goals

Continued from Page 1

Beginning with the academic year of 2011-2012, students will demonstrate they’re ready to graduate by meeting academic competencies instead of taking specific courses. The new procedure for general education graduation requirements was approved by the MCCC Board of Trustees. It will take effect for students entering the college beginning with the 2011-2012 academic year:

“We will still be talking about how we — in each area — will achieve these goals.” Randy Daniels Vice President of Student and Information Services.

General Education Goals: Student learning is a fundamental component of the college’s mission, vision, core values and educational objectives. Therefore, the assessment of student learning is an essential component of institutional effectiveness. MCCC is committed to assessing students’ higher order learning skills and affective development, as well as the skills required for professional and personal success in an era of global competiveness. To this end, MCCC has defined three General Education Goals and the related competencies — the knowledge, skills, abilities and

work toward accomplishing these priorities. “We commend all of the individuals who worked on this,” Board Chairman Bill Bacarella said. The Strategic Planning Committee met numerous times over the past two years to develop the plan, Daniels said. “It’s an amazing document,” Trustee Mary Kay Thayer said. The committee will continue to meet frequently to assess the plan, but it will not meet as often as during the process of preparing the plan, Daniels said.

behaviors — tied to each goal : Critical Thinking: Students will think critically using a purposeful, reasoned, objective, and goal-directed process in a variety of contexts. Students will: • Apply appropriate problem-solving techniques. • Use numbers and quantitative relationships . • Access and evaluate information from credible sources. Communication: Students will effectively exchange ideas and information using multiple methods of communication. Students will: • Write effectively. • Speak effectively. • Use current and appropriate technology tools and resources Social and Cultural Awareness: Students will understand the broad diversity of the human experience. Students will: • Appreciate expressions of the human experience. • Recognize the interrelationship of social factors on human thought and action. • Demonstrate responsible citizenship.

Vallade new assistant dean of Math/Science Division Asia Rapai Web Editor

Math professor Jim Vallade will be assistant dean of the Math and Science Division starting this Fall. Vallade will spend 10 hours a week on his assistant dean duties, with a focus on observations of adjunct faculty. “We’re going to see how that works and get feedback,” Vinnie Maltese, dean of Math/Science Division and acting dean of Humanities/Social Sciences Division, said. Maltese has been serving as dean of both divisions since the resignation of former Humanities/Sciences Dean Bruce Way a year ago. “Right now, it is not feasible with one dean doing everything,” he said. At a joint division meeting May 14, Maltese officially announced Vallade’s new duties, on an experimental basis. He also proposed the idea of hiring chairs for each division, possibly beginning in Winter 2011. He said these chairs would provide someone with expertise in each division – Social Science, Humanities, Mathematics, and Science. The full-time faculty would volunteer for the chair positions, Maltese said. They probably would spend about five hours a week in the chair duties, and would be expected to meet with students and faculty and observe adjunct faculty. They would be considered volunteers because this position is not included in the faculty contract, Maltese said. One of the concerns is that full-time faculty may not volunteer for the position. “I don’t think the faculty needs to be contractually bound. For things that work, they will volunteer,” Maltese said.

“Honest feedback from the faculty is very important to make these decisions. There are a lot of things to be worked out.” Vinnie Maltese Dean of Math/Science Divsion, Acting Dean of Humanities/Social Sciences Division “If we are short-handed, there are other ways to do it,” Maltese said. One idea would be to have retired faculty members help with the responsibilities. Maltese said that more research is needed to determine the most efficient way of handling the administrative duties. Everything is getting done, but more adjunct-faculty observations are needed, he said. Analysis of the addition of an assistant dean in the Fall semester will be used to make a decision on whether or not to hire chairs for each division. “I really want feedback from the faculty. We’ve got to make sure the faculty’s needs are being met from the dean’s office,” Maltese said. “Honest feedback from the faculty is very important to make these decisions. There are a lot of things to be worked out.”

Kill brain cells or have healthy brain functions? Chewing tobacco, invented as early as 1 B.C., was originally used for religious and medicinal purposes and is a form of nicotine. Chewing tobacco is one form of smokeless tobacco; the other form is snuff. The difference is snuff is “sniffed” through your nose; both are smokeless and both are disgusting in my book. Along with the short high it brings, the nicotine in chewing tobacco also comes with a lighter wallet from buying it constantly. If people want to basically throw their money away for a short high that will only cause them problems later in life, why not give the money to me? Samuel Queen, a student at MCCC, says he spends around $30 to $45 each week on chewing tobacco. I sure would appreciate some extra cash and I would even thank you for it, making you produce more endorphins. How does this help you? Well, endorphins make you happy. They are said to be natural pain relievers, leaving you with a good feeling. Chewing tobacco is not a safe alternative to regular smoking. It causes tooth and gum decay and oral and lung cancer, according to So why do people chew? Some say that chewing tobacco offers a good stress reducer, and it helps people to focus. While trying to find safe, fun ways to relieve stress, I found that thinks that a good way to relieve stress is by using arsenic. I was thinking more along the lines of exercise, managing anger, and just relaxing in the sun. Some comments online say that chewing tobacco offers more nicotine than cigarettes. “It just tastes good. When you start out you buzz but it doesn’t do that for me anymore,” Queen, said.

Monroe County residents will get a chance June 25 to get up close and personal with Animal Planet star Jeff Corwin. What: Jeff Corwin talks on the importance of saving endangered speciies. When: 7 p.m. Friday, June 25. Where: Meyer Theater, La-Z-Boy Center, MCCC. Tickets: Can be purchased at www. or by calling: 734-384-4272.

Carla Crockett Staff

The buzz of the nicotine, the good feeling that lasts for a few moments, is more than likely our brain being fried by the harmful effects of drug use. People are free to set up their own personal policy on smokeless tobacco, since it is legal. states that smoking is defined as the burning of a lighted cigar, cigarette, pipe or any other matter or substance that contains a tobacco product. Starting May 1, students now have to abide by MCCC’s smoking regulations. These include banning any tobacco product from being used on campus, smokeless or not. If caught by campus security, one will receive a warning first. If this continues, students may not be permitted on the premises. So, receive an education and have healthy brain functions? Or be kicked out of school, work a minimum wage job for the rest of your life, and slowly kill off brain cells?

Jeff Corwin to speak at MCCC during new trail dedication Marissa Beste Staff

Animal Planet star Jeff Corwin will be helping Monroe dedicate the new River Raisin Heritage Trail during a full day of events scheduled June 25. Corwin is the host of Animal Planet’s “The Jeff Corwin Experience,” an Emmy Award-winning program that mainly centers on tropical animals. Corwin will be the featured guest at the dedication of the Heritage Trail, taking place at the ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, June 25. The ceremony will take place at the corner of East Elm and Detroit Avenues. The event is free and open to the public. The trail, which is envisioned to become a greenways route, will link Sterling State Park to the new River Raisin National Battlefield Park and the City of Monroe. It will eventually link Sterling State Park to MCCC. The full schedule of events for the Heritage Trail celebration is provided on the River Raisin Heritage Trail dedication Web site, and includes the following events. From 3-5 p.m., a living history encampment will take place in front of the River Raisin Battlefield Museum. The LaCroi’x Company will present the lifestyle during the War of 1812. It will include cooking and medicine displays, military demonstrations of musket and artillery firing, and marching and drilling. At 7 p.m. in the La-Z-Boy Center, Corwin will speak to Monroe about the importance of saving

The Agora Staff Members Editor-in-Chief Jennifer Niswender Assistant Editor Andrew Hoppert Web Editor Danny Shaw Photographers Symone Thomas Ashley LeTourneau Designers Mary Rose Takacs Marissa Beste Morgan Hofbauer

Copy Editors Brandy Werner Asia Rapai Staff Ashley Hammer Carla Crockett Adviser Dan Shaw

endangered species. He will also discuss his latest book, “100 Heartbeats,” which focuses on wildlife species that are nearing extinction. The performance will not include live animals. A book-signing session will follow the presentation. On June 26, the celebration continues. From 9-11 a.m., a Race for the Raisin 5-mile Run and Walk will occur on the Corner of East Elm and Detroit Avenues. Pre-Registration by June 11 is $25. The cost is $30 for late registration, including the day of the race. Riverside Kayak will offer kayak trips along the trail from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. in the same location as the race. The cost is $10. Small group tours of the trail will be led by local experts from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Local experts will show how the marshland is important for migrating birds, bald eagles, and other mammals. A two-mile walk along the trail will take place from 1-3 p.m., and will raise funds to support Project Second Chance Monroe and the Community Foundation of Monroe. Project Second Chance pairs youths with abandoned dogs. A bicycle event will take place from 3-5 p.m., and the Monroe Community Players will show participants the ‘Mysteries of the Marsh’ ghost tour from 5-7 p.m. Tickets are $10 for the ghost tour. Visit for extra information about the events that will take place.

The Agora Editorial Policy The Agora is published by the students of Monroe County Community College, 1555 S. Raisinville Rd., Monroe, MI, 48161. The editorial office is located in Room 202 of the Life Sciences Bldg., (734) 384-4186, Editorial policy: Unsigned editorials represent the majority opinion of The Agora staff. Signed columns represent the opinion of the writer. All letters to the editor must include a signature, address and phone number for verification purposes. The Agora reserves the right to edit for clarity, accuracy, length and libel.

The Agora is a student-managed newspaper that supports a free student press and is a member of the Michigan Community College Press Association, the Michigan Collegiate Press Association, the Michigan Press Association, College Media Advisers, Associated Collegiate Press and the Student Press Law Center. Story suggestions are welcome. Let us know what you’d like to see in The Agora - it’s your newspaper. Submissions of stories or photos also are welcome. E-mail them to agora@ or bring them to our office.

Campus News

May 18, 2010



Agora Photo by Ashley LeTourneau

Panel members discuss why bad things happen to good people at the Big Read event April 22 in the La-Z-Boy Center.

Experts discuss ‘why bad things happen’ Chase Dowler For the Agpra

“We can use our free will to do bad things, we can use our free will to do good things.” Reverand John Piippo Redeemer Church

A panel of diverse religious leaders held a thoughtprovoking discussion Thursday night on why bad things happen to good people. The panel discussion was part of the month-long Big Read event, and was sponsored by The Agora, MCCC’s student newspaper. Assistant editor Andrew Hoppert was the moderator. By the time the discussion started, the La-Z-Boy Center was half full with intrigued audience members. The attendees ranged from college students showing up to receive extra credit in their classes, to community members and others who came from throughout southeast Michigan and northwest Ohio. From the beginning of the panel’s dialogue, comments ranged far across the spectrum of religious and philosophic thought. About the only thing all the religious leaders jokingly agreed upon is that certain fast food burgers are a moral evil. “It depends how you look at life,” said Dr. Abed Alo, M.D. from the Masjid Saad Foundation of Toledo. Dr. Alo explained the beliefs of the Muslim religion and how they related to the “why bad things happen” question. Alo emphasized that Muslims believe life is temporary, until they reach death. After death, life becomes eternal with their god. “This life is a test ground,” Alo said. “We are to be strong, to be patient, and in the end to be rewarded.” Terry Beamsley, from the Ann Arbor Buddhist Temple, gave the audience a crash course on Zen Buddhism. She noted that Buddha was not, and did not claim to be, a god, but was an ordinary man who devoted his life to understanding why humans deal with suffering. “Suffering is the nature of existence,” Beamsley said. Zen Buddhists, like herself, do not explore metaphysics, or in other words, an afterlife, she said. They emphasize what is in their lives at the moment, and explore their lives as an individual.

Florence Buchanan, Soka Gokai International-USA, Nichiren Buddhism, Buddhist Association For Peace, Culture and Education, voiced her opinion from a different sect of Buddhism. Buchanan elaborated on the general attitude toward life for Buddhists. She made it clear to the audience that Buddhists believe in a repeated cycle of birth and death. The next life that is to be waiting for them is based upon their Karma, the sum of one’s actions in their present life. Sister Marie Gabriel Hungerman, IHM philosopher and educator, gave her views from a Catholic’s point of view. “What’s good for one creature may be bad for another creature at the same time,” Sister Hungerman said. That belief left the thought that nothing in this world can be completely bad, or completely good. So, who is to say that a “bad” thing actually happened to a “good” person? Reverend John Piippo, from Redeemer Church, shared his belief in a redeeming God, a God who gives us extensive free will to make decisions. “We can use our free will to do bad things, we can use our free will to do good things,” he said. Piippo explained that a redeeming God works all things, even bad things, together for good in the lives of people. Mark Thompson, from the Detroit Atheist Meetup, was the last to give his input on the subject. He also caused the most controversy. “Our ability to act in the world is extremely limited,” Thompson said. His Atheistic view of free will is such that, when making a good or bad decision, we do not have a full set of options to choose from. His remarks on the subject of free will ignited a response from Rev. Piippo and other panel members. The last fifteen minutes of the night turned into a philosophical discussion about what free will actually is and how humans respond to it.

“Our ability to act in the world is extremely limited.” Mark Thompson Detroit Atheist Meetup

MCCC honors students, faculty and staff Industrial Technology Award Manufacturing Technology

Danny Shaw Web editor

Aaron Olszewski

MCCC recognized various full-time faculty, adjunct faculty and students at its annual honors reception on Wednesday, April 21.

Industrial Technology Award Construction Management Constance Huff

Along with award winners for individual categories, each MCCC club and its members were recognized at the event.

Industrial Technology Award Mechanical Design Technology

The award winners are as follows:

Shawn Morehead

The George Rhodes Writing Fellow Award

Excellence in Journalism Award Jennifer Niswender

Asia Rapai

Asia Rapai

Outstanding Administrative Professional Award

Danny Shaw

Peggy Heiden

Outstanding Journalism Award

Carol Kish Scholarship Award

Ashley LeTourneau

Sarah Smith

Mary Rose Takacs

Outstanding Nursing Student Award

Brandy Werner

Dorothy Mapes

Freshman Chemistry Award

Spirit of Nursing Award for the US Army/NSNA

April Brockman Organic Chemistry Award

Misty DeMay C. Ernest Read Scholarship Samantha Lemieux All-USA Academic Team Nominees April Brockman Brandy Werner Outstanding Respiratory Therapy Student Award Shane Spaulding

Photo courtesy of Mark Spenoso, MCCC photographer.

Kathy Shepherd, associate professor of mathematics,was honored with the Outstanding Faculty Award. Go to www.mcccagora. com for a video of Shepherd discussing her award, her teaching career and her life.

Faculty Association Outstanding Student Award Paula McDonald Asia Rapai

Outstanding Student Program Achievement Award Student Nurse Association “Bone Marrow Drive”

Outstanding Faculty Award Kathleen Shepherd, associate professor of mathematics

Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award Joanne Nicks

Lacey Kane MASS Mathematics Competition Award Patrick Bodette Outstanding Mathematics Award Benjamin Collins Poetry Contest Award Brandy Werner

4 THE AGORA Graduation Special

May 18, 2010

‘It’s finally paying off’

Marissa Beste Staff

Passion, drive and talent could describe some of the characteristics of MCCC’s Class of 2010. The 209 attending graduates gathered May 7 in the Welch Health Education Building for the 43rd annual commencement ceremony. The Grand Marshall of the ceremony was Gale Odneal, associate professor of Nursing at MCCC. She was noted for her hard work and commitment over the last 20 years to the nursing program, as well as being a volunteer nurse in El Salvador. “She walks the talk,” said Grace Yackee, vice president of instruction. MCCC’s 2010 Alumnus of the Year, Ignazio Cuccia, offered words of empowerment to the graduating class. “With great power comes great responsibility,” he said throughout his speech, referencing the quote from the movie “Spiderman.” “No one can take this power away from you.” Cuccia, who graduated from MCCC in 1994 and 1995, reminded the class to laugh every day, and to give words of encouragement to others. Cuccia’s cousin, MaryGrace, was one of the student speakers for the ceremony. “I love you, and I’m proud of you,” he said to her during his speech. Dr. Ken Mohney introduced Sarai Richter as the speaker representing MCCC’s transfer program. “I, for one, cannot wait to see what she can accomplish during the next phase of her life,” he said, noting her involvement with Student Government and International Studies, among others. Richter spoke about the culture at MCCC and her fond memories of the classes she had and the friendships she made. Richter and MaryGrace both spoke of their close friendship, and goal to be at the graduation ceremony together. “Almost three years ago, on this very campus, we came to have a pact together that on graduation it would be her and I standing up here at commencement on graduation– and here we are thus far,” Richter said. MaryGrace was introduced as the occupational program speaker by her faculty mentor Chef Kevin Thomas. Thomas noted her various involvements on campus, particularly her roles as President of Student Government and President of Club Culinaire. “She was a very active and busy student,” Thomas said of MaryGrace. She spoke of her many challenges as a college student at MCCC.

The three graduation speakers were MCCC’s 2010 Alumnus of the Year, Ignazio Cuccia, above right; MaryGrace Cuccia, right, and Sarai Richter, far right.

Total degrees in past years

1999-2000 2000-2001 2001-2002 2002-2003 2003-2004 2004-2005 2005-2006 2006-2007 2007-2008 2008-2009

Degrees  Certificates   Total 343 33 376 307 41 348 366 52 418 360 50 410 367 65 432 416 66 482 418 51 469 448 65 513 441 70 511 454 78 532

May 18, 2010

Graduation Special

“There were several times I wanted to quit,” she said. MaryGrace said she managed to get through the hard times because of God, her faith and her family’s support. She was accepted into the Culinary Institute of America in New York, which is known as the best and most difficult culinary school in America. She told the audience what it felt like when she got the acceptance call. “I actually told him to shut up, because I didn’t believe it,” Cuccia said. Both Richter and MaryGrace thanked several faculty and staff members for their success at MCCC. The graduating class consisted of 209 students who walked at the ceremony, but a total of 606 students from the Winter, Spring and Summer semesters. Summa Cum Laude graduate, Elijah Skiver, expressed his excitement for the big night. “Exhilarated would be a good word,” he said. “After three years of toiling and struggling, it feels like it’s finally paying off.”

“Almost three years ago, on this very campus, we came to have a pact together that on graduation it would be her and I standing up here at commencement on graduation– and here we are thus far.” - Sarai Richter, about her and MaryGrace Cuccia




Campus News

May 18, 2010

Chewing added to MCCC tobacco ban Carla Crockett Staff

The ultimate nicotine patch for Michigan started May 1 with a statewide ban of smoking in public places. According to the state of Michigan, the new law, which bans smoking in most public places, will benefit all Michigan residents, whether they smoke or not. Angelica Hicks, an MCCC student, said she doesn’t smoke and doesn’t hang out with those who do. “I support the smoke law,” Hicks said.

“I think it would probably be better for everyone and the environment,” said Jennifer Moyer, another MCCC student. “It will help with people’s breathing and people with asthma won’t have to worry about all the smoke.” In addition to the state law, the MCCC Board of Trustees decided April 26 to add all tobacco, including smokeless products, to the campus smoking ban. The college’s Health and Safety Committee also wanted to eliminate any spitting or chewing of tobacco products, Tim Bennett, vice president of Business Af-

fairs and treasurer, told the board. “It’s fine with me, but I don’t do any of those,” Board Chairman Bill Bacarella said. Randy Daniels, vice president of Student and Information Systems, said people have been receptive to the smoking ban and that disciplinary actions for spitting and chewing tobacco will be dealt with in the same way as the ban on smoking. The use of tobacco products will be banned from all locations on campus, including vehicles in the college’s parking

lots, Daniels said. The smoking began started several years ago with the college’s Health and Safety Committee. “The Health and Safety committee discussed it for two years before it came to the Cabinet. It was then revised and approved in 2008,” Dr. David Nixon, MCCC president, said. In August 2008, smoking was restricted to 30 feet from any MCCC campus building. In August 2009, smoking was limited to the parking lots. Before the Michigan law was passed, with its May 1

ban, smoking was to be banned at MCCC in August 2010. “We were going to include the word tobacco in the policy for Aug. 1,” Nixon said. The Michigan law includes all tobacco products that must be lit, which are banned from everywhere except for Detroit casinos, cigar bars, tobacco stores, home offices, and vehicles. According to the Michigan law, punish for the first offense is a $100 fine, the second a $500 fine. The college plans to give a warning for first offenses.

1,300 attend annual Family Fun Night

Brandy Werner

“We had a lot better turnout than last year. It was very rewarding to see all these people here.”


Six-year-old Lily Self loved “going on the big slide, because you fly through the air when you go over the bump.” Four-year-old Alexcia Hearn agreed. “My favorite part was the blowup slide,” she said. Jacob McLaughlin Nine-year-old Aleija Rodriguez President of Student Governenjoyed the carnival games. ment “We got here late,” he said. “But once I got into it, I really, really loved it. I just ran around getting unteered for the first time at the prizes and prizes.” event. She worked the bumper Hannah Hales really liked the cars game. magic show, while the “real, live “I thought Family Fun Night breathing pig lung” intrigued her was excellent,” Martin said. “It mother, Teresa. was fun for everyone. My two “The pig lung was so cool,” she daughters had a ball; I will defisaid. nitely do this next year.” The Magic Show, the blow-up Another volunteer, Sara slides, and the pig lung hooked Waldecker, a member of the to a ventilator at the Respiratory Alumni Board of Directors, also Therapy booth were all a part of said the night was a success. MCCC Student Government’s an“It’s been a really fun night. It nual Family Fun Night held Friwas cool to watch the enthusiasm day, April 23 in the Health Buildof the kids interacting with their ing. families and challenging each othThe three-hour event also feaer to win the prizes,” Waldecker tured carnival games, a family said. Photo courtesy of Mary Grace Cuccia photo booth, face painting, airTom Ryder, Student Activities brush tattoos, kids’ safety I.D.s, Over one thousand people gathered in the Health Building gymnasium April 23 to enjoy the annual Family Fun Night activities. coordinator at MCCC, deemed the and a display and live turtle from event “a huge success.” the Toledo Zoo. said. “It was very rewarding to see all these people There were over 65 volunteers working at Fam“I think Student Government did a The participants numbered about 1,300. here.” ily Fun Night. The volunteers received a pizza party great job,” Ryder said. “All the credit goes to Stu“We had a lot better turnout than last year,” Jadent Government.” McLaughlin described the night as, “overwhelm- afterward for their hard work. cob McLaughlin, president of Student Government, ing excitement and joy for months of work.” Whitman Center employee Dagmar Martin vol-

HLC finalizes accreditation, turns down MCCC appeal

MCCC hosts bowling event for scholarships The Foundation at MCCC hosted its fifth annual Strikes, Spares, and Scholarships at Nortel Lanes May 14. The event presented the opportunity for students, non-students, or corporate businesses to help MCCC by donating and/or registering to bowl. All the proceeds go to MCCC’s Financial Aid department to put together scholarships for students. Last year $5,000 was raised for student scholarships. Bowlers had the opportunity to win door prizes, raffles, and other games. Along with the bowling, they also received pizza and prizes for highest game, high series, team series, and best team name.

Mary Rose Takacs Staff

Agora photo by Ashley LeTourneau

Up the Rouge Journalist Joel Thurtell, left, and photojournalist Patricia Beck, right, discussed their recent book, Up the Rouge, at a presentation at MCCC on April 14. Thurtell, a former Detroit Free Press reporter, and Beck, a current Free Press photographer, canoed the River Rouge to probe environmental issues.

MCCC has been formally granted 10-year accreditation, but its appeal of a visit in three years was turned down. A team from the Higher Learning Commission visited campus last September to review the college’s accreditation status. It recommended the full 10-year accreditation, but also suggested a “focused visit” on two specific topics in three years. The two areas are: communication and shared governance; and evaluating and improving institutional effectiveness. In the academic year of 2012 and 2013, an HLC team will revisit the college to evaluate the progress MCCC has accomplished for these areas. The “focused visit” will not endanger the accreditation MCCC has been granted. It is merely a way to keep the college accountable in making progress. “MCCC is aware of areas in need of attention and is committed to continuous improvement,” the HLC Evaluation Team said, according to an MCCC press release. The areas MCCC excels in are many, accordign to

the HLC team. “The college’s mission as a comprehensive twoyear institution serving Monroe County, Michigan, is understood and supported by all constituencies of the college,” the HLC team said. “MCCC has the human, physical and financial resources to carry out its mission. The board, administration, faculty and staff are committed to student learning.” The HLC team also praised MCCC’s accomplishments in the Monroe community. “The Board, administration, faculty and staff are committed to student learning. And the college has productive working relationships with its community partners, including business and industry, health care providers and K-12 school districts in its region,” the HLC team said. The renewed accreditation allows MCCC students to apply for financial aid from the federal government. It also increases the credibility of the courses at MCCC, so they are more likely to be accepted by most colleges or universities across the nation. The next accreditation visit by an HLC team is scheduled for 2019-2020.

MCCC works on improving shared governance Morgan Hofbauer Staff

The faculty, staff, and administration of MCCC took a step toward improved shared governance at an attendance-required meeting last month. College employees met in the La-Z-Boy Center on April 13 to hear MCCC President David Nixon review the campus constitution and describe different options for enhancing employee participation in the governance process. “The plan for the meeting was to view, with all of the men and women who work here at the college, the college constitution on shared governance,” Nixon said. Some of the options discussed at the meeting included further use of college committees, providing better notice of committee meetings, and encouraging more feedback and suggestions. The need for improving shared governance was mentioned last year by a team from the Higher Learning Commission, which evaluated MCCC’s accreditation. Though the campus did receive the 10-year accreditation renewal, the HLC recommended a return visit in three years on two specific issues; one was shared governance. The college appealed the need for a visit in three years, but the appeal was denied. “One of the things that they said we needed to do was to maximize participation,” Nixon said. “In other words, how can we get more people to get in-

“I think we need more open and honest communication here, and you can tell from some of the comments that people had some pent-up emotion that needed to be expressed.” Mark Bergmooser President of the Faculty Association volved in the committees, and how can we better communicate what those committees are doing?” Mark Bergmooser, president of the Faculty Association, explained why the issue likely came up during the HLC visit. “Oftentimes, some of the concerns that we have as faculty members are that decisions are being made without our input, and these are decisions that affect us,” he said. “And yes, you can only talk about something for so long until a decision has to be made; I understand that. But with that being said, there needs to be the discussion.”

Bergmooser said the college constitution specifically addresses the need for faculty input in decisions. “It’s not, ‘we want to.’ We’re supposed to,” he said. “And when we don’t, that’s in violation of the constitution.” Besides going over the constitution, Nixon also covered the responsibilities of each of the various college committees. “If you hadn’t reviewed the constitution in a while, it gave you a chance to be privy to all of the different committees that are involved,” Bergmooser said. Some faculty may have been frustrated that so much of the meeting covered the constitution and committees. “We probably would have liked a little more discussion,” Bergmooser said. Several employees did offer their opinions. Gail Odneal, professor of Nursing, suggested that it would be more valuable to send information about committee meetings beforehand, rather than approving the minutes of the meetings afterwards. “I don’t read the minutes after the fact, I’ll admit it, because it’s too much to read to try to get to the content,” she said. “But if I knew what the meeting was about and I had a vested interest in something, you can be sure I’d try to be there.” She also suggested that an improved agenda sent it out ahead of time, “opens up communications so we are not supplied the content after the fact.”

Gerald Jean, a computer operator in Data Processing, was critical of college employees for not offering more suggestions. “No one is saying anything,” he said, “But as soon as we walk out of that door, everyone will be talking.” Despite the lack of discussion, Nixon said he felt the meeting was a success. “I was really impressed with the good suggestions we had, and it motivates the committees because then they have opportunities to improve and things to work on,” he said. In addition, Nixon said the goal is not only to improve shared governance, but for it to become a permanent part of the structure of MCCC. “It’s not something you can just work on every few years when evaluators come. We have to keep working on it all the time,” he said. Bergmooser said he remains undecided on whether the meeting will have the expected outcome, but hopes for the best. “I think an attempt was made, but I don’t know how you could measure it, whether it was successful or not,” he said. “I think we need more open and honest communication here, and you can tell from some of the comments that people had some pent-up emotion that needed to be expressed. “People obviously have things that they want to talk about, that need to come out, so hopefully we have more opportunities to do something like this.”

Feature THE AGORA 7 MASS rededicates observatory May 18, 2010

Club uses holiday to unveil repairs to observatory that houses a telescope behind the Life Sciences building

or seven years without being used in the observatory. “We didn’t have power and the deck wasn’t safe; it was starting to break down and s p l i n t e r, ” Spalding said.

Marissa Beste Staff

The Math and Science Society was lucky Earth Day had a clear night. On Earth Day, April 22, the MASS club members hosted the rededication of MCCC’s observatory and new deck. At around 8 p.m. math and science students, staff and other visitors ventured out to the observatory, located behind the Lbuilding, to see the new deck and get a close-up view of the moon through the telescope. “I’m so impressed, this is really something for the community,” MCCC President David Nixon said. The math and science students and staff kept their eyes on the sky throughout the night, pointing out the different planets that were visible in the night sky and could be viewed through the telescope. MCCC first got the telescope in the early 1980s after Dr. Roger Spalding, professor of physics and astronomy, went to a conference in Flagstaff, Arizona, where observatories and telescopes were discussed. Soon after, the college bought its own telescope. Two or three years later, a two-person observatory was built for the telescope, since it was inconvenient to haul the telescope around, Spalding said. After Spalding stopped teaching nighttime astronomy classes because of his physics classes, the telescope stopped being used. It was stored for six

Last year, Associate Professor of Biology & Chemistry Lori Bean and her students wanted to use the telescope as an alternative energy project, since the telescope uses a low-energy motor to follow the Earth’s rotation and did not have any power at the time. “Our first goal was to really just get out here and get power so we could run the telescope,” Bean said. But when they saw the state of the deck, they thought it was going to be at least a multiple-year project, Bean said. Bean applied for a grant in January 2009 to help with the costs of rebuilding the deck, and the new deck was built in the summer of 2009.

Bean called Spalding, Director of Physical Plant Jim Blumberg, and Assistant Professor of Construction Management Technology Alex Babycz for assistance with building the deck. “I said, ‘I’m going to look at this as a collaborative effort across campus,’” Bean said. “We wanted to get the telescope up and running.” Former industrial technology student Dan Lake designed the deck and oversaw the construction in the summer of 2009. The power for the telescope’s motor is now linked in with the parking lot lights. It is currently lacking daytime power, which could be fixed with the use of solar panels. Sarah Ping, MASS club president, was excited about getting to use the telescope, because in her previous astronomy classes the telescope was not available. Ping is in her last semester at MCCC, and is majoring in chemical engineering. “I get to close the semester with a bang,” she said.

Agora photo by Asia Rapai

Dr. Roger Spaulding, professor of Physics and Astronomy, looks through the telescope that is housed in the newly repaired observatory. The observatory, which can hold two people at a time, is located behind the Life Sciences building.

Whitman welcomes NASA engineer Melis

Mary Rose Takacs Staff

After a 16-day flight, the Columbia shuttle was on its way back to earth. The seven astronauts on board were not aware of the danger they were to face nor the realization that this was their last flight. Seven years later, MCCC’s Whitman Center celebrated the 30-year anniversary of the Space Shuttle program by hosting NASA engineer Matt Melis. On April 26, Melis gave an in-depth look at the intricacies, dangers and complications that led to the Columbia shuttle tragedy on that day in April 2003. The crew had completed their mission and the shuttle was in re-entry over eastern Texas, when suddenly a piece of foam fell from the external tank. Nearly 24 seconds later, the shuttle exploded taking the lives of the astronauts on board. “So much debris came out of the sky that it looked like a weather front on the weather radar map,” Melis said. Not knowing the cause of such a catastrophic event, NASA established a team of nearly 5,000 people for a 3-month time period to gather the debris and begin a jig-saw puzzle. Melis, a 26-year engineer at the NASA Research Center in Cleveland, OH, was assigned to be a full-time tech leader among the team. As they sifted through the debris, they came across a jagged piece of the Carbon Carbon Re-enforcement. This material was used on the inside of the Orbiter’s shell and is similar to metal, only more brittle. “They had an idea it was the left wing leading edge, which is only 1/4 inch

Agora photo by Mary Rose Takacs

NASA engineer Matt Melis shares a NASA poster, commemorating the end of a 30 year program in November, with a member of the audience during his presentation on April 26.

think,” Melis said. The left wing leading edge is the inner elbow to the shuttles wing. The team knew the foam, which had detached from the external tank, had caused an impact on the Columbia shuttle.

The foam block detached from the external tank because of the speed and heat of the shuttle. The piece of foam expanded and contracted, causing it to detach from the external tank and break through the outside tiles, thermal blanket,

and Carbon Carbon Re-enforcement. The NASA engineer team re-created the accident. As they sent different sizes of foam into the re-enforced Carbon Carbon material at various speeds they discovered

the impact of velocity. “It’s not how much something weighs; it’s how fast it’s going, and it doesn’t even have to be that fast,” Melis said. This proved that the-foot-and-a-half by six inch piece of foam did impact the left wing leading edge of the Orbiter. The hole allowed for the heat outside the shuttle to enter in and engulf the Orbiter. “We would spend two years figuring out every possible threat of debris and impact that would cause great impact and possible failure,” Melis said. To prevent the Columbia tragedy from happening again, NASA made changed to the type of foam they used on the external tank. In addition, they use laser and TV cameras to take consecutive pictures of the shuttle’s lift off and its function. A camera was also built onto a moveable arm, on the space station. This camera captures pictures of the entire shuttle to check the logistics and evaluate if the safety has been compromised. NASA did not launch another space shuttle flight after the Columbia tragedy until 19 months later with their Return to Flight mission, on July 26, 2005. “It was the most photographed mission NASA has ever had,” Melis said. Sense then, NASA has had 15 successful launches. After 30 years of space exhibition, the NASA shuttle program will come to an end this September. There are three final missions to the space station scheduled in the next five months. The future ambitions of NASA may include landing on an asteroid and a mission to Mars within 20 years.

City of Monroe to celebrate statue’s centennial

Asia Rapai Staff

Libby Custer wanted her husband’s monument to have a really good horse. “It was difficult to render a good horse,” says Dr. Dennis Montagna, who brought his expertise on historic sculpture to Monroe April 29. Montagna was here to discuss the artistic history of the Gen. George Armstrong Custer monument, as part of the statue’s 100th anniversary celebration to be held on June 4. At his presentation, Montagna described how much effort goes into portraying and honoring a person’s character through the look of a rider and his horse. “Sometimes the horse is quiet, there’s tension, or there is understanding of the rider,” Montagna said. He said it is a common misconception that the position of the horse’s feet is consistently symbolic, but the horses do help to portray character. “Horse and rider monuments are very different from each other,” Montagna said. Montagna is the director of National Park Service’s Monument Research and Preservation program based in Philadelphia. The City of Monroe, Monroe County Historical Society and the National Park Service co-sponsored a lecture by the sculpture and architectural histo-

“This was very important for Monroe 100 years ago, and people desire it to become a more important piece again.” Dennis Montagna Scultpure and Architectural Historian

rian. He said the purpose of his lecture was to show the sculptor as a living, breathing artist. Montagna said he is proud to be a part of the 100th anniversary of the unveiling of the Custer monument in Monroe. “I think it’s great. I’m really excited about it,” he said. Montagna described the life of high-profile sculptor, Edward C. Potter. “He came along at just the right time,” Montagna said.

“Almost the exact working career that this guy had parallels the monument-making business,” The Custer monument marks a significant time in Custer’s life. It is meant to honor his career of a civil war fighter, not an Indian fighter, Montagna said. Custer is portrayed in his early twenties in the monument. “You can look closely to see he is wearing civilwar style clothes.” People don’t seem to notice much about monuments today, Montagna said. “We move by them much faster than in the past,” he said.

Not only did Montagna share his knowledge of the sculpture, but he has also been involved in the process of conserving the monument. “I was mostly involved in helping Monroe get things going,” he said. “This was very important for Monroe 100 years ago, and people desire it to become a more important piece again.” Following Montagna’s advice, the monument will receive a straightforward treatment with “no major conservation surgery.” The statue will be cleaned and covered with a protective coating. “I gave them a sense of what needed to be done,” he said. Treatment began late in April. “With the conservation, this monument will be in better condition, and we will have a better idea of why people valued them at the time,” Montagna said. “It’s a very good memorial. It was cast by an excellent founder,” he said. The commemorative ceremony will be held on June 4. Mayor Robert Clark will give the keynote address and Dr. David Nixon, Monroe County Community College president, will be master of ceremonies. One hundred years before that date the monument was unveiled with President William Howard Taft and Mrs. Elizabeth (Libby) Bacon Custer as guests of honor.



Special Report

MCCC security and safety

May 18, 2010

Campus Incident Reports Included on this map are all of the incident reports filed with campus security since January 2009, as well as details from any police reports filed for campus issues. For details on each incident, visit the Agora Web site,

Uttering and Publishing

One incident was filed with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department in which a check was sent from MCCC to TIAA-CREF. The institution never received the check worth $10,157.40.

Parking Lot Incidents

Incidents include damage to vehicles.

Suspicious Subject/Incident

These are common reports to security, yet head of security Bill Myers, “...would like to see more of students saying, ‘This guy’s creeping me out.’”

Found Property

Property found on campus.


There have been 11 larcenies on campus since January 2009, five occurring in the Health building.

Missing/Damaged Property

Incidents include a missing picture of Ernie Harwell from Wall of Fame.


Injuries include slip and fall accidents and sports injuries.


A cigarette lit a bush on fire behind the La-Z-Boy center last March.

After the bookstore thief, how secure is MCCC? Andrew Hoppert and Marissa Beste Assistant Editor & Staff Member

Bill Myers, head of security at MCCC, is sitting in his office in the A building when the phone rings. It’s one of the dozen or so inquiries a day he receives from students, employees and other members of the college community. “Everybody sees something,” he says. “Usually it turns out to be nothing.” According to Myers, MCCC is a smaller community college with few serious security issues. Since January of 2009, a total of 11 larcenies have been reported, including four thefts from vehicles in parking lots and five from lockers in the Health building. “By and large, we are pretty lucky here,” Myers said. The thefts range in severity and location. In one instance, a student who made off with a pack of cookies was nabbed by Randy Daniels, vice president of Student Affairs. In another, an unidentified subject made off with more than $8,000 in merchandise from the bookstore. The suspect took merchandise from the bookstore in three separate incidents during spring break week. Myers is not sure that they could have been avoided. “I don’t think that if we were standing in there a couple of times it could have been prevented,” Myers said. Since the bookstore theft in March, campus security and the staff at the bookstore have taken precautions to prevent future issues. “They (bookstore staff) pretty much got it, you know, when this happened,” Myers said.

MCCC has its own contracted security force. “I’m a strong believer in that you should have your own security because then you have control over your own people,” Myers said. The security staff consists of five members on main campus and one at the Whitman Center. All of the secuJean Ford rity staff members have some police Director of Auxiliary Services and experience. Purchasing None of the security staff members are full-time employees. “I’ve always said that you have to “Everybody can work when they be a little more aware of your sur- want to work and it makes for a haproundings and what’s going on.” pier situation,” Myers said. A bell now sounds when students Sandy Kosmyna, director of the enter the store. Whitman Center, is confident in the The layout has been shifted to allow security situation at the Temperance for easier visibility of higher priced campus. items by workers behind the counter. “I do feel like there’s good backup “I think we are better off than we if we ever need it at the Whitman were before,” Myers said. Center,” Kosmyna said. Bookstore director Jean Ford also “I think that our campus is relativesaid the staff is looking into extra ly safe.” cameras and a security system, but is The Whitman Center has not had not sure it will help in preventing fu- many instances where security staff ture thefts. were necessary, Kosmyna said. “I don’t think that there’s any way The I.D. camera, which was about you can prevent it from happening. 15 years old, was stolen in September. You hope it won’t happen,” Ford And there have been a few distressed said. students and classroom thefts, accordOne of the issues is that bookstore ing to Kosmyna. workers may not have known what to If a student sees something suspido after they witnessed a theft. cious, Myers suggests they contact an In the case of the theft in March, officer and fill out a form, relaying the workers attempted to detain the sub- facts. Then an officer will check out ject by distracting him, talking to him, the incident. and treating him like they would a “I would like to see more of sturegular customer while they waited dents saying, ‘This guy’s creeping me for security, Ford said. out,’” Myers said. The suspect was able to leave beMyers also advises that every stufore security arrived. dent should have an I.D. Since it is not Ford says workers are to call securi- mandatory, many students do not get ty immediately as well as try to detain them, which could be a safety issue, the person. Myers said.

“I don’t think that there’s any way you can prevent it from happening. You hope it won’t happen,”

This is the security camera photo of the suspect in the theft of $8,000 of merchandise from the MCCC bookstore. Anyone with information about the identify of the suspect should call the campus security office at 734-384-6007.

HIGHLIGHTS OF CAMPUS CRIME 2-5-09 Student noticed that his keys cars in Lot 7 (in front of C Building, vis- 3-10-10, 3:25 p.m. were missing from his pants pockets after leaving fitness center. He went to his car to find that a pair of sunglasses and $6 in change had been stolen. The sound system was badly damaged, as if the intruder had meant to steal it. Total damage and theft: $632. Incident filed with Monroe County Sheriff’s Department (Incident # 3986-09)

7-9-09, 10:30 p.m. Maintenance

crew worker Bill Bennett and Boiler Operator “TC” noticed two boys and a girl in C-219 and two girls in C-220. It appeared that they had put blankets over the tables to create makeshift tents. The kids were made to gather up their things and were escorted out to their

ible from S. Raisinville). There appeared to be no damage done to either rooms, Description: White male, 5’10”, 175 although there were some “distrubing lbs, brown hair writings” on the whiteboards. Vehicle: 1995-2000 gray Oldsmobile 4 door 11-19-09, 2:25 p.m. A student Annette Russel (bookstore employee) put a pack of cookies in his pocket and said she saw the subject enter, and walk walked out of the building without pay- over to the book rack along the west ing for them. Vice President of of Stu- wall and quickly grab a hardcover book dent Services Randy Daniels followed and stuff it down his pants, then walk the subject, approached him and asked around the isle and head out. Russell if he was a student. When asked if he said that she tried to stand in front of had stolen the cookies, the subject said him, but he walked right through her and yes. The cookies had been eaten by this headed out, and took off west through time. He was informed that he would be the hall, then out the south doors. Officer Sielski was in the security office contacted about his future at MCCC. with Officer Meyers when a call came in from the bookstore that the suspect that has been stealing books was back.

As the officers ran down the hall, Sielski observed Ann Gerweck (bookstore employee), running out of the doors closest to the bookstore. Sielski ran east out of the doors, and saw Gerweck running south. The suspect then entered the back seat of an Oldsmobile and the car drove off down the road at the south end of the property. Missing item: anatomy and physiology hard cover textbook. Theft value: $200.

1-12-10, 4:35 p.m. Tom Ryder,

director of Student Activities, reported that the picture of Ernie Harwell, which had been bolted to the wall, was missing. Ryder was quoted as saying that one would have to know what one was doing to be able to get it down. The pic-

ture was later recovered in a nearby storage closet.

3-18-10, 5:20 p.m. Two subjects have class together. The children of the two students have a daughter together, but now have PPOs against each other. One subject approached the other about their children, but the other stated that she did not want to talk about it and that they were not in the proper place to talk about it. The first subject continued on and made comments about the other’s child. She told him to leave her alone, and then vocalized it again loudly.


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