Welcome to a new year at Ashland Community and Technical College. As we prepare for the opportunities and challenges of 2016, we also reflect on the accomplishments of the past year.
The past year was one of building and strengthening our foundations for future educational success.
The college conducted a BuildSmart campaign to raise $2.5 million of the $10 million needed to renovate the original building at the College Drive Campus. Though the BuildSmart Investment of Kentucky Competitiveness, 75 percent of the renovation cost can be funded through agency bond issues.
Fundraising activities included the raffle of a car donated by Professor Emeritus Ernie Tucker and a Dancing through the Decades fitness event. The campaign concludes this month, and plans are underway for the renovation.
ACTC was one of five colleges in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) that partnered with SOAR (Shaping our Appalachian Region) to work on improving educational programs and developing new job opportunities in Eastern Kentucky.
SOAR-related activities have included development of classes in drone and 3D printing technologies, fiber optics classes offered through Workforce Solutions, and programs to introduce entrepreneurship to high school students.
ACTCs Workforce Solutions Department opened a new operations center at the Roberts Drive Campus. The department operates the Entrepreneur Center and offers business and industry training, community education classes and continuing education programs.
ACTCs Entrepreneur Center is supported by a grant from the US Department of Agriculture to serve as a small business incubator. Representative Thomas Massie (KY 4th District) visited the Center in February to talk with start-up businesses that are poised for growth.
The Workforce Solutions building was formally named the John W. Clark Training Center in September. Clark is the founder and owner John W. Clark Oil Co. and was appointed to the ACTC Board of Directors in 2012. For several years he provided funds for ACTC scholarships, the Young Women LEAD Conference and ACTC Foundation Golf Scramble, and he made the first lead gift to the BuildSmart Campaign.
The Board Room at the College Drive Campus was named to recognize ACTC alumni John and Pat Stewart for their support of college and foundation project. John Stewart is Chair of the ACTC Board of Directors.
For the third consecutive year, Community College Week listed ACTC as a Top 100 Two-Year Institution in the number of one-year certificates awarded. ACTC was also listed as a Top 50 Two-Year Institution in the number of associate degrees awarded for science technologies / technicians.
The Graduation Ceremony in May recognized a record 681 students who earned nearly 1700 credentials. Alumnus Richard Sonny Martin was the keynote speaker. He is a Senior Partner of Martin amp; Vincent, PSC in Ashland and the Ashland City Attorney. The graduating student speaker was Jeremiah Maynard, an Associate in Science Degree recipient who has since transferred to the University of Kentucky to major in mechanical engineering.
At graduation, Ann Brown Perkins was named the Distinguished Alumna of 2015. She is Executive Director of Safe Harbor of Northeast Kentucky. Kentucky Power received the Distinguished Service Award in recognition of the company's long history of supporting the college. Professor Hossein Mohebbian received the Gussler Fellow Award in Mathematics and Science.
Graduates of the Electrical Technology and Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education and other technical programs did better than the national average on the NOCTI assessment exams. All of the May, 2015 Surgical Technology Program graduates passed the national certification test, earning the program a certificate of merit from the national board.
ACTC Excellence Award winners were recognized at the KCTCS New Horizons Conference last spring. Chef Robert Smith, Instructional Specialist, received the Support Staff Award; Janet Thompson, Admissions Advisor, received the Administrative Staff Award; and Shannon McCarty, Assistant Professor and Diesel Technology Program Coordinator, received Faculty Award.
Outstanding faculty for 2014-15 were recognized at the fall All College Meeting. Receiving First Among Peers Awards were Dr. James Schmidt, Professor of Chemistry; Woodrow Fosson, Assistant Professor of Applied Process Technologies; Jonathan Joy, Assistant Professor of English; Robin Johns, Coordinator of the Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education Program; Rachel Henderson, Assistant Professor of Associate Degree Nursing; and Linda Hunt, Adjunct Faculty in mathematics.
Associate Professor Jack Borders was selected to participate in the KCTCS Leadership Academy.
Students John C. Chapman and James B. Hall were selected to KCTCS All-Academic Team for 2015. Chapman, a Catlettsburg resident, is working on an Associate in Science Degree. Hall, a Hitchins resident, is working on an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Computers and Information Technology.
A five-year American Electric Power Foundation grant to the Lawrence County School System will provide for dual enrollment of LCHS students at ACTC. The $815,000 Credits Count grant will also provide college and career explorations for middle school students, college readiness assessments and a summer bridge program that provides remediation needed by students entering the dual-enrollment program.
Kentucky Power donated a bucket truck to help train students in the Lineman Program, and provided a $16,000 grant to enhance education in alternative energy sources and applications.
Kentucky Power and Professor Emeritus Ernest M. Tucker were recognized by KCTCS as outstanding benefactors of the college.
ACTC and Eastern Kentucky University signed an agreement to provide a FAA-approved 1,000-hour power 2+2 degree pathway to aviation careers. The Aviation partnership leads from an AA degree at ACTC to a Bachelor of Science Degree at EKU in Aviation Aerospace Technology Concentration.
The Student Support Services (SSS) Program received a $1.42 million grant from the US Department of Education. The program serves at-risk students who have barriers to attaining a college education such as low income, disabilities or being a first generation college student.
The Computers and Information Technology Program added new degree tracks in Applications, Information Security and Internet Technologies. The new tracks and the original track in Network Administration can be completed entirely online.
Dr. Jay Box, KCTCS President, visited ACTC in April to gather input for the KCTCS 2016-2022 Strategic Plan. He met with faculty, staff and students to learn about college program and service needs. At a Business Roundtable, he spoke with business and community leaders about their workforce training needs. The KCTCS plan will provide guidance for ACTCs Strategic Plan.
The 2nd Annual Golf Scramble in October raised approximately $20,000 for the scholarship fund administered by ACTCs Foundation.
Town Square Bank established an endowed scholarship fund in memory of Joe Thomas Rupert, a member of the Banks Board of Directors for 20 years and Chairman of the Board at the time of his passing.
ACTC was designated a 2016 Military Friendly School by Victory Media, based on college support, graduate rates, employment statistics, policies, resources and other key indicators of success.
Educational opportunities for youth included a summer Robotics Adventures Camp supported by a NASA Kentucky grant, Career Craze camps funded through the state Office of Career and Technical Education, computer/STEM-focused camps, FIRST LEGO League Tournaments, a STEM career exploration day, Skills USA and FFA competitions, Rotary Day and Entrepreneur Day. The Young Women LEAD Conference and ACTC/FIVCO Science amp; Engineering Fair, were held through support from Toyota Manufacturing-North America.
Activities for students and the community included Black History, Hispanic History and Women's History programs, Tri-State Diversity Conference, Tri-State Job Fair, Constitution Day program, the 2nd Annual New Play Festival, ACTC Theatres 22nd presentation of A Christmas Carol and annual Student Art Show.
These activities and program of 2015 helped the college serve the educational needs and aspirations of students, potential students, businesses and the community. We look forward to a new year of expanding opportunities for area residents.