Friday, May 11, 2012

Milestones abound with Class of 2012

(Updated May 16, 2012)

The Daytona State College Class of 2012 has put up a string of impressive numbers and is among the largest in the college’s history.

During the 2011-2012 academic year that began last August, 3,896 students completed their academic programs and were added to the ranks of Daytona State alumni during Monday’s commencement ceremonies. This includes those who completed their degrees and certificates during fall semester 2011, plus 1,940 spring semester graduates and another 418 who will be added by summer’s end.

View more images of Daytona State's Class of 2012
Monday’s commencement at the Ocean Center on the city’s beachside honored 341 bachelor’s degree recipients, bringing the total to 1,026 since Daytona State began offering four-year degrees in 2006. That first degree, the Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision and Management, was offered in response to a statewide analysis, which revealed that Florida has a shortage of bachelor’s degree holders compared with other states. Since then, Daytona State has added five additional bachelor’s degree offerings in Education and another in Engineering Technology. Many of the college’s bachelor’s degree recipients are working parents or have responsibilities that prohibit them from commuting long distances to go to class.  Many went back to school to improve their chances of being promoted to higher positions. Some chose Daytona State to prepare for change in their careers. Others weighed the substantial cost savings they can realize by choosing a Daytona State bachelor’s degree over another institution’s.

This year, 1,649 graduated with honors, 344 with high honors and 86 were inducted into the international honor society Phi Theta Kappa, based on their leadership skills, scholarship and community service.

Thirteen Falcons this spring were named to Who’s Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges, and 14 students were inducted into the Daytona State College Hall of Fame, the highest honor that faculty can bestow upon a student.

Since its founding in 1957 as Florida’s first comprehensive community college, Daytona State has awarded nearly 131,000 degrees and certificates.

“Fifty-five years ago, Daytona State College began as a dream of Mrs. Mary Karl and a number of other great community leaders who had the vision and foresight to understand that education was the doorway to new opportunity and prosperity for our communities and the people who call Volusia and Flagler County home,” Eaton said. “Today, the college continues that mission, led, in particular, by the most dedicated faculty I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.”

Daytona State’s Adult Education Commencement Ceremony took place on Tuesday. Student speaker Leonard Owens, who currently is working on his associate of arts degree at Daytona State and ultimately plans to earn his Ph.D., urged the graduates to continue their pursuit of knowledege and skills.

"I thought high school was it when I graduated (from Seabreeze High School in 2004)," he told the new graduates. "I thought I had the world at my fingertips and that all my dreams would come knocking on the door for me. I was wrong."

He echoed the suggestions of President Eaton and District Board of Trustees Chairman Dwight Lewis that the graduates continue their education by enrolling in college credit programs at Daytona State.

View a slide show of this year's commencements.

The journey to student success at Daytona State College starts at many waypoints

As an open access institution, Daytona State College attracts students from all walks of life. Our Office of Institutional Research can provide detailed data regarding who our students are; however, the best way to get to know them is to allow us to share their stories. Here, In Brief begins a periodic series of student profiles, beginning with some of this year’s graduates.

PTK president urges classmates to live lives of gratitude

Douglas Miller
When Douglas Miller began taking classes at Daytona State College as a dual enrolled Seabreeze High School senior, he quickly realized that he had found the right place to explore his future in college.

During Daytona State’s 52nd annual commencement exercises in May, the 20-year-old associate of arts degree graduate and Phi Theta Kappa president expressed gratitude for those who helped him along the way. He also encouraged his fellow Class of 2012 candidates to be grateful for the friends, family and faculty who supported them during their own journeys toward graduation, and urged them to commit to lifelong learning and contributing, even in small ways, to their communities, society and the world in general.

Read more about Douglas.

Joan Burnett: A Daytona State family plan

Joan Burnett

Joan Burnett, 50, and husband Steve have a busy life with work, six children ages 14 to 25, four grandkids and endless chores. In the past few years, it got busier yet: Joan began a career change in 2004, enrolling at Daytona State to study interior design after spending 25 years in the accounting field and earning her MBA.
Starting over is always a challenge. Joan quickly realized that she needed both work experience and education in her new field, so she combined her new studies with working for accomplished design practitioners in the area. On top of school and work, she also started her own interior design business on a part-time basis.

Magda Hiller Wilson: Lifelong musician and future college graduate

Magda Hiller
Most people familiar with the Central Florida nightlife know that Magda Hiller is as much of a landmark on the local music scene as the Main Street Pier is on the World’s Most Famous Beach.
Hiller, 51, has received a bounty of state and national awards and recognition during her 30-plus years as a singer guitarist. Noted for her percussive acoustic guitar style and poetic, soul-baring lyrics, she’s been the opening act for Bob Dylan, Chic Corea, Huey Lewis and the News and veritable A-list of other rock, blues, jazz and country music legends. She’s performed at London’s Royal Albert Hall and at Canada’s world-famous Ottawa Folk Festival, and has released three CDs of her own music. Hiller also has been named best acoustic performer and best solo act numerous times by multiple Florida news publications.
And on May 15, she will add another credential to her bounty of accolades – a GED she earned from Daytona State College’s School of Adult Education.

Megan Martens: Paying it forward with a career in teaching

Megan Martens

When Megan Martens was in elementary school, her teachers meant the world to her. Coming from a broken home, she was raised by her grandmother and moved often during her formative years. Her teachers were her only constant. “They were always there when I needed them,” she said, noting that she would often spend time in their classrooms after school, helping out until her ride home arrived.
“I wish they all knew how much they changed my life,” she said. “They planted that seed in me to always try my best and to never give up. They were truly inspiring.”
Martens, 28, graduates from Daytona State College on Monday with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education degree.

Peyton Walsh: A man with a mission on and off the field

Peyton Walsh
Peyton Walsh’s biggest memory of his Daytona State College experience is not the challenges of his academics, but rather the early season workouts he had to endure as a member of the Falcons Baseball team.
“We called it Hell Week, and it truly was a very tough week of conditioning that the coaches put us through,” the 19-year-old catcher and first baseman said. “But it was all worth it because on the last day when we were finished, everyone had a great sense of accomplishment.”
Accomplishments are nothing new to Walsh, a graduate of Park Vista Community High School who earned a full scholarship to play baseball at Daytona State two years ago. Since then, the soft-spoken, unassuming student-athlete has left his mark on the college through his achievements both on and off the field.

Passion drives Music Production Technology program students

Contemporary Ensemble Instructor Bryan Bassett
helps Brian Andrews set up prior to the student's
One by one, Daytona State College Music Production Technology students gathered backstage on a sunny Saturday morning last month, guided by the breezy guitar intro of the 1975 billboard hit Dance with Me by legendary rock band Orleans. The sound meandered about the palms and live oaks of downtown Daytona Beach’s Manatee Island as the band methodically went about its sound check in preparation for its headlining performance during the third annual Halifax Oyster Festival.
Backstage, the students helped with the stage setup for the band, toting keyboard and guitar stands, powering up PA systems and plugging into soundboards. “Students in our program study sound reinforcement and staging for indoor and outdoor venues, so they are able to set things up as the professionals want them,” said Jake Niceley, assistant chair of the Music Production Technology program.
By high noon, the students would complete their backstage work, and the first of two groups from the college’s Contemporary Music Ensemble would take to the stage for their own live performance to open the Oyster Festival’s musical activities.
“These kids are living the dream,” said their instructor, Bryan Bassett, as the diverse group of student technicians took up their own instruments and transformed themselves into Collision, a name they spontaneously gave to their ensemble moments before they broke into their first song, a cover of Set Fire to Rain by Adele.
“For a lot of these students, this is their first time on stage,” said Bassett. “To do it in a professional environment with a national act is about as good a learning experience as you can get.”
Jessie Sweeney, left, and Kourtney Calvert powered the vocals.
Bassett should know. As a founding member of the iconic 1970s group Wild Cherry, his signature guitar riff can be heard on the band’s megahit Play that Funky Music. Bassett also was a member of southern rockers Molly Hatchet and still tours with a reconstructed version of gritty blues rockers Foghat. He is the winner of three gold records, two platinum records, an American Music Award and two Grammy nominations. In addition to his on-stage credentials, Bassett also has had a successful career as a recording engineer, music producer and, now, music teacher.
He is among a virtual who’s who in the recording industry who Niceley recruited to build the two-year Music Production Technology program in 2009. Since then, more than 390 students have enrolled in either Music Production Technology associate of science degree classes or its one-year Audio Recording Technology certificate subset classes.
Niceley, himself an internationally known recording engineer based out of Nashville, TN, was recruited by Daytona State to build the program from the ground up – transforming the college’s News-Journal Center in downtown Daytona Beach into one of the finest teaching laboratories for digital surround sound recording and music production in the southeastern United States.
Second-year student Zack Zinck is ready to rock.
It was Niceley’s background and his ability to attract quality faculty like Bassett that drew Zack Zinck to enroll in the Music Production Technology program. A dual enrolled student, Zinck joined the program after graduating from Spruce Creek High School. “I was pretty astounded by the faculty they brought in to teach the program,” he said. “I looked them up on the Internet and was pretty impressed with all the people they had worked with before coming here.” Zinck, who is in his final semester of the program, already is plying his skills at Cedar Top Studios in Ormond Beach. The studio, owned by Daniel Powell, provides production and sound engineering services to a variety of contemporary Christian, indy rock and bluegrass bands.
Like Zinck, Brian Andrews became hooked on the program the first time he met Niceley and toured the News-Journal Center recording studios. “I knew this was the line of work I was interested in, and I immediately knew that this was going to be a good program,” he said. “It has been a wonderful experience.”
Andrews said when he finishes his degree this summer, he will move to Nashville, where he hopes to gain experience in the city’s vibrant cultural scene. He is confident he has the skills to land a job either in a recording studio there or in one of the many playhouses that require front-of-house technicians or recording engineers. “The Music Production Technology degree leaves your options open,” he said.  “While its focus is on giving you specific skill sets that help you become employable, it doesn’t necessarily pigeonhole you. I found the program to be very comprehensive, and you’re trained by some of the best in the business.”
David Shadron sets up his skins.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were nearly 117,000 people employed nationally as broadcasting and sound engineers in 2010, the most recent year for which numbers are available, with new positions expected to increase by 10 percent through 2020. In addition to performing arts venues, these professionals were employed in businesses, schools, and radio and televisions stations that require experts with audio and video skills.
But for some in the program, like Spruce Creek graduates and singers Jessie Sweeney and Kourtney Calvert, it’s all about the music and being immersed in a scholarly culture that fuels their most ambitious dreams of making it in show business. “I’ve been singing all my life,” Calvert said. “This is something that I’ve always wanted to do.” While the production side of the music business, she said, is less glamorous than being on stage, it is essential to learn the techniques taught in the program.
Jerry O'Sullivan gets is first live gig.
Jerry O’Sullivan, on the other hand, is taking classes in the program for a different reason – just to have fun. He is a 40-year-old contract worker for Bellcorp Technology, an international manufacturer of electronic devices, and already has an engineering degree from Cornell University. He’s been playing guitar as a hobby for 20 years. While tuning his instrument just before opening the Oyster Fest with his band mates, he said, “I’ve always been interested in audio engineering and sound reinforcement. A lot of the skills and concepts I’m learning in this program overlap with my electrical engineering background. But the real reason I’m here? I’ve never played in bands and I wanted to have that experience.”
“Today,” he added, “is the first time I’ve ever performed live.”

QEP topic to focus on student motivation

A college-wide vote in late April selected Student Motivation as the topic for Daytona State College’s first-ever Quality Enhancement Plan.

Student Motivation: Learning to SOAR received 198 votes, outpacing the 161 votes tallied by topic contenders Critical Thinking: Just Think! and Retention: Fostering Student Retention, which garnered 128 votes.

The 487 votes cast during the online polling represent a voter turnout of more than 47 percent, which, according to the Federal Elections Commission, closely mirrors the average national voter turnout in most presidential elections since 1960.

“To me, this is evidence that the college community is engaged and committed to excellence in serving our students,” said Daytona State President Carol Eaton.

During the summer, the college’s QEP committee will put together a team that will shape the winning proposal into a plan that will be submitted to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools next year as part of Daytona State’s reaffirmation effort.

Dr. Carole Luby, who co-chaired the student motivation top development team, said the Learn to SOAR proposal is based on research of best practices for new students of community colleges. “Our college provides access to everyone, but for some, success can be elusive,” she said. “Retention begins with the first contact for each student. Our goal is to provide new students with the tools for success, and to strengthen their confidence to stay motivated through graduation."

Some of the strategies that will be incorporated into the plan include building student and faculty relationships through a first-year college experience program that will set high expectations for students. During this proposed “First-Year Academy,” students would be given a clear academic plan that would include career exploration and a pathway to acquire the necessary skills to pursue employment in their field of interest.
The plan also calls for a tracking system that would help transition developmental students into college-credit classes, as well as expansion of learning communities such as the college’s QUANTA program, and other academic and social support networks.

"This whole process generated some great ideas and discussion among all the people involved,” said Dr. Nancy Morgan, associate vice president of institutional effectiveness who is leading the SACS reaffirmation process. “Those proposals that were not selected as the final topic still have components that should be pursued through the college’s normal planning process.”

Read more about Daytona State’s QEP on the college’s website.

Notables. . .

Daytona State President Carol Eaton was recently elected to the Executive Committee of the Florida Council of Presidents, a standing body of the Association of Florida Colleges that deals with policy and governance issues as well as with issues that affect the association’s daily operations. 

More than 600 people attended the most recent Sunset Music and Jazz Concert held in late April at Daytona State’s Flagler/Palm Coast Campus. The third in a series of shows held in the campus’ amphitheater, the concert featured the music of Linda Cole and Saxman Pat D’Aguanno & the Sho-Nuf Band. The Palm Coast Campus Veteran’s Club served snacks and refreshments during the concert (donated by Palm Coast Ford) to raise money for the Wounded Warriors Campaign. The next concert is scheduled for Thursday, May 31, from 6 – 8 p.m. and will feature the sounds of an 18-piece big band.

Dr. Debra Woodall, assistant chair of Daytona State’s Institute of Marine and Environmental Studies, was recently asked by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers to prepare a paper regarding the challenges and opportunities related to developing a marine science program at two-year colleges. Daytona State established its marine institute about two years ago and currently has more than 200 students enrolled in its marine science, ocean engineering, marine biology  and enivronmental science associate of arts university transfer tracks. The institute has established articulation agreements that offer students seamless transfer to the University of South Florida, Florida Gulf Coast University, Stetson University and the University of Central Florida. The institute also offers a two-year Associate of Science in Environmental Science Technology degree. Look for updates on her article in coming issues of In Brief.

Sheldon Thrift, an engine builder and Daytona State College automotive instructor, cranks up a Chevrolet motor that has been modified to 850 horsepower during this month’s Art of the Automobile event in downtown Daytona Beach. He and lead faculty Robert Cothran, in the background wearing the blue shirt, gave the demonstration during the event to promote the college’s Performance Engine Technology certificate program. The advanced automotive program prepares students to become high-performance engine builders, emphasizing safety, precision machining, print reading, tuning, electronics, fuel and ignition, and prepares students to find work in the motor sports industry.

Dr. Nancy Tattner from Daytona State’s College of Education was a recent presenter at the 7th biennial M. Jean Greenlaw Children’s Literature Conference held at Stetson University. The theme of the conference was “Read and be World Wise” and dealt with exploring ways to create classroom environments that encourage students to want to read.  Dr. Tattner’s presentation was entitled “From a Reluctant Reader to an Eager Reader.”

Six of 27 first-year Volusia County teachers nominated for the system’s New Teacher of the Year award are graduates of the College of Education’s bachelor’s degree programs or Educator Preparation Institute. They are: Sophia Walker, Cypress Creek Elementary School; Kayla Glienke, Enterprise Elementary School; Jayne Prochaska, Friendship Elementary School; Brejoya Perry, Deltona High School; Deone Campion, Pine Ridge High School; and Tai Presley, Southwestern Middle School. The nominees were recognized at this week’s meeting of the Volusia County School Board and a final winner will be announced in June. Good luck to all our graduate teachers!

Also from the College of Education, students in the Education Club joined more than 300 other participants in the Port Orange March for Babies annual 5K Run/Walk. The students, led by club advisor, Dr. Joy Lewis, and faculty member, Dr. Amy Ringue, raised more than $600 for the cause.