Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Daytona State to open Veterans Center this fall

Daytona State College will open a new Veteran’s Center this fall to meet the needs of a surging population of military servicepersons starting new missions as college students.
The center will be housed and fully staffed on the Daytona Beach Campus. Veterans Administration work study students who have military backgrounds also will staff offices on each regional campus to assist vets seeking help with everything from filing for Post-911GI Bill benefits and other student services to referrals for assistance inside and outside the college.
“This is a growing trend across the country,” said Director of Academic Advising LeeAnn Davis, who, along with Director of Student Disability Services Miguel Rivera, this spring proposed the center in anticipation of thousands of military service members returning home from overseas and taking advantage of their Post-911GI Bill benefits. Both veterans themselves, they recognized the need for the college to provide a place where former servicepersons can go to get help with enrollment, filing for benefits and also to network with other veterans. “This is a way to encourage veterans to attend Daytona State College and to show them that we appreciate the sacrifice they made for us when they served their country,” Davis said.
The news is welcomed by Kassiem Gibson, who in 1995 began a 10-year stint split between the United States Marines and Navy, serving in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He received training as a dental technician in the Navy and when he was discharged, he worked for a time in a dental clinic under contract with the Mayport Naval Air Station in Jacksonville. But when that contract expired, Gibson found himself out of a job and unable to find another.
“It had become clear to me that the only way I was going to find a job that I could keep and grow with was to first get an education,” he said.  So he turned to Daytona State, where today he is working on his associate of arts degree (AA) in psychology and also serves as president of the Veterans Society of Daytona State College Palm Coast Campus student organization (which, incidentally, recently helped raise nearly $400 for the Wounded Warrior Project). Gibson, 39, plans to ultimately become a psychologist and work with other veterans.
He suggested the value of having a Veteran Center at Daytona State is immeasurable in terms of helping Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans in particular assimilate back into civilian life.
“I found it easy because I was fortunate to get a job for a time in a military setting, even though I wasn’t in the military anymore,” he said of his contract work at NAS Jacksonville. “Because of that, it was relatively easy for me to assimilate. For many of the guys I know, especially those who saw combat, that’s usually not the case.”
At a recent club meeting, several members spoke of those difficulties, ranging from dealing with the federal bureaucracy when filing paperwork to finance college costs, readjusting to family life and finding employment. Others spoke about their experiences with Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome and simply trying to fit in as civilians.
“There are waves of us coming back,” Gibson said, pointing to his fellow veterans, “and we are all examples of the re-acclimation process and how difficult it can be.”
A good chunk of that wave already is attending Daytona State. In 2006-2007, 361 veterans were enrolled at the college. Thus far this year, not including summer semesters, 744 have enrolled. These numbers also do not include those veterans who are not receiving GI Bill benefits because they either have already used them or have transferred them to another family member.
“Many of our veterans have had to see horrific things and lost friends, brothers and sisters in defense of our country,” Rivera said. “They are now coming home and need to be retrained to be successful in life, and they need all the help and support we can give them. This is one small thing we can offer to help them be more successful in their new life.”
More information for veterans attending Daytona State can be found at

New facility to double capacity at Flagler/Palm Coast Campus

A new classroom and laboratory building slated for Daytona State College’s Flagler/Palm Coast Campus will double the capacity of the college’s northernmost campus and be constructed according to the needs of the Flagler community.

The $7,606,381 in capital improvement funding for the proposed 23,436-square-foot building was approved by Gov. Rick Scott in April. In May, the college submitted requests for proposals for the design phase of the project, which is expected to be completed in October 2013, with construction beginning the following month.

“During this planning phase, we are taking a look at the needs of the community and how we can best serve our students,” said Campus Dean Kent Ryan. “We’re focusing on expanding science and health care programs, where we are seeing an increasing need to accommodate our Flagler residents who currently must commute to the Daytona campus for these programs.”

Ryan said preliminary plans also call for the assessment office to be relocated to provide easier access and flow for students when starting the college admissions process, mirroring a one-stop concept that has proven to be successful on the Daytona Beach Campus.

He noted the college also is considering the addition of some culinary program courses to the campus offerings once construction is completed in fall 2014.

Bret Nielsen, senior facilities planner for the college, said doubling the capacity of the Flagler campus will provide adequate space for up to 10 years of projected population growth. Since 2004, the campus has seen FTE more than double, from 465 to 1,051 last year. The campus has averaged a headcount of 2,394 students over the last 10 years.

In total, four projects were funded or partially funded by the governor during this year’s budget round, including $2,032,845 for renovation and scene shop construction at the News-Journal Center, $2,400,000 for planning and partial construction of a new student services building, including classrooms, on the Daytona Beach Campus, and $3,012,000 for a thermal storage facility on the Daytona Beach Campus, which is expected to save hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy costs each year.

Daytona State awarded new TRiO Upward Bound grant to serve West Volusia students

Nineteen-year-old Miosotie Delgado said Daytona State College’s Upward Bound program opened her eyes to the life changes coming her way and taught her to be prepared.

Delgado, a 2010 graduate of Deltona High School, is among hundreds of at risk-high school students who have successfully transitioned into college thanks to the help they received through Daytona State’s Upward Bound program.

During the next five years, 54 economically disadvantaged students from Deltona and Pine Ridge high schools will get that same support annually, thanks to a new $1,250,000 TRiO Upward Bound West grant awarded this month to Daytona State by the U.S. Department of Education. The college will receive $250,000 each year to provide academic support and enrichment activities to the students, most of whom would be the first in their families to attend college.

Daytona State has received federal Upward Bound program grants since 2003. Students are enrolled in the program as early as ninth grade and participate in activities throughout their high school experience that are designed to build academic skills, increase motivation, improve self-confidence and help them develop the social skills necessary to succeed in a collegial environment. 

Miosotie Delgado
“Students  travel  to the Deltona Campus twice a week and two Saturdays a month for tutoring, homework assistance, test preparation, career exploration and college planning,” said Associate Director Dora H. Giddens. "They also receive life skills and character education."

The program also has a six-week Summer Academy component, with academic sessions that build upon the foundation students have acquired throughout the year.  For many students, the consistent contact and collaborative, collegial group experience help them discover opportunities for their futures they may otherwise not have recognized.

“To have that consistent interaction, the positive energy and encouragement by someone who can help them see their potential, often makes a huge difference in the lives of these students,” Giddens said, noting that nearly 98 percent of the past TRiO students graduated high school and many matriculated into college.

Delgado is among them. While she temporarily enrolled at Seminole State College upon high school graduation, she will return to Daytona State in the fall to pursue her associate of arts degree.

Upward Bound, she said, has been a positive experience both academically and personally.  “It gave me the support I needed to reach my goal of being the first one in my family to attend college,” she said. “It has helped make me a leader and to become a better example for my younger siblings.”

Daytona State College men’s baseball team repeats academic championship

Call it a dynasty.

Coach Tim Touma’s Daytona State College Falcons baseball team is arguably the greatest team in the history of the Florida College System Activities Association – academically speaking.

For the sixth consecutive year, the men’s baseball team has earned the FCSAA Men’s Academic Team of the Year honors, posting a cumulative grade point average of 3.73. The Falcons will now compete for the National Junior College Athletic Association team academic award, which will be announced this summer. The team has won the national award four of the last five years, narrowly missing the top GPA honor last year.

“Our goal at the start of the season was to not only go to the state tournament on the field, but also to recapture the national team academic title,” Touma said. “I’m proud of our guys, and we expect to be in close contention for the national award.”

In the Mid-Florida Conference, the Falcons also brought home the top individual academic honors. Sophomore ballplayer Peyton Walsh was named Mid-Florida Conference Male Scholar of the Year, and sophomore swimmer Samantha Akoubian was named Mid-Florida Conference Female Scholar of the Year. Each also earned the NJCAA Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence.

Daytona State Athletic Director Will Dunne said the academic success of the college’s athletic teams is no accident. “It is a testament to the ‘academics first’ approach that is taken by the athletic department in collaboration with our faculty and student support staff,” he said. “We have created a culture within all our athletic programs where the highest measure of success is to see student-athletes succeed academically. Our goal is to prepare our student athletes for success in life, not just in their sports.”

·         Other academic highlights of the Falcon athletic program include:
-       Seven students earned cumulative 4.0 GPA totals for the year.
-       Forty-one students earned 3.5 – 3.99 cumulative GPA totals for the year.
-       Twenty-seven students earned 3.0 – 3.49 cumulative GPA totals for the year.
-       Seventy-five of 118 student-athletes (63.5 percent) earned 3.0+ cumulative GPA totals for the year.
-       Four of the seven teams (baseball, softball, women’s golf and women’s swimming) earned 3.0+ cumulative team GPA totals for the year.
-       Women’s Golf earned a team cumulative 3.49 GPA for the year.
-       The athletic program (all teams combined) earned a cumulative 3.09 GPA for the year.

For more information about Daytona State College Falcon athletics, please call Will Dunne at (386) 506-4486.

Notables. . .

Drs. Nancy Tattner and Les Potter
Drs. Nancy Tattner and Les Potter of Daytona State’s College of Education were presented Junior Achievement of Central Florida Golden Service Learning Partner awards at the organization’s annual board meeting held earlier this month.
Junior Achievement is a national program dedicated to helping K-12 students develop skills in leadership, financial literacy and entrepreneurship, and inspiring them to prepare for and succeed in a global economy. The Central Florida chapter partners with six colleges and universities in the region and is considered a national model. Through its Junior Achievement partnership, Daytona State’s College of Education faculty and students this past year contributed more services hours, taught more classes and reached more K-12 students than any other central Florida state college.
Buckley “Buck” James is the college’s new associate vice president for enrollment development, replacing Dr. Richard Pastor, who is retiring at the end of this month. He will be charged with overseeing the day-to-day operations of admissions and registration.
James comes to Daytona State from West Texas, where he was associate vice president for enrollment at Abilene Christian University, a private institution with an enrollment of about 4,700 students.  He began his career at Palm Beach Atlantic University, a private South Florida institution with a student enrollment near 3,700. There, he rose to the position of vice president for enrollment.
James holds a master’s in theology from Fuller Theological Seminary and a bachelor’s in religion/minor in psychology from Palm Beach Atlantic University.
Kevin McCrary, who formerly held numerous titles in Daytona State’s Office of Financial Aid from 1992-2007, has returned to the college as its dean of financial aid services. McCrary left Daytona State in 2007 and joined the University of Miami, where he served as associate director of financial aid.
He holds a master’s in business administration from Nova Southeastern University, a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Bethune-Cookman University and an associate of arts degree from Daytona State.
Lonnie Thompson has also joined the college as director of equity and inclusion. He will be charged with ensuring the college’s compliance with federal, state and institutional equal access and equal opportunity laws, policies, procedures and practices.
Thompson comes to Daytona State from neighboring Seminole State College, where he served as manager of equity and employee relations since 2005. Prior to that, he was director of dual enrollment at Valencia Community College (2003-2005), academic and veterans’ advisor at Seminole State College (2002-2003), and director of military programs at Indiana University Northwest (1994-2001).
Thompson earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in public administration.