Photo gallery: MCC employees among honorees at MCCA convention

Updated with official MCCA pictures! See below.

The 53rd annual Missouri Community College Association convention, Nov. 1-3 in Branson, included honors for several people associated with Metropolitan Community College.

Those recognized:

Award of Distinction to Karen Curls, criminal justice instructor at MCC-Penn Valley

From the nomination form: “Dr. Curls served as the social science division chair at MCC-Penn Valley for 16 years.  She (leads) by example, primarily by putting students first.  Dr. Curls truly has a passion for helping students and those around her. There are numerous accomplishments during her tenure that deserve mention. As division chair, Dr. Curls witnessed a growth in online education that started in the social science division at Penn Valley.  Faculty within social science embraced assessment based on the insights that it provides into effective teaching and learning; explored ways to schedule courses to meet students’ changing needs; and implemented innovative pedagogy, including learning communities, hybrid courses and experiential learning.  She also collaborated with community leaders to establish and fundraise for the Brooks Institute,  a center of excellence centered on crime prevention, criminal justice and contemporary issues associated with violence.  … She is an example of what an educator and leader is: an advocate for students, faculty, staff and the community.”

Dr. Karen Curls (center) with MCC-Penn Valley President Dr. Tyjaun Lee (left) and Dr. Kimberly Beatty
Senior Service Awards to …

Parmajit (Rani) Duggal, biology instructor at MCC-Maple Woods. Duggal has taught at Maple Woods for 25 years. Before coming to MCC, he spent three years at Ferris State University. He teaches microbiology, general biology, medical terminology, nutrition and genetics. From the nomination form: “According to Paramjit, the best part about teaching at community college is helping students who need and want to succeed, but find school to be challenging. He loves seeing those students succeed in school and later in their careers.”

Bob Florence, community relations coordinator at MCC-Blue River. Florence oversees the campus’ internal and external communications, assists with fundraising efforts, and supervises all campus marketing and advertising operations. During his 23 years at MCC, he has also taught several credit and community education courses. He has managed the offices of college relations and public information and was a guest lecturer for Blue River’s film lecture series for numerous years. “Over the years, Bob has mentored students in internships and facilitated directed studies coursework as well. He has served as advisor to various clubs and been active in student life and leadership activities. Bob has also served on numerous committees at Blue River, across the MCC district, and in a number of communities in Blue River’s service area. While at MCC-Blue River, Bob has been recognized as Employee of the Month and was awarded Outstanding Contribution to Higher Education at Blue River in May 2003. He is always focused on what is best for community college students and their student experience and continues to provide the strong connection for the college to the communities of eastern Jackson and Lafayette counties in MCC-Blue River’s service area.”

Bob Florence (center) with MCC-Blue River President Dr. Michael Banks and Dr. Kimberly Beatty

Julianne Jacques, counselor at MCC-Penn Valley. “Julianne Jacques has served students at the MCC-Penn Valley campus for over 20 years.  She has been instrumental in supporting our international students in becoming acclimated to our country and with the variety of challenges that come while learning in your non-native language. Julianne is an advocate for all students, and has provided key insights on issues that disparately impact student populations.  She champions for under-represented student groups and helps our community understand issues from multiple lenses. She has also been a leader with regard to providing sexual assault/sexual violence prevention and spearheaded the redesign of our district counseling web pages, to include helpful information as well as links to community resources.  Julianne has served on the district curriculum committee for many years, helping faculty understand the impact of our policies and procedures on students, including the redesign of our associate in arts degree.  Whether she is conferencing with a student, assisting a faculty member who has concerns for a student, or sharing instructional strategies that will support student success, Julianne is always  a willing collaborator.  Her good work has earned her deep respect within the MCC-Penn Valley community as well as across the district.”

MCC-Penn Valley President Dr. Tyjaun Lee (from left), Dean of Students Yvette Sweeney, Julianne Jacques and Dr. Kimberly Beatty

Genea Wilson, administrative assistant at MCC-Longview. “Having served with five successive division chairs since the early 1990s, Ms. Wilson is an enormously important resource for divisional and institutional history. Ms. Wilson’s current work as administrative assistant entails processing and archiving all the essential records of the division, maintaining the division budget, assisting the division chair with the preparation of class schedules and textbook orders, documenting faculty absences, and helping students connect with faculty and the division chair through phone calls, e-mails, and face-to-face encounters. Ms. Wilson is the consummate professional who excels at interpersonal relations, problem solving, and respect for confidentiality. She consistently seeks opportunities to connect with and serve the students and employees of MCC-Longview. As the senior administrative assistant on campus, Ms. Wilson frequently shares her knowledge and expertise with counterparts in the other divisions. Having served for a number of years in the U.S. Army, Ms. Wilson voluntarily participates in campus activities and mentoring programs designed to meet the academic and social needs of the student veteran population. Ms. Wilson sustains and uplifts the morale of the workplace by planning holiday and end-of-year parties, remembering birthdays and celebrating other special events in the lives of division faculty. As one of my colleagues said recently, ‘Genea is the glue that holds this place together.’ ”

Genea Wilson (center) with MCC-Longview President Dr. Kirk Nooks and Dr. Kimberly Beatty
Distinguished Alumni Award to Charlie Shields, MCC-Longview alumnus, president and CEO of Truman Medical Centers and former member of the MCC Foundation board of directors

Shields earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Missouri, but he did so after graduating from MCC-Longview in 1979. Since 2014, he has served as CEO of Truman Medical Centers. Prior to joining TMC, Shields worked for many years as part of the management team at Heartland Health in St. Joseph, while at the same time serving in both the Missouri House of Representatives (1991-2002) and in the Missouri Senate (2002-2010). In 2009, Shields was elected by his peers as president pro tem of the Missouri Senate. In Jefferson City, he earned accolades from colleagues in both parties for his ability to work across the aisle, and focus on the good of Missouri citizens. Shields has a track record of serving community colleges while serving as an elected official. He was awarded the Missouri Community College Association’s Distinguished Legislator Award in 2004.

Distinguished Business and Industry Award to Honeywell Federal Manufacturing & Technologies

Honeywell runs the National Nuclear Security Administration’s 1.5-million-square-foot National Security Campus in south Kansas City. The facility makes the nonnuclear components for U.S. nuclear weapons. MCC has partnered with Honeywell for more than 20 years, providing services such as hiring assessments and training programs in the areas of solder certification, electrical, machining, and tool and die. MCC has also helped the company secure funding multiple years in a row through the Missouri Works Customized Training program. “Weston White, manufacturing lead for Honeywell, has been the champion for leading the way for the strong partnership between MCC and Honeywell. He believes strongly in our abilities, and is looking forward to seeing MCC be a pipeline for business and industry in our region by producing quality trades skilled workers.”

Weston White of Honeywell with MCC-Business & Technology President Dr. Jackie Gill (left) and Dr. Kimberly Beatty
Distinguished Legislator Awards to …

Missouri state Reps. Sandy Crawford, David Wood, Gail McCann-Beatty, Jean Evans, Allen Andrews, David Gregory, Lyle Rowland, John Wieman and Kip Kendrick; state Sens. Jill Schupp and John Rizzo; and U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt

State Rep. Gail McCann-Beatty (center) with MCC Trustee Barbara Washington (left) and Dr. Kimberly Beatty
State Sen. John Rizzo with MCC Trustee Barbara Washington (left) and Dr. Kimberly Beatty

Here are a few more MCC moments from the convention. (Click any photo to view it larger.)