Faculty at the forefront

By Cory Elfrink, director, Columbia College-Rolla

Cory Elfrink, RollaAs the Columbia College-Rolla location director, there’s never a shortage of tasks that command my attention. I enjoy the mix of routine and creativity that is required to manage the consistent challenges and opportunities that come our way. From preparing course schedules, to meeting with students, to participating in community events, to managing budgets… I appreciate the breadth of responsibility inherent to the position.

I’m blessed to have such a fun and dedicated full-time staff of student support assistants, advisors, and a seasoned assistant director with over two decades of Columbia College experience. Working day in and day out with this tight knit group is among the most enjoyable aspects of my job. They are tremendous resources for fresh ideas, assistance, perspective, and humor.

Admittedly, this first year on the job has demanded that I spend a good deal of time understanding policies and processes, grasping the ins and outs of the curriculum, getting to know the history of the school, and exploring ways in which we can best serve our students and the surrounding community. It has been so easy to get caught up in learning and executing my administrative duties that I’ve not given the amount of attention I’d like to the most important thing we do at Columbia College: teaching.

When talking to students it becomes pretty clear that most of them were drawn to college first and foremost to get a degree. A college degree allows them to become more competitive in the job market and to become better providers for themselves and their families. But the degree is really secondary to the intrinsic development that happens along the journey.

Committing to college is about personal growth. By adhering to class and homework schedules, students develop greater discipline. They develop character by taking on the challenges of our coursework. Our students learn teamwork through direct experiences of working with their classmates. Our curriculum is designed to foster valuable workplace skills and greater capacities for critical thinking. But all of this can be multiplied through excellence in teaching.

As a college, we cannot lose sight of the fact that it is our teachers that guide and cultivate this student development. Sure, there’s a lot of administrative responsibility that goes into a college. While that will continue to be a priority, my primary goals for the year ahead center around the educators in the front of the classroom. Whether it is the continued development of our current instructors or seeking out new ones, our goal is to consistently deliver excellence in teaching. Simply put, our students are investing in their education and it is our faculty that delivers it to them.

For 2019, we want to guide our students to their greatest potentials by also guiding our faculty to theirs. By focusing on excellent instruction in the classroom, we return to our fundamental mission: providing first-rate education to our students.

 


 

Is one résumé enough?

by Grossnickle Career Services Center (go to top)

Resume/job applicationOften in the Career Center, a student will tell us they are applying to hundreds of jobs, but not getting any response. While this can happen for a number of reasons, one question we always ask is whether they are tailoring their résumé to fit the different jobs. One standard résumé often isn’t specific enough to the job to catch the attention of the recruiter – it’s always better to modify it to make sure the résumé speaks to the position. With that in mind, here are some quick tips to help you point your résumé in the right direction:

  • Think about how your work translates to different industries. Let’s say you managed a restaurant for five years. If you are looking to go into Human Resources – your résumé can highlight the hiring, training, employee relations part of your job. But if you are looking to go into project management, you can de-emphasize the HR part of the job and instead focus on work that you did to make the restaurant more profitable or run more efficiently. You always want to angle your work so it reads to the industry and employer you are applying for. Generic and/or irrelevant points will just be skipped over and eats up valuable space.
  • Remember that placement on the page is important. So sometimes it may not be a matter of rewriting aspects of your résumé, but rather placing it higher in the résumé so it’s more easily noticeable.
  • When graduating, often times we add a “Relevant Coursework” category under your degree. Be sure to list courses that are relevant to the job – not to your major. This could include high level courses in your major, but also courses outside your major that will help you in the position.
  • Use the job description as your guide. Typically in a good job description, they will use key words and talk through the qualities they need. You want to be sure you can demonstrate as many of those qualities as possible. Use your work and/or volunteer experiences to showcase the skills you have in response to what the employer is looking for.

Focus on the skills section. If you are going into marketing, list out the social media platforms you are interested in. But if it’s for a medical administration position, they may want to see a more expanded list of office software.

 


 

Tips and reminders for adult students

by Department of Marketing (go to top)

Don't forget remind reminder notepaperAs an adult learner, we know you perform a balancing act managing work, family and household obligations while investing in your future by earning a degree.

We also know the New Year is a good time to remind yourself to breathe. You’ve got this! Remember why you started and celebrate how far you’ve come. In the meantime, we have a few suggestions to help you stay focused in 2019.

Make a weekly schedule that provides flexibility.
Making a weekly schedule helps you carve out time for your studies. Spread your assignments over several days to allow for unexpected circumstances. Multi-task when it makes sense. Read an assignment while waiting for laundry to finish, for instance. Or download the VitalSource Bookshelf mobile app to listen to it during your morning commute.

Enlist the help of family and friends.
Talking through a lesson with someone else has proven to be an effective way to make sure you have a working understanding of the material. So tell your kiddos, spouse, friend or mom about what you’re learning in class. And make sure they understand why you need time to focus on your studies. If you have children, this can be a great opportunity to stress the importance of education.

Take advantage of resources.
CougarTrack offers academic resources that are available 24/7. And you have access to e-books, articles and academic videos through Stafford Library’s online system. Of course, if you need additional academic support, contact your instructor or advisor. They will be happy to assist or point you to additional resources.

Reward yourself.
Reward yourself with a relaxing walk, some downtime in front of the TV or a special meal when you finish a difficult assignment or successfully complete a class.

Keep your eye on the prize.
We’re ready to celebrate commencement with you when you’ve finished your last session. And every eight weeks, you’re that much closer to having your degree.

Be proud of yourself. We are!

 


 

Thinking ahead to summer school?

by Department of Student Success and Money Stacks (go to top)

Young woman reading a book lying in hammockIt may seem early to be thinking about summer courses but we are at a prime time to be planning! And while it does not fit in to everyone’s schedule, summer courses are a great way to help you finish your degree faster. If you have decided to take courses, the next step for a lot of students is to figure out how to pay for them. Setting up a payment plan and paying out of pocket is always an option, but you can also utilize federal financial aid. If you have not done so already, filling your 2018-19 FAFSA at fafsa.ed.gov is the first step.

One type of aid you might be eligible for is the Pell Grant if you have been awarded this for the academic year. Some students may be able to use up to 150% of their awarded Pell over the summer. Students may receive Pell for up to the equivalent of 12 semesters (about 6 semesters) or 600%. To be eligible for Pell funds in the summer, you may be required to be enrolled at a minimum of half-time or 6 credit hours for the semester. To check if you are awarded Pell Grant, log in to CougarTrack and review your Electronic Award Letter. You can also read about Pell Grant eligibility at studentaid.gov.

Another option in using federal aid for summer courses is to allocate some of your federal loans for summer use. You would need to stay within the annual and aggregate limits for federal loans, but you can move any unused funds from this academic year to help with the summer educational expenses. In order to utilize federal student loans you would need to be enrolled at least half-time for the semester. To reallocate your loans you can fill out the Stafford Loan Request Form found on CougarTrack.

If you have questions about whether you might be eligible to use your Pell Grant eligibility over the summer or reallocating your federal loans feel free to contact Financial Aid.

 


 

Select feature films available from Stafford Library

By Stafford Library (go to top)

Person holding a iPhone with LinkedIn on the screen.Working with Online Education, Stafford Library has purchased streaming rights to 30 feature films used in online courses. The Swank portal allows access to most of the titles. However, due to restrictions from some production companies, not all titles are listed in the portal. All titles available through Swank can be found in the library’s catalog by searching for Swank Streaming Video. These videos include closed captions and are to be used only in the classroom.

The library also subscribes to Films on Demand: Master Academic Collection which includes more than 30,000 documentaries, archival films and newsreels. Films on Demand titles include closed captions and public performance rights.

Contact Stafford Library at 573-875-7381 or library@ccis.edu for more information about these streaming video collections or other electronic resources.