2016 TACCM Conference Recap, Presentations Now Online

Last month, 102 attendees representing 27 Texas community and technical colleges gathered in Corpus Christi for the 2016 TACCM Conference.

Left to right: Dr. Mark Escamilla (Del Mar College), Dr. Cesar Maldonado (Houston Community College), Dr. Shirley Reed (South Texas College) and Dr. David Hinds (Victoria College) participated in the “Straight Talk” panel discussion.

“Transitioning Tides” was a fitting theme for TACCM’s fourth annual conference. After holding the conference in Austin our first three years, the TACCM Board decided to move this year’s event to Corpus Christi in response to feedback from our membership.

Congrats to Kristina Saar with Brookhaven College who won a Chromebook as a part of the “Meet People, Win Stuff” activity!

Keynotes focused on key changes to the community college landscape, covering topics such as the new 60x30TX Strategic Plan and a statewide communication plan that will be launched this summer by the Texas Association of Community Colleges in collaboration with TACCM member colleges (more info to come soon). Most of the presentations for the keynotes and breakouts are now available online.

Dr. Steven Johnson with TACC provided an update on the 85th Legislative Session.

Members were also brought up to speed on the TACCM Board’s three goals for the year: (1) Develop regional networking opportunities; (2) engage members; and (3) strengthen collaboration between TACCM and TACC. We’ve made progress in each of these areas, but as a fairly young organization, there’s still a lot of work to do. I’ve enjoyed serving the organization as president over the last two years, but I’m also looking forward to transitioning to past president as new leadership takes TACCM to the next level. And I look forward to seeing you all again at next year’s conference in Austin!

Outgoing and incoming board members posed for a quick photo at the end of the conference.

Pictured left to right, front row, are: Jed Young, Lone Star College, Southeast Texas regional director; Tisha Sternadel, Victoria College (VC), outgoing secretary; Darin Kazmir, VC, past president; Melinda Eddleman, Del Mar College, president; and Nick Alvarado, Texas State Technical College (TSTC), newly elected vice president. Middle row: Samantha Uriegas, South Texas College, mentor director; Maria Aguirre, TSTC, West Texas regional director; Lisa Wilhelmi, McLennan Community College (MCC), treasurer; Traci Pitman, Texarkana College, web and social media director; Ashlee Estlack, Clarendon College, newly elected secretary; and Ann Hatch, Dallas County Community College District, North Texas regional director. Back row: Elizabeth Garza, VC, newly elected membership director; Lynda Lopez, TSTC, South Texas regional director; Clif-Ann Paris, MCC, Central Texas regional director; Elizabeth Steele, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, ex-officio board member; and Jodi Weber, North Texas Community College, public relations director. Not pictured are Margaret Ruff, Paris Junior College, legislative director; Lynn Goswick, retired, outgoing past president; Dr. Steven Johnson, TACC, ex-officio board member; Shelle Cassell, retired, outgoing membership director; and Jennifer Aries, 25th Hour Communications, ex-officio board member.

TACCM Central Texas Regional Meeting & Professional Development Day – April 8, 2016

by Clif-Ann Paris
TACCM Central Texas Regional Director
Senior Graphic Design Specialist | McLennan Community College


Photos courtesy of McLennan Community College

Bruce Gietzen, co-anchor for KXXV News Channel 25 – “Best Practices for Working with the Media” presented by McLennan Community College

Interactive Presentation: “Experiencing Campus without Visiting” – Presented by Texas State Technical College’s Nick Alvarado, Mark Burdine, and Caitlin Hooks

McLennan Community College Campus Tour – including Health Professions Simulation Lab and Virtual Dissector and Science Building with stained glass DNA art installation

Photos courtesy of KXXV News Channel 5 and TACCM President Darin Kazmir and Treasurer Lisa Wilhelmi

Member Spotlight: Elaine Krift

Elaine Krift 1.jpgElaine Krift

Social and Video Media Specialist/Staff Writer

Del Mar College | 6 months

What’s your favorite thing about your job?

My job never has a dull moment. I get to meet new faces every day and share information about Del Mar College’s great programs, students, faculty and staff!

What’s the most rewarding project you’ve tackled in the past year?

Many of the videos I have worked on within the past year at Del Mar College are some of the most rewarding projects because I have challenged myself and pushed myself to highlight the College in creative, fun ways.

Last book you read that you just couldn’t put down?

Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya (and I am still reading it so no spoilers)

If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor, and why?

Tina Fey. I love her delivery of humor and seriousness at the same time. She has been named a top communicator worldwide, and I think having a dash of humor in the mix can go a long way in the right situations.

You hit shuffle on your music collection. What song pops up?

Pop songs may pop up. My music collection has a mix of just about everything. Since I like running, I usually have upbeat music fill my playlists.

What’s something other TACCM members probably don’t know about you?

I am a graduate of Del Mar College’s Clown School. I like to make others smile and share laughter with others where I can.

What’s your superpower?

I am personable, and I feel strongly that being personable can go a long way.

Member Spotlight: Adam Linden


Adam Linden

Marketing Specialist for Victoria College for 3 years

What’s your favorite thing about your job?

Getting to work creatively with creative people.

What’s the most rewarding project you’ve tackled in the past year?

A marketing video for the grand opening of our Emerging Technology Complex.

Last book you read that you just couldn’t put down?

“The Wisdom of Insecurity” by Alan Watts

If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor, and why?

John Lennon – Because his music always spoke a sort of truth to me and that kind of insight deserves more digging.

You hit shuffle on your music collection. What song pops up?

Paint it Black -Rolling Stones

What’s something other TACCM members probably don’t know about you?

Previous to this job, I climbed cellular towers for a living.

What’s your superpower?

I have none, but if I could wish for one, it would be to save my life at any point in the same way one would save in a video game. Then I could try things and see how they work out for me, if I don’t like the outcome, I could just reload and try again or change everything entirely!

Texas community colleges named as eligible for 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence

The Texas Association of Community College Marketers (TACCM) was pleased to learn that 16 Texas colleges were recently named as eligible for the 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. The Aspen Institute chose only 150 colleges nationwide for the honor. Those colleges include on the list were as follows:

  • Brazosport College Lake Jackson, TX
  • Cedar Valley College Lancaster, TX
  • Del Mar College Corpus Christi, TX
  • El Paso Community College El Paso, TX
  • Kilgore College Kilgore, TX
  • Lamar State College-Port Arthur Port Arthur, TX
  • Lee College Baytown, TX
  • North Lake College Irving, TX
  • Odessa College Odessa, TX
  • San Jacinto College Pasadena, TX
  • South Texas College McAllen, TX
  • Trinity Valley Community College Athens, TX
  • Tyler Junior College Tyler, TX
  • Vernon College Vernon, TX
  • Western Texas College Snyder, TX
  • Wharton County Junior College Wharton, TX

The Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence honors those institutions that strive for and achieve exceptional levels of success for all students, while they are in college and after they graduate. Ten finalists and, ultimately, one winner will be announced in 2017. 

“We are very pleased to see so many of our Texas community colleges included on the list. Texas colleges do an excellent job of serving our very large and diverse state and it is always nice to see their efforts recognized on a national level,” Darin Kazmir, TACCM President, said. 

The bar for the Aspen Prize is intentionally set high in order to identify those institutions that have demonstrated exceptional levels of student success. In a comprehensive review of the publicly available data, the 150 selected two-year institutions—from 35 states—have demonstrated strong outcomes considering three areas of student success: student success in persistence, completion, and transfer; consistent improvement in outcomes over time; and equity in outcomes for students of all racial/ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues.

TACCM is a statewide consortium of marketing and public relations professionals for public community and technical colleges in Texas. The organization serves as a clearinghouse for information, promotes public community and technical colleges in Texas, and serves in an advisory capacity to other statewide organizations.

Member Spotlight: Sarah Ervin

SarahErvin_TACCM_crop.jpgSarah Ervin

Graphic Design Specialist for McLennan Community College for 10 months

What’s your favorite thing about your job?

I enjoy seeing my finished designs around campus and in the community.

What’s the most rewarding project you’ve tackled in the past year?

The 2014-15 McLennan Community College Annual Report. It’s the first project of its kind that I’ve done.

Last book you read that you just couldn’t put down?

White Fire by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. It’s the 13th book in the Special Agent Pendergast series. Love this series. SO good.

If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor, and why?

I would choose my dad because he’s honest and hard-working and has a lot of good advice to give. I know this because I bounce ideas off of him a lot. He’s also one of the smartest people I know.

You hit shuffle on your music collection. What song pops up?

“Such Great Heights” by The Postal Service

What’s something other TACCM members probably don’t know about you?

I enjoy shooting archery when I get the chance.

What’s your superpower?

A kind heart.

College is What’s Next: Victoria College and the GenTX Movement

IMG_1822Does your college participate in the Generation TX movement? If not, you should! Generation TX, or GenTX, is a statewide initiative started by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to encourage an entire generation of Texans to pursue education or training after high school.

Victoria-area GenTX partners have been hosting GenTX Decision Day celebrations in May for the last three years. But this year, we’ve decided to step up our efforts by offering activities throughout the year.

The week before Thanksgiving was GenTX College Application Week. Area students participated in fun activities all week long (such as face painting, mascot appearances, and wearing college T-shirts).

IMG_1863  IMG_1949  IMG_1960

High school students were given the task of decorating their classroom door with career information (salary, educational requirements, interesting facts). The winning class won a pizza party!

IMG_1969  IMG_1880

GenTX volunteers helped more than 500 high school seniors complete the ApplyTexas application during GenTX Week, while Captain Vic, Victoria College’s mascot, paid a visit to several elementary and middle schools.

We’re now planning a FAFSA Super Saturday for February, where we’ll offer students and families free assistance with financial aid and scholarship applications. Then in May, we’ll be hosting our fourth GenTX Decision Day celebrating graduating seniors and their postsecondary plans while reminding all our youth that “college is what’s next.”

If your college isn’t a part of the GenTX movement, I encourage you to bring key community partners (school districts, institutions of higher education, businesses, media, youth organizations, etc.) together to start brainstorming ideas. It’s a great outreach initiative, and the THECB provides some awesome planning guides and resources for local GenTX organizers (www.GenTX.org).

If you’re already participating, I’d love to hear what’s working well in your community.

Darin Kazmir, TACCM President
Director of Marketing & Communications
Victoria College