From the President | March 2017 Update

Melinda Eddleman | TACCM President
Melinda Eddleman TACCM President

Greetings TACCM members!

Spring Break may have already hit some of your campuses while other breaks will begin over the next two weeks. What does that mean? Usually that half the spring semester is over (where’d the time go?), and the 2017 TACCM conference, #connecTACCM, is not that far away.

This year’s conference chair, Nick Alvarado with Texas State Technical College, and his committees are hard at work to offer a conference well-worth attending June 19-21 in Downtown Austin at the Omni Hotel. Conference details are available on the TACCM website.

Make plans now and register, reserve your hotel room and even submit a presentation proposal. You can also pick up some new social media skills and Segway your way downtown to showoff what you’ve learned as part of this year’s pre-conference session!

Your TACCM membership is one of the best opportunities to connect with other marketing, public relations, design, web and social media, and recruitment professionals from community colleges not only in your region but also from across the state. Get connected during #connecTACCM!

TACCM continues our #TXsuccess Campaign collaboration with the Texas Association of Community Colleges (TACC) with communication efforts targeting legislators during the 85th Texas Legislative Session, which will continue meeting at least through May.

Our successes and economic impact across the state need to be heard! We need you to participate!

Share your success stories using #TXsuccess and #txlege. TACCM Web & Social Media Director Traci Pitman with Texarkana College continues to lead the charge with #TXsuccess Tuesdays and messaging to ensure our success stories are heard. Every Tuesday, watch the TACCM Facebook & Twitter for facts about Texas community colleges that you can share to help spread the word!

On that note … several institutions participated during Community College Day at the Capitol on Feb. 7, which TACC hosted. Students visited with their local legislative delegations and shared targeted messaging about state funding and other issues that can impact their community college and access to education for many. You can view pictures from the event in this Flickr album and on this social media recap.

Finally, don’t forget that TACCM hosts the free Career and Technical Education (CTE) exploration site called TEXASgenuine. The site serves as a tool for career and college advisors statewide, so take a look and share the link with your contacts who fill this role and can use this valuable resource.

As always … let’s keep the momentum going and tell the best story Texas offers––the community, technical and junior college story! I look forward to seeing you in Austin this June.


Melinda Eddleman
2016-2018 TACCM President
Associate Director of Media Relations, Del Mar College

Del Mar College … Proudly Serving Those Who Served With Pride

Del Mar College kicked off weeklong Veterans Day observances on Nov. 7 with a Heroes Memorial Flag Garden where students, faculty and staff planted different colored flags with names of family and friends who served or are currently serving with one of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Contact: Melinda Eddleman, Associate Director of Media Relations
361.698.1247 or

(CORPUS CHRISTI, TX) –– Service men and women with the U.S. Armed Forces, and their families, make sacrifices every day. And every Veterans Day, which was Nov. 11 this year, the nation specifically recognizes veterans for their service to our country.


For Del Mar College (DMC), recognizing student veterans’ service comes with a year-round motto, “Proudly serving those who served with pride.”

“At Del Mar College, we’re committed to valuing every learner equally,” said Tammy Micallef, director of the DMC Veterans Center and retired U.S. Navy Chief with 21 service years of her own. “We believe all military service members, dependents and veterans are vital to our college’s mission of providing access to quality education, workforce preparation and lifelong learning for student and community success.”

In fact, the College has adopted a Military Community Covenant that pledges Del Mar’s support for students who have served and for their families. The initiative links local education and business partners in supporting service members and military installations. After all, the South Texas Coastal Bend Region that DMC serves is home to Naval Air Stations Corpus Christi and Kingsville and the Corpus Christi Army Depot, the nation’s largest helicopter repair facility.

“Military service members and veterans are a significant portion of our enrollment,” added Micallef.

Student veterans, their dependents and active duty members who receive Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits represent annually nearly 15% of the College’s credit enrollment, or about 1,400 students. Currently, statewide figures are unavailable for student veterans enrolled at higher education institutions, but such tracking is in development according to Texas Association of Community College officials.

U.S. Air Force veteran and DMC employee Carlos Garanzuay is credited with the conception and design of a lapel pin that faculty and staff wear so student veterans can identify employees who have also served and are available for mentoring.

For student veterans accessing their benefits, Veterans Services at Del Mar College is not just an office. It’s a place where veterans help veterans take the next step in their education.

Susan Quinn, who graduated this summer from DMC with an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science with an emphasis on Computer Information Systems, Network Administration and Information Security, first enrolled at Del Mar in 1976 to study computer technology. Quinn then joined the U.S. Navy in 1977 “because it wasn’t just a job, it was an adventure,” she said.

Quinn spent the next five years working with flight simulators training pilots how to fly jets before separating from the Navy as a Petty Officer Second Class and going to work for Halliburton in Houston. She moved back to Corpus Christi to take care of her parents and re-enrolled at Del Mar in spring 2013.

“Thanks to Del Mar’s Veterans Services and its helpful staff, I accessed resources I needed to be successful in school while still helping my parents,” Quinn said. “I learned about benefits, such as the Hazelwood Act, and secured funds to help me pay for school as well as other funds to assist with paying my bills. Veterans Services staff looked out for me, so without those benefits, I wouldn’t have been able to complete my college degree.”

Since 2010, Del Mar has dedicated two Veteran Services Offices and two Veterans Resource Centers—one on each main campus––and created a full-time “director” position as well as added four full-time, three part-time and multiple work-study employees to support the needs of student veterans.

Del Mar College employee and U.S. Air Force veteran Carlos Garanzuay visits with U.S. Navy student veteran Marisa Washington in one of the Veteran Resource Centers. Mentoring is an important component of the commitment DMC extends toward student veterans every day.

Micallef noted, “The Veteran Services Offices and Veterans Resource Centers represent the College’s commitment to making student veterans as proud of their educational achievements as DMC is of their service to our country,” adding that Quinn even served as a work-study student while attending Del Mar.

Since 2012, Del Mar’s Veterans Resource Centers have logged 15,000 visits from veterans seeking assistance with registration, benefits processing, tutoring, counseling and student success support. Full-time staff offer computer assistance with VA processing in a relaxed lounge environment much like the setting the USO provides active military stateside and around the world.

Earlier this year, Southern Business and Development magazine recognized DMC as a “Top Texas Community College Delivering Workforce Training.” Former U.S. Marine and student Julio Wilmot’s preparation through Del Mar’s noncredit offerings was highlighted during a recognition celebration.

Wilmot said that he became interested in Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Department of Transportation regulations after working in the oilfield as a pump operator and crew leader before the oil industry collapsed. He then worked as a contractual worker for refineries, where safety is very important and strictly observed.

After a long period employed as a “working man,” Wilmot realized that no matter how hard he worked, he would only make the “norm.”

“I don’t like normal, so I decided to start making decisions that lead to progress, and that meant school,” he noted. “I started taking every course I could at Del Mar College that would take me in the direction of becoming a professional.”

Wilmot earned five workforce credentials, including his Class A Commercial Drivers License through DMC’s Transportation Training Services truck driving program and certifications through the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) and OSHA programs offered through the DMC Workforce Development and Corporate Services Division.

Currently, he’s enrolled in the College’s 18-week fast-track Process Technology and Instrumentation Program offered by the division, a counter-part to the two-year degree offered on the credit side of the house.

“Life is full of decisions, and I’m proud that I decided to go to Del Mar College for my training and education,” Wilmot noted. “The courses I’ve taken have molded me to the path I want to be on.”


Recently, Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families named Del Mar College as one of the top three colleges in the nation providing veteran pathways to the regional workforce.

Among other College initiatives that have served DMC student veterans are:

  • $100,000 Wal-Mart Foundation grant with 170 veterans enrolled in workforce training resulting with 126 participants earning marketable skills.
  • $175,000 Texas Workforce Commission Veterans and Industry Partnership (VIP) grant to train veterans for jobs in the petrochemical industry with 20 participants completing this preparation in the first six months.
  • nationally accredited fast track NCCER program providing veterans free training for up to two “stackable” credentials in areas of construction or maintenance trades.
  • College Credit for Heroes: a collaboration with Central Texas College to translate military experience to equivalent college course credit.
  • Kognito: training for DMC faculty and staff to understand challenges veterans face when transitioning from military to academic life.
  • advocacy: the College’s Veteran Center director has served on the Rulemaking Committee that amended the Hazelwood Act and proposed the later adopted formula for conversion of Continuing Education Units to semester hour credit.
  • mentoring programs using faculty, staff and peer-to-peer pairing, which includes a College-designed lapel pin for faculty and staff veterans that allows student veterans to identify at a glance those employees who have also walked in their boots.
  • DMC celebrating student veterans with graduate receptions, honor cords and “Top Student Veteran” awards.

These and other initiatives have earned Del Mar College the designation as a “Military Friendly School” for five years by Victory Media and a “Top School” for four years by Military Advanced Education and Transition Guide.

“I believe that ALL Texas community colleges share a common commitment to our veterans,” noted Micallef, who also has served as president of the Texas Association of Collegiate Veterans Officials for the past three years. “I’m convinced that Texas community colleges are the catalyst to achieving 60 by30 Texas [60X30TX] goals set by the state with student veterans contributing significantly to the workforce we’re building.”

Del Mar College salutes and thanks our student veterans and all veterans for their dedication and service to this country this Veterans Day. The College also will continue to “proudly serve those who served with pride” year-round.

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.