Welcome to a new year at Ashland Community and Technical College. As we prepare for the opportunities and challenges of 2014, we also reflect on the accomplishments of the past year.
ACTC kicked off the 75th Anniversary Celebration of the college in Ashland with a fund-raising dinner in October. The dinner hosted by the Community and Technical College Foundation of Ashland, Inc. brought together about 175 faculty, staff, alumni and supporters. Funds raised from the dinner will support scholarships and other Foundation initiatives.
Other Anniversary activities included a video of testimonials from alumni and past presidents that is posted on YouTube, an ongoing Commemorative Brick Project in which bricks engraved with the names of alumni, loved ones or friends of the college can be purchased for display in a patio on the College Drive Campus, and a Cosmetology Program open house with free haircuts for the community and ponytail collections for Locks of Love.
Some other memorable events of the year are listed below.
ACTC was ranked among the top 50 community colleges in the US by Washington Monthly. The report issued August 25 ranked colleges by using U.S. Department of Education measures of student retention and completion plus Community College Survey of Student Engagement benchmarks that include interaction with faculty, teaching practices, and student support.
Graduation 2013 recognized a record 568 students May 11 in the Paramount Arts Center. Dr. Kay Adkins, ACTC’s President and CEO, was formally inaugurated by KCTCS President Michael B. McCall. Dr. Adkins gave the Commencement Address, and the student speaker was Cassandra A. Cantrell, a graduating Criminal Justice student. John W. Clark received a Distinguished Service Award in recognition of exemplary contributions as a friend of the college.
ACTC and Ohio University signed a Memorandum of Agreement to develop transfer programs in RN-BNS, Criminal Justice, Specialized Studies, Applied Management, and Technical and Applied Studies.
In November, Community College Week recognized ACTC as one of the country’s Top 50 Colleges in the number of associate degrees awarded for science technologies/technicians.
ACTC started a Science and Technology Fair to increase student interest in STEM Subjects - science, technology, engineering and mathematics –considered vital to the economic development of the region. Held in February, the fair for 4th to 12th grade students had over 90 entries from 21 schools. This fall, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky gave ACTC $12,000 to help support the fair for the next four years.
In fall, Ashland Independent Schools and ACTC initiated an Early College venture to help selected Paul G. Blazer High School students earn college credit in pre-nursing and pre-engineering pathways. The students spend their mornings at Blazer High School and their afternoons at ACTC. In the academic year, the students will complete 14 to 19 credits in their chosen pathway.
The Young Women Lead conference hosted by ACTC in October brought a message of achievement to more than 400 girls from FIVCO area high schools. This was the first time that the conference presented by Toyota Manufacturing –North America in partnership with SOAR was offered in Eastern Kentucky. Many local business and organizations supported the conference, and plans are underway to offer the conference again next year.
ACTC started a FIRST LEGO League Regional tournament to serve the FIVCO region. Twelve teams, with a total of 98 members ages nine to 14, participated in the tournament in December. Nine of the teams were formed this fall through grants provided by an anonymous donor to the ACTC Foundation.
ACTC’s Associate Degree Nursing Program accreditation by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing was reaffirmed in July.
In partnership with governmental and business organizations, ACTC created a Community and Economic Development Center, located at the college’s Roberts Drive Campus. The campus also houses The Entrepreneur Center and Kentucky Innovation Network office.
ACTC Adult Education moved from Roberts Drive to the College Drive Campus to make classes more accessible to Ashland residents.
ACTC Theatre presented a Children’s Theatre production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in February, Kiss Me Kate in October and A Christmas Carol: Scrooge & Marley in December.
ACTC employees and students participated in the spring and fall Grayson Lake State Park cleanup projects organized by the Army Corps of Engineers and Marathon Petroleum’s Marine Division.
Black History Month programs were “Reverend Newton Bush: Freedom at a Terrible Price,” A Night at the Apollo Talent Contest and Gospel Night. Cosponsors were the Highland Museum and Discovery Center, Boyd & Greenup County Branch of NAACP, City of Ashland Human Rights commission and other organizations and individuals.
ACTC partnered with Christ Temple Church and New Hope Baptist Church in Ashland on a KCTCS “Super Sunday” college fair last February. The KCTCS statewide initiative is designed to increase the college-going rate of African-American students.
In April, ACTC held a Go2College Adult Learner Fair and cosponsored the annual Tri-state Job and Career Fair with the Department of Employment and Training, Southwestern Community Action Council, TENCO One-Stop Career Centers and KYOVA Tri-State Mall.
ACTC students and employees helped with Ashland’s annual Arbor Day tree giveaway in April.
ACTC art students presented the annual Student Art Show in April at the Pendleton Arts Center.
ACTC cosponsored a Hungarian State Folk Ensemble performance at the Paramount Arts Center, hosted a visit by Kentucky ghost story author Roberta Simpson Brown, presented a Native American Heritage Month program and cosponsored a Constitution Day Program with Morehead State University.
As a member of Healthy Choices Kentucky, ACTC supported programs and services to help improve the health of Boyd and Greenup County residents.
In 2013, ACTC provided senior celebrations for nine high schools, totaling over 1,000 students.
ACTC participated in the nationwide College Goal Sunday to help families apply for college financial aid, a Greenup Dot sexual violence prevention program with Pathways, and a statewide online Transfer Madness Event to help KCTCS students learn about transfer opportunities.
ACTC’s Alpha Omega Gamma Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa received a Five Star Chapter Award for the 17th consecutive year. Other awards include Distinguished Chapter, Honors in Action, College Project and several officer awards.
At the SkillsUSA Competition hosted by ACTC, students from ACTC and six area high schools competed in 30 Leadership and Skills contests.
Approximately 200 students from a dozen high school FAA chapters competed in speech and leadership contests at the Big Sandy Region FFA Competition hosted by ACTC in March.
More than 100 youth attended the summer youth camps offered through Community Education including Career Craze Healthcare, Camp Invention Geo Quest, Engino Building and College Camp.
The Ashland Regional College Fair hosted by ACTC in September brought in 42 colleges and about 1,300 high school seniors from 10 area high schools.
This fall, ACTC became a partner in CollegeFish.org, a web tool created by Phi Theta Kappa to help community college students plan for transfer to four-year institutions.
About 200 high school students attended the Access to Careers Day cosponsored by the Ashland Rotary Club, with support from Russell Rotary.
Grants and gifts to the college in 2013 will be covered in the next column.