Thursday, October 4, 2007

Columbus State student wins national Habitat for Humanity design contest

Craig Stanton, left, works with team members Fabian Marks and Hope Martin, architecture students at the University of Memphis, on their Habitat for Humanity design project.

The team accepts their award. From left are: University of Tennessee student Elizabeth Mohr, Craig Stanton, Fabian Marks, Hope Martin, Margaret Chewning, coordinator of the CSI student competition, and Edward Soenke, past president of CSI.

"I entered the student competition on a whim. I wanted to see if what I have been learning at Columbus State would work," said Stanton.

Craig Stanton, a construction management student at Columbus State, was a member of a winning team at a Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) design competition earlier this summer during the 2007 convention in Baltimore, Md.

Stanton, who is also president of the Columbus State Student chapter of the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI), led a team that modified a standard house design for handicapped access-- specifically for the access challenged in a wheelchair—for use in New Orleans in the Habitat for Humanity program.

Working in teams of four, students were given the standard construction documents and a fictional, prototypical family for whom the design was to be modified. The resulting designs were juried by four professional members of CSI—an architect, two specifier/architects and a construction manager. The winning team met the most criteria of improving the original design for sustainability, cost, efficiency and accessibility.

“I entered the student competition on a whim. I wanted to see if what I have been learning at Columbus State would work,” said Stanton. “The competition was crazy! It was comprised of about 18 to 20 architecture students and two construction management students,” he said.

With little time, the team worked tirelessly on the design portion of the project. Stanton provided advice on project budgeting and “buildability” and also gathered product donations from the vendors on the trade show floor.

“All in all, I was surprised that we won,” said Stanton. “I will say this though, I learned so much about the industry and interdisciplinary cooperation from this small project—experiences I will never forget.”

As a Construction Management and Civil Engineering major at Columbus State, Stanton joined CSI last summer as a way to network with people in the industry. Two months after joining, he was appointed President. Stanton says the highlight of the past year was definitely the national convention.

Their winning project has been taken to New Orleans by Robert Alfonso, CSI, CCS, SCIP, president of the New Orleans CSI Chapter. Their addition to the construction documents used by Habitat for Humanity New Orleans Area Affiliate will now help provide a home for a family with accessibility needs. Stanton won $2,000 worth of educational materials for Columbus State as well as paid registration to CSI’s 2008 convention, and will be invited to see his winning design home be dedicated in New Orleans by Habitat for Humanity. 

“Sergeant Major” of department named Staff of the Month

Jean Baker

There is no need to consult the organizational chart to know who’s in charge of the Criminal Justice Department, headquartered in Franklin Hall, second floor.

Jean Baker, office associate, has run a tight ship for more than 24 years, juggling the students and faculty of the Law Enforcement, Paralegal Studies, Fire Science and Emergency Medical Services programs with quiet efficiency. 

“She keeps us in line,” offers Associate Professor Scott Wagner, Law Enforcement. “She’s like the sergeant major of our department.” Wagner recalls how he “bugged” Baker continually in 1988 until she “finally surrendered” and helped him get hired on as an adjunct in the department.  “She’s been a good friend for years,” he said.

Nominator Tom Shanahan, who has taught in the Paralegal Studies program for 15 years, says Baker is the go-to person and the hub of power in their area. She deals with about 10–15 students a week, and he figures she’s met with about 10,000 over the course of her employment at Columbus State. “She’s also the queen of the Xerox machine,” adds Shanahan.

Baker’s supervisor Daryl Cullison, chairman of the department, gives credit where credit is due, saying simply that “Jean enjoys her work and it is obvious. We have worked together for 21 years and I have enjoyed every day.”

During her time at Columbus State, Baker has also earned two associate degrees, in Office Administration and Business Management. She spends her off hours doting on her daughter Latoya’s two children, working out twice a week at Bally’s, and doing her favorite activity, line dancing.

President’s Book Club to read “Letters to a Young Teacher”Members of Val’s Book Club will read and review the recently published book “Letters to a Young Teacher,” by Jonathan Kozol, then meet on Monday, November 26, at noon for a brown-bag lunch discussion. The club is limited to the first 25 employees to respond, who will receive a free copy of the book from the President’s Office.

About “Letters,” reviewer Vanessa Bush, of Booklist, writes: “Acclaimed author Kozol began a correspondence with Francesca, a young first-year teacher at an inner-city school in Boston. His letters offer a revealing, heartfelt look at the state of education and his own joy and agony in reporting on it. Kozol offers encouragement, advice, reflection, and admiration for all the teachers like Francesca, who pour their souls into their jobs.

“The letters explore the challenges of teaching in the inner cities: bureaucracies and standardized tests that take the creativity out of teaching; distrustful, defiant children who take away time and attention from those who want to learn; the heartbreaking irony of teaching diversity in schools that are clearly racially segregated. A beautiful book that offers an intimate look at the challenges and joys of teaching and one that will inspire and inform teachers and all those interested in public education.”

To join the discussion about “Letters to a Young Teacher” and receive a copy of the book, please email Vickie Hunter at

Fourman named to Sister Cities International boardGarry Fourman, chairman of Modern Languages, has been appointed by Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman to serve on the Board of Trustees of Columbus Sister Cities International, Inc., for a three-year term.  Columbus Sister Cities is an organization that seeks to develop economic, educational and cultural relationships with our sister cities of Dresden, Germany; Genoa, Italy; Hefei, China; Herzliya, Israel; Odense, Denmark; Seville, Spain; and Tainan, Taiwan.


Annual Transfer Fair sets dateThe Annual College Transfer Fair, where dozens of four-year universities share information with Columbus State students hoping to transfer, will be held on Thursday, November 8 in the Nestor Hall student lounges from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Remind your students about this opportunity to gather all kinds of information valuable in determining their transfer options at this fair. For more information about the Transfer Fair, contact Obie Ford III, academic advisor, at ext. 5687, or email

Changes in adjunct and overload contracts start Fall QuarterAutumn Quarter 2007 is the first quarter that adjunct and overload contracts for full-term courses will be paid over six pay periods instead of five. This change is being implemented as a result of recommendations made by a faculty/staff/administrator committee based on the survey results regarding contract pay. The pay dates for all other term classes are listed in faculty contracts.

It is the hope of the Human Resources Department that the change will help ease financial strain between quarters. The pay dates for full-term courses for Autumn Quarter 2007 are as follows:

October 31, 2007, November 15, 2007, November 30, 2007, December 14, 2007, December 31, 2007
January 15, 2008

Faculty should be aware that this change will have tax implications. Because faculty will be receiving six pays instead of five, less tax will be deducted. Faculty may want to adjust federal and state tax deductions so this will not negatively impact annual income taxes. To change deductions, visit the Human Resources office in Rhodes Hall and complete new tax forms. Faculty may also want to consult with a tax advisor to best assess their situation.

New health insurance offered exclusively to adjunct faculty and part-time hourly employeesPatriot Health, in conjunction with Columbus State, will be offering informational meetings for all adjunct faculty and part time hourly employees on Tuesday, October 9, at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., and Wednesday, October 10, at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., to go over a new health insurance plan. The meeting will provide an overview of the plan, how it works, how to sign up for the insurance, and how to make payments. All meetings will be held in WD 435C and should last about one hour. More information is available here.

Diversity town meeting planned for Oct. 31Should school be scary?

That will be the question posed at a town meeting to be held Wednesday, October 31, at 1:30 p.m. in Franklin Hall 104. The meeting is free and open to the public and sponsored by the Diversity, Travel Abroad and TRIO Programs Department.

The subject of the meeting, “From Little Rock Nine to Jena Six,” will explore how far social justice in the educational system has progressed in the last 50 years.  See flyer

New faculty complete orientationEighteen new faculty members have joined the college and finished a three-day orientation. All but one have been adjuncts at the college, and all are eager and enthusiastic about their full-time appointments. Meeting all day, September 13, 14 and 17, the faculty had the opportunity to get better acquainted with Columbus State.

Members of the cabinet and deans shared and presented topics that will aid the new employees with their knowledge of the college. Two sessions focused on working with students: “Civility in the Classroom” presented by Tom Erney, Dean of Instructional Services and “Student Conduct” presented by Jan Rogers, Dean of Student Life. A highlight of the sessions was the panel presented by three faculty members who shared and answered specific questions about working and teaching at Columbus State. The panel was Rick Bartlett, Business Department, and Brenna Michelis and Tracy Koski, Developmental Education.

New faculty members participating in orientation are, front row, from left:  Melinda Cooksey, Carolyn Novak, Kathy Fernandez, Michelle Persinger, Adam Keller, Cameron Kishel, Charla Fraley, Lisa Briggs.
Back row, from left: Gene Strickland, Connie Clark, Julie Cronk, Margaret Owens, Patrick Fiorelli, Mark Koerner, Scott Millsap, Karen Krimmer, Lydia Gilmore.

Cougar Tracks group begins one-year orientationA group of new employees met together for their first of many orientation sessions in the new Cougar Tracks program. From left are: Tim Wagner, VP of Human Resources, Leslie Washington, Health, Dental & Veterinary, Donna Robinson, Modern Languages, Parasram Singh, Records and Registration, Arlene Wilson, Advising Services, Dale Gresson, Developmental Education, and India Ashley, Human Resources program coordinator.

Staff new to the college or transitioning into a new position attended a day of informative sessions to welcome them, educate them about changes at the college and assist them with their new roles. 


Lunch and Learn class on financial wellness, free flu shots offeredThe Wellness Advisory Council and Human Resources Department announces two wellness initiatives that will be taking place in October. Lunch and Learn classes on “Financial Wellness” will be offered on October 9 (goal setting and budgeting), October 16 (retirement, 403Bs and 457s), and October 23 (debt reduction and housing/equity) from 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Space is limited so please email Lou Ann Carman or Nichole Bowman-Glover to sign up for these classes.

The college will also be offering free flu shots for all full-time employees on October 24, (In-Service Day) from 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Employees need to sign up for the shots in advance so that an estimate can be made. Please email Carman or Bowman-Glover to sign up for the free flu shot.