2021 was a transformative year in the history of Temple College. From passage of a major bond proposal to the formation of a new alumni association, initiatives undertaken in 2021 will impact the college for generations to come. Here are some of the college’s top stories from 2021.
1. BOND PROPOSAL PASSES
In May, Temple voters approved a $129.9 million bond proposal for Temple College. The bond will fund an expansion and renovation of the Health Sciences Center, construction of a new Visual Arts Complex, and construction of a new main building that will feature a University Center, a Workforce Training Center and student support services. The college received an additional a $2.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce to fund the renovation of the Health Sciences Center. Design is underway and construction is expected to begin in 2022.
2. COLLEGE EARNS REAFFIRMATION OF ACCREDITATION
In June, Temple College learned it had earned reaffirmation of its accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The reaffirmation came after a “virtual” visit in September 2020 during which representatives from SACSCOC gave the college perfect marks in all categories.
The accreditation process is designed to ensure educational quality and improve the effectiveness of SACSCOC member institutions. Continuing accreditation is necessary for colleges to receive federal funding. The reaffirmation of accreditation is reviewed every 10 years.
3. TBI PROGRAM EXPANDS TO WILLIAMSON COUNTY
In fall 2021, 20 students joined the first cohort of the new Texas Bioscience Institute Middle College program offered in Hutto. The students represented high schools from five different towns throughout East Williamson County – Hutto, Rockdale, Taylor, Thorndale and Thrall. They are interested in pursuing careers ranging from astronomy to veterinary medicine.
Temple College was able to expand the TBI program thanks to several generous donations, including a $620,107 grant from Greater Texas Foundation and $150,000 grants from the Texas Pioneer Foundation and the W.D. Kelley Foundation.
4. COLLEGE RECEIVES MAJOR GRANTS
The college received several major grants in 2001, including a $3.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to partner with Texas A&M University-Central Texas, Taylor ISD, and other school districts to prepare more Hispanic and low-income students for careers in high paying, high-demand, STEM fields.
5. COLLEGE LAUNCHES NEW ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
At the 2021 Commencement ceremony in May, Temple College officially launched a new group for alumni and friends of the college. The Temple College Alumni and Friends Association now offers programs and special events for members, discounts to local businesses, networking, and opportunities to stay engaged with the college.
Members of the Temple College chapter of Phi Theta Kappa played an instrumental role in getting the new group off the ground. The project earned the chapter a Distinguished College Project Award at the 2021 PTK international conference.
NEW VICE PRESIDENT HIRED TO OVERSEE WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
In July, DeDe Griffith was named the college’s first Vice President of Workforce Development.
The new position was created to meet the growing needs of the college and the communities it serves. Griffith will focus on expanding the College’s workforce development programs, growing business and industry partnerships, and developing short-term workforce training and technical degree programs. A top priority will be to create new industrial and manufacturing programs.
The college received a $200,000 grant from the William Stamps Farish Fund to support the new position and fund a new program in the emerging field of mechatronics technician training. The college also received a $1,000,000 Texas Reskilling and Upskilling for Education (TRUE) grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to launch a new advanced manufacturing program.
7. ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY STUDENTS PLACE 2nd IN NATIONAL COMPETITION
What started out as a class project led to national recognition for three Temple College engineering technology students in 2021.
Jennifer Ognibene, Christopher Walding and Mariah Wolschleger took second place in the Engineering Technology/Design category of the national SkillsUSA competition for college students after winning the state competition.
The team won the award for their design of a new product to organize all the equipment needed for computer gaming. The product grew out of a group project the three did for their Introduction to Engineering Design class taught by Dr. Sandra Melendez. Dr. Melendez also started a STEM Club to engage more students in STEM fields and give them an opportunity to participate in state and national competitions.
In October, Congressman John Carter visited campus to recognize the students and present them with them with Certificates of Congressional Recognition for their SkillsUSA win.
8. COLLEGE RECEIVES PATHWAYS AWARD
Temple College was one of six recipients of the 2021 Texas Pathways Awards given by the Texas Success Center.
The college received the award for Excellence in Keeping Students on the Path. The award citation recognized the college for its advising program and its efforts to assist students who are at risk of falling off their program plans.
Temple College was one of the first colleges selected to participate in the Texas Pathways Project, which is run by the Texas Success Center. Participating colleges meet three times a year to learn how they can increase student success by getting students on pathways to degrees and helping them stay on those pathways.
9. NEW DEGREE PROGRAMS ADDED
Several new degree programs were added in 2021, including an Associate of Science in Geosciences, and Associate of Science in Physical Sciences and an Associate of Applied Science in Cybersecurity. The college also added a new certificate program in Cybersecurity and received a $1,486,204 grant from the U.S. Department of Education to offer cybersecurity classes and other dual credit classes to students at Temple High School.
10. STUDENTS, FACULTY AND STAFF MEMBERS EARN RECOGNITION
Temple College students, faculty and staff members earned a variety of recognition in 2021:
Biology Professor Kimberley Clawson received the 2021 Claudia and W.T. Barnhart Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award. Clawson has been a member of the Temple College faculty since 2006 and has been instrumental in the success of the Texas Bioscience Institute (TBI) Middle College program. She teaches a wide variety of biology courses for students participating in the TBI program.
- Clawson also was one of 14 faculty and staff members selected to receive 2021 awards from the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD), an organization committed to promoting and celebrating excellence in teaching, learning and leadership at community and technical colleges.
Temple College President Christy Ponce was selected to be one of 25 community college leaders in the 2021-22 class of the Aspen New Presidents Fellowship program. The program supports community college presidents in the early years of their tenure, with a particular focus on providing new resources for their colleges, building capacity and closing gaps in higher education. Dr. Ponce also was selected to serve on the Executive Board of the American Association of Community Colleges. She chairs the Board’s national committee on Community College Advancement.
- 140 students were inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa honor society – 59 in the spring and 81 in the fall.
Women’s basketball player Starr Jacobs finished 2nd in the nation for points per game (23.6) in the 2020-2021 season. She was named to the NJCAA Region V All-Region Team, as well as to two national All-American teams. Jacobs’ success at Temple College earned her a scholarship to continue playing basketball at The University of Texas at Arlington.
- Four Temple College students were selected to perform with the All-State Choir in 2022: Ethan Matous (Bass 2), Jacoriah Jackson (Alto 2), Erica Aguillon (Alto 1) and Jouper Muring (Tenor 1).