Category: News

Teeters exhibit showcases mixed media sculptures

The latest exhibit in the Fine Arts Building, “Meditation & Metaphor”, features the impressive works of Steve Teeters, a local artist who attended South Plains College decades ago.

Teeters unfortunately passed away in 2014, but his wife, LaGina Fairbetter, worked with former Gallery Director Julia Whiteside to give students a chance to be inspired by a successful graduate of SPC. The gorgeous paintings that always line the walls of the art gallery struggle not to be overshadowed by Teeters’ work, which always uses three-dimensional space that helps engage the viewer.

Teeters 6Teeters uses miscellaneous found objects in his work, such as limbs of dolls, antique clocks and decades-old poster art, in his sculptures. These objects add intrigue and a sense of historical value to his work. But upon inspection, it’s clear to see the placement of these objects isn’t always just random, but thematic.

Teeters used his work to convey his thoughts regarding human nature, society and the passage of time, burying these thoughts in subtle metaphor. Whiteside, the former gallery director responsible for the exhibit, knew Teeters while he was alive, and students who are interested may request a walkthrough of the exhibit with her when she isn’t busy for some insight into his style and metaphor.

“He is one of the most creative and productive artists I’ve known,” Whiteside said.

Found objects accent the sculptures well, but the heart of Teeters’ work is the well-crafted metals he created himself. After his start as a glassblower, Teeters moved on to metalworking, where he found immense success. The horses in Lubbock’s McKenzie Park, the pieces in front of the Wells Fargo Amphitheater and the large iconic glasses outside of the Buddy Holly Center are all works by Teeters. He also helped start the FirstTeeters 5 Friday Art Trail in Lubbock, and taught art classes for many years. Comments sections of articles regarding the artist’s passing are littered with praise from his former students.

Teeters later opened up his own foundry, Texas Brass, which allowed him to manipulate metal to do exactly as he wanted. But beyond found objects, Teeters almost always incorporated a myriad of other materials into his work, pushing many of his sculptures out of the metal category and into the mixed media category. Boats supported by wheels, jars filled with pictures preserved in cottonseed oil, metal books and cast metal objects are things students can expect to see when visiting the gallery.

Some pieces have an antique feel, and some have a morbid tone. Others have a rustic mood about them, and still others even have a bit of steampunk aesthetic. Very little space is wasted on the walls and the floor, with pieces taller than some students and some small enough to be stepped on. Students need to be careful navigating past the boats and pedestals while also being respectful toward them by not touching or accidentally leaning against any of them.

The variety found in the messages, mediums, shapes and sizes of Teeters’ works makes for a gallery that is completely original and thought provoking. The use of depth and disregard for symmetry make each piece unique. Walking around one to see how perspective toys with it is fascinating.

Typically, the gallery is peaceful and quiet. Students intending to see it for themselves have a good chance of getting the whole room to themselves. I recommend students interested in the arts take a small chunk out of their day to go while it lasts. Teeters’ artistic contributions to West Texas speak for themselves, and some of that famous talent will only grace the Levelland campus for a few more months.

The “Meditation & Metaphor” exhibit will be open until August 16. Occasionally, the exhibit may be closed to protect the pieces inside when staff aren’t watching it, but it may be opened upon request. There is no charge for admissions and the limited room in the gallery makes for a quick, enlightening visit.

Former students honored during national TRIO day reception

National TRIO Day is a day for celebration around the increased access to higher education for disadvantaged students.

Every year, high school and college students, teachers, TRIO Program staff, alumni and others turn their attention to the needs of young people and adults across the nation who are aspiring to help improve their lives.

TRIO programs were established in 1965 to help low-income Americans have an opportunity to enter college, graduate, and be successful after graduation.

The South Plains Area TRIO Programs hosted a TRIO Achiever Reception to honor selected achievers. There were six TRIO achievers honored at the event, including two former South Plains College students, held on April 18 in the Matador Room of the Student Union Building at Texas Tech University.

These programs have assisted students in overcoming many of the obstacles they face as the first in their families to attend and graduate from college. More than 10.5 million students have been benefited from these programs.

National TRIO Day is an event that is celebrated by the Upward Bound program at SPC, Learn Inc. Educational Center and Talent Search in Lubbock, Texas Tech University McNair Scholars Program and Student Support Services, and the STAR Center Program at SPC.

Each of these programs recognized two students during the event. SPC honored Diana Garza of the STAR Center and Maria Guadalupe (Lupita) Nevarez of the Upward Bound program.

Garza joined the STAR Center in the fall of 2016. While attending SPC, she was a non-traditional student who had to learn to manage her time between family, academics, and work.

Garza took advantage of the services provided by the program, serving as a tutor for the program and being involved with its student organization activities.

Garza graduated from SPC with her Associate of Science degree in May 2017. Recently, she also completed her Registered Nursing Diploma from the Covenant School of Nursing.

She was recognized for her educational and professional achievements, as well as for her professional dedication to the pursuit of a higher education.

Manuel Cedillo, academic coordinator of the Star Center, said that the STAR Center is proud of Garza for achieving her academic goals and using her nursing degree to make a difference in her patients’ lives.

Nevarez was a freshman at Whiteface High School when she joined the Upward Bound Program at SPC in 2010. After graduation, she began working at Covenant Medical Center as a Registered Nurse.

While in high school, she participated in various extracurriculars activities, including band, playing on the basketball team, and serving as a member of the Science National Honors Society, a member of student council, and WHS debate team, among other clubs and organizations.

Nevarez graduated from WHS in 2014 and transferred to SPC, where she joined Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and the STAR Center. She also served as a Campus Ambassador, and as a wing advisor in the dorms. She also had the opportunity to shadow a nurse, which helped her realize her own desire to become a nurse.

After being accepted into the SPC nursing program, Nevarez completed her Associate of Applied Science degree in nursing in May 2017. She became a licensed registered nurse (RN) and began working for University Medical Center in Lubbock immediately after graduation because she is bilingual and due to her preparation in high school as a participant in Upward Bound.

Sufferers of anxiety at higher risk of suicide

Anxiety plays with your thought process, leaving you feeling hopeless and depressed. Your soul empties as the stress piles up, and you start feeling alone. Your brain starts whispering, “What if I wasn’t here?” while trying to find relief from everything.

“Anxiety left untreated can lead to people feeling hopeless and having a void of hope, which is kind of the primary factor of people who actually have serious suicidal ideations,” said Lynn Gregory, a counselor at South Plains College.

“I do believe that, left untreated, anxiety plays a huge role because people feel like they just can’t go on with those kinds of emotions that the don’t know what to do with,” she added.

Richard Herbert, professor of psychology at South Plains College, said that there are six basic types of anxiety disorders: Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Social Anxiety, Specific Phobias, Panic Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Herbert said that all six anxiety disorders deal with the sensation of a loss of control.

“An individual no longer has ‘command of the situation’, or just a sense of overwhelming powerlessness,” he explained. “That we are at mercy of other forces than just ourselves. Causing your own death is one way to imagine taking back control. If I cannot control my life, by dying I can at least stop those other forces from remaining in control.”

Herbert mentioned an article by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) that said the researchers found that “the presence of any anxiety disorder, in combination with a mood disorder, was associated with a higher likelihood of suicide attempts in comparison with a mood disorder alone.”

“The fear of dying during a panic attack is an independent risk factor for subsequent suicide attempts among individuals with depressive disorders,” added Herbert.

According to Gregory, anxiety may lead to suicidal actions because the person might get frustrated with dealing with a mountain of anxiety to the point when they feel alone and helpless, concluding that they need to end their life.

“It’s feeling like no one can help,” Gregory said. “People who are feeling suicidal are feeling hopeless. Having panic attacks or having phobias feels like the person can’t fix it, that is a false concept, because there is treatment.”

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, signs and symptoms people should be aware of in a suicidal person include changes in behavior such as increased use of alcohol or drugs, withdrawing from activities, or giving away prized possessions. Other warning signs are mentioning wanting to kill themselves, feeling hopeless, and feeling they are a burden to others. People who are considering suicide often display moods such as depression, anxiety, and agitation.

According to Herbert, poor job security or satisfaction with their job, history of being abused or witnessing continuous abuse, being socially isolated or a victim of bullying, and family history of suicide, also are possible triggers.

Gregory explained that a person might also say that they are not sleeping or eating. Also, selfharm, such as acting out against themselves and cutting themselves, can be warning signs.

Another risk factor is alcoholism and drug abuse, according to Gregory.

“Any mental health disorder increases an individual’s risk of suicide ideation and/or attempt,” Herbert said.

Gregory stated that there are different levels of suicide.

“Somebody might just have fleeting thoughts of ‘I don’t want to be here anymore, life sucks’,” she said. “The other end of this spectrum is a serious, suicidal person who has been planning suicide.”

According to Herbert anxiety and mood disorders are probably most frequently associated with suicide attempts. However, he said that depression tops that list because it is the feeling of being “trapped.

Herbert also said that panic attacks is probably the leading anxiety disorder as a factor in suicidal attempts.
“Usually, the causes of the onset of the panic attacks have to do with extremely stressful situations where we do not feel like we have any control,” Herbert said.

According to Herbert, panic attacks with physical/biological origins are different, and a person will have to see a doctor before the panic attacks subside.

Herbert said that men, people age 45 and older, and certain races, such as Caucasians, American Indians, or Alaskan Natives, have shown to be at a higher risk for suicide.

“Depressive moods are the most likely moods to indicate suicide ideation,” Herbert said. “Increases in anxiety, especially for no apparent reason, are also indicative of suicide ideation.”

Gregory said there is help available for those who are having suicidal thoughts, such as outpatient therapy.

“For somebody that’s having those feelings,” said Gregory, “I would never try to hold that inside and just feel like you can cope with this by yourself. I would at least tell a friend.”

Gregory said telling a friend is a good bystander intervention, which is like the buddy system.

“It’s making sure that you take care of your friend,” she explained. “It’s the whole array of things. You could take your friend to the emergency room. You could call the Star Care intake number. You could sit with that person and not let them be alone.”

Gregory encourages people who are having dark thoughts to tell a friend so the friend can make sure they get the help that is needed.

Herbert suggests calling prevention lifelines such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, while Gregory suggests a call to Contact Lubbock at, or text 741741. SPC students can go to the Health and Wellness Center to talk to any of the counselors at both the Levelland and Reese campuses.

“If someone is repeatedly suffering from anxiety attacks and not seeking help, the best thing to do is to get them help,” Herbert said. “If they have tried to get help but do not improve, then watch for the mood changes of anxious and frustrated to calm and serene. When someone is suffering from anxiety disorders rapidly moves from anxious and frustrated to calm and serene, it can be an indicator that they have decided upon suicide, and that they are at peace with that decision.”

Professor selected as new dean of health occupations

Jerry Findley is making it his goal to help students succeed in order to get closer to their career paths.

Findley, who recently was selected as the new Dean of Health Occupations, first came to South Plains College in January of 2010 to serve as the director of the Emergency Medical Service program at the Reese Center campus. He held that position for about seven years, before being appointed the chairperson of Allied Health.

He explained that becoming the Dean of Health Occupations was one of his long termplans.

“It was a little bit of a surprise,” Finley said of when the last Dean retired. “I don’t think a lot of people saw that coming.”

Findley grew up in Jacksonville, Texas, which is just south of Tyler, Texas. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Health Administration at Wayland Baptist University and a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Gonzaga University.

Findley said he is a paramedic by trade. But when he got involved with teaching some EMS courses, he really started liking that field.

“I really loved that,” he explained. “So I kind of geared my degree towards the management and administration aspect.”

He explained why he wanted to get into the health care field, saying, “I had some family who had some medical problems, and seeing how everybody worked together. I love helping people. I love students, and this was just a natural progression for me.” 

Findley said that he has been in the health care field since 1991. Prior to working for SPC, he worked for a couple of hospitals, Saint Mary’s and Covenant in Lubbock. He also worked in the Education Department at the Health Sciences Center at Texas Tech for 10 years before coming to SPC.

“It’s a great atmosphere out here,” Findley said, explaining why he wanted to come to SPC. “It’s really family oriented and a fun place to be.”

When asked about his goals for the new position, Findley replied, “I’m just all about the students succeeding. That is why they are here, for us to educate them to be successful.”

Findley explained that all the decisions he makes revolve around the students in order to ensure that students are going to be successful in whatever they do.

“We help them along, we guide them, we mentor them, and, of course, we educate them to get them to where they want to be when they leave South Plains College,” said Findley.

He adds that the objective is to get the students from when they walk in the door to be successful for when they walk out.

With the new position, Findley decided he can no longer teach classes.

Among his job duties are to oversee the day-to-day operations of health occupations programs, the physical therapy assistant program, the Licensed vocational nursing programs, and the EMS programs at Reese Center.

“My job is more of an umbrella over all of those, and making sure that we’re all staying really studentfocused,” Findley said.

In his spare time, Findley likes to spend time with his wife and three kids and traveling.

Automotive programs receive service excellence accreditation

The Automotive Service Technology programs at South Plains College recently received the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence accreditation, raising them to the highest level in industry standards.

The programs on the Levelland campus and Lubbock Center campus now are accredited for the next five years. According to Gary Ham, associate professor of automotive technology, the faculty members have been working on the accreditation for two years.

The ASE accreditation is a long, complex process that includes the evaluation of each program by the structure, processes, resources, material, and mission of the automotive school.

The automotive programs at SPC emphasize a hands-on training on various skills such as engine service, transmission, steering, electronic computer control service, fuel injectors, front wheel alignment and balancing, along with braking systems.

“We have dealerships and shops calling us to help them fill job vacancies,” said Ham. “Pretty much every student in the program already has a part-time job working in the industry while they’re in school.”

Gary Ufford, professor of automotive technology, ensures that the high level of training at the Lubbock Center campus meets the program requirements of ASE.

The importance of the implementation of this accreditation positively impacts SPC students by having more vigorous training that will well prepare those future professionals to excel on the job.

“After industry requirements are met, the program is awarded ASE Accreditation for a five-year period from the date of accreditation/renewal of accreditation,” said Ham.

In the training process, the students must take specific classes to achieve the requirements for the ASE Certification. Those classes are Engine Repair, Automatic Transmission/Transaxle, Manual Drive Train & Axles, Suspension and Steering, Brakes, Electrical/Electronic Systems, Heating and Air conditioning, Engine Performance, and Light Vehicle Diesel Engines.

Program helps prepare students for truck driving industry

South Plains College recently opened a professional truck driving school at the Reese Center campus and is looking for students who would be interested in the trucking industry.

The truck driving school is a 210 hour program which includes classroom, range and open road driving. The next class will begin May 6 and end May 31, with a new class starting every two weeks. The cost for the truck driving program is $4,995.

The purpose of the course is to certify and permit the students at the end of the four weeks of classes. The program focuses on the qualifications for entry into the field, as well as on the regulations governing the trucking industry.

During the course, students will be trained for their Class A license, and familiarize themselves with the Department of Transportation rules and regulations.

Students will be prepared for a written examination, general truck skills with hands-on components, and instruction that is coordinated with the Department of Transportation.

In order to enroll and be accepted into the program, there are certain requirements that students must have. Students must be at least 21 years of age, have a GED or high school diploma and a valid Class C Texas Driver’s License. Students who are interested in enrolling can apply at the official SPC website.

After students graduate from the SPC truck driving school, they will be qualified to secure an entry level job as an over-the-road driver. They will also be proficient at performing pre-trip, on-the-road, and post-trip vehicle and equipment inspections, be able to travel across the United States and Canada, have awareness of safety procedures, alcohol and drug effects, as well as the laws and penalties applicable to the driver, be skillful in driving techniques, and capable of map reading, cargo documentation, dispatch procedures, and regulations of transportation.

For more information about SPC’s professional truck driving school, contact Jay Warnick, director of continuing and workforce development, at (806)716-2547 or Kasey Reyes, administrative assistant, at (806)716-2341.

Graduation set for May 10

The 61st Graduation Ceremony at South Plains College will be held on May 10.

The ceremony will be in Texan Dome. Graduates are asked to report to the Physical Education Complex before each ceremony.

“Students report to the P.E. Complex by 8:45 a.m. for the morning ceremony and 12:15 p.m. for the afternoon ceremony,” said Robin Coler, the graduation clerk at SPC.

The first ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m., and will recognize students graduating in the following fields: Associate of Arts, Associate Degree Nursing, Vocational Nursing, Commercial Music, Design Communications, Cosmetology, Electrical & Power Transmission Technology, Fire Technology, Law Enforcement Technology, Sound Technology, Video Production Technology, and Welding Technology

The second ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. Students receiving a degree in the following areas will be recognized: Associate of Science, Associate of Arts in Teaching, Applied, Rehabilitation Psychology, Child Development, Emergency Medical Services, Physical, Therapist Assistant, Radiologic Technology, Respiratory Care, Surgical Technology, Accounting Associate, Automotive Collision Repair, Automotive Technology, Business, Computer Aided Drafting & Design, Computer Information Systems, Culinary Arts, Diesel Service Technology, Heating, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration, Industrial Manufacturing/Emerging Technologies, Office Technology, Paralegal Studies, Real Estate and all majors in Dual Credit graduates.

“The most important part on Graduation Day is to be on time,” said Kathryn Perez, dean of admissions and records. “Give yourself enough time to arrive on time to enjoy the graduation celebration.”

Caps and gowns will be available to be picked up April 29 through May 9 at all SPC campuses, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The locations include the Admissions and Records Office in the Student Services Building at the Levelland campus, in the Student Support Center in Building 8 at the Reese Center campus, at the Student Support Center at the Lubbock Center campus, and in the main office at the Plainview campus.

South Plains is providing students with the graduation regalia free of charge for all graduates. Honor graduates will be issued an honor medallion to wear at graduation.

Students who are participating in the graduation ceremony who are members of Phi Theta Kappa are asked to inform Dr. Kristina Keyton, honors program director &Phi Theta Kappa lead advisor.

“One thing I do want students to know is that decorating your graduation cap is not allowed for the graduation ceremony,” said Perez. “Students who do show up with their cap decorated will be given a cap to change.”

“For the ceremony every year, we have about 400 to 500 students who choose to celebrate at the ceremony,” said Coler. “Right now, for graduation our numbers are at around 400 for the number of students who are participating in the graduation commencement.”

This number is not final, according to Coler. This year’s numbers are consistent with the graduation participation from the previous years.

If any students have any questions about graduation, there are people in offices on all four campuses who are available to help.

Requirements for graduation are found online, or visit with an advisor at any South Plains College campus.

Creative Arts programs band together for Fest Week

Celebrating the talent of students in the Creative Arts Program is the goal of Fest Week at South Plains College.

Fest Week is an event for the four Creative Arts programs to come together, share their talents and demonstrate what they have learned.

The preparation of the event includes students working together to design posters and t-shirts, promote the festival and set up the event.

“I hope all the students enjoy performing, give their best in the performance and involve the audience with the music,” said Chris Hudgins, coordinator of the commercial music program.

The event will start at 5 p.m. each night in the Tom T. Hall Production Studio in the Commercial Music Building. Admission to the event is free to the public. For those who want to watch from home, the event will also be streamed on the internet.

On April 29, Fest Week starts with Country Fest, featuring the different styles of country music, from modern to southern country. Performances by the Pickin’ on the Plains, South Plains Playboys, and Country Jukebox ensembles also will be included, along with an online performance by SPC Youth Live. The live performances continue with Highway 114, Murky Water and Special K & Lil Mo.

On April 30, Rock Fest will feature classic, metal, alternative rock and rock and roll. Groups performing include The Holey Donuts, Marcus Walmart & His Sale Associates, Rated T for Tate, Results May Vary, The Kings and Queens of Wallney and Mechanism.

On May 1, Groove Fest features modern and traditional jazz, R&B and Blues music. The performers of the night are Electric Jazz, Real Book, Fat Dawg, Grammatical Correct, Hot Pockets and Soul Pox.

On May 2, Fest Week concludes with the Thursday Night Showcase. It begins with a songwriters’ listening hour from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Performances start at 6 p.m., featuring SPC’s Thursday Nite Live, Top Rock and the Touring Ensemble.

Local residents voice concern about Lubbock expansion

The South Plains College Board of Regents recently played hosts for a public forum to discuss issues such as the college potentially adding another campus in Lubbock and a need to attract more students to the Levelland campus.

Approximately 100 members of the Levelland community met with the Board during an early-morning session held on March 28 in the Sundown Room of the Student Center Building on the Levelland campus.

During the March meeting of the Regents two week earlier, Joe D. Brooks, a Levelland resident, discussed issues about the college’s potential move to downtown Lubbock.

While Brooks spoke, he asked for transparency from the college’s leadership, especially when it came to the decision-making process for another Lubbock campus.

“Some things develop over time,” Brooks said during the public forum. “But if no one is going to show up at meetings or question people, whose fault is it? This is on all of our shoulders, and the Board even agreed that they need to be more transparent and let the people know what they are doing and why they are doing it.”

At the conclusion of the March Regents meeting, Brooks asked the Board for growth on the Levelland campus in terms of more classes being offered, rather than expanding in Lubbock.

“I know there has been a lot of discussion about South Plains College over the past few weeks, and I want you to know that we are listening,” said Dr. Robin Satterwhite, addressing the audience at the morning forum. “First and foremost, the conclusion we came to is that we need to hit the pause button, and we need to hope and make sure there is understanding and an agreement on the direction of the college and that our Regents have some more time to discuss it.”

Dr. Satterwhite later expressed that he felt very strongly about his opinions about SPC’s presence in Lubbock and how he feels that the college can reach more students. However, the Board needs to come up with a strategy to reach those students.

During the public forum, Dr. Satterwhite discussed how renovating Lubbock City Hall and turning it into classrooms could help students and shift arts and sciences classes from two buildings on the Reese Center campus to downtown Lubbock. This could help future students who are not able to drive to Levelland.

Dr. Satterwhite also articulated ways the Boards plans to expand the Levelland campus and how they are going to draw more students to the Levelland community.

“What I have discovered from this whole discussion is that everyone loves South Plains College,” said Dr. Satterwhite. “That’s probably the most prevalent message that I have heard throughout this entire discussion.”

Brooks explained it was time for all members of the community and the employees of South Plains College to come together and help the Levelland campus grow.

“I think it shows that we need to claim it if we’re all going to be involved,” said Brooks. “When you look across this room, there’s not a better room of people anywhere, a better room of leadership and people who can make opportunities.”

Brooks acknowledged that SPC needs a strong relationship with Texas Tech University, but stated that, economically speaking, the best thing Levelland has is South Plains College.

He explained that it is not Lubbock’s intention to compete with Levelland. However, some of Lubbock’s leaders feel that they deserve a community college.

“We have agreed to sit down with all of you to listen and put groups together and really try to find ways to overcome some of these obstacles,” he stated.

When the meeting was opened for questions and comments, Billy Mack Palmer, a Levelland resident, stated the importance that students have on local restaurants and how the loss of these students have greatly impacted the local economy.

“Students are leaving campus on Thursday, and coming back on Sunday,” said Palmer. “There is also no night classes offered, and with them not here, it’s hard to pick up any business.”

He went on to say that when SPC went to a four-day schedule, it had a negative impact on local businesses.

Dr. Satterwhite responded by saying that there are some classes that are offered Monday-Wednesday-Friday, and there are students taking those courses.

Dr. Satterwhite also pointed out that students stopped signing up for night classes because more students are taking classes online. He explained that if SPC did not offer online courses, then they would lose more students who would decide to take their classes at another community college that offers what they want.

Dave Cleavinger, professor of agriculture at SPC, noted that the change in classes was driven by the students not signing up for the three-day classes, adding that it was because of students who are supporting themselves with jobs or other reasons.

Pat Sykora with Smith South Plains mentioned the importance of the college’s local automotive program, which has been duplicated at the Lubbock campus, and how more students are attending those courses rather than in Levelland.

Annette Sykora of Smith South Plains added that the automotive industry faces a shortage of 37,000 technicians almost every year, and she worries the local automotive program at SPC will deteriorate.

“This is a concern of ours,” said Annette Sykora. “We need to make sure that if we do something on one campus, that it doesn’t make this campus deteriorate.”

Dr. Satterwhite responded to this by saying that the duplication will be revisited, and that they should be careful not to duplicate programs within driving distance.

Eric Rejino, city manager of Levelland, noted that the college’s future is a community-wide issue, and that the city is coming up with new opportunities for growth.

Richard Husen, an attorney in Levelland, said that times have changed, with more college students having to work to afford to go to college.

“There are some things we can be proactive in,” Husen said, “but, there are things we can only be reactive in. If we sit down and look at the records for SPC, I think we’ll find that more and more students are supporting themselves. But this also ties back to the reason why we are at a three-to-four day class schedule.”

The forum concluded with Mike Box, chairman of the Regents, saying, “I am proud to see how many seats are filled this morning. If you look up here, there is not a person up here that you can’t talk to. We need more participation from everyone in the community, from the school district, from the hospital, from the county, and the city. We’re all in this together; this is our town.”

Former residence life director takes position at SPC


Michael Hill, a West Texas native, was recently hired as the associate dean of students at South Plains College.

Hill, who has a background in student and residence life, graduated from Wylie High School in Abilene, Texas.

“I was born in Odessa,” said Hill, “and moved to Abilene when I was 13.”

After graduating from high school, Hill attended McMurry University in Abilene. During his time at McMurry, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre. After graduation, Hill began working at the university.

“I began working in higher education shortly after graduating from McMurry,” he said. “I actually started my career at McMurry in 2002 as the assistant director of student activities.”

After working at McMurry, Hill worked at the College of Wooster, located in Wooster, Ohio, where he also served as the assistant director of student activities.

After serving at the College of Wooster, it was time for him to come back home.

“I returned to Texas in 2008,” explained Hill, “and worked as the arts and activities director at Northwood University in Dallas.”

Four years later, Hill took on the position of residence life director at Northwood University. After Northwood closed their residential campus in 2014, Hill moved to Waco and became the campus living coordinator at Texas State Technical College until March 2019, before coming to SPC.

When he visited the SPC campus, Hill was impressed by the staff and students.

“I was intrigued by the associate dean of students position at SPC,” Hill said, “because it seemed to encompass both areas in which I have worked since 2002. After meeting with the dean of students, the vice president of student affairs, the president of SPC, various members of the faculty and staff, and several students, I knew that this campus would be a great place to work.”

Hill said he looks forward to learning more about the students and culture at SPC.
“I hope to have a positive impact on their college experience,” said Hill. “Additionally, I’m looking forward to getting involved with both SPC and Levelland communities.”

Hill says his primary goal while at SPC is to “provide a positive contribution to the student experience at SPC.”

As associate dean of students, Hill is responsible for campus housing and student life. He works closely with all student housing staff, such as hall directors and resident assistants. Being associate dean of students also includes student discipline, such as dean referrals, and facility maintenance. Hill is also involved in the policies and processes for all campus housing.

“I’m looking forward to working with residence life and student activities to further cultivate a healthy campus culture,” said Hill.

CampusShield app provides safety measures for students

CampusShield is an app that is being used by colleges across the nation with a goal of strengthening communities by connecting campus safety forces with those who are in need.

Personal safety and security on campus are big concerns for students, faculty and parents across the country.

color shieldSouth Plains College was looking for better ways to ensure the safety of students through integrated software and a single solution. The new smartphone app, which was launched March 18, features an Emergency Button, which can immediately connect to campus safety forces, along with Safety Escort, which allows an individual to request a safety escort on all SPC campuses. There also is an anonymous tip button that allows photos and/or video to be submitted to law enforcement.

According to Chief Nickolis Castillo, director of Campus Police at SPC, it took roughly three years to work through service agreements, contracts, and to get approval for the app to be introduced at SPC.

“To me, there are two important aspects of safety,” said Castillo. “There is the actual safety of the campus, and the perception of safety on the campus.”

The college is required under state law to perform a safety audit every three years, and, according to Castillo, when it came to safety across all campuses, he wanted SPC to be a leader in this area.

Castillo hopes that students will be able to use the app as a way to rely more on themselves and their peers for safety, as well as to have access to officers on duty at a greater capacity whenever a student or faculty member needs help.

One of the most unique and important features of the app is called Geofencing. Once the user opens the app, they will notice an emergency button at the very top of their screen. This button is a Geofence  to the user’s current location on any campus. If the user is off campus and finds themselves in an emergency, they can still use the app. Pressing the emergency button will dial 911 and call the nearest police dispatch for them.

If a user encounters an emergency, they do not have to find specific phone numbers tocolor shield call the right office. If the emergency button is pressed using the CampusShield app, it will give officers on duty at that campus their location.

“ I encourage everyone to download the app,” said Dr. Stan DeMerritt, vice president for student affairs at SPC.  “In an emergency, only the authorized personnel at the scene will be able to see the information and will be able to communicate it to hospital personnel. Overall, this is a great solution for SPC.  Hopefully, students will use the Submit a Trip and FriendWatch on a regular basis.”

The FriendWatch feature allows for peer-to-peer monitoring. The police are not involved unless the user, or a third party, decides that they must call campus police to get them involved.

It allows for users to monitor each other. When they create their own profiles, they are able to select a group of friends who are part of their contacts in that profile. When they use FriendWatch in the CampusShield app, they can select the activity that they’re planning to do and then select a time period when they’re expecting to be completed with their activity.

After the user selects a time period, they are required to enter a pin number that they will have to put in a second time once their activity is supposed to be completed.

If the user does not enter their security pin number that was created within that time-frame, then it notifies their friend that was selected that they did not make it to their destination, or that they weren’t able to complete that activity. Once their friend is notified, then they will be able to see each others location in order to see if something had happened to them.

This is a way that students can monitor each other and make sure that the others are safe. It is all voluntary. Nothing is required, and it stops tracking once that pin is entered by the user.

The app comes with many other features for students and faculty, and more features may be added in the future. If any student or faculty member is just in need of service, do not hesitate to call campus police, and use the CampusShield app for emergencies only.

Students garner 14 awards from Texas Intercollegiate Press Association

The Plainsman Press staff recently was recognized with 14 awards from the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association.

The awards were announced during the annual TIPA spring competition and convention, which was held March 14 – March 16 at the Omni Hotel in Corpus Christi. There were 267 participants representing 30 colleges and universities from across the state at the event. TIPA is the largest student press association in the nation.

The Plainsman Press placed second in the category of Overall Excellence and second for Overall Newspaper Design.

“Good use of graphics and several headlines drew judges to the story,” judges of the Overall Excellence category commented. “Several of the individual features were laid out nicely.”

Said judges of the Overall Design, “Liked the Spotlight page design the best. Good use of color …”

In the competition for previously published material, Adan Rubio, now a print journalism major at Texas Tech University, placed second in the category of Breaking News for a story the Lubbock resident wrote about Senator Bernie Sanders making an appearance in Lubbock.

Kyle Ewing, now an electronic media and communications major at Texas Tech, placed second in the category of Sports Column for a story the Lubbock resident wrote about Justin Hobbs, assistant track and field coach at South Plains College, and his opportunity to compete for the television show “American Ninja Warrior.”

Autumn Bippert, who currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Plainsman Press, received four awards. The sophomore photojournalism major from Georgetown placed third in the category of Ad Design and received an Honorable Mention award in the category of Photo Illustration.

Bippert placed second, along with Kaitlyn Hyde, a freshman photojournalism major from Pearland, in the category of Photo Story for their feature and photos for “Street Eats,” showcasing a food trucks competition held in Lubbock.

Bippert also received an Honorable Mention Award, along with former staff member Tina Gonzalez of Lubbock, in the category of In-Depth or Investigative Reporting for a multi-part series on “Fake News.”

MaKayla Kneisley, a sophomore print journalism major from Abernathy, received three awards. She placed second in the category of Feature Story for her story on “Goat Yoga.”

Kneisley also placed third in the category of Feature Photo for her photo of a woman practicing aerial hoop exercises and third in the category of Environmental Portrait for her photo of chef Patrick Ramsey at the Lubbock Center campus.

The Plainsman Press staff placed third in category of Headline Writing. Said judges, “Headlines are thorough and set the stories apart. Some days, that’s the best you can hope for. Keep up the good work!”

The Plainsman Press staff also received an Honorable Mention award in the category of Overall Excellence for a Website and an Honorable Mention award in the category of Feature Page Design.

Plainsman Press staff members have won 184 awards in TIPA competitions since 2004.

Rez Week encourages celebration of true meaning of Easter

In celebration of the Christian year, the student leadership team of Baptist Student Ministry has planned Rez week 2019 at South Plains College to share and have fun activities with fellow students.

Rez Week is a very important part of the BSM community, according to  Matt Berry, director of the BSM. The events help give the BSM opportunities to share the story of Christ and present a new meaning of Easter.

“We want people to see the true meaning of Easter beyond the eggs and time off from school,” said Berry.

Dedicating time to planning Rez Week since January, the students involved in the event picked a variety of events that everyone can enjoy, whether they are religious or not.

“Most of all, we want to provide the opportunity for the campus to join us in celebrating the resurrection of Jesus,” said Berry.

Starting on April 15 at 11:30 a.m., the 50 Cents Lunch will be provided by First Baptist Church of Whiteface. Later on the same day, a prayer walk around campus will be held, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Both events will be held at the BSM building across from the Levelland campus.

On April 16, there will be a free lunch on the lawn beside Building 2 at the Reese Center campus, beginning at 11:30 a.m. Easter eggs painting will be offered at 1 p.m. in the mall area of the Student Center, beginning at 1 p.m., at the Levelland campus.

On April 17, pancakes and coffee will be offered at the Student Center, beginning at 8 a.m.. At 7 p.m., the weekly worship service will be held at the BSM building, followed by S’mores Night.

On April 18, a free lunch will be served on the Quad, with members of Park Drive Baptist Church cooking hamburgers. At 3 p.m. in the BSM building, a movie night will begin for  students to enjoy and relax.

Look for the Easter Eggs hidden around campus for the event throughout the week. And if you find one, make sure to go to the BSM to claim your prize!

Psychotherapy proves affective treatment for social phobia

“It is just easier to avoid social situations,” you think to yourself. You avoid people and places because the apprehension churns in your stomach.

Palms become sweaty as the fear of not being understood sticks to your thoughts like pollen to a flower.

social-anxietyAccording to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), Social Anxiety Disorder, also called social phobia, is an intense fear of being judged, negatively evaluated, or rejected in a social situation.

Symptoms can be so extreme that it can affect the person to the point of disrupting daily life, affecting occupational performance, college completion, and making it difficult to get a job.

Dr. Peggy Skinner, chairperson of the Behavioral Sciences Department and professor of psychology at South Plains College, said that there is also a subtype which specifically relates to performance, such as giving a speech, singing, or acting in front of a group.

“The person might avoid all classes that require participation,” Dr. Skinner explained. “They might avoid parties or social gatherings where they might be talking to others.”

Public speaking is a common fear for young adults, according to Dr. Skinner, and a student might see dropping out of college as a better choice than having to take a speech class.

Amy Morris, behavioral health authority director at StarCare Specialty Health System in Lubbock, said that people might not like going to Walmart, the mall, or eating in front of other people because they are self-conscious.

A fear of eating and drinking in front of people is common with social phobia, as is the fear of using public restrooms, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

“Most of the anxiety is related to the person feeling that others will see them in a negative manner,” Dr. Skinner said, adding that the person is so afraid that it can triggersocial-anxiety-disorder-symptoms-and-diagnosis-4157219-5c5db04146e0fb000127c7e9 the fight or flight response or some physical symptoms.

Some of these symptoms may include mind going blank, making little eye contact, or speaking in an overly soft voice.

Other common physical manifestations for social phobia may include sweating, palpitations (where your heart feels like it is beating too hard or fast/skipping a beat), trembling, shaking sensations, chest pain, nausea, faint chills, and fear of losing control/dying, according to Morris.

Morris said those symptoms can lead up to a panic attack if the person does not have appropriate coping skills.

Those who suffer from social phobia can develop major depression and alcohol use, according to ADAA.

“Having social anxiety disorder would be highly distressing,” said Dr. Skinner, “because the person could be very capable and competent and then be too terrified to do things… It is a cycle that then leads to fear of more disapproval and more avoidance.”

Dr. Skinner says that Barbara Streisand stopped performing for years because of anxiety, and Scarlett Johansson avoided performing on Broadway.

According to the ADAA, 15 million American adults are affected by social phobia. It is the second most commonly diagnosed anxiety disorder.

“My Abnormal Psychology textbook states that over 12 percent of the population will suffer from social anxiety disorder at some point in their lives,” said Dr. Skinner, explaining that millions of people will at sometime have this disorder and many others will have symptoms, but the symptoms are not enough to meet the criteria for the disorder.

Symptoms, fear, anxiety, or avoidance, must be going on for at least six months or more, according to the DSM- 5

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), social phobia can sometimes run in families. But it is not known why some members have it and others do not.

social-anxiety-toronto-1Underdeveloped social skills are another possible contributor to social anxiety.

Social phobia can be treated by psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) which teaches different ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting to situations to help one feel less anxious. Support groups may also be helpful to receive unbiased, honest feedback about how others see you. Medication, such as Anti-anxiety medications, antidepressants, and Beta-blockers, can help as well.

Benzos, Ativan, and Xanax are sometimes prescribed as well, but can be addictive, according to Morris.

Dr. Skinner recommended that someone should first try CBT and then use medication if the CBT is not working as expected.

“Seeing a therapist to learn coping skills would definitely be the starting place,” said Morris. “Then, if that is not working and you are still having breakthrough symptoms, then you could see your doctor.”

The toughest part of this disorder may be asking for help, since asking for help is a social action.

“I believe that goes along with any mental health issues,” Morris said. “There is a stigma, and people are embarrassed and afraid other people would not understand.”

Morris added that with social phobia a person might be concerned that if they ask for help, then they are being foolish or insecure.

Asking for help goes along with the fear of people judging you and making an evaluation about you, so that person might just avoid all situations rather than asking for assistance, according to Dr. Skinner.

“If a student feels self-conscious, then going to the Counseling Center could be one more area when the student is afraid to talk to a new person and also fear that others might see them going into that office,” said Dr. Skinner.

Despite the availability of treatments, fewer than 5 percent of people with social phobia seek treatment, according to the ADAA, and more than a third of people say they have had symptoms for 10 or more years before seeking help.

Morris said some ways to self-treat, if one is unable to get professional help, include practicing yoga and meditation.

“There is a lot of things out there, like apps that you can use,” she added.

According to Psychology Today, one of the first steps in self-help is to realize that anxiety social_phobia_banneris natural. Anxiety is a natural response when perceiving something as dangerous.

The second thing to realize is that anxiety is not reality. Social anxiety comes from thoughts that exaggerate danger.

The third step one should take is relabeling. Instead of saying, “I’m getting anxious,” say “I’m getting excited.”

The fourth step is to breathe deep and slow from the abdomen. Once you alter breathing, shift your focus to the thing you are doing instead of focusing on the fact that your hands are shaking.

Be willing to experience discomfort and try to tolerate uncertainty. Challenge your anxious thoughts by doing the thing that is causing it. Most importantly, reward yourself, and start taking your life back one step at a time.

Regents discuss distinguished alumni, future campus growth during April meeting

The announcement of new Distinguished Alumni and the consideration of extending a memorandum of understanding were among topics discussed during the April meeting of the South Plains College Board of Regents.

Before the meeting began, Dr. Robin Satterwhite, president of SPC, introduced Steve Green, men’s head basketball coach at SPC, and Cayla Petree, women’s head basketball coach at SPC.

“We have two of the very best basketball coaches in the nation,” said Dr. Satterwhite. “At the conclusion of our basketball season, we wanted to being them in and recognize the talents and successes we have among our head coaches.”

After Coach Green and Coach Petree were recognized, the Board gave a standing ovation to show their appreciation and support for the coaches and their hard work after a successful season.

Dr. Satterwhite commenced the meeting by discussing the proposed employment list for 2019-2020. The list includes 377 employees who receive an annual contract with SPC.

Dr. Stan Demerritt, vice president for student affairs, introduced Shane Hill as the new associate dean of students.

“I have been working in the higher education since 2002,” Hill told the Regents, “doing student activities, orientation, and housing, so this seemed like a natural fit for me.”

Hill said he has enjoyed thoroughly getting to know his new peers and is looking forward to working alongside them and becoming a part of the SPC family.

Dr. Demerritt updated the Board on student affairs, specifically student life at SPC. Currently, the student government holds an office in Region One as president and is responsible for hosting three different regional meetings for the Student Government Association (SGA) while at the state conference. During these meetings, they will collaborate with other colleges to discuss ways to improve the local community, as well as the region.

Officers from SPC’s SGA participated on the awards committee, resolution committee, and judiciary committee, and history committee at the state level as well.

“This is really impressive,” said Dr. Demerritt, “to have a Student Government Association at this level within the state of Texas.”

Miranda English, director of Student Life, has been elected for Region One to run as the Advisor Elect to the State Board for Student Government Association.

Ryan Gibbs, vice president for academic affairs, presented an update on SPC’s Guided Pathways initiative.

Dr. Gibbs explained that SPC has been working during the past two years to develop defined and intentional degree pathways for students who want to start at SPC and then transfer to one of SPC’s four-year university transfer partners, such as Texas Tech University, West Texas A&M University, Lubbock Christian University, and Wayland Baptist University.

Currently, Alan Worley, dean of arts and sciences, is leading the division and is conjoined with an advising staff to build plans, or “degree maps,” for the most popular transfer programs offered.

Some programs include psychology, business, engineering, computer science, government, political science, and sociology.

“This work is guided by the state of Texas’ efforts to develop mandated field-of-study curriculum,” Dr. Gibbs said, “which is guaranteed to be transferred and then applied at any four-year state institution in Texas.”

Dr. Gibbs says he hopes this will reduce time to a degree, as well as eliminate wasted credit for students.

Stephen John, vice president for institutional advancement, presented the Distinguished Alumni for 2019 to the Board.

John explained that SPC has a committee that works closely with Stephanie Smith, alumni relations coordinator, and they are in charge of managing the selection process every year. A public reception commending the SPC alumni will be held on May 9.

Members from the college or the community are allowed to present nominations to the committee for consideration. Based upon the committee’s deliberations and their scoring rubric, they identified four individuals to present to Dr. Satterwhite for consideration.

This year, there were 16 nominations, and the two recipients selected are Kathy Hutchinson and Brett Taylor.

“South Plains College takes pride in their accomplishments, achievements, and successes,” said John. “They have each made a significant contribution to their profession and community.”

Dane Dewbre, associate dean of marketing and recruitment, presented two Paragon awards received from the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations (NCMPR).

NCMPR is the largest affiliate council of the American Association of Community Colleges, with more than 1,800 members, and is an organization that is exclusively comprised of two-year college marketing, public relations, and communications professionals.

“This year, I finished up my term as president of this organization,” said Dewbre. “It was nice to get the recognition that my staff got to participate in, and I had the opportunity to hand them the awards.”

At NCMPR, this year there were 1,600 entrees from 267 community colleges across the nation, and SPC was awarded the Silver Paragon for the Electronic Catalog, Schedule, or Viewbook and the Gold Paragon for the Quick-Turn Video made to honor fallen 9/11 firefighters and first-responders.

Dr. Satterwhite presented SPC’s master plan for growth of the college.  He mentioned the public forum that took place in March and recognized the need to demonstrate to the community and employees that there is a plan for Levelland to improve.

“Some areas on campus I feel we need to look closely at is our residence halls,” Dr. Satterwhite said. “But none of this is set in stone. Whenever we develop a master plan, these are just ideas and what we believe our needs are around campus, as well as what the growth of the campus might look like.”

The Board looked at locations to build new residence halls to replace older housing on campus. They also discussed building a new Student Center for additional dining facilities and to make activities for students as contemporary and up-to-date as possible.

“Right now, the most important is the expansion of our Science Building,” Dr. Satterwhite said. “I cannot stress how excited I am and how important I think this Science Building is to our campus.”

Dr. Satterwhite also mentioned possible renovations to the Aquatic Center, the visitor center, the Library, and possibly moving the Truck Driving School to the Levelland campus.

He also excitedly announced the completion of construction for the bleachers that will add 500 seats at the east end of the track.

Dr. Satterwhite presented the consideration of tuition and fees for the 2019-2020 school year to the Board.

During the past few years, the Board has been discussing the development of a tiered structure so an in-district student will come to SPC and live on campus while taking affordable classes.

Dr. Satterwhite said he does not recommend an increase in in-district tuition. However, there may be a tuition increase for out-of-district and for non-resident students for a variety of reasons.

“Our tax structure here supports our infrastructure, and that’s where a large amount of our taxes go,” said Dr. Satterwhite. “But if an in-district student decides to go to a different campus, I think there needs to be a noticeable change in charges.”

Dr. Satterwhite presented the extension of the MOU that has been in discussion. SPC, the city of lubbock, and the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance (LEDA), have addressed various objectives relating to the expansion of SPC to downtown Lubbock.

He mentioned he feels very strongly about the importance for SPC to be repositioned in the Lubbock region in order to start developing the community to move forward and grow.

“I think the extension was good because it opened the lines of communication and provided the opportunity to start having some healthy conversations,” Dr. Satterwhite said.

The vote for the extension has been planned to take place on June 14, but it may be considered for an earlier date.

Lastly, Dr. Satterwhite informed the Board of upcoming events on the Levelland campus, including: Student Awards Assembly on May 2 in the Texan Dome at 7 p.m.; Retirement Reception on May 3 in the Sundown Room at 1:30 p.m.; Board of Regents Meeting on May 9 in the Board of Regents Room at 4 p.m.; Employee Recognition Banquet on May 9 in the P.E. Complex at 6 p.m.; ADN Nurses Pinning on May 9 in the Texan Dome at 8 p.m.; and Commencement Ceremonies on May 10 in the Texan Dome at 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Board of Regents discuss CampusShield app, rank promotions

The new CampusShield Smartphone App, the Scholarship Gala Update, and the Online Resume for Prospective Students, Parents, and the Public were among the topics discussed during the March meeting of the South Plains College Board of Regents.

Dr. Stan DeMerritt, vice president for student affairs, presented the Emergency Preparedness Efforts which include classroom posters that will be available on all SPC campuses. The posters provide information for students and faculty, as well as telephone numbers to call during an emergency.

“These will be hung in every classroom and every public space around campus, across all facilities,” Dr. DeMerritt said.  “People will look at these posters and immediately see what to do in an emergency, and we are looking forward to that.”

Dr. DeMerritt also discussed the new CampusShield Smartphone App which was launched March 18. Features of the new app include an anonymous tip button which allows photos and/or video to be submitted to law enforcement, Safety Escort, which allows an individual to request a safety escort on all SPC campuses, and an Emergency Button, which can immediately connect to campus safety forces.

“Students can also do a Friend Watch, which can help students around campus but also when they are outside of the community,” Dr. DeMerritt explained. “A person can set up three to four friends at a time, and the app will let their friends know then they are leaving a destination, and it can also tell their friend(s) how long it will take them to arrive to their next destination.”

The CampusShield App also has maps of all SPC campuses and a Bus Tracker, which provides contact information for Spartan. The new app is easy to use, and it is free to download.

Dr. Ryan Gibbs, vice president for academic affairs, reported information regarding the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) 5th Year Report update. SPC has until Sept. 13 to present a report that address 24 of 33 standards that are reviewed for the 10-year accreditation, along with a summary of the college’s quality enhancement plan impact report.

“This process started in May 2018,” Dr. Gibbs explained. “Currently, we are on schedule to have a final draft complete and mailed a month before the due date.”

Steven John, vice president for institutional advancement at SPC, discussed the Online Resume for Prospective Students, Parents, and the Public that is available on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s website.

The resume provides comparative data from a peer group that SPC has been assigned to which is comprised of Amarillo, Central Texas, Navarro, Tyler JC, Blinn, North Central, Del Mar and SPC. The report also presents enrollment, financial aid costs, and student success, as well as degrees and certificates awarded by peer institutions.

John said that overall, the college is performing on par with its peers. From data given, it shows that students at SPC are successful in the classrooms.

Julie Gerstenberger, director of development and alumni relations, presented the results from the 21st annual Scholarship Gala. The gala raised more than $228,000, with 100 percent of the going to to benefit SPC scholarships.

“This is what that Scholarship Gala does,” explained Gerstenberger. “We want to reward excellence, and we really look for the students who have earned the opportunity to have an award.”

Gerstenberger also announced that next year’s gala could possibly be held on the third Thursday in February of 2020.

Dr. Robin Satterwhite, president of SPC, presented the Faculty Rank Promotions, along with the Faculty Tenure Recommendations.

Faculty promoted to the rank of professor include Hye-Gyung Ji, John Kennedy, Glenda Bryant, Kay McClellan, Sharon Race, and Stephen Williams.

Faculty promoted to the rank of associate professor include Debra Gelber, Keila Ketchersid, Amanda Rakhshandeh, Angela Roberts, Christopher Neal, Nancy Smith, Brent Wheeler, and Robert Wood.

Faculty promoted to the rank of assistant professor include Kevin Beaugh, Sherley Bedore, Tamie Coltharp, Janine Fox, Janet Hargrove, Ryan Heth, Timothy Holland, Benjamin Keltz, Kiley Leone, Fausto Montes, Raylene Nuffer, Michael Slaughter, Tara Strawn, Jessica Williams, Camy Brunson, Caleb Humphreys, Stephen Sanders, and Sarah Thompson.

Faculty granted tenure include Laci Alexander, Kevin Beaugh, Clinton Bishop, Rodney Busby, Kristie Cole, Janine Fox, M. Travis Hawk, Susan Horn, Megan Keith, Larry Kirk, Allison Maddox, Fausto Montes, Eric Niederhauser, Patti Thompson, Bang Wang, Darren Welch, and Marc Wischkaemper.

Community comments were made at the end of the meeting by Levelland residents Joe D. Brooks and Mary Siders regarding the new facility in downtown Lubbock.

Brooks addressed the Board of Regents by asking for transparency among the college’s leadership.

“I have visited with some of the Board of Regents members, and not once has this issue been on your agenda,” said Brooks. “I take it personal, because I am from Levelland, and I know the tax dollars don’t make up for it. But when we haven’t been asked, or been given a rod to fish with, how do we know if and when these things are already done?”

Mary Siders, with the Levelland Chamber of Commerce, also addressed the Board. She, along with Brooks, expressed concern and asked the Board to find options to bring more students to South Plains College.

“South Plains College does a lot for our community,” Siders said, “and we realize that. But the Board should reach out to the business community and ask for our input. Business owners are very fluent in sharing things with the Chamber of Commerce… So we just ask that you communicate with us.”

Both Siders and Brooks asked the Board to think of what is best for South Plains College and for the community.

Dynamic treatment options make PTSD manageable

You trap your feelings into a time capsule. But it eventually becomes too full and explodes. The memories spill out and replay in front of your eyes over and over like a slideshow.

Your body is in the moment, while your brain is in the past. You become terrified to sleep because the nightmares bleed into your dreams.

ptsd-featured-imageAccording to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) develops in some people when they experience a shocking, scary, or dangerous event.

Dr. Alicia Barr, professor of psychology at South Plains College, said people who are placed into situations where their lives are in danger can develop PTSD, such as “people who serve in the military, women who are raped, people who are in car accidents, and people who are exposed to natural disasters.”

Marcie Miller, associate professor of psychology at SPC, said that people can develop PTSD if they’ve experienced a serious threat to their life, witnessed some things that happened to somebody else, or learned about something happening to someone who is interpersonally close to them.

“Some people think you have to had almost died,” Miller said. “But it could be learning about your mother almost dying that could even trigger PTSD.”

Miller explained that people who were exposed to war can experience PTSD, as well as first responders, victims of domestic violence, and people who were mugged or who were held hostage.

Symptoms usually begin within three months of an incident, according to NIMH. ptsd-treatment-2797659_FINAL-5c12be374cedfd00010f866aHowever, it can sometimes begin years after as well. In order for  adults to be diagnosed with PTSD, they must have: a re-experiencing symptom, an avoidance symptom, arousal and reactivity symptoms; and two cognition and mood symptoms, for at least one month.

Miller also said that PTSD will show up in an average person within three months, but sometimes symptoms will develop as early as within a month, though sometimes it can be years.

A common misconception, according to Miller, is that if symptoms don’t show up right away, then you’re fine.

Sometimes people will have some symptoms but not enough to be diagnosed, Miller said, and they might not be diagnosed for another six months or later until they have enough symptoms for meeting the criteria for PTSD.

“Symptoms generally include the person reliving the traumatic event,” said Dr. Barr.

Dr. Barr said someone who has experienced a traumatic event will have a very detailed memory of it.

“If their memory is triggered, the event unfolds in their head,” explained Dr. Barr. “It feels like they’re reliving that event.”

Dr. Barr said that sleep problems or recurring nightmares are common and can even develop into the person not wanting to go to sleep because of trying to avoid the nightmares, so they become sleep deprived.

“Folks who develop PTSD are hypervigilant,” said Dr. Barr.

Facts-About-Concussion-and-PTSD-722x406Miller explained that two people could have the same diagnosis but will experience different distressing symptoms.

“Intrusive thoughts that are distressing, such as memories or images that kind of intrude into their thinking, can take over and cause distress,” Miller said.

Avoidance is very common, and people with PTSD might avoid certain environments, people, places and objects, according to Miller. Some people may have trouble experiencing positive emotions and may lose interest in things they used to be interested in.

“Reckless and self destructive behaviors can be real common too,” Miller pointed out. “That could include substance use, or excessive speeding. Doing physically risky things. “

PTSD also manifests a little differently for children and adults, according to Miller.

“Adults will have these intensely detailed emotional dreams about their trauma,” Miller explained, “where as children might have dreams that they identify as distressing, but don’t remember what it was about.”

Miller also mentioned that children might reenact traumatic events in the way they play or story tell. They might describe how they are feeling as “they don’t feel good,” as if they were sick, while adults are better at explaining how they feel.

“For children, you’re often looking for changes,” Miller said. “They become socially withdrawn or avoid certain people in certain places.”

Dr. Barr said she thinks that PTSD is the kind of disorder that will always be with someone on some level after it develops.

About half of the people who suffer from PTSD will always have it during their life, but the other half could find relief within a matter of months, according to Miller.

Some resilience factors that may reduce the risk of PTSD are seeking out support from people, finding a support group, learning how to feel good about actions during danger, learning a positive coping strategy, and learning how to act or respond despite of fear, according to NIMH.

“I think sometimes the myth behind PTSD is that there’s some kind of weakness or inability to cope,” said Miller. “Having social support, from family, friends, or wherever can kind of validate that we’re behind you, and can increase positive emotions.”

Miller explained that when people feel isolated and alone, it could lead to more avoidance and more negative emotion.

pexels-photo-326559-1280x429Dr. Barr says that humans are social animals and need each other.

“Deep down, we know that we’re better off when we have people close to us,” said Dr. Barr. “It gives us a sense of safety. For someone who has developed PTSD and does not feel safe, to suddenly be abandoned by family and friends or who aren’t trying to understand, would absolutely make it worse.”

Researchers thought that if they had people who just experienced a trauma to sit down and tell them in detail what they experienced, that it would help them debrief and get over it, according to Dr. Barr. However, what they found is that it increased the likelihood of developing PTSD, and essentially people need room to decompress on their own, because some people can work through it by themselves.

Researchers are studying risk and resilience factors, along with genetic and neurobiology, taking more of a biological approach.

“With any disorder, there are different theoretical explanations,” said Miller, “and that’s kind of taking more of a biomedical explanation that people who have genotye A are more likely to develop PTSD than people with genotype B.

“Structurally speaking,” she added, “there are some findings that suggest that folks with PTSD show structural differences in memory, in emotional centers of their brain… the limbic system specifically.”

Miller explained that the Limbic system is the part of the brain that is involved in human behavioral and emotional responses, especially negative and fear.

The Limbic system is just above the brainstem and underneath the cerebral cortex.brain-limbic-system

“If you were to find your temples,” Miller said, “picture your fingers all the way into the center. That’s where those structures exist, one in each hemisphere.”

Within the Limbic system, there are two major structures, the Hippocampus and the amygdala.  According to Queensland Brain Institute, the amygdala has a big role in emotional responses. The amygdala also plays a key role in forming memories, specifically memories related to fear.

“If it’s altered and does things differently, than I’m going to do things differently,” Miller explained. “Those differences were always there, and that’s why this person’s more likely to develop PTSD, or that trauma created these changes, and that’s why they responded to the world differently now Post-Trauma.”

The most studied medicines for treating PTSD are antidepressants, according to NIMH, because it can help control PTSD symptoms such as worry, anger, and feeling numb.

Beta blockers can be used if the doctor feels it is right for the patient, Dr. Barr said.

“Beta blockers basically decrease blood pressure,” Dr. Barr said, “in theory decreasing epinephrine or adrenaline.”

Dr. Barr explained that some people who have PTSD will remember the trauma. So when the memory is triggered they remember the event, and adrenaline or epinephrine is released in their system. This gives them a physical reaction, and the chemicals will help to sear this memory deeper, and in more detail, causing the memory to become more potent. So the next time that memory gets triggered, they release more epinephrine. It is the cycle that makes the memory stronger and stronger.

“Beta blockers will decrease levels of these chemicals, and essentially make that person less likely to be creating this super potent memory that’s harassing them,” said Dr. Barr.

Antidepressants can help control sadness, worry, and anger, which are commonly seen with PTSD symptoms.

“Antidepressants are a pretty common approach,” said Miller, adding that while some may be classified an antidepressant, they can work well for alleviating symptoms of anxiety in PTSD.

Miller also said that antidepressants can help with sleep disturbances, mood swings, hypervigilance, and emotional reaction.

julie-berman-therapy-and-counseling-in-portland-or-trauma-therapy-picture-1“A lot of antipsychotics are also approved for antidepressant treatments as well,” Miller mentioned.

Miller said Psychotherapy (talk therapy), Cognitive Behavioral Therapies (CBT), and Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) are often used to help treat PTSD.

Psychotherapy may help people identify and change their troubling thoughts, according to the NIMH.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), CBT helps individuals learn how to be their own therapist with exercises in sessions and outside of sessions. This helps the person to develop coping skills to learn how to change thinking of problematic emotions or behavior.

CPT is a specific type of CBT which can help people with PTSD learn how to challenge or modify unhelpful beliefs, according to the APA. CPT is usually delivered during 12 sessions. By practicing this therapy, patients create new conceptualization of the traumatic event.

CPT is strongly recommended to help treat PTSD, according to the APA.

Some self-help tips include working on slowing your breath, relaxing your muscles, working on grounding techniques such as describing objects as you touch them, saying the alphabet backwards, and facing your fears and building upon bravery.

Miller said she thinks that acceptance of the idea that humans change in response to trauma is a step toward helping oneself overcome PTSD.

“More often than not, it was nothing they did wrong,…” Miller said. “Coming around to that idea of this isn’t a flawed state of me, that this was trauma induced, could be very beneficial.”


Mocktail Madness encourages fun without alcohol

Getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after consuming alcohol is a serious crime.

Drinking and driving is referred to as driving under the influence (DUI), or driving while intoxicated (DWI). However, even consuming a small amount of alcohol can lead to harmful situations.

This is what the Alcohol and Drug Committee (AoD) at South Plains College was trying to teach students at the Mocktail Madness event which was held March 5 in the Sundown Room in the Student Center Building on the Levelland campus.

“At least 103 students attended the event, and I had several students after driving the peddle car with drunk goggles say, ‘Man, I don’t ever want to drive drunk,’” said Crystal Gilster, director of Health and Wellness at SPC. “So, I would say the event was a great success.”

Mocktail Madness was a great way for clubs and organizations to get involved, because it was a way to promote their organization, along with a chance to win money for their organizations. The purpose also was to show students how to have fun without drinking and encourage safety.

IMG_0326.JPG “This is the first year that our president, Denisha Lewis, brought back Black Student Union to SPC,” said sophomore Josiah Spence. “We wanted to come back and try to raise money for our organization, but we also want to raise awareness of what BSU is and tell students that it is a club for all races. BSU is a club to bring cultural awareness and bring people to the culture of Black people and the society that we live in.”

The 10 clubs involved and their booth themes were: Black Student Union, Speakeasy, Prohibition; 6th Man, Shooters Basketball; Design Communication, Dead End Kids; Student Government Association, Beach theme; Residence Hall Association, Pep in your Step; Plainsman Press, Newsies; Law Enforcement Club, Folsom Prison Blues; Catholic Student Ministries, Fiesta; Intramural Sports, Sports Bar; and Anime Club, Drink of Fate Death Brigade.

In order for clubs to participate, they each had to come up with a theme for their booth and serve a signature non-alcoholic mocktail to students. Once students checked in at the event, they were given a punch card and two poker chips to participate.

The punch card was used to keep track of how many drinks they had throughout the night. If a student had too much to drink, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) would give them “drunk goggles” and the student would have to drive a pedal car through an obstacle course.

The poker chips that were given out were used as a way for students to vote on the best mocktail of the night and the best booth. The club with the most poker chips by the  end of the night was awarded cash prizes. The winner for best mocktail was a tie between Catholic Student Ministries  and their Horchata Mixer and Black Student Union and their Prohibition Punch. The winner for best booth was Black Student Union.

“I think students are going to get a lot of opportunities from coming to this event and IMG_0336enjoy their time with their friends without the influence of alcohol,” said sophomore Erica Wiggins.

Students who attended the event had the opportunity to enter a drawing for Uber credits and gift cards. Winners were Autumn Bippert, Ulises Cardoza, and Ricardo Torres.

“I’m really impressed with the outcome,” said Miranda English, the director of Student Life at SPC. “We really did get to engage students in the safety aspect that we wanted to. So having students sit down with TABC representatives and realize that even though they’ve only had two drinks, what it does to their body and how it impairs their ability to function really opened some eyes.”

Scholarship gala raises funds for current, future students

Raising financial support for future and current students at South Plains College was the goal  for this year’s Scholarship Gala.

The 21st Annual Scholarship Gala at South Plains College was held February 28. This year’s event was hosted by City Bank at the Mallet Event Center in Levelland, Texas.

According to Julie Gerstenberger, director of development and alumni relations at South Plains College, “This year’s Scholarship Gala was very successful.”

“The event was very close to a sellout,” she added. “But last year’s gala was a complete sellout. This year’s Scholarship Gala was a success.”

More than $228,000 was raised at this years Scholarship Gala, according to Gerstenberger.

The Scholarship Gala is an annual event that brings together a community that raises money for student scholarship awards. Raising funds is the main reason for having the gala, but it also gives SPC a chance to show guests how much their donations are valued and how a scholarship award can impact a student’s academic success, according to Gerstenberger.

The theme for this year’s event was “Unlimited Opportunities.” The gala is responsible for creating opportunites for students who want to continue their education.

This event is planned in advance, and tickets were sold months before.

While students choose to further their education, scholarship awards are able to assists students financially. All profits from the gala go directly to student scholarships.

“My favorite part of the night is being able to see how amazing this fundraiser is, and how much money is raised for student scholarships,” said Gerstenberger.

The night began with a private cocktail hour for guests with top-level sponsorships. This was the second time that alcohol was available for sale at the event, with all profits from sales going into the scholarship funds.

Guests were seated and served a meal while entertainment was provided by students in the Creative Arts Department at SPC. There were three performances delivered by students attending SPC.

Also participating in the event were Campus Ambassadors who represent SPC and the college’s values. Guests also participated in live and silent auctions, as well as raffles.

“The Scholarship Gala is a benefit for the students and the student ambassadors that get to attend and participate in the evening,” said Gerstenberger.

Last year, students attending SPC received more than 900 scholarships.

Burns appointed department chair

Kenny Burns has made it his mission to elevate South Plains College’s Police Academy to the finest in the Lone Star State.

Burns recently was appointed as the new chairperson of the Professional Services and Energy Department. The department encompasses the electrician, law enforcement, power emissions and cosmetology related programs on campus. Burns intends to never stop improving the department and said he hopes his goal proves contagious among faculty.

Born and raised in West Texas, Burns brings more than a decade of law enforcement experience in numerous police departments, in juvenile probation and instruction to the classroom. He became acquainted with SPC a decade ago when he served as a campus police officer for a year after earning his associate’s degree at Western Texas College.

After serving a year as a deputy in the Scurry County Sheriff’s Department, Burns joined the Police Department in Snyder. He served the city for five years, garnering plenty of law enforcement experience, before earning a bachelor’s degree in public administration at Midwestern State University. He then experienced the corrections side of the law as the chief juvenile probation officer for Scurry County under the 132nd Judicial District.

“So pretty much my entire life, working in some kind of public service industry,” Burns said.

After experiencing so much of what law enforcement has to offer, Burns went back to college and earned a master’s degree in criminal justice to apply his passion for public service to the field of education. He combined the two by becoming an instructor and later an associate professor.

Not only does Burns teach academic courses, he also is the Law Enforcement Academy coordinator, making him responsible for working out the schedule for the Academy, as well as ensuring that all state requirements imposed by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement are met. In addition to his numerous responsibilities, Burns teaches at the Academy and strives to improve it, though it is already held in high regard across the state.

“We aren’t going to stop until we’re known throughout Texas, and people are going to start coming here from all over for our program,” Burns said.

Burns admittedly is more experienced with handguns than voltmeters or hairstyles, but expressed confidence in the cosmetology and energy professors in his department and makes sure they have all they need to do their best work.

He encourages open communication and hopes to get students interested in his department before they are face to face with the stress of higher education. Serving as a guest speaker and teaching in high school classes gives Burns an outlet to inform more prospective students about what SPC has to offer. Getting students interested in college programs early is a valuable outreach tactic that Burns is hoping to apply to other aspects of his department.

“One thing that I’ve really been pushing the other guys- and we’re all on board on it, especially for the law enforcement program, and we’re trying to bleed it into some of these other ones, is recruitment and retention…” Burns said. “…All three of our programs, the electrical side, the cosmetology side and the law enforcement side, have what’s considered CTE programs, which is career and technical education. And those programs are in our high schools, all in this area… We figured by going over there and teaching some of their classes and recruiting and talking to them, letting them see who we are before they even make that decision, maybe it’s more likely they’ll come to South Plains College…”

Outside of his official duties for the college, Burns is a devoted father of two daughters, one who is currently attending SPC and one who has already graduated. He and his wife also regularly foster dogs from the South Plains ASPCA to get them ready to be permanently adopted into loving families. Burns expressed that he’s content with his job at SPC and will never be satisfied with his improvements, because more can always be done.

“I definitely see myself retiring here,” Burns said. “This is a great place to work. I teach adjunct at other colleges like Lubbock Christian University and don’t have any intentions of ever going to any of those places. This is one of the best jobs I’ve ever had, and some of the best people to work with, and some of the best benefits for myself and my family… Probably, it’s another 15 to 20 years, and I’ll be doing this.”