Latest Southern News

Velva Pennington is being recognized as the Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, February Employee of the Month. Pennington is a graduate of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, Marshall University and West Virginia University where she earned an AAS in Business Administration, a Bachelor of Administration and MS in Integrated Marketing Communications. She joined the staff of Southern in September 2008 as the Administrative Assistant for the Finance and Communications departments. In 2012 became the Executive Administrative Assistant to the Finance Department. Pennington describes her job as being responsible for providing effective coordination for the Finance Unit and other units within the college. Her duties are to gather information, provide guidance and communications and monitor and coordinate various meetings and activities. For the past two years Pennington has been serving as the Agency Liaison for Southern for the Enterprise Resource Planning System known as Oasis. The ERP system is a comprehensive suite of commercially-available integrated modules that provide end-to end support for statewide administrative functions. She refers to this as one of her most challenging tasks. One of the elements Pennington says she has enjoyed most about her job was being part of the President’s Leadership Academy. “The academy was a tremendous learning experience. I learned how the college was a vital part of the community and how the two worked together to represent West Virginia in a positive way. The academy helped me grow in my role at Southern. I also learned how each unit within the college functions and how each unit impacts the other units within the college. The academy truly brought me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to interact with people from other units.” Pennington’s co-workers often comment that she does her best to treat everyone with respect. Her response to the praise is simple, “I was once a student at Southern and I know what it is like to be on the other side of the desk. I believe every student and every employee are important to the colleges’ success and I try to treat everyone with respect so we can create a positive atmosphere for the college.”  Volunteering is important to Pennington and she currently serves as Family Training Hour Director at Trace Church of God in Dingess, WV. In her spare time she enjoys riding and racing ATV’s. She is also a member of a Christian Fellowship bowling league that raises money for different charities throughout the community. Pennington says she feels this award is a great honor and plans to have a long term career at Southern. “Southern is also where I began my college studies and I would like to give something back to the place that gave me my start in life by becoming a leader at Southern one day.”
The Appalachian Leadership Academy held its 2015 Induction of Cotiga Fellows on December 16, 2014. First Lady /President of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College welcomed guests and congratulated new and graduating students for their commitment to the program. Appalachian Leadership and Education Foundation President, General (Ret.) Robert H. Foglesong, encouraged students on the academic challenge they have accepted. Recent graduates shared their stories and introduced the new class. The new class members are Jeremy Booten, Brian Bowens, Ransom Endicott, Nathan Moore, Sara Scott, Barbara Sturgill, David Thaxton and Nathanael Waters. Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, in cooperation with Cotiga Development Company, sponsors the Appalachian Leadership Academy. The mission of the Appalachian Leadership Academy is to identify Southern students with outstanding character and prepare them with the leadership and diversity skills needed to serve as engaged, conscientious citizens as they enter the business, political, and academic world. The event was held on the Williamson Campus.
Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) recently held an Entrepreneurial Eco-Mapping event at Southern’s Logan Campus to assist local entrepreneurs and agencies by identifying and mapping small business resources in Southern’s service area of Boone, Lincoln, Logan, McDowell, Mingo, and Wyoming counties. The map will include small business resources such as service providers, education and training options, financial resources, networking events, and business incubators. The goal is to create a map of resources that can be shared throughout the community and identify gaps in services that are needed in the region. Twenty participants from the region provided their knowledge and ideas that will help emerging entrepreneurs locate the support systems needed to succeed. This event was facilitated by NACCE/ARC Fellow, Griffin Cottle. Griffin is Director of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Center at Jefferson Community and Technical College in Louisville, Kentucky. Griffin’s background is in Digital Media Marketing from NYU, and he holds an M.P.A. in Economic Development from Syracuse University.
Russell Saunders is being recognized as the Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, December Employee of the Month. Saunders is a graduate of University of Charleston, WV State University and Marshall University where he earned an AS in Radiologic Technology, BA in Radiologic Technology, and a Master’s in Educational Leadership. He is ARRT credentialed in Radiography & Computed Tomography and is currently enrolled in a Doctoral Program of Higher Education Leadership at the University of Seattle. He joined the staff of Southern in January 1991 as Southern Clinical Instructor for Logan General Hospital and in 1992 he became Adjunct Lab Manager. In 2005 Saunders became full-time faculty and is the current Radiologic Technology Department Faculty/Clinical Coordinator. Saunders describes his job as being responsible for the course instruction, development of a competency based clinical education that correlates with didactic courses, and act as the primary liaison for our Southern students at each of the clinical sites. “I love what I do, teaching and serving our students! I have hope that one day they will serve others with great passion and a higher purpose to become servant leaders to their communities.” Saunders travels between 600 -800 each month to visit the clinical sites. This gives him the opportunity to not only instruct but to check in on past graduates. “I love teaching and seeing past graduates every week during my clinical education visits. I love observing their evolution while serving others. They make me very proud! Many of our Radiologic Technology graduates have continued their education to become Radiology department directors, radiation therapists, physicians, physician assistants, and pharmacists. A few are now the Radiology program's clinical instructors.” Volunteering at Southern and in the community keep Saunders busy. At Southern he serves on the Faculty Senate, Financial Exigency, Radiologic Technology Advisory Board, 2014 Promotion committee chair, Enrollment Management and 2013 Registration subcommittee past chair. He supports the community as a WVSSAC baseball umpire, a summer travel softball coach and Chapmanville Softball League Board member. In his spare time he enjoys archery hunting, coaching softball and log homes. Saunders and his wife Jenny have two sons. Kyle, a West Virginia University graduate student and Dylan, a baseball pitcher for University of Charleston who will start medical school in the fall. They also have two daugthers. Jacy is a student at Chapmanville Regional High School and Jarrah, a student at West Chapmanville Grade. Both are honor students and athletes. Saunders said he was very surprised to learn that he had been named Employee of the Month. “We have so many valuable people within the Southern family that do great things for our communities. Our programs are the greatest!”
Melinda Saunders, Division Head of University Transfer of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College was recognized as an Outstanding Contributor to Community College Education. Saunders received the award during the 2014 annual conference of the West Virginia Community College Association and the West Virginia Association for Development Education recently held at the historic Blennerhassett Hotel in downtown Parkersburg, West Virginia. Saunders has been a full time employee since 1994 when she began her career as a member of the faculty. She served as the Chair of the Department of Mathematics and recently assumed the post of Division Head of University Transfer. As Department Chair of Mathematics, she managed adjunct, full-time, and dual credit faculty; monitored and revised mathematics curriculum; maintained responsibility for schedule development for mathematics on all campuses and conducted performance evaluations. As a faculty member, she has taught algebra; trigonometry; Calculus I, II, and III; linear algebra, differential equations; physics-calculus and algebra-based and developmental mathematics. But she doesn’t limit herself to academics; she has been known to assist new faculty find housing and provided “house calls” to a student with mobility issues. Over the years, she has served on the Curriculum and Instruction Committee, the Teaching and Learning Committee, and several Ad Hoc Committees for enrollment and retention.    Saunders is the first to volunteer to take on extra projects that Southern needs done. In the past year, she has led the faculty in the revision of two major transfer degrees at Southern to make sure they serve the needs of students more effectively. She has, together with the Chair of Transitional Studies, helped the College to implement a new developmental math model, which is already proving to help many students progress more effectively in their academic programs. She has led college-wide faculty professional development activities and has agreed to take on the challenge in the next year of leading a college taskforce in revising the ways that classes are scheduled at Southern to provide students with more effective program scheduling models. She has a true passion for educating and shares that with the community. She is a member of a volunteer teaching partnership with the third and fourth grade classrooms at Man Elementary and Buffalo Elementary. She also conducts fall ACT prep workshops at Chapmanville Regional High School. Saunders speaks of her work in education with great enthusiasm and tells her students to choose a career that they love, “If they do this, they will never feel like they just have a job. I have been fortunate to have found such a career at Southern.  My success in serving the college and its constituents has come due to the love I have for teaching and learning.” Embracing the college mission is evident in her daily life at Southern. Her passion is expressed in a recent statement, “My greatest accomplishment at the college has been providing students with a quality education and helping them achieve their goals The “ah-ha” in a students’ eyes when they conquer a topic that to them previously seemed impossible to understand gives me great moments of joy. “
Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College will host a Meet the Author event on November 19th, beginning at 11am in the Williamson Campus Library. This is a wonderful opportunity for Southern students and the public to meet and listen to award winning writers. Four authors will be featured and present readings from thier award winning works. The first presenter will be, Tom E. Dotson, a descendent from both the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s. He will share from his book: The Hatfield & McCoy Feud after Kevin Costner: Rescuing History. Two Instructors of English at Southern West Virginia and Technical College, Emily Kohler and Anna James will also present their work. Kohler was a recent winner in the nonfiction category of the prestigious West Virginia Writers contest. She will be reading from her winning essay, "The Broadway Bridge at Six Mile Falls," which was recently published in Connotation Press. James was recently selected as one of the winners in the West Virginia Fiction Competition for her story, "Paddle Like Hell". The West Virginia Fiction Competition is a literary competition designed to encourage writers and storytellers, whose talent and ability in creative writing is distinctive and promising. The final presenter will be Brandon Kirk, a descendent of feudists from Lincoln County, West Virginia. Mr. Kirk is an avid scholar of Appalachian feuds and southern violence. An assistant professor of American history at Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, Kirk will share from his book, Blood in West Virginia: Brumfield V. McCoy. Kirk's novel is currently the bestselling feud book at Amazon and often leads sales on all West Virginia books. This event is free and open to the public. It also serves as the preview to the President’s Speaker Series that will begin during the spring semester. These events will be in honor and celebration of President Joanne JaegerTomblin’s 15 year anniversary as president of Southern West Virginia and Technical College. For more information on this Meet the Authors event contact Vicky Evans at 304-896-7331.
Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College has joined more than 501 community colleges and universities in signing the “8 Keys to Veterans’ Success”. Introduced by President Obama, the 8 Keys highlight specific ways colleges and universities can support veterans as they pursue their education and employment goals.  Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College recognizes the significant value that student veterans bring to our campus and believe that it is important that we ensure that veterans receive the best possible educational experience. Southern is committed to implementing and sharing promising practices such as the The 8 Keys to Veterans' Success. The steps are promoted as: 1. Create a culture of trust and connectedness across the campus community to promote well-being and success for veterans. 2. Ensure consistent and sustained support for veterans from campus leadership. 3. Implement an early alert system to ensure all veterans receive academic, career, and financial advice before challenges become overwhelming. 4. Coordinate and centralize campus efforts for all veterans, together with the creation of a designated space (even if limited in size). 5. Collaborate with local communities and organizations, including government agencies, to align and coordinate various services for veterans. 6. Utilize a uniform set of data tools to collect and track information on veterans, including demographics, retention and degree completion. 7. Provide comprehensive professional development for faculty and staff on issues and challenges unique to veterans. 8. Develop systems that ensure sustainability of effective practices for veterans. To learn more about the “8 Keys to Success,” click on the following link: http://www.ed.gov/veterans-and-military-families . To view the list of colleges and universities click here:  http://www.ed.gov/veterans-and-military-families/8-keys-success-sites . 
Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College will offer QuickBooks training to assist local businesses and organizations with managing their financial health and daily business processes. An all day workshop will be held at Southern’s Boone/Lincoln Campus, near Foster/Danville, Room 110-B on Monday, November 17, 2014 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Lunch will be provided. Individual one-hour consultations will also be offered following the workshop at no additional cost. This session will be led by Sarah L. Martin, CPA, who heads up the Business Consulting Department of Gray, Griffith and Mays, a.c. in Charleston. Ms. Martin is a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, West Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Charleston Chapter of CPAs. She brings over 20 years’ experience in strategic planning, financial and operational leadership, and business start-ups as well as corporate turnarounds and expansions. Pre-registration is required. With grant funds supplementing this training, the cost to attend is only $69 per participant for the 8 hour session, a 65% savings over the normal $199 per person cost. For more information or to register, please call 304-896-7434. Registration deadline is Thursday, November 13, 2014, 4:00 p.m. This workshop is made possible by assistance from Sam’s Club Shared Vision and the National Association of Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE).
Sandra Podunavac is being recognized as the Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, November Employee of the Month. Podunavac is a graduate of Southern, where she received her A.A.S. in Executive Secretarial. She joined the staff in November 1993 as an Administrative Secretary. Her current position is Administrative Assistant in the Economic, Workforce and Community Development Department. Podunavac describes her job as Assisting the Vice President and Directors of Workforce Development and Academy for Mine Training and Energy Technologies with the coordination and marketing of class offerings and events, database maintenance and report generation, and managing Southern’s Parent Education Program. Her greatest challenge was the opportunity to assist Southern’s Workforce Development Department in being one of the state’s first colleges to set up and maintain its registration database in Banner. Podunavac also assists with information and coordination of events for federal, state and local agencies such as the West Virginia Supreme Court, West Virginia Small Business Development Center, and Corridor G Regional Development Authority. “I love my job, so that makes it much easier to accomplish what I need to do. I enjoy learning and trying new concepts and ideas to make the work flow smoother and help the college move forward.” Podunavac says she enjoys her interaction with students and believes having been on ‘the other side of the desk’ gives her understanding of what apprehensive students may be feeling. “I enjoy seeing that bright smile and the sense of accomplishment on a student’s face when they successfully complete their course and are ready to go to work. Some of them have returned for a visit to tell us about their new job and how much they appreciate what Southern has done for them.” She considers her greatest accomplishment to have been achieving her associate degree and becoming an employee of Southern. “From the time I first visited Southern’s library with my children, I felt content with Southern’s atmosphere and realized that I would like to work here. I knew that I needed to further my education, so I began taking classes. Later, I began working in the secretarial center on Logan campus, which made my classes even more accessible and allowed me to complete the requirements for my degree.” Podunavac volunteers as a Southern Samaritan and supports her community as a Sunday School Teacher at Church of God in the Name of Jesus Christ at Wilkinson, WV; visiting the local nursing home and helping with local fundraisers. In her spare time she enjoys songwriting, reading, and playing with the grandchildren. Podunavac and her husband James have four children and five grandchildren. She said she was “pleased, honored and humbled” to learn that she had been named Employee of the Month. “I am very thankful to have a job that I love and such a wonderful work family…God bless Southern!”

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