MCC gets nominated for Aspen Prize a third time


For the third consecutive year, Miles Community College has been recognized as one of the top 150 community colleges in the nation, earning a nomination for the prestigious Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.

“It is an honor to be nominated for the Aspen Prize for a third consecutive time,” said Vice President of Student Success and Institutional Research Jessie Dufner. “Our Early Alert System, mandatory student orientation programs and At-Risk identification processes create an environment that supports student success. Our 97 percent job placement rate is also a testament of the success of our graduates in our professional technical programs.”

The announcement of the nomination was made by new MCC President Stacy Klippenstein at Monday’s monthly meeting of the Board of Trustees. Finishing up his first month at the helm of the school, Klippenstein called the nomination a reflection of the faculty and staff’s dedication to success.

“I am extremely proud of the dedication of Miles Community College’s faculty, staff, students and Board of Trustees,” Klippenstein said. “This nomination is a direct result of quality measures the college has in place as well as outcomes such as our 97 percent job placement rate in the professional technical programs.”

The Aspen Prize, awarded every two years, is the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges and recognizes institutions for exceptional student outcomes in four areas: student learning, certificate and degree completion, employment and earnings, and high levels of access and success for minority and low-income students.

“Because of the Aspen Award nomination, MCC has done great things and will continue to do great things,” Klippenstein said. 

“We have great people here, a good student body that stays with us and graduates from here. As for recruiting efforts, once people know that we’re an institution that really does care about the students and wants them to succeed, we can use the Aspen award nomination to tell that story.”

Also on the agenda of Monday’s meeting was Klippenstein’s President’s Report. Included in the report was an update on the athletic department and GPAs of student-athletes during the fall semester.

“Athletic Department and Head Baseball Coach Jeff Brabant provided a report regarding student-athlete academic success,” Klippenstein said. “Many student-athletes achieved a GPA over 3.0, with team GPAs exceeding 3.5 in some cases (women’s basketball). Baseball achieved a team GPA of 3.2 and men’s basketball achieved a team GPA of 3.01. Miles Community College should be proud of the academic success of all student-athletics and take time to thank the faculty and coaches for their commitment to serve the student-athlete.”

Klippenstein also told the board of a recent meeting he had with Miles City Unified School District Superintendent Keith Campbell. The two discussed the current relationship between Custer County District High School and MCC, and the plans to further that relationship moving forward.

“I had a great conversation with Keith,” Klippenstein said. “I think he and I are on the same page about how to take our two institutions of education and continue to grow and assist each other. 

“We want to let students in this district know that higher education is reachable and there for them to help prep for their career. MCC can be a big partner in that,” he said. “Keith and I talked about how we can team up on new items and new initiatives, and we look forward to having more meetings to discuss it thoroughly.”

In Human Resources news, Brenda Little announced her resignation as the Coordinator of Admissions and Student Life effective January 3, 2014. Gary Geiger, custodian of 10 years, passed away on November 6, 2013. The custodian position was posted and closed on January 3. The search committee scheduled interviews the week of January 6.  

A full-time Heavy Equipment/CDL Instructor position opened December 2013 and closed January 2014. This position is fully funded by the SWAMMEI program through a federal grant award from the Department of Labor. Interviews are being scheduled. A part-time Dining Services Aide position closed January 4. A part-time, temporary, grant-funded Financial Literacy Program Coordinator position opened January 16 and closed January 24. This position is responsible for developing and maintaining a financial literacy education program at MCC.