Friday, October 30, 2015

SLCC at White House symposium to discuss Open Educational Resources

As the cost of a college education remains prohibitively high for many people, university and college leaders met at a recent White House invitation-only event to discuss how they are using so-called “open educational resources” (OER) programs to lessen the financial impact on students. The White House’s recent Open Education Symposium included Salt Lake Community College’s Jason Pickavance, director of educational initiatives and a champion at SLCC of using OER-based courses for a variety of subjects.

Jason Pickavance

“The Salt Lake Community College OER Initiative has saved students over $750,000 since we started tracking savings in the summer 2014 semester,” said Pickavance. “This fall semester we saved students about $300,000 with about 150 OER sections. We’re offering OER-based courses in math, biology, business, education, English, history, sociology and psychology. Our goal is to save SLCC students at least $3 million over the next three years. We’re on track to complete that goal. In the fall of 2016, we should have 300-400 open sections, at least doubling this year’s total.”

During the White House symposium, school leaders, technology tool providers, state leaders and other stakeholders met with senior administration officials to “demonstrate the positive impact that openly licensed educational resources can have on teaching and student learning.” Earlier this year the Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) gave the first biennial Alan E. Hall Innovation for Undergraduate Student Success Award to Pickavance and Suzanne Mozdy, associate dean of SLCC’s Math Department. USHE recognized the pair for their efforts with SLCC’s own OER initiative to make affordable online resources more available for students.

“The invitation to the White House event was a recognition of the fact that SLCC is doing exciting things in the open education space,” Pickavance said.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

SLCC’s Grand Theatre hosting auditions for musical ‘The Last Five Years’

Auditions for Jason Robert Brown’s award-winning musical “The Last Five Years” will be held Nov. 14, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Salt Lake Community College’s Grand Theatre annex, 1610 South 250 East, Salt Lake City, on SLCC’s South City Campus. For more information or to sign up visit or call 801-957-3322.

David Hanson will direct the Grand Theatre production, which will run Feb. 5-27, 2016, and rehearsals will begin Jan. 4 in the evenings Monday through Friday and on Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Men and women of all ethnic backgrounds and ages are encouraged to audition. Each person should bring a headshot, resume, best 32 bars of a contemporary musical theatre song and sheet music for the accompanist. No monologue is needed, and sides will be provided at callbacks only.

Hispanic Student Leadership Summit draws hundreds to SLCC

More than 1,000 students from area high schools attended the recent 2015 USHLI (U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute) Student Leadership Summit held at Salt Lake Community College.

Keynote speaker Carlos Ojeda, Jr. fires up students.

Sponsored by McDonald’s and USHLI and organized in part by Latinos In Action SLCC and the SLCC Student Association, educators and Hispanic students heard from Alfred Ramirez, USHLI director of operations, and educator Ernesto Mejia. Keynote speaker Carlos Ojeda, Jr. shared his inspirational story of growing up in a tough neighborhood, struggling in school, but later graduating from college and succeeding with his career. He showed photos of his three children and wife, who is now a doctor.

SLCC's Dr. Roderic Land, Special Assistant to the President, warms up the audience.

Students from several school districts spent the morning attending a career and college fair on SLCC’s Taylorsville Redwood Campus. One goal of the event was to motivate students to pursue a college education. It’s the third year McDonald’s has joined USHLI and CoolSpeak, of which Ojeda is president and CEO, to present the Student Leadership Summit.

Students pose for a photo during the USHLI summit at SLCC.

SLCC president testifies in DC about CTE funding

Salt Lake Community College President Deneece G. Huftalin testified in October in front of the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education for the meeting “Improving Career and Technical Education to Help Students Succeed in the Workforce.”

SLCC President Deneece G. Huftalin is sworn in before testifying. Photo: House Education and the Workforce Committee

House members were considering reauthorization of funding for the 1984 Perkins Act, established to improve the quality of technical education as a means of helping the economy. Lawmakers invited Huftalin and others to talk about the impact Perkins funds have had on CTE programs at their institutions. For fiscal year 2016, SLCC received approximately $1.25 million in Perkins money.

“Over the last several years as the recession weakened state investment in higher education, Perkins funding was crucial to our ability to maintain and grow key CTE programs for our students at a time when our enrollment was rapidly increasing,” Huftalin told legislators. “Acquiring modern equipment is imperative for state-of-the-art CTE programs. These programs are costly to maintain and often require significant financial resources to ensure we have the latest technologies and equipment to train our students to enter today’s ever-advancing and technical workplace.”

SLCC President Deneece G. Huftalin testifies in favor of continued Perkins funding. Photo: House Education and the Workforce Committee

Huftalin said Perkins funds have also been used to improve training in SLCC’s Aviation Maintenance Avionics “to meet industry demand and maintain high-quality training” in the college’s Automotive, Diesel Training and Building construction programs, all serving “critical industries that contribute to a healthy economy.” She told representatives how Perkins dollars help strengthen student support services that help increase completion rates. SLCC’s president highlighted how the college works collaboratively with The Boeing Company to train students in CTE areas like machining, fabrication and composites within SLCC’s aerospace manufacturing program, which relies on Perkins funds.

“Career and technical education has always been, and will continue to be, at the very core of our mission at Salt Lake Community College,” Huftalin concluded before taking questions from committee members. “We appreciate your past support of the Perkins program and encourage your continued support as this worthwhile program is considered for reauthorization.”

Monday, October 26, 2015

SLCC holding tryouts to sing National Anthem

We know the SLCC community's got talent, and we want to hear it.

SLCC Bruin Athletics is holding an open try-out for national anthem performers. Anyone interested in showing their Bruin Pride and being a part of the nation's premiere community college Athletics program is invited to display their musical ability at an audition to be held from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Thursday, October 29 in the Lifetime Activities Center on the Taylorsville Redwood Campus. Those selected will perform at basketball, baseball, and softball games for some of the highest ranked teams in the country!

If you are-or someone you know would be-interested, we want to hear from you!

Contact Rachel at: or Tara at: or call 801-957-4590 to schedule an audition.

Performers will be chosen by a distinguished panel of judges chaired by SLCC Athletics Director Kevin Dustin.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

NPR Planet Money reporters coming to SLCC’s Grand Theatre

National Public Radio’s Planet Money contributors Stacey Vanek Smith and David Kestenbaum will appear Oct. 21, 7 p.m. at Salt Lake Community College’s Grand Theatre, located at South City Campus in Salt Lake City.

Local NPR affiliate KUER will host a VIP meet and greet, and then KUER news director Terry Gildea will lead an interview followed by a Q&A with Vanek Smith and Kestenbaum at the Grand Theatre. NPR’s Planet Money podcast is widely regarded for explaining the economy in ways that are fun, engaging and easy to understand.

“We are joining KUER in hosting these two accomplished, highly respected reporters for what will be a fascinating and entertaining event,” said Joy Tlou, SLCC public relations director. “Their reporting for NPR is recognized for being among the best in journalism, and we look forward to hearing their thoughts and insights on a number of compelling and timely topics during Terry Gildea’s interview and the Q&A that follows.”

Vanek Smith holds bachelor and master’s degrees from Princeton University and Columbia University. She was raised on a cattle ranch in Idaho and now covers business and economics for Planet Money. Kestenbaum earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Yale University and a doctorate in physics from Harvard University. He teaches a journalism class at Johns Hopkins University in addition to working for NPR covering science, energy issues and the global economy for Planet Money.