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December Good News at TMCC: Part 1

Dr. Ayodele Akinola and YeVonne Allen pose with the 2020 Golden Pinecone Award.
Rebecca A. Eckland

TMCC Wins the 2020 Golden Pinecone Award

Sustainability has long been an integral priority of TMCC’s mission to support student success, which includes having a healthy mind, a healthy body, and a healthy environment.  Recently, TMCC received the 2020 Golden Pinecone Sustainability Awards for its excellence in creating, propagating, and supporting Clean Air and Energy.
 
“The Golden Pinecone Award for Clean Energy is a wonderful recognition of TMCC's ongoing commitment to sustainability,” said YeVonne Allen, Program Director of TMCC’s Equity, Inclusion and Sustainability Office. “Our Facilities Operations and Capital Planning Office has worked for decades on TMCC's energy consumption and efficiencies. As a whole, TMCC took huge strides towards Clean Energy recently by going 100% Green with NV Energy. This award acknowledges that.”
 
Several initiatives support sustainability at our institution, including the Green Rider program, which enabled TMCC to achieve sustainability goals by offsetting 100% of our electric load service with renewable energy resources from NV Energy.  Additionally, in April 2020, TMCC was named a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School Postsecondary Sustainability Awardee.  
 
“TMCC has demonstrated extraordinary leadership in dramatically improving the sustainability of its facilities and its operations. We continue to reduce energy consumption by implementing myriad additional wide-reaching sustainability programs and standards that span operations within the college facilities,” said Dr. Ayodele Akinola, Assistant Director of Facilities Operations and Capital Planning.
 
Akinola listed several initiatives that the Facilities Operations and Capital Planning Department has undertaken and continues to maintain that are recognized by this award. These include aggressive measures to reduce energy consumption from LED lighting upgrades to efficient building automation systems, and increase clean air/energy generation through ensuring optimal solar grid control and power management from photovoltaic (PV) systems, with frequent inspections. 
 
The Golden Pinecone Award recognizes organizations in our community that are doing their part to make Northern Nevada more environmentally healthy, safe, and sustainable. The virtual award ceremony was held on Thursday, Dec. 3 during the “Innovative Business Solutions to Addressing Climate Change” conference.  
 
The event, hosted by the Reno+Sparks Chamber of Commerce, featured a panel discussion on how to engage all business sectors in climate solutions as well as presentations from local business leaders who discussed green practices, innovative technologies for clean energy, and how to improve the livability and the quality of life in our community. 

Associate Vice President of Research, Marketing and Web Services Elena Bubnova and TMCC Counselor and Faculty Melanie Purdy included in Publication

Two TMCC staff, Elena Bubnova and Melanie Purdy, contributed articles in the collection Success for All: Programs to Support Students Throughout the College Experience which was published by the University of Nevada Press by authors Melisa N. Choroszy, Theodor M. Meek, Reema K. Naik and James Beattie.  The collection offers methods for advising college students through their respective challenges while providing institutional-specific road maps to the research, services, and programs available at the University of Nevada, Reno, and at TMCC. 

Contributors, including Bubnova and Purdy, discuss how to make students feel more welcome in their social and educational environments and how to directly assist them with the timely completion of their college degree.  However, it was TMCC students themselves that inspired Bubnova and Purdy to write their contributions to the book. 

Purdy’s article “College Success Community College Student Perspective,” which forms the collection’s afterword, was inspired by students in her EPY 101 class. “In writing this chapter, I chose to reach out to my students[...] I wanted to capture their perspective on success through the qualitative process. The themes and insights they provided really clarified that success to them (although it includes graduating) is much more than getting a diploma,” she said.

Bubnova’s article, “The Shapes and Sizes of Success at Community Colleges” offers readers a glimpse into the shifting demographic of students who attend community colleges, and their diverse needs that are not necessarily met through the traditional four-year university paradigm of measured student success. 

"Community college students come from all walks of life and their path to success often doesn't fit the traditional higher education mold. This collaboration provided a wonderful opportunity to bring a community college perspective to defining student success in broader and more unique ways," said Bubnova.

Political Science Professor Fred Lokken Presents at National Conferences

TMCC Political Science Professor Fred Lokken has been involved in several nationally-attended speaking engagements and webinars this year, including a high number of political interviews. "I just finished over thirty interviews related to the election," he said. "I am seen as Nevada's leading academic expert on Nevada politics."  BBC Radio, CTV national news program, CapRadio-Sacramento, Nevada Public Radio, KUNR, RGJ, News & Review, Las Vegas Sun, Nevada Newsmakers, Face the State, KTVN, KRNV and KOLO all interviewed Lokken on this topic.

He also presents at national conferences on his other area of expertise: distance learning. He presented on the role of Distance Learning during the pandemic at the 2020 Fall meeting of the American Association of Community Colleges/Commission on Infrastructure and Innovation, where he is a member representing the ITC. "As past chair of the ITC and a board member for 16 years, my identity is based on my TMCC affiliation. I work closely with AACC which gives TMCC exposure within that organization of community college presidents and senior administrators," he said. Indeed, TMCC is a part of many of these national conversations thanks to Lokken's work.

In addition to political science and distance learning, his other areas of national expertise include: leadership, national advocacy for distance learning (in Washington DC), the future of distance learning at community colleges of which Lokken has conducted an ongoing survey for 17 years.

The reasons why Lokken speaks and presents so often—and to such a wide audience—are varied, but it also pays off for the important role he plays in the TMCC political science classroom. "Collectively, the leadership experiences in local, state, and national organizations has definitely broadened my perspectives, deepened my understanding, and sharpened my analytical skills—all to the benefit of the classroom," he said. "I serve as a role model for engagement and getting involved. And, I'm able to share higher-level information and analysis with my students, especially related to the regional and national levels... but, I better understand Nevada politics as well due to my extended involvement and activities."

While the end of 2020 is near, Lokken has several speaking engagements scheduled for the rest of the year. On Friday, Dec. 4 he will present to the Osher Life Long Learning Institute (OLLI) in an ongoing series of presentations called "Potpourri of Politics" a.k.a., Lokken's reactions to current events and happenings. He has the largest attendance of ongoing sessions held at the OLLI. Additionally, on Monday, Dec. 7, he will be participating in a BrightSpace/D2L webinar that examines Leadership During Crisis at Community Colleges.