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Prof recalls 40-year career at BHC
Former BHC student opens local coffee shop
Read-In celebrates dreamers

Bestselling author shares lessons

Photo by Jubenal Aguilar | Bestselling author Jeff Guinn (left) shares his experiences as a journalist and writer during the fifth annual True Stories April 26 in Room K234.

By Jubenal Aguilar

“More than ever, this world needs truth tellers,” former journalist Jeff Guinn said. Guinn, a New York Times bestselling author, spoke about his career as a journalist and non-fiction. He was part of the fifth annual True Stories event, at which journalists shared their experiences with students, staff and faculty April 26 in Room K234. Continue reading Bestselling author shares lessons

Former U.S. ambassador talks Saudi press restrictions abroad

Photo by Susan Edgley | Robert Jordan, former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, discusses Jamal Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post, and the implications of his assassination during a visit April 15 to Brookhaven College.

By Jacob Vaughn
Managing Editor/Music Editor

Jamal Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post, entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul Oct. 2. Surveillance video shows Khashoggi entering the consulate, and seemingly leaving sometime later. However, he did not make it out alive, Robert Jordan, former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said during a discussion on Saudi free speech and media April 15 in Room K234 at Brookhaven College. Continue reading Former U.S. ambassador talks Saudi press restrictions abroad

Prof explores Spanish dance, culture

Photo by Jubenal Aguilar | Rebecca García, a Brookhaven Spanish professor, performs a Spanish folklore dance with castañuelas, or castanets, during the International Day Festival April 11, 2016.

By Itzel Macias Ibarra
Contributing Writer

Rebecca García, a Brookhaven College Spanish professor, demonstrates a flamenco dance. Students, staff and faculty gather around her in a tight circle craning to see.
She stomps to the beat of the Spanish music. She waves her hands and flares her black-and-white dress as she claps a pair of castanets.
García, who has taught Spanish at Brookhaven since 2004, is expressing a passion for Spanish language and culture she has held since she was little girl. It all started when her family made it clear that it was very important for her to learn the language and about the culture behind it. Continue reading Prof explores Spanish dance, culture

Stopping violence requires specificity

Illustration by Susan Edgley | By some federal documents’ definitions, the term could encompass the Founding Fathers, modern active duty military or law enforcement officials.

By Morgan Hanson
Senior Staff  Writer

According to the Department of Justice, violent extremists are individuals who support or commit ideologically motivated violence to further political goals.
But this definition is far too broad. To fight violent extremism, effectively, we must define it much more precisely.
Police officers sometimes use force, too, to stop a crime or maintain the peace. They are empowered to do this by the legal framework built on the U.S. Continue reading Stopping violence requires specificity

Students need freedom of the press

The role of journalists in a free society is to provide a check on power – to make sure that all the decisions governments and electorates make are informed by the whole truth.
To be able to do this, journalists cannot be coddled in their education. They must be trained from the very beginning to go tough on people who would conceal and mislead. The very possibility of censorship keeps them on a leash. Continue reading Students need freedom of the press

BHC breaks ground on Donor Garden

Photo by Jubenal Aguilar | Marilyn Kolesar-Lynch (left), vice president of resource development; Stephanie Venza, charter English professor; Dawn Bishop, assistant to the vice president; Thom Chesney, Brookhaven College president; Ron Schmidt, business management professor; Carole Sakach, business office assistant; and Sylvia Wise, coordinator of alumni, break the ground in Brookhaven’s Donor Garden.

By Jubenal Aguilar

Staff and faculty gathered outside A Building to participate in a groundbreaking celebration for Brookhaven College’s Donor Garden. The garden will honor all staff, faculty and other donors who paid for bricks during the college’s 40th anniversary celebrations.
The Donor Garden will also honor the charter staff and faculty – who have served the district for 40 years – as donors who have supported the college.
Thom Chesney, college president, said he would like to see the garden become a meeting location for future events.
Native plants as well as the bricks of the donors will be installed.

Longtime prof retires

Photo by Susan Edgley | For several decades, Hazel Carlos, an English professor, has passed down knowledge to Brookhaven College students through English courses and the annual African-American Read-In.

By Mykel Hilliard
Contributing Writer

Nestled into a corner of L Building in Brookhaven College’s third floor is a vibrant office that almost doubles as an African American history museum – a place where vintage and modern black culture meet. Posters of historical African and African American figures, such as Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I, former president Barack Obama and his family, poet Langston Hughes and James Baldwin, cover the walls. Continue reading Longtime prof retires

College hunts for president

By Jubenal Aguilar

A focus on sustainability issues and an understanding of technological advances are just two traits some say the new college president should have.
Staff, faculty and administrators gathered for a roundtable discussion April 25 in the Performance Hall to discuss the qualities, qualifications and skills they want Brookhaven College’s next president to have.
Their comments were collected and recorded to begin building the profile for the ideal candidate to take over as the college’s eighth president.
Thom Chesney, Brookhaven’s current president, will leave the college May 25 to take over as president of Clarke University, a four-year liberal arts college in Dubuque, Iowa.

Joe May, Dallas County Community College District chancellor, led the roundtable to take input from Brookhaven’s education and administrative groups. May said a consulting group will be hired to lead the nationwide search for Brookhaven’s new president.
“Today’s world is very different than when I assumed the presidency – well over 25 years ago – at a college, and lots of things have changed,” May said. At the time, there were different rules relating to open meetings and private recruiting.
May said it is tough to get a sitting president to apply for a job because widespread internet access and social media platforms make it easy for others to see he or she is looking for a new position. He said that when he applied for his first college presidency, there were over 200 applicants. Now, there are typically only 30-40 applicants for a college presidency, May said.
“We engage a consultant because we have to have a third-party, trusted entity that a candidate will trust to protect their identity as long as they can to keep them confidential,” he said.

According to the announced search timeline, advertising for the position will begin May 10. The chancellor said an interim president will be named later in May, before Chesney’s last day. The interim appointee will be from within DCCCD, though not necessarily from within Brookhaven.
A soft closing for the position is set for Aug. 23. May said he anticipates about 15 to 18 candidates will meet the basic criteria for the position and make it to this step. Those candidates will meet with the chancellor and some members of his leadership team.
After that, May said, three to four finalists will be selected and will visit Brookhaven.
“What I’m basically saying when that happens is that I can live with any of [them],” May said. Those candidates will be interviewed by a Brookhaven search committee at the college and will participate in open forums with students and the community.
May said the goal of the timeline is to announce a recommendation for Brookhaven’s next president at the October board of trustees meeting. However, the search may be extended, May said, because it is being conducted during the summer months.

May said the ideal candidate should meet a mix of universal qualities and expectations, as well as requirements unique to Brookhaven.
Carrie Schweitzer, director of sustainability, said Chesney initiated the Office of Sustainability five years ago. She said sustainability issues had not been likely to appear in a presidential search before now. Today, however, Brookhaven is a respected and relied upon partner in the North Texas sustainability and environmental communities, she said.
“I would say that our next college president must not only understand the scope and systemic relationship with sustainability issues, but must prioritize them,” Schweitzer said. “That leadership, I believe, is essential to this community as we prepare our students to live in a future where climate change is a reality and the impacts on society and economy are increasingly complex.”
Peggy Mason, a Brookhaven biology professor, said she feels college presidents have been increasingly occupied by network and community issues for the last several years. She said it is important the next president prioritize campus activities.
“The college presidents need to be more present on the campus,” Mason said. “More of a leader on the campus than they currently are.”
Paul Kozak, EMS instructional lab coordinator, said the community is an important focus for the president, but the campus should be a higher priority.

I’m graduating. What should I do now that I am out of college?

Brianne Sardoni

Brookhaven English professor

Congratulations – you did it! You successfully completed your degree at Brookhaven College. You don the cap and gown, invite your family to the ceremony, cry a little when you walk across the stage, celebrate at dinner and that’s it.
You’re done.
No more summer classes, fighting for parking or arguing for the professor or class time you want. What do you do with your time now?
The first thing you have to fight is fear. Fear will start to creep in because you have lost your routine. You have spent the past two years scheduling your life around your classes. Even if it was annoying, there is a comfort people find in consistency and routine. You just disrupted your own routine.
Take a deep breath and think back to the beginning. What was your original plan when you started taking classes? Was it to transfer, to get a promotion in your current job or to find a new job?
Think back to that motivation and ask yourself whether it is still relevant. Do you still have the same motivation? If so, you have your plan.
If your dream has been a four-year degree, you should have already been filling out applications as a transfer student this spring. If you have already done so, you should be hearing back from those schools soon. If you waited until the graduation ceremony to realize you want to transfer, that’s OK.
Some schools have rolling admission, so you can still apply for the fall. In fact, you may wish to apply to transfer for the spring semester instead of the fall. Universities generally receive fewer applications for spring semesters, so that may increase your chances of admission and give you some time to stay home, work and save for the big move.
If pursuing your associate degree was career-motivated, you need to let your current employer know that you have just graduated. Depending on the company, it may be as simple as a conversation or as complex as sending an email to human resources and attaching your transcript so they can see what you have accomplished.
Either way, graduating from Brookhaven is a big deal, and you need to let your employer know about this great achievement. If you hope your degree will get you promoted, now is the time to tactfully and politely remind your employer.
If you want to change jobs or careers, start working on updating your résumé to highlight both your new degree and the new skills you have learned in your classes at Brookhaven.
Whatever you choose to do post-Brookhaven, remember that the time you spent here has given you the tools you need to be successful. Take what you have learned, go out into the world and do great things.

Programs offer help

Photo illustration by Jubenal Aguilar | Brookhaven College students who are homeless or at risk of losing their home can find help through various programs and groups on campus.

By Jubenal Aguilar

Angela left her home to avoid problems after a family friend made a move on her. She thought she would be blamed if anyone found out, and she did not want her mother to lose her place to live too.
So she started sleeping at friends’ places when she could and in her car when she could not.
Angela, a Brookhaven College student who asked her real name be withheld, said she did not want to go to a shelter for help. “I didn’t want to be that person to stay in a home,” she said.
Angela found Our Friends Place, a transitional living center and outreach program for young women. Our Friends Place helps women 18-24 years old “break the generational cycles of abuse, neglect, poverty and homelessness through empowering self-reliance and independence,” according to its website.
“I felt like it would be degrading, but it was actually really, really beneficial to me, and I’m glad I went through with it,” she said.
While Angela was able to find a place that would teach her self-sufficiency, Brookhaven College students do not need to venture far to seek help if they are at risk of losing their homes.
The Hub, Brookhaven’s centralized tutoring center, offers a variety of non-academic services and resources to students. These include referrals for childcare, assistance with utility bills and rent, and help applying for social programs including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, food benefits and Medicaid.
“If a student [needs help] with rental assistance, doesn’t have a place to live, needs help with their electricity bill or they need food, they come to The Hub, and we refer them out to organizations that can help them,” Rosalind Lang-Overall, manager of instructional support, said.
One of these organizations is Metrocrest Services, a local service agency that provides programs that lead to self-sufficiency, according to their website.
Lang-Overall said once a referral is initiated, Metrocrest will contact the student within 24 hours. However, she said response time is typically two hours.
Students who do not have a home may be referred to other Dallas organizations, such as homeless shelters, to secure a safe place to live. Lang-Overall said female students with children are referred to Metrocrest in the usual manner, but staff in The Hub will immediately begin contacting community resources and shelters to place them in.
Lang-Overall said about 10 to 15 homeless students have been helped at The Hub since it opened in August.
She said referred students are also placed in the college’s Connections program, which helps students continue to receive assistance while they are at Brookhaven. Students are tracked until they graduate or transfer, Lang-Overall said. This helps reduce barriers that might otherwise get in the way of their success.
Transitional living centers, such as Our Friends Place, can help young adults learn to become independent and self-sufficient.
At Our Friends Place, Angela lived in an apartment with three other women in similar situations. They were supervised by a house manager and had to follow a strict set of rules to remain in the program. Requirements included continuing their education, returning home by curfew and attending mandatory meetings that included lessons and discussions on safety, cooking and other basic life skills for adults.
When Angela was accepted into the program, she said she mainly needed help finding a permanent place to live. “My main thing was needing a place to sleep, instead of sleeping in my car,” she said.
Angela said women in the program receive individualized assistance to help them reach their goals and start living on their own. She already had two associate degrees, but was still not working in the fields in which she trained.
She remained in the living assistance program for nearly a year before she was able to find a place to call home.
Lang-Overall said students, staff and faculty can look for some red flags that may indicate a student is at risk of losing their home or may be homeless. Instructors may be the first to know when a student is struggling.
Students may begin to skip class or they may even say outright that they may lose their home. A drop in grades, isolation in class or an unkept appearance could also indicate something is wrong.
“Sometimes you can’t put a face on it,” Lang-Overall said.
If a student is homeless or needs other assistance outside the classroom, they may be referred to the Campus Assessment, Response and Evaluation Team, or CARE Team, Lang-Overall said. The CARE Team addresses student behavior that could pose a risk to the student or those around them and provides case management services to help students with basic needs.
“I just think sometimes looking at the younger generation, a lot of students are too proud and they don’t want to seek the assistance,” Lang-Overall said.
Struggling students may opt to stop showing up to class first if they prioritize other aspects of their life. “The first thing a student is going to do is not come to class,” Lang-Overall said. “Well, coming to class is the best thing for you at this time, because you’re working toward that independence.”
She said any student who feels they may be at risk of losing their home should find help immediately to begin building a strong support network.