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

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.

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.

Music faculty shares guitar wisdom

Photo by Jubenal Aguilar | Carlo Pezzimenti (left), Brookhaven College music adjunct faculty, and Leslie Enlow perform a song during a guitar recital April 9 at the Little Chapel in the Woods at Texas Woman’s University.

By John C. McClanahan

Since 1979, Carlo Pezzimenti, a Brookhaven College charter music professor and world-class guitarist, has taught students the nuances of classical guitar and musicianship. Forty years after signing on at Brookhaven, Pezzimenti still sits with aspiring guitarists in a downstairs studio in D Building and teaches them to fine tune their playing techniques. Continue reading Music faculty shares guitar wisdom

Biology prof reflects on passion for teaching

Glenn Kasparian

By Malen Blackmon
Sports Editor

Sunlight glistens through windows of empty offices in X Building as biology professor Glenn Kasparian enters after a busy day of teaching. Kasparian had a hand in X Building’s design in the mid-1980s. Natural light shines into the building’s classrooms and office windows, which were strategically placed. “I wanted every office to have a window,” he said. Kasparian has taught at Brookhaven College since its founding in 1978. Continue reading Biology prof reflects on passion for teaching

Cities count homeless

Photo by Jubenal Aguilar | Today, more students enroll in college without a safety net. Losing a job or going through financial or family emergency could put them on the streets.

By Stephanie Salas-Vega
Arts & Culture Editor

In January, according to a Point in Time count that included Farmers Branch, 43 Farmers Branch students were identified as being homeless. The finding prompted the Farmers Branch City Council to approve a contract with Metrocrest Services, a local service agency.

The contract, approved April 2, will help the identified families break the cycle of homelessness, according to a press release by the city. Services provided will include rental assistance, workforce development, financial literacy and educational opportunities. Continue reading Cities count homeless

Media experts to talk at BHC

By Josh Drake
Distribution Manager

North Texas journalists and photographers will return to Brookhaven College for the fifth annual True Stories to share their experiences in the field.

True Stories will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 26 in Room K234.

Professionals will map out their Texas-sized tales and photos from concept to publication in this interactive forum. Attendees will hear about the creative process that brings a project to life. Continue reading Media experts to talk at BHC

Courier wins awards

Photo courtesy of The Courier | The Brookhaven Courier editors and adviser pose for a group photo after winning 34 awards at the 2019 Texas Intercollegiate Press Association convention March 13-16 in Corpus Christi, Texas.

By John David Higgs
Contributing Writer

The Brookhaven Courier editors and staff brought home 34 awards from the annual Texas Intercollegiate Press Association convention. Staff spent three days of their spring break in Corpus Christi, Texas, participating in on-site contests, workshops, critiques and roundtables March 13-16. Continue reading Courier wins awards