President's Page - May 23, 2022

Barton's Culture and End of Year Reflections (Shared from Brandon Steinert)

Dr. Heilman and I were chatting this week about the culture at Barton as we reflected on the academic year. We shared observations about how the college (that is, all of us!) are making the Barton experience special and impactful for students. We discussed what it takes to build and keep a culture where that’s what we’re all about – the student experience and prioritizing learning. We realized there is much to highlight and celebrate… 

Then we decided it would be worth sharing some of this with the Barton family as a closing message to the semester and academic year.

Safe, like home.

First, Dr. Heilman chatted with some students recently to learn about their experience. Several anecdotes from students illustrated the degree to which our faculty and staff care. They said during and after the pandemic, what they needed more than anything was some type of stability or safe zone, and they named Barton as the source of this security. ❤

Sure, that says something about how we went about handling the pandemic, but students have been saying that about us even before 2020. (In the Communications Department, we hear it all the time from students.) The circumstances just made it apparent how important it is to create a safe, welcome environment, where students feel cared for and supported… and how good we are at it! 

Few have illustrated this aspect of Barton’s culture better than NaMari Moss, who will be graduating later this month at our Fort Leavenworth Campus. She delivered a speech at a recent Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) ceremony where she listed off numerous experiences with various instructors and courses, both online and in person. 

“What I am trying to say using these examples that I experienced at Barton Community College is that there are great professors who really want to see you be successful. Barton’s faculty and staff restored my love for learning, they have encouraged me, joked with me, and most importantly educated me. I am a better student, person, and I am prepared to continue my educational journey at a four-year college all because of the opportunities Barton has afforded me.”

It takes all of us.

During Dr. Heilman’s conversations with students, they named a few employees who influenced them and made their experience here rewarding and worthwhile. Like NaMari’s testimonial, those mentioned came from all corners of Barton’s campuses, from online instructors to full time faculty and staff members. 

If you would like further evidence, check out the Barton Difference Awards in the Commencement Program! These are meant to be a surprise for the individuals nominated so I won’t share this year’s document here, but here is a link to the last three years’ of difference awards nominees. Enjoy! 

A culture of leadership and action.

These qualities and traits in an organization don’t show up overnight. It takes a perpetual belief in what we’re doing and a renewed commitment to serving students each day, for years. It takes dedication to our own learning, and enough humility to know we all have areas where we can grow and improve. 

With that said, it’s hard to miss the many indications of flourishing leadership culture on campus in terms of both initiatives taken to enhance student learning and opportunities for learning and growth. One example initiative is the development of Concurrent Enrollment Program binders to clarify expectations of college-level rigor for coursework delivered to high school students, led by Jo Harrington and Karly Little. Another is the effort to spread awareness about academic integrity, and steps taken to ensure we truly walk the walk. 

We also celebrate the graduation of our own employees from the sixth Barton Leadership Institute class (see past participants below my signature). This institute was founded by VP of Instruction Elaine Simmons, who built it as a project during her participation in the Kansas Community College Leadership Institute. 

Matt Connell, Deanna Heier, Lindsay Holmes, Stephanie Joiner, and Angie Maddy also recently completed the Higher Learning Commission’s Student Success Academy (see attachment), which has led to the creation of a new group on campus known as the Student Success Alliance. Sincere congrats and appreciation for their work on student success initiatives at Barton!

In addition to those already mentioned, we have a handful of other institutes and workgroups making things happen at Barton and beyond, like the Assessment Institute and the newly re-launched Barton Speaker’s Bureau.

These initiatives and opportunities shine a light on our progress in meeting the goal of continuous improvement, from the institutional level down to individual employees.

In closing – let’s go celebrate our students, give ourselves a little pat on the back for our role in their success, and look forward to making it happen again in 2022-23! 

Barton Leadership Class of 2021-22:

Emily Harper, Academic Advisor (FR)
Erika Jenkins-Moss, Director of Fort Leavenworth Learning Services
Courtney Metcalf, Coordinator of Online Student & Faculty Services
Wendy Miller, Academic Advisor
Rita Thurber, Student Support Services Project Director
Maggie Tracy, Agriculture Instructor
Joe Vinduska, Public Relations & Social Media Specialist
Lawrence Weber, Instructor and Director, OSHA Training Institute Education Center 

Barton Leadership Institute Alumni: 

Leadership Institute (2016-2017)

  • Whitney Asher, Krystall Barnes, Tana Cooper, Claudia Mather, Terri Mebane and Leanne Miller

Leadership Institute (2017-2018)

  • Janet Balk, Mark Bogner, Jonathan Dietz, Lindsay Holmes, Stephanie Joiner, Kathleen Kottas, Peter Solie and Branson Steinert

Leadership Institute (2018-2019)

  • Zachary Bauman, Kristan Connell, Matt Connell, Jessica Fullen, Karly Little, Todd Mobray and Carol Murphy

Leadership Institute (2019-2020)

  • Erin Eggers, Deanna Heier, Orlando Hernandez, Karla Hitz, Jenna Hoffman, Abby Kujath, Julie Munden, Curtis Rose and Shelli Schmidt

Leadership Institute (2020-2021)

  • Chris Baker, Megan Chambers, Nolan Esfeld, Tanner Marston, Andrea Thompson, Christopher Vanderlinde and Jenna Wornkey