Hill College


Public School Leaders Learn What’s ‘New and Improved’ at Hill College


            Public school administrators from a four-county area met with Hill College officials Wednesday to prepare for the upcoming academic year. Classes begin August 25 at all Hill College locations, including Hillsboro, Cleburne, Burleson, Meridian, Glen Rose and online.

            One of the top topics was dual enrollment, where students can begin their college careers while still in high school. In fact, it was mentioned that students in some fields, such as cosmetology can actually be certified to begin working as soon as they graduate from high school.

            “Hill College was the first college in Texas to offer dual enrollment, and at one time we had more students in dual enrollment than any other college in Texas,” said Dr. Pamela Boehm, president of Hill College.

            About 12 public school administrators attended the workshop at the Hillsboro campus and another 16 participated at the Johnson County Campus. They represented independent school districts from Rio Vista, Covington, Mt. Calm, Whitney, Abbott, Bynum, Meridian, Alvarado, Cranfills Gap, Walnut Springs, Venus, Morgan, Cleburne, Hillsboro, Blum, Grandview, Godley, Glen Rose and Burleson.

            The counselors, principals, teachers and superintendents heard from the Hill College president, vice presidents, deans, librarians and directors about services Hill College provides to the students and the school systems.

            “Part of my program is to showcase Hill College as something new, innovative and improved,” said Boehm, who came onboard as Hill College’s tenth president July 1 of this year.

            “If we can educate and keep our students in our communities, it’s a win-win for everyone involved,” she said.

            Dean Susan Gann talked about the many different ways Hill College provides instruction to its students, including distance learning, face-to-face classes, online courses and hybrid courses, which allow students to study online during the week then meet with their instructor on Saturdays.

            Dean Lori Moseley, reported that while technical programs are largely hands-on in laboratories, the students in allied health programs, automotive, welding, fire protection and other such fields can complete any required  pre-requisites in dual enrollment or online programs. Those courses include English, math, anatomy, physiology and other academic areas.

            Rex Parcells, vice president for instruction, talked about how partnerships with industry are benefitting students with the development of the Hill College Technical Certification Center in downtown Cleburne. To date, the college offers automotive technology in the state-of-the-art Snap-On Center, and the Lincoln Electric Welding program is scheduled to go online this fall. Others are in development.

            “These partnerships are good for the students, the college and the community,” Parcells said. The students study in state-of-the-art laboratories, with the best equipment and modern technology. And they enjoy other perqs, such as the $2,500 worth of new Snap-On tools automotive technology graduates get to take with them as they join the workforce.

            Parcells noted that technical jobs like automotive are no longer greasy, sweatshop jobs. The Hill College Snap-On facilities are kept immaculately clean, and most of the work is done on computers. “It’s a new age. Today’s auto mechanics are highly skilled technicians,” Parcells said.

            He said Hill College’s main initiatives for student success are to increase the number of degrees and certifications awarded each year, increase retention, decrease the time it takes to get a degree, and to increase enrollment.

            Dean Floretta Bush talked about a new program aimed at achieving these initiatives, called “15 Forward.”

            “We are moving from accessibility to accountability,” she said. So, the new program is aimed at assuring that students know what services are available to them, understand how they can save time and money on their college program, and know the advantages of completing a degree or certificate at Hill College.

            The name 15 Forward refers to the first benchmark for student success, she said. “If a student is going to succeed, that story is pretty much told in their first 15 hours,” Bush said. Students will receive rewards and recognition as they achieve the increments of 15 and 30 hours, and ultimately their degree or certificate.

            “This is another way to encourage student engagement,” she said, noting that students who are engaged are more likely to succeed.

            Dr. Boehm reinforced this message, saying, “Often students want to get a few credits then transfer.” And they also drop out or stop out for various personal reasons. “We are trying to put incentives in place to encourage them to complete.”

            “It’s a way for us to keep students here longer and make sure they reach their goals,” Boehm said. “Not only do we want them to succeed, we want them to get that degree or certificate.”

            The remainder of the meeting covered services available through the Hill College library, testing center, enrollment services and online on the Hill College website. One very important item covered by Lizza Trenkle, vice president for student services, is the step-by-step enrollment checklist provided on the website.

            Trenkle and Sherry Davis, director of student records and registration, explained how all the information students need is available in a secure, password protected area of the website, called My Rebel, which is accessible wherever the students may be. This information includes calendar items, grades, degree audits, transcripts, books needed, services available, accounts and payment plans.

            “It is the hub of all the information students need,” Trenkle said. And our email addresses are right there if they need to ask further questions.

            Registration is currently in progress for the Fall 2014 semester. Students can begin online, or visit a Hill College campus or center in Hillsboro, Cleburne, Burleson, Meridian or Glen Rose. Deadline for new students is August 22.

            For more information, visit www.hillcollege.edu .