Newsdesk


Northwest announces Casey promotion

Northwest Mississippi Community College is pleased to announce that Dwayne Casey, district dean of Workforce Solutions, has been promoted to the position of associate vice president for Workforce Solutions and Career-Technical Education. “I look forward to working with the Workforce Solutions and Career-Technical Education team to develop the workforce necessary for the community and economic success of Northwest’s district,” Casey said. A Northwest employee for 20 years, Casey has held a variety of positions with the college, including Workforce Development coordinator, assistant director of Workforce Development, director of Workforce Development and Community Services, and associate dean of Workforce Solutions and Manufacturing Programs. “I’m pleased to have somebody as experienced as Dwayne to take over the reigns of this important branch of the college, and I look forward to working closely with him,” said Dr. Matthew Domas, vice president of Instruction. A Northwest alumnus, Casey earned an Associate of Arts degree from the college before earning a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Memphis and a Master of Science degree from Amberton University. For more information about Northwest, visit northwestms.edu.

Dwayne Casey

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Northwest announces drive-through graduation

With traditional graduation ceremonies taking a backseat to alternative celebrations amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Northwest Mississippi Community College has announced that the college will hold two drive-through graduation events on its Senatobia campus. The first event will honor Spring 2020 graduates, and is set for Thursday, July 30, at 9 a.m. The second event, held in honor of Summer 2020 graduates, is scheduled to take place on Friday, July 31, at 9 a.m. The route will begin at the college’s main entrance on Highway 51 and wind through campus to the Haraway Center portico, where Northwest President, Dr. Michael Heindl, and other Northwest leaders will be waiting to congratulate the graduates. The students, who will be riding in the passenger seat of each vehicle, will not leave their vehicles during the event, in cooperation with social distancing guidelines. Tents will be set up along the route, with faculty and staff members encouraged to attend and cheer on the students. As the graduation events are closed to the public, both events will be live-streamed on Northwest’s YouTube channel at youtube.com/NorthwestCC. To learn more about Northwest’s pathways and programs, visit northwestms.edu.

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Northwest receives $2.8 million from CARES Act to help students

Northwest Mississippi Community College officials have announced that the college has received approximately $2.8 million in emergency grant funds from the US Department of Education Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). The fund was created as a result of the passage by Congress of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act on March 27.  Funds from the grant will be used to provide emergency assistance to students with expenses incurred due to the disruption of campus activities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We are pleased to be able to send these emergency funds out to students and their families who are in need during this difficult time,” said Dr. Michael Heindl, Northwest president. The college is currently in the process of collecting and processing applications from students who qualify for grant funds, which includes those who were enrolled in on-campus classes on or prior to March 13 and who are eligible to, or could be eligible to, receive funding under Section 484 Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA) by completing a 2019-2020 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students who were exclusively enrolled in online (eLearning) classes will not be eligible for the HEERF funds due to the formula provided by Congress in the CARES Act. Eligible students have been sent directions via e-mail that include links to the Northwest CARES Act webpage and a link to the emergency relief funds application. Students who filed a 2019-2020 FAFSA may complete the Emergency Financial Aid Application at the following link:  https://nwcc.wufoo.com/forms/cares-act-student-emergency-grant-claim-form/ . The application period is May 18, 2020 to June 5, 2020. Students who did not file a 2019-2020 FAFSA may check their eligibility for grant funds by first completing the FAFSA at https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa and including the Northwest school code, 002427. For assistance in completing the FAFSA, contact the Northwest Financial Aid Office at 662-562-3271 or email fin_aid@northwestms.edu. After completing the FAFSA, students may submit an application for grant funds through the above link. The emergency financial aid grant funds will be disbursed on or before June 19, 2020. Award status will be sent to the student’s Northwest student email on or before June 17, 2020. The funds will be disbursed by BankMobile, which partners with the college to disburse all student financial aid refunds electronically. Students should be sure to complete the BankMobile account setup process and select refund preferences by visiting: https://www.refundselection.com/refundselection/#/welcome/continue. For more information on CARES Act funding and student eligibility, please visit the Northwest website at www.northwestms.edu/cares-act.  

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Northwest announces plans for fall classes

  Plans are underway for a full slate of classes in all educational programs for the Fall 2020 semester at Northwest Mississippi Community College, Northwest President, Dr. Michael Heindl, has announced. In a recent survey distributed to Northwest students to measure the effectiveness of the college’s COVID-19 response, survey responses made it clear that most students prefer a face-to-face classroom experience coupled with full on-campus experiences and services. Heindl emphasized that the college would continue its strong focus on fostering a safe and clean environment for the return of students, faculty, staff, and visitors to campus within the confines of federal and state government guidance and the leadership of public health agencies. “We are working hard to be able to welcome students back to campus this fall, and college officials are drafting detailed operating guidelines for fall now,” Heindl said. Northwest’s administration, bolstered by faculty and staff input, is working through items that include, but are not limited to potential revisions to the academic calendar to help minimize disruption and focusing on spread reduction techniques, including social and physical distancing, increased intensive cleaning and disinfectant protocols across facilities and the availability and use of face coverings and other personal protective equipment (PPE). “We will provide clear guidelines for employees to follow regarding sanitation and social distancing as they return to campus,” said Jeff Horton, vice president for Administration and Finance. “Our custodial department will follow cleaning protocols that are best practice in higher education and by the CDC.” Dr. Matthew Domas, vice president for Instruction, said plans are being made to re-work scheduling in the event of more pandemic-related interference. “Although the college anticipates a traditional start to the fall semester, the career-tech and academic divisions of the college are investigating new and innovative scheduling designs to address any potential interruptions to instruction due to a Covid-related response,” Domas said. Open registration for first session day classes began on May 11, and will continue through Friday, May 29. Registration for summer classes, which are all being conducted online, will be held exclusively online. Day classes for the first summer session begin on Monday, June 1. The last day to register for the first summer session or to make schedule changes is Tuesday, June 2, and Friday, June 12, is the last day to withdraw from a course. Open registration for second session day classes is Monday, July 6. Second session day classes begin on Tuesday, July 7. The last day to register or make schedule changes is Wednesday, July 8. The last day to withdraw from a course is Friday, July 17. Open registration for summer evening classes will be held on Friday, May 29. Evening classes begin on Monday, June 1. The last day to register or make schedule changes is Tuesday, June 2, and the last day to withdraw from a course is Friday, June 26. Open registration for summer online classes will be held on Friday, May 29. Online summer classes begin on Monday, June 1. The last day to register or make schedule changes is Tuesday, June 2. Priority registration for the fall semester will continue through Friday, May 29. Fall registration will resume in July and continue through open registration, which is set for Wednesday, August 12, through Friday, August 14. Classes begin on Monday, August 17. The last day to register is Wednesday, August 19. “During this unprecedented time, I know there is some uncertainty regarding attending college this fall,” said Dr. Tonyalle Rush, associate vice president for Student Services and Enrollment Management. “I would like to encourage our students and prospective students and say that Northwest is the best option. We are anticipating a large student population at our campuses and centers this fall.” College officials have announced that starting in the Fall 2020 semester, full-time tuition will increase by $100 to $1,600 per semester. Part-time tuition for up to 14 credit hours will increase by $5 to $145 per credit hour. General fees, residence hall room rent and meal plan fees and special fees will remain the same. To access the full calendar or to see more information about tuition and fees, visit northwestms.edu.

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Northwest's Hale named state MSVCC Instructor of the Year

Northwest Mississippi Community College mathematics instructor Jennifer Hale has been named the Mississippi Virtual Community College (MSVCC) Instructor of the Year. “I was so excited to get this award,” Hale said. “I work so hard on my online classes, and it feels great to be recognized.” Hale’s online courses include Intermediate Algebra, College Algebra, Business Calculus II, Calculus II, and Geometry. She is currently in her 15th year of teaching at Northwest. Mississippi’s Academic Officers selected Hale as the state’s overall winner from a group of five finalists. Hale and the rest of the finalists will be recognized at a future Mississippi Association of Community Colleges (MACC) meeting. Additionally, the five finalists will be invited to attend the MACC lunch with their college representative, and each will also share their innovations and best practices in online teaching and learning during an MSVCC Academy webinar. Hale expressed gratitude to Northwest’s eLearning department for trainings and opportunities that the department has provided. She also thanked her fellow math instructors at Northwest for the collaborative approach they take in sharing ideas and information. Hale has previously been honored as the Tate County Economic Development Foundation’s Educator of the Year for Northwest. Her Calculus II online course was also recently Quality Matters certified. “Jennifer is a great example of an online instructor being the best she can be,” said Phyllis Johnson, dean of eLearning. “Not only has she accomplished making her course a Quality Matters nationally recognized course, but she is taking additional training on how to be a better online instructor through Quality Matters. She is top notch in my book and very deserving.” Hale received both her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Mississippi. For more information about Northwest’s online programs, visit northwestms.edu.

Northwest mathematics instructor Jennifer Hale has been named the Mississippi Virtual Community College (MSVCC) Instructor of the Year.

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Herron, Waldrop named Ole Miss Lyceum Scholars

Northwest students Jessica Herron and Gabe Waldrop have achieved the esteemed honor of being selected to receive the Lyceum Scholar Award from the University of Mississippi. According to Ole Miss Admissions Counselor Amie Bernstein, the Lyceum Scholar Award is the University’s most prestigious transfer scholarship, and is awarded to only the top 15 community college students with a transfer GPA of at least 3.0 on at least 48 transferrable community college credit hours and an exemplary record of leadership and service. The scholarship covers the full in-state tuition for two years. Bernstein called this year’s pool of applicants “outstanding,” with the average GPA of Lyceum Scholars being 3.89. All students selected are members of Phi Theta Kappa, the largest community college honor society. A native of Charleston, Herron is a sophomore studying liberal arts at Northwest. She is the daughter of LaWanda Herron. She plans to major in English at Ole Miss in hopes of becoming an attorney. “Finding out that I was awarded the Lyceum Scholarship was the most amazing moment of my life thus far,” Herron said. “I want to thank my Northwest family for their leadership and guidance, which has definitely contributed to me receiving this honor. From the instructors, to the staff, to the administrators, and to my peers, I just want to issue a heartfelt thank you for making these the best two years of my life.” Waldrop is a sophomore from Senatobia studying mathematics at Northwest. He is the son of Dirk and Kristie Waldrop. He plans to continue studying mathematics at Ole Miss. “I was pleasantly surprised to find I’d been picked for the scholarship,” Waldrop said. “I worked hard to be selected, and the entire experience has been very rewarding. I value my time at Northwest, and know these first two years were the right choice for me.” For more information on pathways and programs offered by Northwest, visit northwestms.edu.

Gabe Waldrop
Jessica Herron

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Northwest, Main Street partner for blood drive

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a shortage of blood in Mississippi, Northwest Mississippi Community College and Senatobia Main Street have partnered to host a blood drive with Mississippi Blood Services (MBS) on Friday, April 17. According to MBS, donating blood is considered an essential task under a “Shelter in Place” order, as the need for blood is a crucial element in many aspects of healthcare. MBS has stressed that donating blood is safe, and the organization is taking every precaution recommended by the FDA and the CDC to keep donors and staff as safe as possible. The Northwest Community Blood Drive will take place on Northwest’s Senatobia campus in the Howard Coliseum parking lot from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Friday, April 17. Walk-ups are welcome, but participants may sign up ahead of time at www.signupgenius.com/go/904084BADAA2DABF58-senatobia. Those participating in the blood drive will be treated to a loaded tea from Tate Nutrition in Senatobia. To err on the side of caution, participants are asked to remain in their vehicles while waiting to be allowed in the Donor Coach. Only 10 individuals will be allowed on the MBS Donor Coach at any given time, including staff members. For more information on MBS, visit their website at msblood.com. For more information about Northwest, visit northwestms.edu.

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Northwest's Collinsworth retires after 46 years

On Thursday, May 7, a parade of Jacqueline “Jackie” Collinsworth’s co-workers, friends and family cruised through the Haraway Center portico on Northwest Mississippi Community College’s Senatobia campus to offer a wave, a smile and some heartfelt well-wishes. Visitors showered the honoree with cards, balloons and gifts to commemorate her upcoming retirement. Collinsworth, a history instructor at Northwest, has announced her retirement after a career spanning more than 46 years as part of the Northwest family. Though her colleagues planned a different, more traditional type of send-off, the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to get creative. An alumna of Northwest, Collinsworth graduated from the college in 1970 with an Associate of Arts in education. She went on to spend a semester at Christian Brothers College, where she was among an elite group of women who were the first females to be admitted to the school. She transferred to The University of Mississippi, and earned a Bachelor of Arts in education. Finally, she enrolled at Memphis State University, where she received a Master of Arts in teaching in 1973. Collinsworth is the daughter of James Jackson and Mildred Dodson Perry of Horn Lake and the niece of former Northwest instructor Bob Perry of Southaven. She married Emmett William Collinsworth in 1974, and subsequently joined the faculty of what was then Northwest Mississippi Junior College in the Social Science Department, offering courses in government, western civilization and American history. In her years with Northwest, Collinsworth has proven to be a hard worker and a team player. She was one of the initial instructors who volunteered to teach evening courses during the establishment of the DeSoto Center campus in its previous location on Northwest Drive in Southaven. She also served as faculty adviser to Sigma Tau Sigma Society and coordinated the campus Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), receiving certificates of achievement and meritorious service from both the Third ROTC Region and the Department of the Army in 1978. Additionally, Collinsworth has served as the chairperson of the Hall of Fame Committee, was selected to attend the Lamplighter Conference, which recognizes the best teachers in the Mississippi community college system, has served on the Athletic Committee for more than a decade, and was the first instructor to offer a 7 a.m. class and a 2:30 p.m. class. She has served under five Northwest presidents. Collinsworth has also served as requested on committees of grievance, arbitration and appeal, and has worked with Disability Support Services and served as co-adviser for the Criminal Justice Division. In addition, she has been a big proponent of Northwest athletics, cheering her students on from the stands. “I tried to participate in as many events as possible,” Collinsworth said. “I wanted my students to know I supported them.” She received the first President’s Award for Customer Service at Northwest in 2008, the Educator of the Year Award from the Tate County Economic Development Foundation in 2011 and was named Northwest’s 2011 Alumna of the Year. “Jackie has a remarkable work ethic and willingness to help her students,” said Kristin Watson, director of Social Science Instruction. “She is a staple of Northwest. Being here over 46 years, she has taught the children of many of her students. One of the most noteworthy comments from former students is that they are glad she has their child because she is such a good and kind teacher. She is such a sweet lady, and her presence will be missed on campus, from the classroom to the stands of athletic events.” From spending time on campus with her uncle as a young person, to attending Northwest as a student, to joining the faculty right out of graduate school and remaining for the duration of her career, the impact that Northwest has had on Collinsworth’s life cannot be overstated. “I have always loved Northwest, and will continue to support the college in retirement,” she said. “I have one bit of advice for incoming students: make the most of the opportunities you have at Northwest. It doesn’t get any better than this.”

An instructor at Northwest since 1974, Collinsworth is pictured giving a lecture in the McGhee Building.
Collinsworth was named Northwest’s Alumna of the Year in 2011. Presenting her with a commemorative plaque is then-president, Dr. Gary Lee Spears.
Collinsworth waves to friends passing by during a retirement parade held in her honor at the Haraway Center on May 7.

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Northwest programs donate PPE supplies to state

A team of staff and faculty members from Northwest Mississippi Community College have proudly worked together to coordinate a donation of  personal protective equipment (PPE) to the Mississippi Department of Health (MSDH) in an effort to assist the state’s first responders during the COVID-19 outbreak. “We were happy to work with the Mississippi Hospital Association and the Mississippi Department of Health to collect such sought-after PPE supplies for our hospitals,” said Patti Gordon, Northwest’s executive director of Institutional Advancement and the coordinator of the donation effort. “Northwest program directors were already working extra hard to transition to an instructional online format, but gladly took the time to get extra PPE supplies together for this important mission.” According to Gordon, supplies came from the college’s associate degree nursing, practical nursing, cardiovascular technology, and surgical technology programs. Northwest initiated the effort after the Organization for Associate Degree Nursing and the American Association of Community Colleges encouraged colleges to help their local agencies. Joining in this effort were Dr. Denise Bynum, director of Nursing Instruction, Dr. Stephanie Mullins, director of Practical Nursing, Ricky Stevens, Cardiovascular Technology instructor, Dr. Don Jones, dean of Northwest’s Lafayette-Yalobusha Technical Center in Oxford, Jenny Hurt, Institutional Advancement specialist, David Kuchta, paramedic program director, and Northwest housekeeping employees. The supplies were picked up by MSDH Emergency Response Coordinator Curtis Jernigan, and have been transported to Jackson. They will be distributed throughout the state where needed. “Many thanks to all who helped in gathering, moving and loading these invaluable supplies for our frontline workers,” Gordon said. For more about Northwest, visit the college online at northwestms.edu.

Northwest Mississippi Community College programs recently made a donation of personal protective equipment (PPE) to the Mississippi State Health Department (MSDH) to assist first responders during the COVID-19 outbreak. Pictured: (from left) Curtis Jernigan, MSDH emergency response coordinator, Dr. Michael Heindl, Northwest president, Denise Bynum, Northwest director of Nursing Instruction, Zabe Davis, Northwest chief of police, Stephanie Mullins, Northwest director of Practical Nursing, and Patti Gordon, Northwest executive director of Institutional Advancement.

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Boren endowment established at Northwest

The Mike and Celia Boren Endowed Scholarship has been established at Northwest Mississippi Community College to benefit students from Tunica County. Mike Boren, a graduate of Northwest, was born in Blytheville, Arkansas – 18 miles from his future wife, who entered the world a year and a half earlier in Manila, Arkansas. He is the son of the late David and Mildred Boren. His mother was a nurse, and his father worked in the cotton warehousing business. In 1964, his father was transferred to Drew, where the family remained until 1970, when his father was transferred again to Tunica. Entering his senior year of high school in a new town did not phase Boren, whose wife describes him as easygoing. “It didn’t upset me,” he said. “I just saw an opportunity to meet other people.” Upon graduating in 1971 from the Tunica Institute of Learning (TIL), later renamed Tunica Academy, he enrolled at Northwest. Boren has many fond memories of his time on the Senatobia campus, making new friends and earning a spot on the honor roll. However, he also recalls more sobering experiences from that time, such as listening to the draft on the radio as the Vietnam War raged on. Boren graduated from Northwest in 1973, and went on to study at Delta State University, where he studied banking and finance. He graduated with his degree in 1975, and bagged groceries for a brief time while applying for jobs with various banks. He soon received a call from Tunica County Bank, now Citizens Bank & Trust, in Tunica asking him to come aboard. Of course, he couldn’t have known at the time that he would eventually retire from the bank after serving as its president. Two years after beginning his career with the bank, he married his wife, Celia, in 1977. In June, the couple will celebrate 43 years of marriage. The couple met on a night out while Celia, a Kansas resident at the time, was in Tunica visiting her father, Cecil Blake. Now retired after almost 18 years as the city clerk for the Town of Tunica, Celia continues to work several days each month at Citizens Bank & Trust in customer service. The Borens are active members of the First Baptist Church in Tunica, where Celia plays the organ. She also sings in a local singing group, the Starlight Singers. She recalls being a “band nerd” in school, playing mostly clarinet, and even fondly remembers getting to march in the Tournament of Roses Parade when she was in high school. “That’s certainly a memory that stands out,” she said. Her husband also has no trouble staying busy, enjoying duck hunting, crappie fishing, playing golf, practicing woodwork, and  perhaps most of all, riding his Harley Davidson. The latter has become a passion for both, as the two very much enjoy embarking on motorcycle trips together. “He’s fun to travel with,” she said. “He likes to stop at places and look at things. It’s not like you have to hurry up and get there.” A spontaneous and adventurous couple, Boren said he and his wife have set out on trips without even knowing where they were heading, booking hotel rooms along the way. So far, their longest trip has been a 10-day jaunt to San Antonio, Texas. Now that both have more time on their hands, they hope to hit the road together more frequently. Parents to two children, daughter Stacey and son Benjamin, the Borens also have three grandchildren, Blake, Taylor and Michael, and one great-grandchild, Ben. As a proud alumnus of Northwest, Mike Boren has served on the Alumni Association board for more than 15 years, and also acted as its president. He is currently serving as past president and Tunica County representative. He also served as a member of the college’s Foundation Board of Directors. The Mike and Celia Boren Endowed Scholarship will be awarded to a student from Tunica County, with each recipient required to maintain a 2.0 GPA while enrolled at Northwest. For more information on Foundation scholarships or to contribute to the Boren endowment, contact the Foundation Office at (662) 560-1103.

The Mike and Celia Boren Endowed Scholarship has been established at Northwest.

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