MCC PRESIDENT DR. JUDITH L. RHOADS ANNOUNCES RETIREMENTMarch 18, 2016, will mark the close of a leadership era at Madisonville Community College with the retirement of President Judith L. Rhoads. Rhoads has served as president and CEO of MCC since July 1, 1998. She holds the Doctor of Education degree in Human Resource Development from Vanderbilt University and is a fellow of the American Council on Education. Her first significant challenge as president of MCC was to preside over the consolidation of Madisonville Community College and Madisonville Technical College following the passage of the Kentucky Postsecondary Education Improvement Act of 1997, acting as president of both institutions until the merger was completed. MCC was the first community college in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) to undertake such a merger. Under Dr. Rhoads' leadership, Madisonville Community College has placed itself among the highest performing public community colleges in Kentucky and the nation. In 2011, 2013, and 2015, the Aspen Institute, an educational and public policy research organization, named Madisonville Community College in the top 10% of community colleges in the nation and was ranked first in the state for the highest graduation rate for two-year colleges by the Complete College America project.
Dr. Rhoads was born and raised in Central City, the youngest of three daughters of the late Clarence and Dorothy Lewis. She resides in Madisonville with her husband, former Senator Jerry Rhoads. They have two sons, Brad and Chris, and eight grandchildren. Dr. Rhoads is a graduate of Murray State University, earning her Master s degree in Psychology from Austin Peay University, and her doctorate in Human Resource Development from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University.
She has devoted her professional career to public education, knowing that it is critical to personal success and community development. From 1976 to 1993, Dr. Rhoads taught psychology as a member of the MCC faculty. During that period, she was chosen Teacher of the Year four times by the student body, and over 4,200 students passed through her classroom, many of whom have returned to the classroom as educators themselves. Prior to becoming president and CEO at Madisonville Community College, Dr. Rhoads was the Dean of Academic Affairs at Owensboro Community College in Owensboro, Kentucky, from 1993 to 1998. In that capacity, she developed and implemented a service learning program that was recognized statewide, directed the establishment of a Teaching and Learning Center for faculty, developed and implemented a new system of student advising, and revised the college's evaluation of instruction process.
Building on a tradition of strong degree programs at MCC, Dr. Rhoads has continued to meet the needs of business and industry employers with state-of-the-art technical education. During her tenure as President, MCC has developed and implemented 15 new Associate in Applied Science degree programs, 6 diplomas, and 93 certificate options. The college s alignment with the needs of employers has never been more important. The MCC administration and faculty have worked hard to listen and respond to the 266 members of our Program Advisory Committees to make certain their current needs are met and to keep our eyes on the future at all times. More than ten years ago, a course and program restructuring process was implemented to refresh the curriculum and keep up to date with current trends and technology. The result has been second to none educational offerings for this community.
The role of a community college is multifaceted. MCC must provide citizens with high wage, high demand work ready program options as well as opportunities for a seamless transfer into baccalaureate programs. We have worked in partnership with our universities to open these doors, encouraging all students to reach their educational potential. To that end, MCC has 88 Memorandum of Agreements with universities paving the way for transfer of these students into 4-year degrees of their choice. MCC is ranked 5th in KCTCS with 8.9% of degree seeking students transferring.
Other initiatives unique to MCC are the Common Reader and Personal Effectiveness Skills. The Common Reader program was introduced in 2010 which strengthened the interdisciplinary nature of coursework in the college. The result has been an increase in the understanding of common principles and events through the perspective of different disciplines and a broadening of the student's personal perspectives. In 2013, Dr. Rhoads set in motion a significant effort at MCC to address the soft skills deficit that employers throughout the state and the nation are struggling with in their employees. With a focus on punctuality, initiative, effective communication, and work ethic, faculty devised a plan to incorporate the development of these qualities into their coursework. Today, personal effectiveness skills are shaped and evaluated in every class taught at MCC.
Over the past sixteen years, the Workforce Solutions Department has grown from a 5 member department to a department of 24 with four major grants and six additional units covering the health, manufacturing and mining sectors of our six county region. MCC takes great pride in the work with mine training, mine rescue, mine fire brigade, serving over 14,500 miners in the past three years. During Rhoads tenure, enrollment in courses offered through Workforce Solutions has increased from 2,000 enrollees to more than 8,300 per year. Since 2005, MCC s Workforce Solutions department has applied for and been awarded $8,657,445 in KY WINS/KCTCS TRAINS grants. The department continues to be rated as one of the top units across the state, currently serving 175 companies served in the six county area. Quality enrichment programs such as Girls in Engineering, Summer Youth College, Super Saturdays and continuing education courses are also offered.
Although not a tangible change, the college has also undergone a significant shift in how it goes about the process of teaching and learning. Dr. Rhoads has worked hard to create an institutional culture that focuses all efforts on student success. As a result, the college is transforming itself from a teaching centered to a learning centered institution. To bring about the transformation, MCC faculty members have made effective use of institutional resources and federal grants to encourage and sustain professional development. She has worked with faculty and staff to establish ground-breaking initiatives which have increased commitment to student development while at the college and upon graduation. Initiatives include:
a critical thinking across the curriculum quality enhancement plan intended to promote the higher order reasoning skills;
a problem-based learning initiative which promotes the use of collaborative, team-based student learning projects;
a reading across the curriculum initiative that promotes the use of discipline-specific reading comprehension strategies;
a robust locally developed and delivered professional development program that promotes educational best practice for both faculty and staff; and perhaps most importantly,
the implementation of a New Faculty Teaching and Learning Community program which ensures that all new faculty are introduced to the use of effective research-based instructional strategies that promote active learning and student engagement, the first such program of its kind in the KCTCS.
Each of these initiatives are the outgrowth of three consecutive, federally funded Title III Strengthening Institution grants that were awarded to the college beginning in 2003, together totaling $5.6 million. Dr. Rhoads is committed to obtaining the resources necessary to ensure that students have the opportunity to reach their goals and their potential. This has been a guiding force at the college since she became President. Since 1998, Madisonville Community College has been awarded over $154 million in grant funding. Financial aid is a part of that number, but after removing financial aid, approximately $60 million has been awarded to improve services and instruction.
Dr. Rhoads has also encouraged innovative approaches to student affairs programming. Today, all new students participate in an innovative First Year Experience (FSE) program, launched in fall 2005. Faculty advisors meet with small groups of students, during the summer and prior to the first day of classes, so that advisors can acclimate new students to the expectations associated with the college classroom. Results of this new advising program have been overwhelmingly positive. Those students who participate in FSE sessions are retained at a rate significantly higher than those do not. Today, MCC s persistence, retention, and graduation rates are among the highest in the nation for public two-year colleges. The average fall to spring persistence rate for students participating in FSE since Fall 2005 was 81%.
Since 1998, MCC s enrollment has increased by 70%, including a record 4,883 students in the fall 2010 semester. The office of diversity programs, created in 2006, has provided programs and services to expand awareness and promote access for students. The percentage of minority students enrolled at MCC has increased over 50% since 2006 and the persistence of minority students ranks among the highest in KCTCS. The college has awarded over 6,500 associate degrees since 1998 and over 15,000 total credentials to students.
The Educational Talent Search and Student Support Services Trio programs continue to be successful and have been funded consistently at the college. Transfer pathways for students have grown exponentially over the years - highlighted by strong partnerships with Murray State University to provide essential baccalaureate programs in education, healthcare, and technology to the community. An active and robust program of recruitment and early college awareness programs have provided access and exposure to the college for thousands of school age children annually.
Dr. Rhoads experience in leadership roles and community endeavors is diverse and demonstrates an understanding of community development. In addition to her years as Academic Dean, Dr. Rhoads is also a graduate of Leadership Hopkins County and Leadership Owensboro. She has served on statewide boards for both the Kentucky Historical Society and the Kentuckiana Girl Scout Council, as well as the Board of Trustees for the University of Kentucky and the Kentucky Workforce Investment Board. She currently serves on the Madisonville-Hopkins County Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors, the Glema Mahr Center for the Arts Advisory Board, the United Way Board of Directors, the Kentucky Humanities Council, the School Counts! Steering Committee, and the Hopkins County Work Ready Community Committee. Locally, she is a past member of the Community Improvement Foundation, the Madisonville-Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce, the Hopkins County Community Coalition for Prevention of Substance Abuse, the former Chairperson of the local American Red Cross board and has served on the Felix E. Martin, Jr. Foundation Executive Board in Muhlenberg County for six years. One of her most noteworthy accomplishments has been her selection as an American Council on Education Fellow, the first Kentucky community college faculty member to receive such an honor. Dr. Rhoads completed her fellowship under the guidance of President Ruth Shaw at Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The most important challenge facing any president, however, is the challenge of assembling a team of effective faculty and staff and providing them the resources they need to do the best job possible. Resource development activities have increased dramatically during Dr. Rhoads' tenure. The college has consistently ranked in the top four in grant funds awarded among the sixteen community and technical colleges in KCTCS. Likewise, MCC has consistently ranked among the most successful KCTCS colleges in private fundraising. During her tenure as president, MCC received pledges and gifts totaling $21,039,417. MCC conducted the Fulfilling the Promise, a five-year capital gifts campaign, which raised $9,625,871 in private donations to the college. Under Dr. Rhoads' leadership, the college opened the MCC Muhlenberg Campus ($4.5 million) and the Joe C. Davis Science and Technology Building in 2001 ($5.38 million) and the Brown Badgett, Sr. Energy amp; Advanced Technology Center in 2009 ($14 million). In 2014-2015, Rhoads worked diligently to obtain funding for the Madisonville Regional Postsecondary Education Center through the BuildSmart Investment for Kentucky Competitiveness initiative. Successful completion of the $5 million fundraising campaign was announced in October 2015 and construction of the new facility is anticipated to begin in early spring. The BuildSmart campaign totaled $5,216,393. Since 1998, Madisonville Community College has received $44.5 million for new facilities, $7.06 million for construction and renovations, $4.34 million for energy management and sustainability, and $2.43 million for deferred maintenance and campus improvements.
The generosity of Dr. Rhoads and her husband extends to all areas of the college and the community with donations important to student success in the region. Endowments and scholarship funds receiving donations include the School Counts! for Hopkins County Endowment, BuildSmart Madisonville campaign, the Hamman Family Humanities Endowment, the Glema Mahr Center for the Arts annual fund, the Stan Lewis Memorial Endowment, the JB and Keil Moore Community Endowment, the Judith K. Moore Memorial Endowment, the Madisonville Library Endowment, the Elizabeth and Frank Bacon Family Applied Technology Endowment, the Webster County Scholarship Fund, the Jerry and Judy Rhoads 2 + 2 Scholarship Endowment, and the Judy Rhoads International Scholarship Endowment.
Dr. Rhoads is committed to the improvement of education at all levels in Hopkins and surrounding counties. She led the successful efforts to develop, fund, and implement the School Counts! work ethic/scholarship endowment program for public high school students in Hopkins and Muhlenberg counties. At the time of its creation, it was only the second program of its kind in the nation. Since the first scholarship awards in 2008, the School Counts! program has awarded $802,386 to students attending MCC. Rhoads has also been a key player in the establishment of the Webster County Kids to College (WCK2C) scholarship program, based on the School Counts! model, for students at Webster County High School to attend Henderson Community College or Madisonville Community College. The establishment of the Judith L. Rhoads Endowment of Student Engagement and Success was the WCK2C founding gifts.
Another successful program is the Adult Centers for Educational Excellence, commonly known as ACE2. Born in 1998 from a vision and collaborative grant with the Hopkins County School System and Madisonville Community College, ACE2 began offering GED, college and workforce preparation classes in Hopkins County at the Parkway Plaza Mall location in the spring of 1999. In July 2000 these services were expanded to include MCC s Tech Campus on School Avenue. In the summer of 2005, ACE2 services were also added at the Muhlenberg Career Advancement Center. In order to increase access to services, off-site classes in Dawson Springs, St. Charles, White Plains, Nortonville (new in January 2016), Bremen, Beechmont, Hopkins and Muhlenberg County jails, and the Green River Correctional Complex have or are currently being offered. From ACE2 implementation to present, 1,521 GED credentials have been awarded in Hopkins County and 399 in Muhlenberg County, for a total of 1,920 GED s to our residents. This large impact has led to hundreds of postsecondary transitions and a better educated workforce. The success of ACE2 is a direct result of talented and dedicated instructors, solid community and organizational partnerships, and the support, leadership and vision that was captured in 1998.
Finally, Rhoads understands that, if the college is to have a significant impact on contributing to community development, children and parents must be aware of the value and availability of postsecondary opportunities. To that end, the college regularly invites elementary, middle school and high school students on campus to participate in structured college day activities. Over 2,000 public school students visit the campus annually.
Another successful outreach program is the School Days Matinees at the Glema Mahr Center for the Arts. Average annual attendance for the past five years has been more than 6,200 K-12 students. Beyond the School Days Matinees, the Glema Center serves an additional 4,000 students each year through our residencies, visual arts exhibits, Summer Arts Academies, and partnership with the Kentucky Music Educators Association. The average attendance yearly to the Glema Center is 42,000.
As a champion of the arts, Dr. Rhoads has worked hard to secure the Glema Mahr Center for the Arts for generations to come. During the 2015 year alone, approximately $100,000 was given to support the Arts in Hopkins County through endowments and outright gifts from individuals and business sponsorships. Dr. Rhoads tenacious support and encouragement through her own gifts have positioned the Glema Center to be an integral part of economic development efforts as well as offering our citizens cultural opportunities right in their own community.
During her tenure as president of Madisonville Community College, Dr. Judith L. Rhoads has brought a spirit of cooperation and innovation to her work, never losing sight of the college s primary purpose - serving students well and creating an environment that promotes learning and success.