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Inside Story for Friday, October 31, 2008

Nominations for the 2008 Diane Donelson Spirit Award Now Being Accepted

In honor of deceased Board of Governors member Diane Donelson, MCC Board of Governors adopted a resolution to establish an award for MCC employees. The Diane Donelson Spirit Award was established to recognize employees who exemplify the enduring qualities and compassionate spirit that Donelson exhibited in her interaction with others.

Nominations are now being accepted for this award. Deadline for nominations is Nov. 26. The third Diane Donelson Spirit Award will be presented at the Employee Holiday Reception scheduled for Dec. 17 at the Livestock Exchange Building.

If you know someone who meets the criteria for the award, nominations must be submitted in writing to Kay Friesen by intercampus mail or in person to Fort Omaha Campus Bldg 18 or by email.

The nomination should include:
Nominee name, MCC mailing address, phone number, email address
Nominator name, MCC mailing address, phone number, email address

In the nomination, specifically address with examples the reason you have nominated this person for the award and how the person specifically meets the criteria of the award.

Specific criteria for the award:

  • Positive spirit in the face of adversity
  • Unwavering commitment to building relationships
  • Compassion for others
  • Leadership and dedication to MCC

Faculty Ex Officio Candidates Announced

The campaign for Faculty Ex Officio to the College Board of Governors is now underway. Candidates are:

  • Richard L. Newcomer, instructor in the Applied Technology/Utility Line Program
  • Nancy Pares, instructor/assistant director in the Nursing Program

Information about the candidates is posted on the Ex Officio Election web site. Election day is Nov. 17, 2008. Full-time faculty members are eligible to vote for the Faculty Ex Officio member. Voting will be conducted via the web. Information about the voting procedure will be sent to faculty prior to the election.

College Internships Available

Full-time MCC employees can now participate in a college internship. The College Internship Program provides an avenue to integrate individual interests with institutional needs.

There are two different processes currently taking place. The first process provides vice presidents an opportunity to submit a potential internship position application for consideration. Employees are encouraged to forward proposals to their area vice president. The proposed internship must specify a timely special project consistent with the role, mission and specific needs of the College. An internship form titled Request for Approval of Internship Position can be obtained from the MCC Forms Bank. The deadline to submit this application is Nov. 14, 2008.

Interested full-time employees may apply for internships by clicking here for a description of the current internships available. The application titled College Internship Application Form may be obtained in the MCC Forms Bank. The deadline to submit this application is Dec. 8, 2008.

Timeline:

Date

Potential New Positions

(Submitted to Vice Presidents) 

Approved Internship Positions

(2 Currently Available) 

 Oct. 31, 2008  Applications accepted for new internships  Applications for employees accepted for currently available internships
 Nov. 14, 2008  Application deadline for potential positions  
 Nov. 26, 2008  Select and announce approved positions  
 Dec. 8, 2008   Application deadline for employees to apply for approved positions  Application deadline for employees to apply for approved positions
 Dec. 9-12, 2008  Interviews and selection of intern(s)  Interviews and selection of intern(s)
 January 2009  Internships proceed per the starting date of each position Internships proceed per the starting date of each position

More information regarding the College Internship Program, eligibility, criteria and responsibility can be found in the Procedures Memorandum, VI-29. If you have questions regarding the internship process, contact Albertha Schmid in the president’s office at 457-2203.

MCC Student Elected as Phi Theta Kappa Regional Communications Officer

Cindy Wingert, president of the Beta Pi Beta chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, was recently selected to serve as the Regional Communications Officer for the Nebraska/Wyoming Region. Wingert will be responsible for managing the primary inter-chapter communication by gathering and disseminating information across the region. She has held several roles at her chapter at the Elkhorn Valley Campus including project coordinator, vice president and currently president. Wingert is a mother of four currently working on her associate of science degree. She hopes to transfer to Methodist and study cardiovascular sonography.

Phi Theta Kappa Induction

Metropolitan Community College will celebrate the academic achievement of 135 new members of Phi Theta Kappa at an induction ceremony Nov. 7 at the South Omaha Campus Conference Center at 7 p.m. All faculty and staff are invited; a reception will follow the ceremony.

Students who have completed at least 12 college level credits with a cumulative 3.5 GPA are eligible for membership in Phi Theta Kappa. Each quarter approximately 2,200 MCC students are invited to join. MCC has a chapter at each campus; these chapters provide leadership, fellowship and scholarship opportunities to their members. Chapters have been involved in organizing book drives, leadership workshops, tree plantings, social activities and fundraising events.

Phi Theta Kappa was established in 1918. It is the only nationally acclaimed honor fraternity serving American institutions that offer associate degree programs. Two-year schools have continually recognized membership in Phi Theta Kappa as an honor and a privilege. Membership is given added significance by the fact that the fraternity is recognized by the American Association of Community and Junior Colleges as the official honor fraternity for two-year colleges. Please encourage students to join Phi Theta Kappa. To learn more, visit www.ptk.org.

MCC Making a Difference

MCC has made an impact on a lot of lives in different ways. MCC’s Marketing Department has been collecting success stories of students, community members, employees and graduates to learn about the uniqueness of their lives, their paths and their choices to come to MCC. Some of these stories are available online. If you have a story you’d like to share or know someone with a unique story, call 457-2278 or email kewortmann@mccneb.edu.

TRIO Tots Shower

The hosts of the ninth annual Single Parents Conference (Nov. 21 at South Omaha Campus) are asking for unused items for children age 0-5. These items are to be used as gifts or door prizes to participants of the conference while they are educated in responsible parenting. Smaller items can be dropped into a campus mail envelopes and be sent to Single Parent/Homemaker Coordinator Phyllis Brown, Fort Omaha Campus, Bldg 5. A TRIO/SPH staff member can arrange to pick larger items up from your office; call 457-2318 for pick-up or with any questions. Items will be accepted until Nov. 17.

CET Corner

Office 2007
The end of the year is rapidly approaching; if you are a faculty member who has not yet been trained for Office 2007, contact your dean to arrange for training. Remember, the Office 2007 workshop is required due to system upgrades that will take full effect by the end of the year. Listed below are the classes still available:

  • 10/31 08/SE COMP 620N WI51 Fri. 9 a.m.-noon MAH 145
  • 11/7 08/SE COMP 620N WI60 Fri. 9 a.m.-noon FOC 8 201
  • 11/8 08/SE COMP 620N WI67 Sat. 9 a.m.–noon MAH 145
  • 11/11 08/SE COMP 620N WI68 Tues. 1–4 p.m. MAH 145
  • 11/14 08/SE COMP 620N WI61 Fri. 9 a.m.–noon FOC 8 201
  • 11/19 08/SE COMP 620N WI59 Wed. 9 a.m.-noon EVC 157

First Aid/CPR
First Aid/CPR training courses are now only available once a month. The last two classes scheduled for 2008 are listed below. Facilitated by MCC CPR-certified instructors, upon completion a Heartsaver First Aid Card will be issued to participants from the American Heart Association. Register today as classes without a minimum enrollment will be cancelled!

  • Friday, Nov. 21, 8 a.m.–12:30 p.m. South Omaha Campus, Industrial Training Center, Room 104 08/SE_BSAD_750N_WM11
  • Friday, Dec. 5, 8 a.m.–12:30 p.m. South Omaha Campus, ITC Building Room 104 08/JA_BSAD_750N_WM13

Contact Registration as soon as possible to sign up for these training sessions. Tuition waiver/remission is available for full-time employees/faculty and part-time regulars using the MCC Employee Tuition Waiver Form on the Forms Bank. Part-time temp employees and adjunct faculty who want to register should contact their dean to arrange for the cost center to be billed before registering. Deans should send the cost center billing information to Adam Smith at the Fort Omaha Campus, Bldg 5 so the adjunct and part-time temporary employees will not be billed personally. Reference the Employee and Dependent Tuition Waiver Procedures Memorandum for more information.

Register today!
A new series of online courses begin Nov. 12. View all our online courses.

Staff Directory Updates

New Employees
Barry Anderson, Coordinator of Articulation & Special Programs, FOC Bldg 30, TBA
Ingrid Armstead, Academic Affairs Associate, FOC Bldg 10, 457-2355
Stacy Newsom Kerr, Academic Resource Center Educational Assistant, Sarpy Center, 538-3865
Stacia Payne, Central Registration Clerk, FOC Bldg 2, 457-5231
Clifton Pee, Director of Network Services, FOC Bldg 3, 457-2908
Christopher Simpson, Custodian, SOC, 738-4507
Joy Wineinger, Payroll Technician, FOC Bldg 30, 457-2725

Changes
Pamela Lewis-Rodriguez, Assistant Dean of Enrollment Services, FOC Bldg 30, 457-2717
Ruth Schindler, Assistant to Vice President of Campuses and Student Affairs

Separations, Last Day
Marnita Jondle, 10/29/08
James Richards, 10/31/08

Financial Planning Program Notes on Debates

As election day approaches, uncommitted voters who had the opportunity to watch one or more of the three presidential debates may be asking, “What did I hear?” The first presidential debate ever televised, between Kennedy and Nixon, quickly became known as the “Great Debate” as it served to change the political landscape and public perception of future candidates and campaigns. A Newsweek article (October 17, 1960) discussing the debate asked, “Did the Cameras Lie?”

How do we know if what we see is real? Why do we watch? Participants in the financial planning community, practitioners, students, academics, may have tuned in hoping to hear terms and concepts critical to long-term strategies associated with the financial wellness and economic viability of households and nations. Recognizing that only so many words can be strung together filling a fixed space of time, the opportunity cost of what was said — and perhaps even more importantly, the utility of what was not said, may have been considered. After reviewing the debate transcripts, a table was created to illustrate who mentioned what and when. The topics are listed based on frequency in a descending order where those topics mentioned most often are listed first.

What was Debated?
Taxes were discussed extensively by both candidates with respect to taxpayers, business and corporate taxes, tax codes and rates and taxation relative to healthcare. The role of government was debated with respect to the size of government, the need for governmental reform, government spending and the government’s role in the mortgage lending crisis as well as insurance and healthcare. Economic topics discussed were reflective of conditions occurring at the time of the debates including the gas price peak in mid-September, increasing foreclosure rates and market declines that began in mid-October. Debate related to spending included defense spending, the need to control spending, deficit spending and wasteful spending. There were numerous references to pork-barrel spending in all three debates. Estimated at $17.2 billion, this spending account for less than 1 percent (=.59%) of the 2008 budget estimated at $2.9 trillion.

What Was Missed…
The Consumer Many topics important to wealth building received little or no coverage. Perhaps most disconcerting was the absence of discourse specific to the consumer given that consumption accounts for approximately 70 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product. No mention was made of the low rate of personal savings or investments. Even though the Dow Jones Industrial Average had dropped well below the 8,000 mark and many Americans had seen large amounts of their retirement funds disappear, there was no mention of specific investment vehicles such as stock, mutual funds and 401K by either candidate in any of the debates.

Although the budget and deficits were mentioned in all three debates, few specifics were provided. Neither candidate mentioned that the Congressional Budget Office projected the federal deficit for 2008 ($407 billion) would be more than double that of last year’s. Audiences were not informed that the current trade deficit is $59.1 billion. Nor were they told the U.S. has not experienced a trade surplus for more than 30 years.

Both candidates stated the current national debt was $10 trillion, but neither indicated this equated to approximately $35,000 per U.S. citizen. Both candidates made specific mention of the debt owed to China, but both misstated this value. Neither candidate mentioned that approximately 27 percent of our national debt is now held by foreign and international interests, a figure that has more than doubled in the past 30 years.

Moderator of the third debate Bob Schieffer asked “How would you, as president, try to break those bad habits of too much debt and too much easy credit?” However, credit card debt, now estimated at more than $8,000 per household, was never discussed in the context of amount or significance. Neither candidate mentioned it will take the typical household more than 25 years to pay off this debt and cost almost $20,000. The topics of retirement, Social Security and Medicare, were only briefly discussed by the candidates even though it is estimated by the year 2017, when millions of baby boomers are well into their retirement years, the government will be paying more out in Social Security benefits than collected in payroll taxes. By the year 2033, this shortfall will exceed $300 billion a year, and if left unchanged, by 2041, the system will be bankrupt. More troubling is the state of Medicare, a program where current annual outflows already exceed inflows. Whereas Medicare expenditures now account for approximately 4 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product, with the aging population, this figure is expected to increase to 12 percent by 2050. In today’s dollars, it is estimated the U.S. would need an amount equal to more than three times the current national debt to cover the Medicare shortfalls over the next 75 years.

Conclusion
Although words in isolation have little value and must be considered in context to provide clarity, if those words are never mentioned or those concepts are only briefly discussed, the essential substance is not available to provide critical consideration. As election day approaches, the need for reliable information is crucial. At a time when Joe the Plumber, by virtue of his proximity in a rope line, is receiving more attention than issues such as the national debt and lost retirement savings, finding substantive sources can be challenging.          

 Scorecard

NOTES

1: The majority of Senator McCain’s discussion on taxation focused on potential tax increases whereas the majority of Senator Obama’s was concentrated on actions that would reduce taxes such as tax breaks, tax cuts and tax credits.

2: Discussions related to insurance and healthcare were brought up almost twice as often by Senator Obama as compared to Senator McCain and were discussed more frequently in the second and third debates.

3: Senator McCain mentioned spending more often than Senator Obama with references to the need for spending cuts, spending freezes and pork-barrel spending.

4: More time was spent in the second and third debates discussing economic conditions where Senator Obama was the only candidate to specifically discuss economic growth.

5: Senator McCain discussed the role of government more than twice as often as Senator Obama.

6: Although figures announced in early October indicated the unemployment rate (6.1 percent) remained unchanged, jobs were discussed in all three debates with Senator McCain bringing up job-related topics almost twice as often as Senator Obama.

7: The federal budget was mentioned in all three debates but discussed in greater detail in the third debate. Although Senator Obama brought up budget related issues almost twice as often as Senator McCain, Senator McCain was the only candidate who specifically discussed the need to balance the budget.

8: Senator Obama made numerous mentions of investment opportunities such as alternative energy sources, space technology, science and education whereas Senator McCain only directly discussed investing on three occasions.

9: The second debate, a town hall format, was used to provide uncommitted voters an opportunity to ask the candidates questions about a number of issues. Many of these questions focused on topics that had been given little or no time in the preceding debate and would not be addressed again in the last debate. Such issues included Social Security and Medicare. For more information on Social Security and Medicare, see: http://www.ssa.gov/ and http://www.medicare.gov/.

10: Although recently increasing to 3 percent, personal savings had been below 1 percent of personal income for the past four years — a rate far behind other nations such as Germany and Japan where citizens save more than 10 percent of their income. Even though savings was discussed a number of times in all three debates, with Senator McCain mentioning college savings and Senator Obama discussing retirement savings, many of the references to savings were framed in the context of what government dollars the candidate had saved or would save if elected.

11: The mortgage lending crisis was directly mentioned more often by Senator McCain.

12: In all three debates, Senator McCain used the term pork-barrels on numerous occasions to refer to wasteful government spending. Although used frequently in today’s political arena, as described in Chester Collins Maxey’s “A Little History of Pork,” (National Municipal Review, 1919), this term was used in pre-Civil War times to refer to a competitive process of food distribution on southern plantations where rations of salt pork were dispensed from barrels to hungry slaves.

13: Based on U.S. Department of Treasury information released on Oct. 16, 2008, the nations holding the largest percentage of our nation’s debt are Japan ($585.9 billion) and China ($541.0 billion).

14: Prior to the recent decline, the DJIA peaked in 2007 at over 14,000.

15: Although China was mentioned repeatedly in all three debates, imports were only briefly discussed, and the fact that imports from China had recently reached an all-time high was never brought up by either candidate.

16: Senator Obama did discuss consumption relative to energy and consumer protection, however, Senator McCain never directly mentioned the consumer nor consumption. Referring to personal debt, Senator Obama discussed consumer debt and debt incurred by college students. Credit cards were only mentioned once in all the debates, where Senator Obama ‘s discourse was limited to the loose laws in Delaware.

17: Retirement was not mentioned once in the last debate by either candidate.

18: Although these terms were never directly mentioned, it is estimated that $2 trillion in retirement savings invested in the market has been lost over the past 15 months. Transcripts and videos of the presidential debates are available at: 1st Debate, 2nd Debate, 3rd Debate


MCC Job Openings

For information about the College’s open positions and how to apply, visit www.mccneb.edu/hr or call the jobline at (402) 738-4050. Applications are also online at www.mccnebjobs.com.

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