For many people who work on a college campus, the summer is a slower time. Many instructors take the summer off, and, without summer access to federal Pell Grant, we have fewer students. There is no fighting for parking spaces.
For the Hinds Public Relations office, it’s not quite so slow. We’re busy putting together some important publications, including the Hindsight alumni magazine, President’s Report, Fact Card and, later in the summer, media guides for fall sports.
Top priority for me all summer is the annual President’s Report. It’s the last one that my retiring boss Colleen Hartfield will have a direct hand in, so it’s a little bittersweet. It’s an important publication but difficult to pull together with so many faculty members off for the summer and colleagues working in those much needed and cherished trips to the beach.
The President’s Report is a recap of the year with a spin on the future. It shows us where we’ve been, yes, but I have found in considering what we accomplished it’s also a good roadmap of where we’re going next year.
Among the big news for us at Hinds this year is the Continental Tire announcement. Workforce training has been a top priority for several years, and the new tire plant is another manifestation of how important it is. We expect to be heavily involved in training the workforce pool the plant will need.
We’ve also spent a lot of time considering how we can do a better job of helping our students be successful. Not only is that an issue in our re-accreditation process, it simply makes sense. We want them to be more self-sufficient and able to work through the process of registering for classes and applying for financial aid on their own. Folks here have been working for some months behind the scenes to make all that much easier.
The goal is to help students accomplish what they came to Hinds for as smoothly, quickly and successfully as possible. For many that is graduating with a two-year degree. My favorite event, as I’ve said many times, is graduation. There are so many happy faces of graduates and their parents, spouses and children.
One of those happy faces this year was Tammi Bowles, who is a long-time Public Relations employee. Usually she is behind the lens of the camera but this year she was caught on the other side as she received her degree. Regular readers of this blog space have followed her journey, which will continue as she finishes her bachelor’s degree.
As for me, I already spent a week of my vacation taking the final three hours of classes I need for a master of theological studies from Spring Hill College. Tammi and I have had a lot of conversations comparing notes on what we’ve been studying and how it’s going. We’ve commiserated over weekends spent with our nose in the books, held each other accountable for staying on task and cheered over each other’s grades. It’s been fun!