chemeketa students

Monthly Archives: April 2015

Instructor Debbie Hornibrook is Keizer Iris Festival poster artist

By Chemeketa Public Affairs

“Purple Iris” by Debbie Hornibrook

For many, the ideal retirement is full of relaxation and leisure.

But Debbie Hornibrook, Chemeketa professor of communication and Renaissance woman personified, may have a more difficult time juggling her ambitious post-professional schedule. When she’s not teaching, taking her motorcycle for joyrides or raising ragdoll cats, she’s honing her artistic skills— taking advantage of every learning opportunity she can so one day she may live a life filled with travel and painting.

Like many things for Debbie, her strengths and passions were not born overnight but through years of persistence. Taking her first art lessons as a kid then again in the late ‘70s, Debbie was disappointed by the hands-off approach her early teachers took to art making. “They sat us down and told us to draw. That didn’t work for me.”

It wasn’t until 2005 when she started teaching at Chemeketa that her love affair with art was reignited. Since then, she’s taken advantage of our tuition benefits, completing courses in figure drawing, design, art history, painting and more.

“I’ve been amazed by our art faculty’s’ strong, guided instruction,” Debbie delights. “Come to find out, many of them had also been taught with the same hands-off methodologies popular in the ‘70s. They also didn’t like it and vowed to dedicate themselves to providing strong art instruction.”

Debbie has paid special attention to developing her watercolor skills, taking additional classes and workshops though downtown Salem’s Art Department and the artist guild Women of Watercolor.

This fall, her watercolor “Purple Iris” was juried into Watercolor Society of Oregon’s exhibition in Medford, and the Keizer Art Association has selected it as the 2015 poster artwork for the Keizer Iris Festival.

“I felt blessed and delighted! I just love flowers and we have such beautiful gardens in our community. It is such an honor to have one of my paintings chosen to represent the Keizer Iris Festival.”

Debbie’s words of advice for other aspiring artists? “Learn all you can. Take advantage of the classes here at Chemeketa and in the community and get connected to instructors and artist groups for guidance and support.”

Public Safety Fair is May 13

By Chemeketa Public Affairs

On Wednesday, May 13, dozens of first responders, search and rescue and special unit personnel will descend upon the Salem campus quad for the third annual Public Safety & Job fair.



The Public Safety & Job fair will feature—

  • Volunteer and job opportunities
  • Educational information
  • Patrol vehicles, fire apparatus and medical units
  • Special units, including K9, boat patrol/rescue, aerial ladder, posse
  • Information on search and rescue, emergency preparedness, and first responders

Parking is free to all guests and a BBQ lunch will be available for purchase.

Public Safety & Job Fair
Wednesday, May 13, 10 am-2pm
Salem campus quads

For more information contact Chris Cooper or Kelly Pointer at 503.399.5023 or e-mail

Center for Business & Industry offering writing workshops

By Chemeketa Public Affairs

Chemeketa writing workshopsWords are in our e-mails that come and go like waves. Words are in our text messages and voluminous reports, our bullet-pointed PowerPoints and our 140 character tweets. Words are so prevalent you might think they are cheap.

The Chemeketa Center for Business & Industry asks you to consider the cost of being misunderstood.

Eric Witchey is a writing instructor for the Customized Training department of CCBI. To emphasize the value of his work, Witchey points to examples like –

  • Unclear e-mails creating a whirlpool of wasted time
  • The risk of litigation if poorly written instructions lead to mistakes

“My work reduces losses,” says Witchey.

Kirstin Madigan, senior human resources analyst for the City of Salem, hired CCBI because she was concerned about the loss of trust. Madigan conveys the resignation of a stickler weary with a world that doesn’t care enough about getting it right. “We couldn’t even be consistent in whether we capitalized ‘city’ in the same document. It just made us look like we didn’t know what we were doing,” Madigan said. The City of Salem has put over 100 employees through the CCBI writing workshops.

Witchey isn’t the writing teacher many of us had in middle school. “I don’t focus on grammar. We didn’t learn it in 9th grade and we’re not going to learn it now. I focus on writing patterns that tend to produce success. Businesses don’t care about theory. They care if their people get the skills.”

Evaluation comments from participants in a class for SAIF Corporation employees suggest Witchey’s approach works. “I especially appreciate the tips for organizing my thoughts before I begin to write,” reported one participant.

SAIF provides worker’s compensation insurance for Oregon. Tami Gagnon, training and development manager, says much of their writing is input into forms but when they have to write free-form to doctors, they sometimes struggle with clarity. “We want to understand the precise prognosis for recovery so we can help workers get back on the job.  CCBI’s training helped us improve and we will use them again.”

For more information about writing instruction and other types of customized training, e-mail the Chemeketa Center for Business & Industry or call 503.399.5181.


Chemeketa student honored in national essay competition

By Chemeketa Public Affairs

Chemeketa student honored in national essay competitionChemeketa Yamhill Valley student Rachel Shrock-Russell concludes her award-winning essay –

“To everyone else Deer Creek Park was a beautiful county park set in the hills, but to me it was my childhood. It’s where I was free; I learned how to be a true kid of nature. We may have grown up with very little extra money, but with the right imaginations and one amazingly beautiful country park we could have the time of our lives.”

The textbook publisher Pearson awarded Shrock-Russell third place in its national competition for students in developmental writing classes. Her Writing 90 instructor Samuel Snoek-Brown was instrumental to her success. “Doctor Sam urged me,” said Rachel, “and I thought maybe I can go a little further with my writing.”

In an e-mail Snoek-Brown described Rachel as a devoted student, “She holds lofty ideals of what good academics look like for her.”

Shrock-Russell labored through four drafts of her essay before submitting it to the competition. “A lot of it is Dr. Sam’s help,” she said. “He kept advising me to add more detail, ’What did you see there?’ he’d say.”

“My mom, brother Ryan, and I would drive through the hilly country side, singing to Aerosmith, heading to our favorite county park. We usually had our yellow lab Angel in the backseat with us, with her head hanging out of the window. We would drive over the old wooden bridge and turn into the parking area. We would barrel out of our old penny colored Buick, and go racing towards our favorite swimming spot.”

Shrock-Russell has a new adventure in her path. She has been accepted to Ithaca College in New York where she plans to major in psychology with a minor in writing or literature. “It’s a long way from McMinnville, but why not? This is my time, my chance.”

“When I think of my favorite place from when I was a child. It’s a place that is full of adventure, imagination, and new beginnings.”


Meet alumnus Dwayne Meier

By Chemeketa Public Affairs

From nurses and hemodialysis techs to fire fighters and EMT, Chemeketa boasts a strong reputation for training local heroes.

But take a moment to think about all the behind-the-scene heroes who work without accolades to keep us alive and well. Like alumnus Dwayne Meier, Project Coordinator for Salem Hospital’s engineering department, whose important work keeps the water clean, air purified and the lights and machines powered during our most vulnerable moments.

For Dwayne, education has always been a hands-on experience. That could be why the 2004 HVAC/R Apprenticeship graduate provides annual tours of the hospital’s facilities to Chemeketa apprenticeship students.

“I met a lot of great people, students and instructors at Chemeketa and I wanted to give back,” Dwayne explains. “The tour gives students a chance to see larger industry equipment in action and shows them the level of craftsmanship, installation and safety to strive for.”

Dwayne’s first enrolled at Chemeketa in 1992 after completing four years of service in the U.S. Navy. Here he took prerequisite courses before transferring to Linn-Benton to earn his Limited Maintenance Electrician (LME) license. Well into his career 24-year, Dwayne took the initiative to return to Chemeketa and continue his education.

“The decision was hard because I would be away from my family in the evenings,” Dwayne recalls, “But when you’re working with HVAC equipment ranging from one to 40 years old, you have to further your knowledge with additional hands-on training to keep up.”

Dwayne credits his mother for his ambitions in lifelong learning. “My mom raised six boys by herself and made it a goal to get her master’s degree,” Dwayne says with pride, tears welling in his eyes. “She met her goal, and she’s my biggest inspiration.”

Chemeketa accepts 546 scholars

By Chemeketa Public Affairs

Chemeketa accepts 546 scholarsChemeketa Community College has awarded 546 Chemeketa Scholars scholarships for the 2015-16 academic year. The application period closed in March.

Chemeketa Scholars are high-achieving students who receive a full tuition scholarship for up to two years in any field of study, including career technical programs.

Chemeketa President Julie Huckestein says the scholars program is an investment that pays off for the community, “While the college foregoes tuition revenue, our Chemeketa Scholars program makes higher education possible for deserving students who are unable to afford tuition.”

Since Chemeketa Scholars first enrolled in 2008, over 2,000 students have attended Chemeketa tuition-free.  The scholarships are available to qualifying high school students, home-schooled students and military veterans who live or attended school in Chemeketa’s service district.

For more information, visit

Accreditation evaluators give Chemeketa six commendations, two recommendations

By Chemeketa Public Affairs

Chemeketa Accreditors Give College Six Commendations, Two RecommendationsEvaluators from colleges around the Northwest completed their on-site assessment of Chemeketa Community College and praised the college in multiple areas of its instruction, services and operations.

Evaluation team chair Dr. Ryan Thomas extolled Chemeketa at a gathering of employees as their visit concluded on April 10. “You all work at an incredible college. It is incredible because of you.”

“It doesn’t get much better than this,” commented Chemeketa President Julie Huckestein.

Accreditation is a critical process for quality control in higher education. It is required for a college to award financial aid, transfer credits to other institutions and serve veterans.

Chemeketa received a letter on April 13 documenting the visitors’ findings. In it the evaluators’ commendations of Chemeketa included its service to students and communities, its commitment to the success of pre-college level students and its rigorous curriculum approval process.

They also recommended Chemeketa could do a better job of measuring indicators that track progress and publishing instructional program outcomes.

The nonprofit Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities conducts regular reviews of colleges and universities in Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada and Utah.

The complete list of Chemeketa’s commendations and recommendations follows –


  1. The evaluation committee commends the college for its broadly shared commitment to serving students and communities throughout its service area. The main campus and outreach centers have established meaningful collaborations with community service providers that ensure that the campus is effectively meeting local educational needs.
  2. The evaluation committee commends the college for its well designed and beautifully maintained physical facilities on the main campus and at its outreach centers. The facilities complement the caring and supportive attitudes for students demonstrated by all of the campus units with which the evaluation committee has interacted during its visit.
  3. The evaluation committee commends the college for its proactive and consistent approach in navigating the challenging state budget situation during a time of leadership transition at the college. The college has come through this difficult time with adequate reserves while minimizing negative impacts on core programs and services (Standards 2.F.1, 2.F.2)
  4. The evaluation committee commends the college for its commitment to the success of pre-college level students. Its research-based, holistic, multi-strategy approach provides strong support for its ABS/ESOL students as they transition to pre-college or college. Its exemplary programs include alternative placement testing, mandatory and intrusive advising accelerated or contextualized courses, and tuition assistance for these important members of the student body.
  5. The evaluation committee commends the college on its rigorous curriculum approval process and for the support it provides to faculty through the Teaching and Learning Opportunity Center.
  6. The Evaluation Committee commends the college for providing student support services that are well aligned with the institution’s mission, core themes and strategic goals. The college has implemented a number of initiatives and strategies in recent years that demonstrate its firm commitment to student success. Student support services staff are dedicated, innovative and work in a collaborative manner to deliver programs and services. Students emphatically indicated to evaluators that the college provides a welcoming environment that promotes learning, diversity, and strong community engagement.


  1. The evaluation committee recommends that Chemeketa Community College review their indicators and their definition of mission fulfillment to ensure that–
    1. The measurements associated with the indicators provide information that can be used to make programmatic and budgetary decisions. (Standard 1.B.2)
    2. The definition of mission fulfillment maps clearly to the indicators and their associated measures (Standard 1.A.1)
  2. The evaluation committee recommends that Chemeketa Community College ensure that they have published program outcomes for each program and that their assessments of program and general education outcomes accurately and adequately reflect student learning. (Standards 2.C.1, 2.C.2, 2.C.3, 2.C.9, 2.C.10)

Soapbox Poetry presents “Vernum Poesis” April 6-June 1

By Chemeketa Public Affairs

Journalism Instructor Bill Florence was eight years old when he found himself an audience member of a poetry reading by four-time Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Frost.

Bill, whose inaugural Soapbox Poetry performance “Poems I learned While Mending a Wall in New England,” draws inspiration from this experience.

“The title references an experience I had traveling through New England, listening to Robert Frost recite some of his poems while sitting on a stone wall in Burlington, Vermont. I wish that I had a better recollection of the experience, but I did read a lot of Frost in the ensuing years.”

Soapbox Poetry, a series hosted by the English and Humanities department, features readings by faculty and staff from 12-12:20 pm in the Gretchen Schuette Art Gallery.

This term, Soapbox Poetry presents “Vernum Poesis” with readings by-

  • April 6- Steve Slemenda “Easter Monday: Post-Lenten Poems”
  • April 20- Bill Florence “Poems I learned While Mending a Wall in New England”
  • May 4- Donna Bernhisel “Find out why we call them animals”
  • May 18- Chrys Tobey “If only, If only, If only: longing in poetry”
  • June 1- Deborah Trousdale “Ut pictura poesis?”


50% off plant sale now though June 12

By Chemeketa Public Affairs

A succulentPlease join us for our annual plant sale, a fundraiser to support hands-on learning opportunities for Chemeketa’s Horticulture program. The plant sale will be held in the greenhouse at Chemeketa’s Salem campus Tuesday-Friday, April 2-June 12. (Bldg. 46 near the Brown lot)

An assortment of flowering baskets, succulent planters, shrubs, bedding plants, perennials and vegetable starts will be for sale.

In April, cool-crop vegetables will be available, including-

  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Bok Choy
  • Swiss chard
  • Cabbage
  • Spinach

Starting in May, warm-crop vegetables will be for sale, including-

  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Winter squash
  • Melons
  • Green beans
  • Peppers
  • Fresh herbs and spices

Community members are invited to attend and parking is reserved for plant sale customers; guests can follow signs to the red lot and park near the greenhouse.

Horticulture Program Plant Sale
April 2-June 12
9 am-3 pm
Sales outside these hours by appointment only

For more information call 503.315.4586.

Chemeketa saves taxpayers millions in bond financing

By Chemeketa Public Affairs

Chemeketa saves taxpayers millions

For the second time Chemeketa Community College has refinanced general obligation bonds for capital construction and saved property taxpayers millions of dollars. The college paid off $23,905,000 from bonds issued in 2011 with a bond purchased on March 10 at a lower interest rate.

Taxpayers will net a savings of $1.3 million on a present value basis and $2.2 million over the life of the loan.

Just last May, Chemeketa refinanced its original debt from 2008 to save taxpayers $2.3 million.

The college informed its Board of Education of the most recent refinancing at its Wednesday, March 18 meeting. The Board had authorized such a transaction at its January 21 meeting.

A majority of voters in Marion, Polk and Yamhill County supported assuming a property tax liability totaling $92 million when they approved a 2008 bond levy authorizing Chemeketa to construct  –

  • The new applied technology building opening in fall of 2015 on the Salem campus
  • The new welding building on the Salem campusThe addition to  Building 8 that houses our health science classroom complex on the Salem campus
  • The remodel to Building 4 to improve our electronics and visual communication programs on the Salem campus
  • The new life safety building at Chemeketa Brooks
  • The new building at the Chemeketa Yamhill Valley campus