College of the Mainland receives $100K donation

Texas Mutual Insurance donated $100,000 to the Gulf Coast Safety Institute to continue funding free safety workshops to professionals in all industries.

From left, Mary Ann Amelang, COM vice president for institutional advancement, Sealice Hemphill, program assistant for the Center for Risk Management, Cindy Lewis, director of Gulf Coast Safety Institute, Dr. James Templer, COM vice president for instruction, Woody Hill, Texas Mutual vice president of safety services, and Rep. Wayne Faircloth.

In 2015 alone, 527 workers were killed in workplace-related accidents in Texas, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. To assist in workplace safety and preventing tragic incidents, Texas Mutual Insurance donated $100,000 to continue funding free safety workshops at the Gulf Coast Safety Institute for professionals in all industries.

The Gulf Coast Safety Institute offered 23 courses last year that reached more than 800 professions. Courses covered hazards, workplace violence, emergency planning and more.

“Texas Mutual Insurance supports classes at 10 campuses,” said Woody Hill, Texas Mutual vice president of safety services. “College of the Mainland has been instrumental in helping our other partners come on board.”

Constantly updating training to keep paces with changes in industry, the institute recently hosted classes explaining new OSHA regulations.

“In early 2013 I discovered COM’s gem of a safety program,” said student Mark Ritter. “Since then I’ve taken dozens of free courses. I learned more in one day on radiation safety at COM than in an entire week of 14 hour days getting my certification.”

The Gulf Coast Safety Institute was established in 2007 to provide safety and health training and education to workers and employers. Additionally, the Gulf Coast Safety Institute is an OSHA Challenge Program Administrator mentoring over 50 companies in improving their Safety and Health Management System to potentially achieve OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program STAR status.

For more information on the institute, contact Cindy Lewis, 409-933-8495 or, or visit

Fewer slammed doors the goal of interpersonal communications class

Words fly. Tempers flare. Voices shout — “But Criminal Minds is better than Shark Week!”

In Interpersonal Communications, students role-play common conflicts and how to tackle them, whether roommates determining which TV show to watch, couples deciding whose family to visit or employees deciding whose idea is best.

Students dive into the five styles of conflict resolution — competing, collaborating, compromising, avoiding and accommodating. The goal is collaboration, where all parties win, not just one (or neither).

The homework is applicable to nearly any situation from roommate drama to family crises.

Professor Julie Garcia, who has taught at COM five years and previously taught at Texas State Technical College in Harlington, guides students in analyzing real-world situations in movies and TV shows. It’s an exercise in viewing life from another’s eyes.

The class also supports the college’s quality enhancement plan: oral communication across the curriculum, which seeks to help students improve their public speaking skills, a quality valued by employers.

For more information, email or call 409-933-8314.

Second eight-week classes open

It’s not too late to start classes this semester. Apply to the college at New students can call an adviser to learn more about signing up for classes at 409-933-8379.

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