Reflecting on years as PDCCC president

Published 8:19 am Friday, July 2, 2010

I am very grateful for the opportunity to have been president of Paul D. Camp Community College the past 7½ years.

During that time, college personnel have worked together with other community stakeholders to open new doors of opportunity for students and communities, and have laid a solid foundation for the future of the college.

As I reflect on my years at PDCCC, there are many ways the college community has pulled together to make progress. Here are a few of them:

n Credit enrollment has grown by 20 percent the past three years, reaching record levels each of those years (868 FTES in 2007-08, 915 in 2008-09 and 982 in 2009-10. The previous record was 852 in 1998-99).

n Increases in student graduation, transfer and retention rates have been made through faculty and staff commitment to student success growing out of Achieving the Dream: Community College’s Count, a national project funded by the Lumina Foundation ($450,000 over five years). Among the steps implemented are new student orientations at all three locations, requiring the student success course earlier, using Early Alert, taking attendance, promoting active student learning, and more tutoring.

n New programs of study have been created to respond to community needs and interests. Among them are associate degree programs in early childhood education, nursing, general studies-computer science, industrial technology-electronic controls and management–computer support specialist. New certificate programs include American sign language, computer support specialist, entrepreneurship in small business, fire science, general studies, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, industrial maintenance, medical office billing, medical office specialist, pre-nursing, religious studies, and warehouse and distribution.

n Virtually every course offered by the college includes a Web presence and online course offerings have exploded — but with a strong commitment to standards of quality.

n We established a college-wide strategic planning process that now serves as the basis for annual operational planning for administrative units. Course, core competency and academic program assessment and program review efforts have also been established.

n The Get Ahead brand image was created along with promotional literature, and television ads (including tri-college ads), videos and website have been developed to promote the college. New networked color copier/printers have enabled us to produce many of our own materials economically. New college signs were made for Franklin, Smithfield and Suffolk. The City of Suffolk provided seven new street signs pointing people to the Hobbs Suffolk Campus.

n Administrative reorganization provided a director/dean-level position at each campus and the center at Smithfield and enhanced staffing for Assessment and Institutional Research and the libraries. Significant emphasis has been placed on cross training employees so they can fill in for others. On several occasions, training has been provided on customer service and dealing with cultural diversity.

n College policies and procedures have been updated or completely revised. The college’s accreditation was reaffirmed in June 2009 after completing a comprehensive self-study process.

n We established a successful faculty/staff leadership program and re-launched the Teaching Learning Technology Roundtable. With support from the college foundation, faculty and staff attended state and national peer group meetings and conferences to grow professionally. Until budgets became prohibitively tight, the college supported individual development plans. Professional development activities are provided several times each semester for adjunct faculty members.

n Noncredit workforce and community service enrollments have run into the thousands, exceeding credit enrollment several of the past seven years.

n The Regional Workforce Development Center has become a hub for community events and activities and increasingly a source for consulting and workforce services. A second Workforce Center was established in Suffolk in partnership with the city officials. Workforce personnel have expanded community service offerings to include things like Motorcycle Rider Safety and credit workforce-related programs including heating, ventilation and air conditioning, and warehouse and distribution.

As this list suggests, Paul D. Camp Community College has made a positive difference in the lives of countless students and other community members since 1971.

I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of that history. I wish Dr. Paul Conco, the College Board, Foundation Board, faculty staff and administrators all the best for what I am sure will be an exciting and effective future of service to the region.