The New Year has brought exciting happenings and there continues to be exciting news from our region. Since my last communication, I am pleased that many initiatives are moving forward that serve DSLCC students and community. Our new website development is on target for an April 1 launch and our new Strategic Plan is progressing very well. We are also continuing discussions with our school divisions to better serve them and their students in the areas of dual enrollment and college-prep.
A number of people including the media have asked me recently about my thoughts about President Obama’s “America’s College Promise” or free community college for students who attend at least half-time and maintain a 2.5 GPA. Honestly, without knowing all of the nuances outlined in the plan, it is hard to speculate. However, we know we live in a “knowledge” economy and research shows that by 2020, 65 percent of all jobs in the economy will require postsecondary education and training beyond high school. Since finances is the still the number one reason why students either do not attend college or drop-out, any program that can help these students achieve a postsecondary education is one of which I am a strong proponent.
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DSLCC Visits the General Assembly
I was delighted to once again bring DSLCC students to Richmond while our General Assembly is in session. Through the leadership of VCCS Chancellor DuBois, each community college visits twice each Spring to meet the delegates who represent our area. It is critically important that we thank our representatives for their service and share with them the issues that are important for higher education and what local community college funding does for this region. The visits also show our students a little more about how the system works and may even encourage them to consider public service at some point on their career pathway. Thank you to Delegates Ben Cline and Terry Austin and Senators Creigh Deeds and Emmett Hanger for your hospitality.
I especially want to thank the following individuals who were able to join me:
DSLCC Students: Hannah Bradley, Mahaley Reyns, Brandon George, Austin Gibson, Lisa Tucker, Anthony Green, Elijah Weikel, and Darryl Tolson
DSLCC Faculty and Staff: Kathy Smestad, Dr. Steve Nicholson, Tamra Lipscomb, Joe Walker, and Tondalaya VanLear
New Sustainable Agriculture Program Approved
I am pleased to announce the DSLCC Local Board has approved a new Career Studies Certificate in Basic Sustainable Agriculture. I want to thank DSLCC’s own Lynn McAllister, Doug Jones, and Gail Johnson and many community individuals who moved this program along in the process. The first courses are scheduled for fall 2015 and will be available on the Clifton Forge campus and at the Rockbridge Regional Center.
DSLCC Co-Sponsors an Open House in Eagle Rock
A very successful Open House was held on January 18 in Eagle Rock. Partnering with the Ruritans, the event was held to showcase the newly renovated Community Center on Church Street in Eagle Rock and highlight the fact that the College is very willing and anxious to expand our offerings throughout northern Botetourt County to more fully serve the residents of that portion of our service area. The DSLCC Educational Foundation office coordinated the event with Ruritan leaders. Thanks to all who attended!
DSLCC Team Visits IALR
I was pleased to be part of a team who visited the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) in Danville. The team from DSLCC included Lynn McAllister, Gail Johnson, Doug Jones and as well as two community members, Michael Van Ness from Lynchburg Grows and organic farm owner Don Henke. The purpose of our visit was to explore the new research areas in agriculture and horticulture. In partnership with Virginia Tech, the Center serves as a regional catalyst for economic transformation. The core focus areas include research that provides a clear path to commercialization, advanced learning opportunities where education meets experience, and economic development. The Center also offers college programs related to STEM-H for PreK-12 students as well as college internship opportunities.
DSLCC Library News
The Library reports great success with our new Writing Center. More and more students are using services to improve their writing skills which will be invaluable as they continue their education and enter or advance in employment. Thanks to Samantha Hale for her leadership with this initiative.
Library staff also reports the increased use of the DSLCC Library by high school students. We welcome them and hope that this pattern will continue.
MWV and DSLCC Partnership
I was honored to attend the graduation luncheon at MeadWestvaco to help congratulate those who completed the MWV Dual Craft program. This partnership with DSLCC allows these important members of the MWV team to complete an apprenticeship training program in the areas of Instrumentation and Electrical. This is an outstanding example of the kind of skill sets and knowledge needed by employees who want to succeed and advance in manufacturing environment. Please help me thank Robin Jennings and Gary Keener for your work and leadership and being a wonderful partner with MWV.
Kudos and Events
Congratulations to Ms. Tina Hawley MSN, RN for her acceptance by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing to become a program evaluator.
Please note on your calendar that DSLCC will host Community Family Fun Day on Saturday, April 25! Come out any time between 12 noon and 3 pm. Everyone welcome at no fee to participate. Bring a picnic basket or purchase food items that will be available from several vendors. Call 863-2831 for more information.
Two Job Fairs are scheduled on Tuesday, March 17 at the Rockbridge Regional Center and on Wednesday, March 18 in the Armory on the Clifton Forge campus. We are pleased to partner with Goodwill Industries and the Lexington, Rockbridge, Buena Vista Chamber of Commerce to hold these fairs.
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