Category Archives: News & Notes

News & Notes #10

Spring has sprung and many great things are happening at DSLCC.  With new programs, new partnerships, and many more opportunities for residents to access the wonderful offerings, DSLCC is on the move.   I hope you enjoy the next edition of News & Notes.

April is National Community College Month

DSLCC is proud to celebrate April as National Community College Month! Community College Month commemorates the contributions community colleges have made across the country in educating and training students for the future. In honor of Community College Month, here are my Top 10 Things to Know about DSLCC and Our Students.

  1. We are close to home. Our classes are offered at convenient times for our students. Day, evening, weekends, and online classes provide many options for a student to attend on a full-time or a part-time basis.
  2. We are saving money on higher education. DSLCC and the other VA Community Colleges are the most affordable higher education institution in Virginia, offering the lowest tuition.
  3. We have top-rate faculty. Our classes are taught by faculty who care about student learning. They are fully committed to teaching, are accessible, and have the highest educational and professional experience credentials.
  4. We are fully accredited. DSLCC and all community colleges are accredited by the same agencies that accredit major universities.  In addition, many of our programs are recognized by an industry accreditation.
  5. We have small classes. Class sizes at DSLCC are much smaller than those found at public universities.   Our average class size is less than 15 students which allows more opportunities for students to interact with teachers and other students.
  6. We prepare students to enter the workforce. DSLCC offers many career-related programs including high demand fields like forestry, criminal justice, nursing, welding, culinary arts, and more. A college credential will always give you an edge.
  7. We prepare students to transfer. DSLCC also offers courses that transfer into universities toward a bachelor’s degree, saving time and money. We have 51 guaranteed admission agreements with four-year institutions for students to transfer, some by program only and others by institution.
  8. We offer great support services. DSLCC offers a variety of services to help students succeed in their coursework. Services such as advising, tutoring (including services online) as well as a writing center, financial aid, student activities, a Veterans center, and library services, to name a few.
  9. We are in the top 10 percent of community colleges in the U.S.  In a 2014 ranking by the Aspen Institute, DSLCC was among the nation’s top 150 best community colleges.
  10. We have great alumni. Former DSLCC students are now doctors, professors, bankers, nurses, teachers, chefs, small business owners, community leaders, politicians, health care leaders, and college administrators, to name a few. Nationally known individuals such as actor Tom Hanks, baseball great Nolan Ryan, pioneer Walt Disney, and astronaut Fred Haise all started at a community college.

Highest Enrollment Increase in VCCS for Spring Semester

I am pleased to share that as of April 14, DSLCC has the largest increase in overall headcount enrollment from last spring of all 23 community colleges and the second highest increase in student FTE count.  The overall headcount growth is 4.64 percent while the 3.81 percent increase in FTE places DSLCC just behind Southwest Virginia Community College.   In addition, DSLCC has the largest growth in both FTE and Headcount in Dual Enrollment.  The overall FTE growth is up 62.96 percent while the headcount growth is up 48.33 percent.

Delegate Austin to Serve as Commencement Speaker

Delegate Terry Austin, Virginia’s 19th District representative in the General Assembly, will deliver the address at the forty-eighth annual commencement exercises for Dabney S. Lancaster Community College on Friday, May 15.  I am honored to have Delegate Austin as our commencement speaker.  Over the past two years, I have worked with Delegate Austin on a couple of projects and he is a representative who works diligently toward the improvement of programs, services and infrastructure of this region.  Delegate Austin has been an outstanding friend of the College and supporter of our efforts to move the institution forward.

Delegate Austin attended a community college and established a successful local business, two things I think our graduates will be most interested in hearing about during his address.

Great Culinary Day at The Omni Homestead


DSLCC was once again happy to co-host Culinary Day at the Omni Homestead on March 19.  Over 175 students from seven high schools participated and learned about the culinary arts and hospitality fields as well as participated in demonstrations and received a tour of the Omni Homestead kitchens.  Chef Phil McManus, Program Head of Culinary Arts, participated in the event.  Thanks to Chef Phil, Lynn McAllister, and Gail Johnson for your coordination efforts.

New Programs Approved

I am pleased to announce at the recent Local Board meeting in March, two new academic programs were approved. The first is a Career Studies Certificate in Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration. This is a workforce certificate and will be offered in the Rockbridge area at Rockbridge County High School. The second program is an Associate of Applied Science Technical Studies degree in Electrical and Instrumentation Technology. This program has been forwarded to the State Board for Community Colleges for consideration at their May meeting. Once again, these programs address the changing employer needs in our region. Thanks to Gary Keener for his role in moving these programs forward.

Do You Have News for the Next “News & Notes”?

If you would like me to share your news in an upcoming issue of News & Notes, you may submit it anytime directly to Gail Johnson at

For More Information

If you have any questions about any of the information contained within, please contact me at  Thank you!

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News & Notes #4

Welcome to the next edition of News & Notes.  I want to thank you again for the positive feedback from many of you on these News & Notes.  If you would like for me to include additional information, do not hesitate to contact me.  As a reminder, if you would like to receive direct responses from this Blog, you can “subscribe” to it and receive emails each time I post.  Enjoy!

Commencement Speaker Named

As the spring season approaches, so does Commencement!

Commencement will be held on Tuesday, May 13 at 7:00 p.m. I am pleased to announce that Ms. Elizabeth Creamer, Director of Education and Workforce Development from the Office of the Secretary of Education for Governor Terry cAuliffe, will provide the Commencement Address.  Ms. Creamer also served in the same role for former Governor McDonnell.

As the former Assistant Vice Chancellor of Career Pathways and Workforce Development Programs for the VCCS, Ms. Creamer led a team charged with statewide leadership and administration of Workforce Investment Act programs, Postsecondary Perkins Grants, Career Coaches for high school students and adults, Apprenticeship Related Instruction, non-credit and customized training, Career Readiness Certificate, and Middle College, a bridge program into postsecondary education and employment targeted for adults without high school credentials.

During her tenure at the VCCS, Ms. Creamer helped launch the Commonwealth’s career pathways system which has provided training, technical assistance, and grant support to regional partnerships of Workforce Investment Boards, community colleges and employers to launch education and employment “pipelines” into advanced manufacturing, energy, and health sciences.  She has also previously served as a Director of Career Pathways and Dual Enrollment at Thomas Nelson Community College in Hampton and as an Academic Program Coordinator at Paul D. Camp Community College in Franklin and Suffolk.  Ms. Creamer has led a National Science Foundation project: Creating Pathways for the New IT Professional, and has served as a board member for the National Career Pathways Network.  A non-traditional college student who earned her baccalaureate degree as a working mother of three children, she holds a B.A. from Christopher Newport University and a M.A. from Old Dominion University.

Our graduates, faculty, staff, and guests will find Ms. Creamer inspiring with her story and passion for community colleges and workforce development.

Aspen Application Completed

On Tuesday, March 11, DSLCC submitted the final application for The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program as one of the nation’s top 150 community colleges. 

The Prize, awarded every two years, is the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges and recognizes institutions for exceptional student outcomes in four areas: student learning, certificate and degree completion, employment and earnings, and high levels of access and success for minority and low-income students.

I would like to personally thank the writing team of Gail Johnson, Chris Orem, Gary Keener, and Michael Scott for their wonderful work.  We believe we have made a compelling case and will be notified of the results this fall.

Sustainable Agriculture Discussion

On Monday, March 10, a group of approximately 30 individuals gathered at the Rockbridge Regional Center to explore new programs and courses in sustainable agriculture and related topics.  I was impressed with the passion that so many have for these issues that are so important for the health, wellness, food/beverage supply chain, and other factors that impact the quality of life for the region.  Led by the efforts of Gail Johnson and Doug Jones, DSLCC has been discussing possible program ideas.


Congratulations to Cynthia Boteler on her selection of the Distinguished Educator award from the Black Concern Commission (BCC).  Selected by a group of your peers, the Celebration of Excellence Awards honors members who have made a profound difference in the lives of minority students through life-time service, leadership, teaching and overall dedication to the BCC mission.  The recognition is made for Cynthia’s profound contributions which have significantly changed the climate of a department, campus community, or the VCCS as a whole.  Please help me recognize Cynthia on this well-deserved honor.

Congratulations to Pam Brown on successfully passing all of the requirements to obtain her Masters of Business Administration (with an emphasis in Accounting) from American Public University.  We are very proud of you.

DSLCC Team Visits George Washington University

I was pleased to visit the School of Nursing at George Washington University with Lynn McAllister, Gloria Lawrence, Gail Johnson, and Sharon Johnson, CEO of the Shenandoah Valley Workforce Investment Board in February to meet with Dean Jean Johnson and her team.  The purpose of the visit was to discuss building on our current nursing (RN to BSN) agreement in other areas such as complementary and alternative therapies and potential courses in mental health.  We also had an opportunity to meet with a representative from the American Red Cross National Office on the possibility of DSLCC being a partner with some of their programs and services.

New Programs Approved

At the recent Curriculum & Instruction Committee meeting, three new Career Studies Certificates were recommended for approval to move onto the Local Board for final approval.  These are outstanding examples of new offerings developed under programs already established, with the goal of adding new courses and expanding enrollment:  Baking & Pastry will complement Culinary Arts and Management and Instrumentation and Renewable Energy Technologies will add options through our Advanced Manufacturing program to meet changing employer needs.

Inauguration Date Set

I am honored to announce that the Inauguration of your 4th President of DSLCC has been set for Friday, September 19.  An inauguration is not just the formal ceremony, but is comprised of a series of events organized around the ceremony. These events provide opportunities for members of the DSLCC family, dignitaries and the entire community to celebrate all elements of the College and move forward together.

The inauguration is designed to unite those with a stake in the future of the college and the entire college family – students, faculty, staff, alumni, legislators, friends and donors – with a common understanding of the College and a vision of its future.

Rachael Thompson and Gail Johnson have agreed to serve as co-chairs of the Inauguration Committee.  They will be inviting members of the DSLCC community to join them in planning “Our Next Fifty Years.”

Do You Have News for the Next “News & Notes”?

If you would like me to share your news in an upcoming issue of News & Notes, you may submit it anytime directly to Gail Johnson at

For More Information

If you have any questions about any of the information contained within, please contact me at  Thank you!

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News & Notes #3

Happy New Year!  I hope each of you enjoyed the holiday season and were able to spend quality time with family and friends.  I thank you again for the positive feedback on this form of communication with the campus community.  As a reminder, if you would like to receive direct responses from this Blog, you can “subscribe” to it and receive emails each time I post.

DSLCC Recognized by the Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program named Dabney S. Lancaster Community College as one of the nation’s top 150 community colleges eligible to compete for the 2015 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence and $1 million dollars in prize funds.

The Prize, awarded every two years, is the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges and recognizes institutions for exceptional student outcomes in four areas: student learning, certificate and degree completion, employment and earnings, and high levels of access and success for minority and low-income students.

The Aspen Institute identified the top community colleges through an assessment of institutional performance, improvement, and equity on student retention and completion measures.

DSLCC was selected from a national pool of over 1,000 public two-year colleges using publicly available data on student outcomes.

You can find out more about this journey at

DSLCC Expands Online Courses with Partnership

I am pleased to announce a new partnership with Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) and the Shared Services Distance Learning Network.  This program will expand DSLCC’s capacity for greater student access and comprehensive course offerings.  These courses allow students to earn DSLCC credit while taking an online course with a NOVA instructor, as well as use the DSLCC testing centers to take proctored tests.  This partnership allows DSLCC to offer courses otherwise unable to offer due to limited enrollment or which we do not currently have credentialed faculty.  The students in Shared Service Network will have access to all the services provided by NOVA in addition to the resources available to all students at DSLCC.  The first courses are slated to be on our schedule for this summer.

DSLCC to Host the Mid-Atlantic STIHL® TIMBERSPORTS® Series

On April 5, 2014, DSLCC will host the STIHL® TIMBERSPORTS® Series for woodsmen’s competition of the Collegiate Series Mid-Atlantic Qualifiers.

ESPNU cameras will be on site to capture the competition. The network will provide a national platform to not only highlight the competition, but also spotlight DSLCC’s Forestry program.

DSLCC is thrilled to host the Series and being able to showcase our forestry program and college on a national level really means a lot to our school and our community.  Congratulations to Brian Keiling, Joe Thacker, and the students of DSLCC’s Forestry program.


Lynn McAllister and Karen Persinger  for their recent presentation, “Implementation of a QSEN Curriculum by an Associate Degree Nursing Program” at the Elsevier Faculty Development Conference held in Las Vegas.  This presentation was also accepted at the VCCS New Horizons Conference in April.   Congratulations Karen and Lynn.

Rotaract at DSLCC

Recently, David Kleppinger, executive director of the Alleghany Highlands Economic Development Corporation, held an information session about how to start a “Rotaract” Club, a service organization for adults age 18 to 30.  Rotaract is a global community of young adults who gather for positive change.  Rotaract clubs are involved with hands-on service projects, fun networking and social activities, and provides an opportunity for professional development.  If we are able to get at least 15 DSLCC students interested in starting a Rotaract club, the Covington-Hot Springs Rotary Club has agreed to sponsor our Rotaract Club.  Any student interested, should contact Dave Kleppinger at  Additional information is available at

Do You Have News for the Next “News & Notes”?

If you would like me to share your news in an upcoming issue of News & Notes, you may submit it anytime directly to Gail Johnson at

For More Information

If you have any questions about any of the information contained within, please contact me at  Thank you!

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News & Notes #2

I want to thank you for the positive feedback from the first News & Notes. As you can see, this version is on now a President’s Blog which I hope to post to occasionally. If you would like to receive direct responses from this Blog, you can “subscribe” to it and receive emails each time I post. Thanks to Paul Vosteen for setting this up on our system.

I would also like to once again recognize John Barnes, Sandy Haverlack, and Lynda Thompson for their years of service to DSLCC. You colleagues and your students thank you for your dedication.  You will be missed!

Community Parades

Congratulations to the Student Senate and the many employees for their work on the DSLCC Holiday Parade Float.  I learned from John Barnes that it has been 22 years since DSLCC participated in the local festivities.  I am proud of the commitment on behalf of the students, faculty and staff.  A special thank you goes to Student Senate President Danielle Reynolds for her leadership.

The work of everyone showed when DSLCC’s Float won 1st prize in the Covington Parade and 2nd Prize in the Buena Vista Parade.  Congratulations.

DSLCC Presentations

DSLCC presented recently a “Prescription for Partnership” at the 2013 VCCS Hire Ed Conference at the Omni Homestead.  This presentation described our partnership with George Washington University and Lewis Gale Alleghany Hospital and with our RN program at DSLCC.  This model is perfect for other industries concerned with upskilling incumbent workers and having sufficient numbers of candidates to hire.  Joining me on the panel was Dr. Jean Johnson, Dean of School of Nursing , George Washington University; Lynn McAllister, Head of DSLCC Nursing Program, Matt McGraw, DSLCC Director of Student Services, and Robin Broughman, Director of Nursing, Lewis Gale Hospital-Alleghany.

Also at the Omni Homestead, Gary Keener co-presented on the Virginia Education Wizard and what it means for our students.  The panel highlighted the use of the Wizard as a component of advising and how this tool can assist users in their quest for careers matching personal skills and interests.

I was happy to be invited to speak at this year’s Council for Resource Development Annual Conference in November in Washington, DC.  As a Past President of the organization, I was asked to co-present at the Executive Institute on the “President’s Role in Fundraising.”  In addition, I was asked to open a morning session for the Campus Impact Awards with a brief discussion on leadership.  I used one of my favorites, Abraham Lincoln, as the basis for the speech.

Holiday Cheer Decorating

Congratulations to Institutional Effectiveness and Research for collecting the most pet food for the Animal Shelter.  They collected a total of 364 pounds!

Congratulations to Talent Search!  Their door was judged to be the “Best Holiday Door Decoration”.  Our theme this year was The Culture of Competition.  Their door was titled, “There’s No Competition: Animals are our Best Friends.”

Honorable Mention goes to both Institutional Effectiveness and Research and the DSLCC Educational Foundation.  The PTK students took special note of the intricate scissors work used on both of these doors.

Thank you to Ralph Sass, Kathy Nicely, and Kathy Smestad for your leadership and thanks to everyone for participating.

DSLCC in the Community

  • Gail Johnson attended the summary session of the Blueprint Virginia initiative.  This activity culminated a year-long process launched by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce that looked at trends and goals for key sectors of the state’s economy and put them into a cohesive plan to present to Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe.
  • Michael Scott and Gary Keener hosted a meeting of area high school guidance counselors and principals.
  • Penny Fauber was on WREL radio to discuss the College’s practical nursing program.
  • The School Group, led by Michael Scott, continues to meet to discuss best practices, college procedures and current issues that impact the interaction of DSLCC employees with the area public schools.  Topics include things such as dual enrollment and placement testing.
  • Lauren Wiley attended a career fair in Greenbrier County, WV.  Students from GEHS and GWHS attended the event.
  • Donnie Kern is working with Goodwill Industries to host two Job Fairs during the DSLCC spring break in March.  Watch for more information!
  • Gail Johnson attended Parent Day at Millboro Elementary School.  Parents and teachers stopped by to offer ideas for credit and noncredit courses that the College may want to offer in that section of Bath County.

General Assembly Visits

I will be taking groups of DSLCC students and college staff to visit our representatives in the General Assembly.  In 2014, we are scheduled to be in Richmond January 21 and February 5.  This year’s theme is to Preparing Virginians for Tomorrow’s Jobs!  The focus will be on

  • Producing More College Graduates
  • Growing Virginia’s Pipeline of Talent
  • Keeping Higher Education Affordable
  • Investing in Workforce Credentials
  • 21st Century Workforce Equipment, Facilities and Instructors


Please join me in congratulating Nova Wright, who recently received the TRIO Achievement Award for the state of Virginia.  Nova was recognized in Virginia Beach at the VAEOPP (Virginia Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel) Conference.  VAEOPP represents all TRIO programs in the state of Virginia.  The VAEOPP Achiever’s Award seeks to recognize individuals who were members of one or more TRIO programs and who have achieved success in their chosen field. As a non-traditional student, Nova came to DSLCC as an adult and was served by the Student Support Services program (A Center).  Her two older boys were also members of the Talent Search program. Nova gave a moving statement at the conference giving credit to the many folks at DSLCC who encouraged and mentored her during her educational journey. Nova was chosen for this award from among the other applicants not only for the success she has achieved, but for the fact that she strives to “pay it forward” in her position as Library Director and provide the mentoring, encouragement and assistance that help our students succeed.

Congratulations to Tamra Lipscomb for her appointment on the VCCS Technology Council.  Tamra will have a great opportunity to represent DSLCC in developing and recommending technology planning from a system-wide policy perspective.  The VCCS Technology Council provides analysis and advice to the Advisory Council of Presidents (ACOP) on technology issues.

Congratulations to the Clifton Forge School of the Arts as they were honored as the recipient of one of only four state-wide Virginia Community College System’s Chancellor’s Awards for Workforce Development, during the annual Hire Ed Conference at the Omni Homestead. The CFSOTA won the award in the category of “Community Services” for its partnership with Dabney S. Lancaster Community College in offering credit and non-credit courses.

Do You Have News for the Next “News & Notes”?

If you would like me to share your news in an upcoming issue of News & Notes, you may submit it anytime directly to Gail Johnson at

For More Information

If you have any questions about any of the information contained within, please contact me at  Thank you!

Follow Me on Twitter


I wish you and your family Happy Holidays and the most joyful of New Year!

News & Notes #1

Welcome to the first of many periodic updates from the President’s Office.  The purpose of News & Notes is to keep you informed and engaged with DSLCC – our goals, accomplishments, and our aspirations.  I hope you will enjoy them.

SACS Visit

The SACS team will be arriving on Monday, November 11 and will be on campus from November 12-14.  The chair of the visiting team, Dr. Melinda Robin McCree, Executive Vice President of Student and Academic Affairs from Stanly Community College, Albemarle, NC, will be on campus next Monday, November 4 for a pre-visit.  Chris Orem and I will be communicating with you over the next couple of weeks with the schedule and further details.

Sunshine Fund Established

DSLCC has established a formal Sunshine Fund as a way to express our concern, sympathy, or joy during times of happiness or sorrow for one of our teammates.  Kathy Smestad in the President’s Office will coordinate efforts and she will be contacting you soon with more details and how you can participate.

Backels Hall Canopy Renovation

The work on the Backels Hall canopy project began on Monday, October 28 with the completion expected to be before the new year.  Access to this entrance is off limits until further notice.  Thanks to Ed Kenny for leading this project.

State Board of Nursing Visit

On October 23 and 24, the Virginia Board of Nursing visited DSLCC to examine our RN program.  Although we will not receive the final report until January, Program Head Lynn McAllister and her team did a marvelous job preparing for the Board’s visit.  The comments I received from the evaluator were extremely positive and I expect a “clean bill of health” (yes, pun intended) from the State Board.  Congratulations to Lynn and all the Nursing Faculty.

Donor-Scholar Reception

Congratulations to the Educational Foundation on holding a terrific Donor-Scholar Reception on Friday, October 25.  With over 250 people in attendance, our donors and students were recognized.  Kudos to the four student speakers:  Emanuel Alfred, Cora Cox, Sally Johnson, and Chad Nicely.  Big kudos to Lynda Thompson and Jodi Burgess on a job well done!  Thank you for the work the Educational Foundation do for our students and for DSLCC.

Community Forums Update

This week will complete the final Community Forums.  The feedback from the community has been terrific.  If you would like to see the notes from each session, you can access them at the following link:


Congratulations to Jeanette Mann, EMS Program Director on her recent recognition for the VCCS Chancellor’s Workforce Development Services Award in the category of Occupational Instruction and Services.  The Chancellor’s Award recognizes outstanding contributions made by workforce development services instructors, trainers and staffers. Colleges select nominees based on course evaluations, years of service, assistance to the college in program development and support of the college in its success in serving Virginia’s workforce and community.

DSLCC in the Community – The college’s presence at these and other like events in the community are so important to the success of DSLCC.

  • Thank you to Gail Johnson, Lynda Thompson, Donnie Kern, and Judy Clark for representing DSLCC at the Clifton Forge Fall Festival on October 19.
  • Thanks to Joyce Broughman, Gloria Lawrence, Donnie Kern, and Gail Johnson for representing DSLCC at The Omni Homestead Employee Fair on October 23.
  • Thanks to Bill Tiffany, Phil McManus, and Gloria Lawrence for representing DSLCC at the Bath County High School Career Day on October 9.
  • Four representatives from DSLCC, Michael Scott, Gary Keener, Gail Johnson, and I, attended the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission Annual Dinner in Roanoke on October 24.

Grant Awarded

Congratulations to Vice President Gary Keener and his team on receiving the VCCS 2014 Institutes of Excellence grant for Strengthening Industry Partnerships in Contract Training.  This $17,000 grant will pilot an enhanced workforce development training module to better serve the needs of business and industry and to react to the reduction in staff and resources.

DSLCC Representative on VCCS Task Force

Vice President Angie Graham has been appointed by Chancellor DuBois to serve on the VCCS Funding Model Task Force.  This Task Force is a result of the VCCS Reengineering initiatives.

Do You Have News for the Next “News & Notes”?

If you would like me to share your news in an upcoming issue of News & Notes, you may submit it anytime directly to Gail Johnson at

For More Information

If you have any questions about any of the information contained within, please contact me. Thank you!