The State Board for Community Colleges met on March 20 and 21 at The Madison Hotel in Harrisonburg, continuing the tradition of holding the March meeting in the Board chair’s home community college region.
“We appreciate the partnership and collaboration,” Alger said. “We want to get more transfer students. I would certainly welcome that here at JMU. Transfer students do very well here… We’re committed to working with you on that front.”
Dr. John Downey, president of Blue Ridge Community College, led the Board on a tour of his college’s campus and later offered a presentation focused on the students the college serves.
“30% of our students are first-generation students,” Downey said.
The Board held a preliminary discussion about the VCCS tuition policy for the 2019-2020 academic year. The Board will formally vote on the policy during its May meeting in Richmond. For now, the Board accepted a proposal to consider a tuition range of 0% to 2.4%.
The State Board further approved the following policy-related items:
• Changing the name of the policy formerly known as Advanced Standing to the more descriptive, “Credit for Prior Learning.” Additionally, the policy has been revised so that a student may receive up to 75% of program credit based on validation of competencies attained through prior learning. This change is expected to help veterans and military-related students who are benefiting from the VCCS Credits2Careers portal.
• A new policy on presidential appointments has been established, which would allow presidential appointments of one, two, or three years to be offered to new and ongoing presidents. Board members believe this would better allow the VCCS to compete for highly sought-after candidates who are already receiving multiyear offers from colleges in other states.
• The policy regarding State Board members participating in a meeting by electronic means has been revised to comply with recent changes to state policy.
Finally, the Board heard a report that the VCCS’s historic enrollment decline, over the past seven years, will prevent the VCCS from reaching the credentials tripling goal articulated in the Complete 2021 strategic plan. However, significant reforms to community college experience in Virginia – including onboarding; advising; career pathways; credit for prior learning; and improved transfer – are all making significant gains and show promise moving forward.
“[Complete 2021] remains an aspirational goal,” said Dr. Sharon Morrissey, VCCS Senior Vice Chancellor.
The Board next meets in Richmond on May 15 and 16.