NEWS FROM AROUND THE VCCS
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A text-only version can be accessed online (http://www.vccs.edu/statewide-syllabus/) .
[Chancellor’s Statewide Syllabus with logo]
TUESDAY, MARCH 9, 2021
IN THIS ISSUE:
• “The best community college budget I’ve seen in 40 years.”
• Another community college steps up to help the public during Covid
• Teaching during the Pandemic: some faculty perspectives
• Distance Learning was already on the rise before the pandemic
• NOVA’s College Senate speaks out on disruption at the Capital
• More PVCC students will get scholarships to transfer to UVA
• New River dean honored by national PTK
• Seven of our colleges earn “Military Friendly” ratings
• Other higher-ed news of note
• VCCS events calendar link
“It’s probably the best community college budget I’ve seen in my lifetime.” VCCS Chancellor Glenn DuBois said that after a year of Covid-19 pandemic disruptions and restrictions, Virginia’s Community Colleges were due for some good news. The positive headlines came from the just-completed session of the General Assembly. State lawmakers adopted a budget that will provide free access to community college for thousands of Virginians, help the VCCS hire badly-needed student advisors, and give a pay boost to classified workers and college faculty.
Virginia’s Community Colleges continue to go the extra mile to serve the public during the Covid-19 pandemic. Here’s a fresh example: Lord Fairfax welcomed more than 800 people to its Middletown Campus last Friday to receive their first shots of the Moderna vaccine.
Dozens of LFCC volunteers, including nursing students and faculty teamed up with a local pharmacy to offer an event that got rave reviews for its organization and professionalism. LFCC will welcome back the crowd of grateful patients for their second shots on April 2.
“It’s unlike anything we’ve ever seen in our lifetime.” – VCCS Chancellor Glenn DuBois in a communication with college presidents in March 2020.
The coronavirus pandemic thoroughly disrupted normal routines for students, faculty and staff at Virginia’s Community Colleges, forcing most courses online and severely limiting instruction that must be delivered in person.
As we approach one year since Covid-19 up-ended many aspects of campus life, this newsletter asked some of our system’s top faculty members to share their experiences during a most unusual period.
Even before COVID-19, face-to-face instruction was on the decline at Virginia colleges and universities, according to a new report from the State Council for Higher Education for Virginia. SCHEV says institutions are migrating more courses online and to a hybrid model combining distance and in-person learning.
The report warns that, as distance learning grows, the digital divide becomes an even more pressing issue. College can better focus on education during the pandemic.
“As we start the new year, we are distressed to witness thousands of troops guarding Washington and Richmond. Not since the bleak years of the Civil War have soldiers bedded down in the rotunda of the Capitol. Many of the National Guard are our students who we will assist in every way when they return to their studies.”
The NOVA College Senate, made up of students, faculty, staff and administration, adopted a statement in the wake of the U.S. Capitol insurrection expressing concern, and affirming support for the idea that our colleges can help the healing process by ensuring a path to success for all our students.
“Since the 1980s, PVCC and UVA have had a unique partnership,” said Piedmont Virginia Community College President Frank Friedman. “Thanks to this partnership, thousands of PVCC students have transferred to, and graduated from, UVA.”
Thanks to an anonymous $5 million donation, UVA announced last week that it is creating a $9 million endowment to provide scholarships for students transferring from PVCC. The first cohort of “Piedmont Scholars” will be selected from applicants for the fall of 2021, and within two years, UVA anticipates that 25 scholarships will be awarded annually.
Congratulations are in order for New River Community College Dean of Student Services Deborah Kennedy. Dr. Kennedy is being honored as a Distinguished College Administrator by the national Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.
PTK will salute Kennedy and two dozen other collegiate leaders during its annual convention in April. She is the only Virginian to make the list this year.
Recipients of the national award were nominated by students at their institutions. Kennedy has served NRCC since 1998, starting as an adjunct instructor before being a full-time career coach and working in enrollment management.
Seven of Virginia’s Community Colleges have earned spots so far on a national honor roll of Military Friendly colleges compiled by VIQTORY, which describes itself as a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business. Its website says, “Military Friendly Schools strive towards and succeed in the areas that matter most in helping veterans make the transition from the military to school and, ultimately, satisfying careers in the civilian world. Earning the designation shows that your school meets the minimum criteria.”
System-wide more than ten percent of VCCS students are veterans or affiliated with military families, and students with military ties are make up more than a quarter of the student bodies at Thomas Nelson and Tidewater Community Colleges.
Central Virginia, Lord Fairfax, Mountain Empire and Wytheville Community Colleges rated “Military Friendly” following this year’s survey. Piedmont and Northern Virginia earned “Top Ten” status, and Southwest Virginia received a “Gold” rating.
EDITOR’S REMINDER: SINCE NOVA ENGLISH PROFESSOR JILL BIDEN IS FREQUENTLY IN THE NEWS AS THE NATION’S FIRST LADY, WE WON’T TRY TO COLLECT AND SHARE EVERY NEWS CLIP ABOUT HER. BUT WE WILL SHARE STORIES THAT FOCUS ON DR. BIDEN’S UNIQUE POSITION TO INFLUENCE THE DISCUSSION ABOUT ACCESS TO HIGHER EDUCATION.
In her first one-on-one interview since the inauguration, First Lady Jill Biden said that she is continuing her fight for free access to community college across the country. “I’ve been doing that since we were in the Obama-Biden administration,” Dr. Biden said during a half-hour interview on NBC’s Kelly Clarkson Show. –Inside Higher Ed (https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2021/02/26/jill-biden-says-shes-pushing-free-community-college) Community colleges have reached a perilous turning point because of serious enrollment declines in the past year. But community colleges now have a powerful White House ally in first lady Jill Biden, who is an English professor at NOVA. The Biden administration is likely to push for tuition breaks and other measures that benefit community college students. It’s the broadest political opening for these colleges in the last decade. –Washington Post (https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/community-colleges-biden-covid/2021/03/01/7b30a18e-75df-11eb-9537-496158cc5fd9_story.html)
OTHER HIGHER ED NEWS OF NOTE:
• The pandemic forced many American families to cancel or postpone higher education plans, and the trend hit community colleges particularly hard. Here’s a state-by-state comparison. –Community College Research Center (https://ccrc.tc.columbia.edu/easyblog/community-colleges-covid-19-states-hardest-hit.html)
• The decline in community college enrollment could spell bad news for the nation’s economic recovery -Washington Post (https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/skilled-workers-community-colleges/2021/03/05/39b4fd38-7d0d-11eb-85cd-9b7fa90c8873_story.html)
• A new national survey of U.S. teens indicates their likelihood of pursuing a four-year degree has decreased substantially over the past eight months, while a growing number believe they can achieve professional success with a postsecondary education attained in three years or less. –Community College Daily (https://www.ccdaily.com/2021/02/teens-cool-toward-four-year-college-warm-up-to-cte/?fbclid=IwAR1c72mzmP6XmltNOp_r4TlyVCFTiu5EHjibz2ynsXPcgVoJRP8nCARKKT0)
• An interim report into the culture at Virginia Military Institute says racial slurs among VMI cadets were common over the past 25 years. –Washington Post (https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/racial-slurs-vmi-investigation/2021/03/08/6fd22af8-8050-11eb-81db-b02f0398f49a_story.html?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=wp_local)
• A new report finds Black undergraduates trust college leaders significantly less than their white peers, and that the pandemic caused a slight drop in trust in administrators generally. –Inside Higher Ed (https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2021/02/26/black-students-trust-college-leadership-less-white-peers)
• The Biden administration is moving to reverse a Trump-era re-write of Title IX regulations regarding how colleges and universities handle sexual misconduct cases. –NBC News (https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/biden-order-review-changes-college-sexual-misconduct-rules-under-trump-n1259956)
• “He came to VCU to launch his life. He did not come to VCU to end his life.” President Michael Rao pledges to make Virginia Commonwealth University a “national model” for how it holds fraternities and sororities accountable after the death of freshman Adam Oakes after a frat party. –Richmond Times-Dispatch (https://richmond.com/news/local/education/he-came-to-vcu-to-launch-his-life-he-did-not-come-to-vcu-to/article_083b0693-584e-5dbf-b18d-a614c6ffd74e.html#utm_source=richmond.com&utm_campaign=%2Fnewsletter-templates%2Fbreaking&utm_medium=PostUp&utm_content=990f05004290162e00384520a8dcf02f4fda9f7f)
• Within three years, Virginia Union University wants 25 percent of its undergraduate students to be Hispanic. If VUU is successful in the effort, it would become the first historically Black college or university to earn the additional federal designation as a Hispanic-serving institution for the fastest-growing minority group in the country. –Richmond Free Press (http://richmondfreepress.com/news/2021/mar/04/bienvenidos-vuu/)
To see the VCCS Events Calendar, clickhttps://www.vccs.edu/news-and-events/#event-calendar here (https://www.vccs.edu/news-and-events/#event-calendar) .https://www.vccs.edu/news-and-events/#event-calendar
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