March 1, 2017
Fresh off the PCC Foundation "Mardi Gras" Fundraiser held at Rock Springs Center on Feb. 24, it is hard not to be enthusiastic about students and the support which Pitt Community College has from the community to serve them. Over 300 people, including many faculty and staff, gathered to celebrate and expand their financial commitment to PCC. Many thanks to those who donated items for the silent auction as well as the multitude of volunteers required to put on such an impressive evening. We thank Erin Greenleaf and her team in Institutional Advancement and the entire PCC Foundation for their strong efforts.
A recent report on Facilities Naming here at Pitt Community College exemplifies how substantial the contributions of friends to PCC has been over the past decade. To date, over $4.7 million has been raised for students, employee programs, and facilities just from the names placed on buildings, rooms, and auditoriums. Susan Nobles, Vice President of Institutional Advancement, and her staff have been working on additional names for the Science Building and the proposed Student Advancement Center, planned for the northwest corner of Reedy Branch Road and Warren Drive near Tice Road. This is another accomplishment of the PCC Foundation, currently led by Diane Waters from Vidant and Miles Minges of Pepsi Bottling in Ayden.
You have undoubtedly know about the steady decline in enrollments at community colleges across the nation in the past few years. Possible reasons for this change have included an improved job market, dissatisfaction with the costs or relevance of college, decreasing sizes of high school graduating classes in many regions, lack of student academic preparation, and lack of persistence in sustaining enrollment, among others. Pitt Community College has participated in this decline though at a more modest level until this spring semester, when "Full Time Equivalent" numbers (total credits) dipped by almost 7%. We have a number of recruitment and retention initiatives underway, and the work of the Success Navigators has improved our performance with new students. The Title III grant emphasis on persistence and degree/certificate completion as well as Performance Measures interventions will help over time.
The Aspen Institute consultants just over a year ago suggested that a "sense of urgency" should be communicated to PCC employees regarding students attaining their educational goals. Many initiatives, including formation of the Student Success Action Council, have been implemented. It is important that all faculty and staff intensify efforts to increase student access and completion.
A partnership with Pitt County Schools mandated by the NC General Assembly, "Career and College Ready Graduates," is being implemented at seven community colleges and partner high schools, including PCC, and the results are initially encouraging. At JH Rose and South Central High Schools, PCC is offering a bundle of courses to selected seniors to not only improve placement test scores but also to provide an insight on college expectations and opportunities. In the coming year, more colleges will participate with different models, with assessments shared system-wide. The partnership with Pitt County Schools will expand to include all high schools eventually.
On February 1 a Business After Hours event was held at the PCC Farmville Center and many community members joined trustees, staff and students in expanding outreach of credit and non-credit programs to western Pitt County. Thanks to Sara Singleton and her team for initiating programs there and many other locations across our region. These serve as important catalysts for economic and workforce development.
Accomplishments and Recognitions
- Dustin Sharp (Developmental Math) and his United Way campaign committee have exceeded their fundraising goal and will serve many more Pitt County residents as a result. Thanks to all who contributed to this effort.
- Ty Davis (former counselor) was featured in Diverse Issues in Higher Education as Assistant Dean at Indiana University-Purdue Univ. in Indianapolis.
- Amanda Wells (Human Resources) has received an important certification, the Senior Professional in Human Resources, through performance on an exam.
- Wendy Ayscue (Respiratory Therapy) has left PCC for a position in the Dallas, Texas region. Her contributions as department chair, College Council convener, and strong instructor have been significant.
- Regina Garcia and the MultiCultural Affairs Committee sponsored an impressive array of programs for students, staff, and the community in recognition of Black History Month, including "Praise, Purpose, and Persistence" on February 6.
Please put two upcoming annual events on your calendars. The "Academic Excellence" awards will be on Friday, March 31, at 2 PM in the Goess Student Center, and the Employee Appreciation Banquet will return to Rock Springs Center at 6 PM on Friday, April 7.
G. Dennis Massey, President