Golfers participating in the 25th Annual Nash Community College Foundation Student Scholarship Golf Classic will have a chance to win a 2014 Buick LaCrosse as a hole-in-one prize sponsored by Davenport Autopark. Pictured from left, Davenport Autopark General Manager Neill Nelson, NCC Dr. President Bill Carver, and NCC Foundation Executive Director Pat Daniels. Golfers will tee off October 2nd at 8 a.m. or 1 p.m. at Benvenue Country Club in Rocky Mount for a day of challenging fun, while providing scholarships for deserving college students. Registration begins at 7 a.m. Players who select the morning tee time will receive $100 off of registration.All proceeds from the golf classic will provide student scholarships and support the needs of Nash Community College. The format for this year’s tournament will be Captain’s Choice. For more information or to register, visit www.nashcc.edu/golf.
Students from Nash County and Johnston County’s Sheriff’s Department recently completed Detention Officer training at Nash Community College. The certification includes 181 hours of training designed to train qualified participants to function as officers in detention facilities. The course is governed by the North Carolina Sheriffs’ and North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commissions. Students who completed the certification program are: (from left) – Joshua Williford, Cody Williams, School Director Reuben Crumpton, Christina Bottoms, Bernardo Gonzalez, Daniel Wrenn and James Hinton.
Blue Love – To some it may sound silly, but it represents something quite serious…a topic many may not wish to address. As Dr. W. Dallas Herring, the father of North Carolina community colleges intended from the inception of the system, our goal is to “….take people from where they are, as far as they can go.” And that is exactly what Blue Love does.
In her April 2013 TED talk, experienced educator Rita Pierson said, “We know why kids drop out. We know why kids don’t learn. It’s either poverty, low attendance, negative peer influences. We know why. But one of the things that we never discuss, or we rarely discuss, is the value and importance of human connection, relationships.” It has been suggested that the same is true about college students; many who drop out, do so because they do not feel there is value in what they are doing, or they feel that no one cares about them.
To help ensure student success, Nash Community College recognizes that not all students are alike, and that many face challenges beyond those arising in the classroom. Food insecurity, test anxiety, post-military life challenges, learning disabilities, transportation problems, mental health issues, financial concerns, substance use, impaired access to technology and health care needs are among the obstacles to learning that some NCC students encounter. These concerns must be addressed in order for learning and positive student outcomes to occur; and that is just what Blue Love does. Additionally, NCC faculty have engaged in rigorous instructionally focused professional enrichment to help them engage students at the highest level.
NCC instructors share Blue Love by understanding these differences and addressing holistically the barriers to student learning. To be effective, NCC instructors have to be engaged, energized, and happy to be in the role they are in. Blue Love puts this level of faculty and staff commitment into action. “Teaching and learning should bring joy. How powerful would our world be if we had kids who were not afraid to take risks, who were not afraid to think, and who had a champion? Every child deserves a champion, an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be,” Pierson said. NCC believes the same to be true about its students…every student deserves a champion.
The recent rollout of the Student Wellness Center with clinical outreach counseling is one way NCC connects students with qualified professionals and community resources who can offer support. The college has devoted a full-time employee to helping students get connected with organizations and people who can assist with their individual needs. Marbeth Holmes, NCC’s Clinical Outreach Counselor, holds an Associate in Arts degree from Louisburg College, a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Meredith College, a Master of Arts degree in English from Abilene Christian University, and a Master of Science degree in Social Work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Holmes has been working at Nash Community College since August 1998, and is part of the college’s professorate class.
The Wellness Center’s scope of services includes screening and assessment, crisis intervention, personal counseling, support groups, referral services for chronic care, psycho-education, cognitive-behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy and more. Holmes is trained to provide assistance to special populations in need of therapeutic support groups such as veterans, single mothers, survivors of trauma and domestic violence, drug abusers and others. College resources that also provide assistance to students include: the Student Government Association, MALE mentoring program, the Library, a food pantry, and success closet with professional attire for students who need clothing for work or job interviews.
Blue Love is signified with hands in the shape of hearts, buttons, and blue tie dyed tee shirts, but these representations stand for much, much more. And those who live in local and surrounding areas can attest to the impact of Blue Love each day when they are treated by nurses, use locally fabricated products, receive goods transported by a CDL graduate, are served in a restaurant by a culinary student, and experience the protection and service of law enforcement or fire services agencies. So, this term that I and others have referred to recently, is not simply about the donning of apparel and smiles by NCC employees; it is about building caring, meaningful relationships with our students, with each other, and with the community.
Nash Community College recently held a pinning ceremony to recognize eleven graduates from the medical assisting diploma program. Each individual completed the academic and clinical work required to become Medical Assistants as determined by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). According to program director Nancy Worsinger, “Some have chosen to enter the workforce at this time, while others have returned to campus this fall for additional coursework leading to an associate’s degree in applied sciences.” All of the graduates are eligible to take the national certification exam that will earn them the credential of Certified Medical Assistant, or CMA.
This is the seventh class of diploma students to reach this milestone since the Nash Community College program began in 2007. The college developed the program in response to the needs of the surrounding health care community and since that time, the demand for qualified medical assistants has continued to grow. The National Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 29% increase in employment for medical assistants over the next 10 years and we have seen that reflected locally in the excellent job placement rate of our graduates.
“The list of required courses for the diploma is very long – totaling 45 credit hours – and requires an overload every semester if completed in one year,” Worsinger said. “Since many of our students are adults with families and part-time or full-time jobs, time management skills are critical to success. I’m continually in awe of what our students are able to balance. And for many, it is the support and understanding of family and friends that make their success possible.”
Pictured on the front row, from left to right: Anna Owens, Elm City; Morgan Willcox, Rocky Mount; and Jessica Winstead, Wilson. Second row: Janicia Rover, Roanoke Rapids; Maria Caudle, Rocky Mount; and Melanie Craft, Rocky Mount. Back row: Janet Silver, Louisburg; Elizabeth Hernandez, Bailey; and Shonlel Evans, Rocky Mount. Not pictured: Amber Crocker, Rocky Mount and Sonal Rathod, Rocky Mount.
Statistics show the surest way for anyone to land a job in their chosen field is to finish college and earn a degree or certificate. And that’s exactly what students at Nash Community College are promising to do. They are signing a mass pledge to complete their associate degrees or certificates before leaving the community college for transfer or entering the job market. Administrators, faculty and staff have also been asked to sign the pledge, committing themselves to do whatever they can to facilitate completion of student credentials.
On November 19th, students will gather to sign the completion pledge, part of a national community college movement. They will also hear from student guest speakers. The event is being hosted by Nash Community College’s Beta Upsilon Delta Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa along with the support of the Nash Community College Alumni Association and college administrators. Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society members are serving as the student arm of the Community College Completion Challenge, a national education initiative. Learn more at www.cccompletioncorps.org .
In April 2010 leaders of six national organizations representing the nation’s 1,200 community colleges signed The Call to Action, a pledge to increase student completion rates by 50 percent over the next decade. Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society was the only student organization asked to participate. Phi Theta Kappa launched the Community College Completion Corps in response to this call.
At the 2010 White House Summit for Community Colleges President Obama called for community colleges to produce an additional 5 million degrees and certificates in the next 10 years, part of a goal to restore the United States as the world’s leader in college graduates. The U.S. is now ranked 16th among industrialized countries in the percentage of citizens holding higher education credentials.
It is reported that students who complete their degrees or certificates will earn an average of $500,000 more over the course of their careers than their peers who did not complete. In addition, individuals with credentials are less likely to become unemployed than their co-workers who did not earn credentials.
Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi, is the largest honor society in higher education with 1,280 chapters on college campuses in all 50 of the United States, Canada, Germany, the Republic of Palau, Peru, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the British Virgin Islands, the United Arab Emirates and U.S. territorial possessions. More than two million students have been inducted since its founding in 1918, with approximately 135,000 students inducted annually. Learn more about Phi Theta Kappa at www.ptk.org .
If you told me 6 years ago where I would be today, I would not have believed you. High school was not a walk in the park for me. Life happened, personal challenges arose and I didn’t even end up walking at my graduation. Directly after graduation in 2007, I got a job at a local bank and enrolled in a few classes at Nash Community. The instructors were wonderful, but I struggled balancing my personal life and academics. I was straight out of high school and unsure what I wanted to major in —what I wanted to dedicate years of formal education to. Business, Art, English, Science? All of these subjects interested me but nothing left me wanting more. I knew something had to change and that I needed to search for an answer. It was that so called “opportunity paralysis” that pushed me to make a change. I decided to save my money, and to go exploring.
I cut back here and there, and slowly found ways to save. I’d seen it in the movies; I’d seen photographs of a beautiful and vast wilderness, surrounded by the Tasman Sea that they called New Zealand. Glaciers next to oceans, penguins on beaches, I had to see it to believe it. A working holiday visa was offered there that allowed me to travel for up to a year and work legally in the country when I needed money. So after working two jobs to save up, I bought a plane ticket and a backpack and was off. I explored wildly and challenged myself daily. I worked odd and end jobs; I worked at a sheep farm, a coffee shop, a vineyard, a dairy farm, a yoga retreat and a feijoa orchard to name a few.
After New Zealand, I flew to Indonesia and traveled across Bali and her surrounding islands. It was there that I began to meet wildlife and environmental conservationists that were making changes in Asia. I snorkeled world-renowned reefs and learned about how humans were affecting them. I met people who dedicated their lives to saving endangered sea turtles, rehabilitating birds from the brink of extinction and raising awareness in local communities to push for change globally. I then flew to Vietnam and during my travels learned about the consequences of mass deforestation and the importance of environmental education. It was then that I knew. I knew that I had to dedicate my life to this cause. I knew I had to become a conservation biologist. I had to learn everything there was to know about the vast world around me, which ironically meant… I had to return home.
My plane landed on North Carolina soil in 2012, and I was changed and renewed. In order to begin to make my dreams a reality, I had to further my education. The very next semester I enrolled as an Associate in Science, college transfer student at Nash Community College. My decision to enroll at Nash Community was a no-brainer. The small class size, instructor accessibility and solid academic programs I had encountered in my previous enrollment made me feel confident in my choice to start at Nash instead of a four-year university.
Now, in my last year at Nash, I have come so much farther than I would have expected. Since returning from my trip I have maintained a 4.0, served as an officer for Phi Theta Kappa, and was given the opportunity to serve as a Student Ambassador this year. Nash Community has pushed me to become a stronger woman by fostering my leadership skills and always encouraging me to think bigger and better. Thanks to the amazing Peer Assisted Learning program, PAL, I am tutoring in the very subject that made me want to pursue higher education, Environmental Biology. The unbelievable biology lab and biodiversity center at Nash Community’s S&T building has allowed me since my freshman year to process DNA, learn real world lab skills, and get hands on with animals I love. I have formed connections with instructors that have led me to pursue independent undergraduate research opportunities, attend and present at conferences in my field of study, and experience real field work in the North Carolina mountains.
I hope that my story can serve as an inspiration. Be easy on yourself. Be patient with the process of self-exploration. If my journey has taught me anything, it is that an inspired heart is a strong one. I began my journey at Nash Community just planning on obtaining my “Core 44” credits and transferring on, but the amazing opportunities that Nash offers have convinced me to graduate with the class of 2015. I can’t wait to put on that cap and gown for the first time and walk across Nash Community College’s stage!
Nash Community College is once again sharing proven methods of innovation — this time at the North Carolina Community College System Conference being held in Raleigh October 12-14, 2014.
The spotlight is on the college’s implementation of technology in its Student and Enrollment Services office, to streamline the workflow process and minimize student wait time. Michael Coleman, Director of Counseling at Nash Community College, will present “In House Electronic Sign-In System for Practically No Cost” at the system conference. The office houses admissions, financial aid, the registrar, and provides assistance to students registering for classes, and seeking counseling.
The college’s former process for seeing students in the Student and Enrollment Services office required individuals to sign in using a paper sign-in sheet at the front desk. A front desk staff member would then notify other staff members individually by phone until an available employee was located. The system caused delays, increased room for error, and allowed no process for tracking the number of individuals signed in or anticipate their needs.
After reviewing several companies that would charge as much as $30,000 for an electronic solution to improve the process, NCC decided to create an in-house solution. Using Google Docs, iPads, and the college’s website, NCC staff created an electronic sign-in system that has increased efficiency, record keeping, and customer service — all for less than $1,000 in equipment costs.
Since implementation in February 2013, the electronic sign-in system has significantly increased the efficiency and speed at which Student and Enrollment Services employees have been able to assist students, decreasing student overall wait times. Staff members now have the ability to monitor students signing in from their office, which means they can research students’ needs immediately and many times, staff members are able to provide answers and resolve issues in their initial contact with the student.
Even more impressive, is the ability of staff members to access the sign-in sheet on their smart phone or tablet. This means staff members can be away from their desk and still observe how many students are signing-in in real time. If a department director is off campus and observes a sudden influx in student traffic, they can quickly make a few calls and pull staff members to assist.
Additionally, with the electronic sign-in system, the department is now able to keep electronic records which can be used to make staffing decisions during peak times. Such reporting can also provide analytics including information about peak traffic and wait times, the types of questions students have, and the departments that are seeing the most traffic. Searches within the system can also find specific student information such as what days, times, and needs a particular student had each time they signed in. The system has been so effective, Student and Enrollment Services plans on adding more iPad devices in the future to further enhance students’ ability to quickly get the answers they need.
At the conference, Coleman will walk attendees through setting up their own electronic sign-in system. As an alumnus of the college holding an Associate in Applied Science in Architectural Technology, Coleman speaks from experience, knowing firsthand how improved processes and increased efficiency can benefit students. After graduating from Nash, Michael Coleman attended Liberty University where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Religion and Master’s degrees in both Religion and Business Administration. He is currently pursuing his Doctorate of Business Administration at Liberty University. Coleman has been employed at the college since 2007.
Scotland County native Dr. Mary Wayne Watson, retired Nash Community College Professor and Road Scholar with the NC Humanities Council, will present a program on Sandhills women’s perspectives of the American Civil War. The event, co-sponsored by the Richmond Historical Society, is set for 7:00 p.m. on September 15, 2014, at Rockingham City Hall in Rockingham, NC. Watson’s presentation is titled “Women’s Attitudes towards Secession and the Civil War.”
Research on the work of her great uncle, North Carolina Poet Laureate John Charles McNeill, as well as her cousin, Gerald White Johnson, noted historian and journalist, both from Scotland County, motivated Watson to look further into her family’s history. In so doing she discovered a series of letters written during the Civil War by her great-grandmother in Scotland County to a family in Moore County.
The program presents a fascinating look at women’s views during the beginning, middle, and end of the Civil War period in North Carolina.
An initially uplifting, idealistic support of the Union as a great experiment in democracy and self-rule ultimately fades into prayers for return of the surviving men as well as hopes for peace, followed by ultimate acceptance of the bitter realities of war on a land and a people crushed in the aftermath. Poignant descriptions of the impact of Sherman’s “scorched earth policy” on a once proud and surprisingly literary Sandhills community remind us once again that war is hell–even when it is brother against sister.
Watson received her Ph.D. from the University of Virginia and her Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has taught at middle schools, high schools, community colleges, and universities in North Carolina and Virginia.
Nash Community College’s leadership is poised to steer continued growth in public safety training. Two new recent Board of Trustees appointments bring decades of experience in first responder and emergency management leadership to the College’s governing body. Both community college alumni, James A. Mercer of Nashville and Chief J. Keith Harris of Rocky Mount, will serve four-year terms. Mercer was appointed by the Nash County Board of Commissioners and Chief Harris was appointed by Governor Pat McCrory. With the addition of the new Continuing Education and Public Services Building slated to open on the south end of campus next spring, the new NCC leaders will enhance the College’s ability to meet the needs of the public services sector, and the local and regional communities.
Mercer completed his Associate in Applied Science degree in Criminal Justice at Nash Community College, and transferred to Shaw University to earn his Bachelor of Science degree in Behavioral Sciences. He has 25 years’ experience in fire service and emergency management, including North Carolina certifications as Emergency Management Coordinator Type I, Certified Hazardous Material Responder, Certified First Aid Instructor, Level II Fire Service Instructor, Fire Service Methodology Instructor, Level II Fire Inspector and has had extensive Incident Command and Hazardous Material (HazMat) training.
Mercer is a 30-year veteran of the United States Army, North Carolina National Guard and the United States Army Reserves having served in the United States Army during combat in Iraq. He is the Senior Army Instructor for the JROTC at Wallace-Rose Hill High School in Teachey, North Carolina. His professional experience also includes service as a police officer and firefighter in Rocky Mount and Director of Emergency Services for Edgecombe County. He led Edgecombe County’s emergency response and disaster recovery during Hurricane Floyd in 1999 and has held the positions of Director of Emergency Management for the City of Raleigh, and Director of Public Services for Nash Community College during his career. In 1999, he received the Emergency Manager of the Year ‘Edward Griffin Award’ from the North Carolina State Emergency Management Association and was named Nash Community College’s Outstanding Alumnus in 2003.
Chief J. Keith Harris worked in the fire, rescue, and emergency medical fields for over 31 years and retired as the Rocky Mount Fire Chief in April 2010. From 1999 until 2003 he served as Rocky Mount’s Hurricane Floyd Flood Recovery Manager. He has assisted in many other areas of North Carolina as well as other states aiding in recovery from disasters, including the Gulf Region following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Throughout his career Chief Harris was involved with local and state-level emergency management and homeland security programs, federal disaster response, and recovery, mitigation, and preparedness programs. He has lectured nationally and provided training on emergency preparedness, severe weather and flooding at many venues across the United States. Chief Harris assisted the National Weather Service in the development of nationwide hurricane drills, and served on numerous local and state committees associated with emergency management and homeland security. In 2011 and 2012, Chief Harris served as the North Carolina Long Term Recovery Manager for the American Red Cross, helping communities throughout North Carolina recover from the 2011 tornado outbreak and damages sustained down east from Hurricane Irene.
He is a strong proponent of regionalized approaches whenever possible, and he is most proud of working relationships forged between city, county, and state agencies following 9/11 and during his tenure as Rocky Mount Fire Chief. Harris earned an Associate in Applied Science degree in Fire Protection Technology from Wilson Community College and completed the Municipal Administration Program through the University of North Carolina School of Government.
For more information, please call 252-451-8235.
Nash Community College Mathematics Professor Dina Pitt of Rocky Mount has been promoted to Chair the College’s Mathematics Department. Beginning in the 2014-2015 Academic Year, the Mathematics and Sciences Department was divided into two unique areas of curricula due to program growth, especially in fundamental math studies.
“Dina Pitt has been instrumental in the cultural shift across campus. Without realizing the potential virility, she coined a phenomenon referred to as ‘Blue Love’ that embodies the College’s commitment to the success of its students. Her energy, passion and professionalism often drive the Math Department, and make a difference every day in the lives of Nash Community College students,” NCC President Dr. Bill Carver said.
Pitt holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Secondary Mathematics Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master of Arts degree in Mathematics from Campbell University. She began her career at Nash Community College in 2000. With Pitt’s leadership, the Math Department implemented the Developmental Math Redesign in fall 2013 and increased student success rates from 53 percent in fall 2012 to 73 percent in fall 2013. She was designated with professorate distinction among NCC’s inaugural professorate class in 2010.
Earlier this year, Pitt was selected by her peers, and through a student evaluation process as the recipient of the 2014 J. Edgar and Peggie T. Moore Excellence in Teaching Award. As the 2014 recipient of the award, Pitt served as Faculty Marshal for the College’s Spring 2014 commencement exercises and represented NCC in the statewide North Carolina Community College System’s Excellence in Teaching Award process.
“Not only does Mrs. Pitt care about her students, she cares about every soul in our building. I have witnessed her approaching students that she has never met before to ask them what they want to do in life. With a light push of encouragement, many students find the strength they need to succeed through her. Anyone on campus will agree that she is the funniest and most uplifting instructor they have ever had,” NCC Associate in Science student Jessica Avila said.