Tag Archives: J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College

Community college events help boost voter rolls

MECC StudentsNew voters have been signing up “in droves” at a number of voter registration events held at Virginia’s Community Colleges, area newspapers report.

With Virginia expected to register more new voters than ever before this fall, Virginia Community Colleges have been the sites for a number of voter registration drive events at colleges. 

The Rock the Vote organization as been at Mountain Empire (Mountain Empire Community College lets good times roll with voter …Kingsport Times News –Sep 10, 2008); Virginia Highlands (Students rock the vote Southwest Virginia Today –Sep 30, 2008) and other colleges. Reality show celebrity Jose Tapia visited J. Sargeant  Reynolds last week for a forum with students (Young voters seen as key to turnout – Richmond Times Dispatch –Sep 29, 2008)

Community colleges have always been key in grass-roots election campaigns.  When higher education bonds are on the agenda, as in 1992 and 2002, local networking through community colleges often pushes those measures over the top.

In the Kingsport Times News, a Mountain Empire student said:

“A lot of young people don’t understand their votes matter…” said Emily Allen, wearing a Rock the Vote T-shirt splattered with Rock the Vote stickers. “We have to know that we have the power to influence how our future goes. We need to recognize, we do have a voice.”

The deadline to register to vote in Virginia is Monday, Oct. 6.


Community Colleges respond to gas prices

Across the Commonwealth, Virginia’s Community Colleges are looking at new options for making classes flexible and accessible to students, even in the face of increasing gas prices.

J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College is launching “Fuel Smart Fridays,” allowing students the ability to bunch all of their classes together on Friday to save commuting costs.  And local media are taking notice — a number of local TV stations as well as the Richmond Times Dispatch have covered the Reynolds plan.

Further south, the Martinsville Bulletin applauded earlier this week Patrick Henry Community College’s plans to offer more “block” schedules on its Sunday editorial page:

Hat’s off to: Patrick Henry Community College for making changes in its fall class schedules so students can make less trips to campus, and save gas, if they choose. Since PHCC has no students living on campus, it recognizes that commuting costs likely are an issue for many — if not all — of its nearly 1,300 students.

Local TV stations are also covering their efforts – see the video clip from Roanoke’s WSLS.

Earlier this month, Virginia Highlands was among the first community colleges nationwide to receive coverage for the same concept – see the Bristol Herald Courier — moving from three-times-a-week classes to twice-a-week, reserving Friday for classes that just meet once each week.

Community colleges have always been flexible in meeting the needs of their communities.  They can act fast to respond to local needs, including new programs to meet workforce needs.  It’s nice that they are getting noticed for it.

— Posted by Susan Hayden

VaHigherEd Podcast: Episode 5 – Career Coaches Guide ‘Realistic Dreams’

podcast_button1.pngVaHigherEd Podcast: Episode 5– Career Coaches Guide ‘Realistic Dreams.’  Jeff Kraus talks to Charles McLeod, a career coach for J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College. He works at Highland Springs High School to encourage students to plan for the future. Students, he says, need to believe in themselves – and their parents have to believe in themselves, as well. Career coaches can help.

Tune in for the fifth in a series of podcasts featuring Voices from Virginia’s Community Colleges. Click on the audio icon at the top to hear the podcast. Or, click on the podcast title to download and listen on your own computer.vhe-podcastimage144x144.jpg

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VaHigherEd Podcast: Episode 4 – Voices from Middle College: Believe in Yourself Again

photo3-abana-90.jpgJacksonJonespodcast_button1.pngVaHigherEd Podcast Episode 4 – Jeff Kraus talks to Middle College students from J. Sargeant Reynolds and Germanna community colleges at the General Assembly Building, where three students shared the successes the Middle College program has brought to their lives. Listen to them talk about their Middle College experience. Pictured left to right, Erick Jones; Ebony Jackson; and Pablo Abana.

Tune in for the fourth in a series of podcasts featuring Voices from Virginia’s Community Colleges. Click on the audio icon at the top to hear the podcast. Or, click on the podcast title to download and listen on your own computer.vhe-podcastimage90x90jpg.jpg

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VaHigherEd Podcast: Episode 2 – Tara Clark manages degree programs, job and family

podcast_button1.pngVaHigherEd Podcast: Episode 2 – Jeff Kraus talks to Tara Clark, mother of three and Reynolds ambassador, who successfully juggles community college coursework with family and a full-time job.

Tune in for the second in a series of podcasts featuring Voices from Virginia’s Community Colleges. Click on the podcast button above to download and listen. 

You can also subscribe to this podcast through a feed podcast1.gif

Community colleges: a critical link for community success

Community Colleges are a critical connection between the success of individual students, employers and the communities they share.  That’s the message splashed across Sunday’s edition of the Richmond Times Dispatch op/ed page.

Marshall Smith, the president of John Tyler Community College published a piece about his college’s workforce training programs.  It’s an interesting read, especially if you aren’t up to speed on how community colleges are connecting young people, who don’t know what they want to do, and employers seeking qualified people to hire for good-paying jobs.

Many high school students, parents, and counselors are simply unaware of the lucrative careers available to those who pursue two-year degrees in fields as diverse as mechanical engineering, information technology, and funeral services.

In a conversation between RTD editors and Eugene Trani, president of Virginia Commonwealth University and Gary Rhodes, president of J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, that essential link between higher education access and community success was further explored.

President Trani identified community college transfer students as an important piece of that access puzzle.

Trani: Our community-college transfer students who enroll with more than 30 hours from the community college do as well as our native, first-time freshman in terms of retention rates. We love the community colleges. I think that is a good on-ramp.

Rhodes: Let me piggy back on something that President Trani said about the partnership between VCU and Reynolds. The phrase he used was “on-ramp.” The community college mission has 3 parts: (1) its transfer to 4-year colleges and universities; (2) it’s career programs — we have about 80 programs, whether you want to be a nurse, an automotive technician, or work in electronics; and (3) the third part is work-force development.

You can read the longer conversation by clicking on this link.

For more information on how Virginia’s Community Colleges are serving the three missions Rhodes identified, visit our website.

Posted by Jeff Kraus

Counseling Resorces and Concealed Weapons Dominate First Campus Safety Public Hearing


The Chancellor’s campus safety taskforce held its first public hearing this evening at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College.

Two main issues dominated the comments made to the panel:  counseling resources and the posession of concealed weapons on campus.

A psychiatric nursing teacher talked about the challenges of helping students who are in need of counseling – but the processes and resources simply don’t exist to assist them.  “The school of nursing is stressful, “she said.  “We’ve had a student commit suicide after threatening faculty members.  What should we do?  Our hands are tied.”

A leader of the Citizens Defense League urged the panel to pursue only policies that would allow students, faculty and staff members over the age of 21, who have obtained handgun training and a concealed carry permit to carry their guns on campus.  “You should be allowed to save yourself,” he said.  “No one should be expelled or fired for carrying a gun.  Adults shouldn’t be put in a place to die.”

That drew a response a response from a former U.S. Marine turned community college student. “I have a concealed carry permit but this is a learning environment,” she said.  “I don’t want to know that twenty people can just open fire if something happens.  Not everyone is accurate.”

Additional speakers also touched on the need for the police and security forces of Virginia’s 23 Community Colleges to communicate better and share best practices and retaining student records longer than currently done.

The taskforce next meets Tuesday, October 9 at Northern Virginia Community College’s Annandale Campus at the Ernst Center, in the Forum.  The meeting will occur from 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm.  The session will begin with a brief welcome and introduction from the taskforce and then focus on public comments.  To ensure as many people as possible can speak to the taskforce, a time limit may be placed on individual comments.

If you would like to send comments to the taskforce, you can do via a dedicated email address:  myvoice@vccs.edu.

Posted by Jeff Kraus