Martinsville Bulletin, Inc.
P. O. Box 3711
204 Broad Street
Martinsville, Virginia 24115
Toll Free: 800-234-6575
PHCC, NCI ink new deal
Partnership strengthened, new opportunities added
Dr. Angeline Godwin, president of Patrick Henry Community College, and William C. Wampler Jr., executive director of the New College Institute, announce a new resolution between the schools Thursday that is intended to strengthen the partnership between the two schools. (Bulletin photos by Mike Wray)
Friday, August 31, 2012
By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer
Two local higher education institutions are collaborating to try and make going from high school to college a seamless process for area students.
A resolution signed by Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) President Angeline Godwin and New College Institute (NCI) Executive Director William Wampler Jr. on Thursday is intended to strengthen a partnership between the institutions to enhance local educational and employment opportunities.
The signing took place during a ceremony in the Frith Building at PHCC.
Godwin said the renewed partnership “provides every student and ... every member of this community the opportunity to realize their individual dreams and aspirations as well as their fundamental needs to receive the education and training necessary to get a good job, have a solid career and enjoy a great quality of life.”
A key aspect of the partnership, according to Wampler and the resolution, is PHCC’s and NCI’s plans to jointly advise students, especially those intending to enroll in degree programs of the institute’s partner universities.
NCI, which like PHCC gets state funding, provides local access to higher-level courses needed to earn certain bachelor’s and master’s degrees conferred by various universities statewide.
After graduating from high school, students pursuing bachelor’s degrees can take their first two years of college classes at PHCC, then go to NCI and finish their degree requirements.
A team of advisers, consisting of representatives of both PHCC and NCI, is to be established to assist students, Wampler said. Attention first is to be focused on advising students already at PHCC, then eventually ones in high schools and middle schools if local school systems will allow it, he said.
Advisers also are to work with high schools and middle schools to determine prerequisite courses for degree programs as well as achievement levels that will let high schoolers graduate with college credits, according to Wampler.
Along that line, PHCC and NCI are committed to supporting the Piedmont Governor’s School, which offers high school students courses in which they can earn college credits, the resolution shows.
Many degree programs require students to have certain levels of math and science skills, and they cannot wait until they get to college to acquire those skills, Wampler said.
Joint advising also includes working with students identified as candidates for expedited bachelor’s degrees offered by NCI’s partner institutions, the resolution shows.
Students could be allowed to provisionally enroll in an NCI partner university and learn about available financial aid, Wampler said.
“Our hope is that (the advising) leads to a seamless transition” from high school to college and from PHCC to university classes at NCI, he added.
The resolution calls for PHCC and NCI to get students into advanced health care and manufacturing programs offered by the community college and the institute’s partner universities.
PHCC and NCI will work closely with the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp. and area companies to make sure local work force needs are being met, the resolution shows.
They also will explore opportunities to share space and leverage educational resources, according to the resolution.
Wampler noted that PHCC seems to be running out of classroom space on its campus, and NCI is planning to construct a new building uptown.
Godwin said her goal ultimately is for “every kid in this community” to know that whatever they want to do in life, they can receive the needed education and training locally instead of having to leave the area.
“These are the first important steps” toward making that happen, Wampler said.
Before the resolution was signed, two former students told a crowd of local educators and business leaders who attended the ceremony what being able to earn degrees locally meant to them.
Martinsville Area Community Foundation Executive Director April Haynes recalled attending Virginia Tech but finding the university too large and impersonal for her, which spurred her to come home and attend PHCC.
After earning an associate degree from the college, Haynes later earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Averett University through NCI. She said she found her local degree pursuits convenient and affordable.
Glen Hairston, who works in the human services profession, already has a bachelor’s and master’s degree and intends to enroll in a master’s of social work program via NCI. He said attending PHCC and NCI were “paramount in helping me realize my dreams.”
Through PHCC’s and NCI’s efforts to provide area residents the education and skills needed for the modern work force, Hairston said, Martinsville and Henry County will be able to compete for companies offering high-paying careers in the future.