03/28/12 — College adds two offerings at high schools

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College adds two offerings at high schools

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on March 28, 2012 1:46 PM

Trustees of Wayne Community College Tuesday night voted to continue two high school academy programs and to initiate two more; approved projects to add a parking lot and renovate the student services area; and discussed "solvent" spring enrollment numbers.

The college will again enter into a memorandum of agreement with Wayne County Public Schools to continue the machining academy at Charles B. Aycock High School and the drafting academy at Wayne School of Engineering.

"They began in 2010, and I think we have to renew them every two years," said Veda McNair, board member and chairwoman of the curriculum committee.

The two new programs, which will be introduced next year, are an agriculture academy at Spring Creek High School and a transportation academy, with courses offered to all high school students on the WCC campus.

The offerings represent an ongoing relationship between the college and the school system, said Dr. Kay Albertson, WCC president.

"We have made a huge effort to keep technical programs in the forefront of our high schools," she said.

"It's another opportunity to introduce the college to our high school students and encourage more young people to attend the community college," said Gwyn Wilson, board chairwoman.

Dr. Peggy Teague, vice president of academic services, also brought up changes being made to Career and College Promise, the state's latest dual enrollment program allowing students to simultaneously obtain college credit while attending high school. The changes require approval by the State Board of Education and State Board of Community Colleges, she said, and ultimately will open the door for more students to participate.

The changes center around how testing is administered -- allowing students to combine approved assessment or placement tests and obtaining provisional status, a measure catering to students who might be challenged by the traditional tests.

"It cracks the door open for those students who are really good students but aren't good test-takers," Ms. Teague said of the latter policy change.

Board member Keith Stewart asked whether there were any concerns about the need for remediation for these students.

"They can't be accepted if there's a need for remediation," Mrs. Albertson replied. "They have to pass ... have all acceptable scores for college courses, not remedial courses."

"This is basically for those students that have trouble taking tests or having a bad test day," Mrs. McNair said.

The board also approved soliciting bids for a parking lot project, which will add 221 parking places on the north side of the campus, directly across from Magnolia Building, and the transfer of $500,000 in state funds to renovate and enlarge the student services area, which houses financial aid and counseling offices.

"This is a one-time opportunity from the General Assembly authorizing that we can transfer funds from our equipment (fund) into repairs and renovations for the future," Mrs. Albertson said of the latter. "We would be remiss not to take advantage of that this year. These are funds that came about as a result of not having to revert all of the funding we were asked to hold back (for the state)."

As for the latest enrollment figures, 3,696 in spring classes -- down from 3,852 last year but up 17 from 2010 -- the president said she is pleased.

"We're fairly stable this spring semester considering that we have had a lower enrollment total in 2011-2012," she said. "In our business and computer areas, our numbers in 2012 and 2010 are very comparable.

"I sound like a broken record but that's really what we were aiming at, the numbers in 2011 were an anomaly."

Biggest areas of growth, she said, had been in applied technology -- aviation, engineering and agriculture.

"They are our technical programs, what we used to refer to as vocational programs. It's where our jobs are," she said, attributing the rise to three things. "It's good recruiting, the fact that there are needs in these particular skill sets and the fact that we have good relationships with these businesses and industries."