08/12/12 — Classes starting at Wayne Community College on Thursday

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Classes starting at Wayne Community College on Thursday

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on August 12, 2012 1:50 AM

Officials at Wayne Community College anticipate a strong enrollment this year as they welcome not only students and staff but announce a few changes going into the fall semester, which kicks off Thursday.

"We have had lots of activity in our student services area," said Dr. Peggy Teague, vice president for academic services. "We anticipate it will be a good enrollment period."

"We are at close to 3,000 (students)," Gene Smith, associate vice president of academic and student services, said Thursday. "Compared to last year, we're right about where we were, maybe a little bit ahead."

Comparatively, at this time last year, enrollment was at 3,475, down from 3,862 for the fall semester 2010.

But there are still two days of registration left before classes start -- Tuesday from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. and Wednesday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Staff has worked hard to streamline the process, Ms. Teague said, providing automated procedures and online options to reduce lines and wait times for students.

It's not too late to decide to enroll, she said, but with a few caveats.

"If they have not started the process, if they have not applied, we find that, across the country, those that don't apply of ahead of time aren't as likely to stay," she said. "So we would encourage people who are just now thinking about it to come on and apply, but perhaps to start the second eight weeks. ...

"There are seats available in classes, but it won't be as easy to get the schedule on Tuesday as it would be on early registration. But we certainly will be working with students to get them into the classes they need.

Financial aid is also a big consideration. The college website, www.waynecc.edu, contains applications as well as a new option, "Financial Aid TV," about 120 short videos answering questions related to financial aid.

Bear in mind, though, Ms. Teague said, that applications such as FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, take time to process.

"If they haven't already done that, they need to come prepared to pay for their classes," she said.

The college is also introducing developmental math classes in four-week sequences, for students who may have been out of school for a while or need additional help in that subject. The pilot program began in the spring as part of a statewide curriculum initiative.

The abbreviated classes focus on such areas as fractions and decimals, operations with integers and graphs/equations of lines.

"If you do well, you can go on; if you don't, you review that portion so that you're building a strong foundation (in math)," Ms. Teague said. "We're very hopeful that this revised math course is to going to be helpful."

While there are no new programs slated to start in the fall, Ms. Teague said efforts are wrapping up to submit applications to the state in September for "health informatics," courses related to electronic records.

One change students will appreciate is additional parking, although it won't be available the first few days of classes. Construction on a new parking lot is slated to begin Aug. 27, with target date of completion around Oct. 1. The new lot, providing an additional 184 spaces, will be located in the area of the Magnolia and Hocutt buildings.

"The first few weeks of classes, students are trying to find their way -- no one's dropped a class yet so parking is an issue," explained Smith. "We're trying to provide more spaces for students so it's no longer an issue.

"It never has been an issue when people find their way but everybody wants to park in front of the WLC (Wayne Learning Center) building."

One word of caution -- the price of parking tickets is going up.

The General Assembly recently passed legislation to increase the fine from $5 to $25. The move, a result of requests to make the penalty more substantial to stop repeat offenders, was approved by the WCC board at its July 24 meeting.

Other changes announced include efforts to improve safety and school spirit.

Students will be provided lanyards and requested to display their college ID while on campus.

A back-to-school bash will be held for students on Aug. 21 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. on the graduation field. Admission is free by showing ID.

The college's mascot, "Billy the Bison," which before only existed as a photo on the website, will become more visible around campus.

He made his first appearance at graduation, but is expected to be more of a presence at upcoming events, Smith said.

"We had a mascot but didn't have the costume," he said. "It was something the SGA officers came up with last year, to increase school spirit."