11/27/13 — Wayne Community College reports growth

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Wayne Community College reports growth

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on November 27, 2013 1:46 PM

Wayne Community College reached an all-time high enrollment for the fall semester, and expended nearly $3.6 million in grants for its first quarter, college officials told the school's board of trustees on Tuesday.

"We just continue to be amazed," college President Dr. Kay Albertson said. "The grand totals for the fall, 4,041 students enrolled in all programs. That's the highest enrollment we have had since the fall of 2010."

The college has been part of a "major upward swing" in growth in recent years, along with many community colleges across the state, Mrs. Albertson said.

"It's the highest ever in the history of the college, and we expect that we're going to see some fine numbers in the springtime also," she said. "It's not just about recruiting students to come. It's recruiting students to come and be retained and earn those credentials."

Several program areas have especially shown spikes in student numbers, she said.

Pharmacy technology has doubled its numbers since 2010. This past semester it had 16 students.

Information systems and computer technology also experienced growth, with 195 students enrolled in the program areas, which include computer information technology, networking technology and simulation and game development. Enrollment in the three programs was 174 in 2010, 152 in 2011 and 179 last year.

"The area is overall up. There are jobs in those areas and they're well-paying jobs, and almost all businesses need someone in these areas," Mrs. Albertson said.

The number of students in Aviation Systems Technology also is up, with 49 students enrolled, the most in several years. The FAA-certified curriculum provides training that equips students for jobs in fields from transportation to manufacturing, she said.

Other areas that boast stable enrollments include engineering and manufacturing technologies, transportation and automotive and agricultural and natural resources.

Students are able to pursue training or retraining in large part, Mrs. Albertson said, because of the availability of grants and scholarships. An estimated 70 percent of the college's students are receiving financial aid.

"The college has expended $3.6 million in federal grant funds for this portion of the year," Chief Financial Officer Joy Kornegay said. "The majority of these funds were Pell grants. In addition, $341,697 in scholarships have been awarded. Direct loans in the amount of $3.3 million have been processed."

In other business, a longtime employee was named vice president of academic and student services, replacing the recently retired Dr. Peggy Teague.

Gene Smith, previously associate vice president of academic and student services, will officially move into the new role Dec. 1. He has worked at the college since 1993, serving as a biology instructor, department and division chair and director of special instructional projects.

"Gene was selected from a pool of very talented candidates, all of whom have years of service in the North Carolina Community College System," Mrs. Albertson said, calling him a "student-focused" employee.