SVCC

Panther Prep Day is Apri 16, 2019

Panther Prep Advising Day is coming back to Southside Virginia.   This event, sponsored by Southside Virginia Community College, will be held Tuesday, April 16, 2019 at various locations.  This is a chance for students to meet their advisors, register for classes, learn about all the programs and services the college has to offer.

Event hours at Christanna Campus in Alberta, John H. Daniel Campus in Keysville,  Southern Virginia Higher Education Center in South Boston, Estes Community Center in Chase City, and  Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center in South Hill are from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

The Southside Virginia Education Center in Emporia will host the event from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m.

For more information on the event, call 434 736 2022. 

sneakers

Panther Prep Day Returns April 3, 2018

 
Panther Prep Advising Day is coming to all locations of Southside Virginia Community College on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.  This is a great time to meet advisors, learn about SVCC programs register for Summer and Fall Classes and just have some fun and food and fellowship.  The event will be held at the Alberta and Keysville Campuses from 10 until 6 p.m.  Other locations include Southern Virginia Higher Ed. Center in South Boston, the Center in Emporia, The Estes Community Center in Chase City, and Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center in South Hill.  Also, plan to attend this event at the Occupational/Technical Center at Pickett Park in Blackstone from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  Don't miss this chance to get the scoop on all you need to know about Southside Virginia Community College.  More information about the college can be seen at www.southside.edu

Zapatillas Running trail

Effie M. Smith Memorial Scholarship Established at SVCC

Effie M. Smith

Through the generosity of family and friends of Effie M. Smith, Nurse Aide students from Greensville County will be eligible to apply and receive a scholarship.  

This scholarship was established to recognize the dedication to the nursing profession of Mrs. Smith who was a Nursing Assistant for many years.  Nurse Aides play a vital role in the healthcare profession, especially in the long-term care sector.  The compassion nurse aides show to their patients is second to none.  

Nurse Aide students at SVCC will now have a great opportunity for a scholarship because of that same thoughtfulness of the family and friends of Mrs. Smith.

Stupendous Success

By Quentin R. Johnson, Ph.D.

Southside Virginia Community College will honor its 2021 graduates in a virtual celebration to be released May 15, 2021 at 9:30 a.m. Students, their families, and others in the community, can access the pre recorded video through the college’s website (southside.edu) or FaceBook page (facebook.com/SouthsideVirginiaCommunityCollege).

Tiara Mustafo, a 2017 SVCC alumna, will sing the National Anthem. Tiara says SVCC gave her time to find herself and make important friendships. Today, she is a full-time musician. “Music has always been what makes my spirit happy,” she says. A word that describes Tiara is inspiring.

The graduates to be recognized embody many additional characteristics that have contributed to their successes. In preparing for this year’s celebration, we asked faculty and staff to tell us what words best portray the Class of 2021. Here are just a few.

Brave. A recent survey of students revealed that 45% belonged to the first college-going generation in their families. These educational pioneers have taken steps beyond their parents’ experiences to navigate new opportunities. Each of these individuals has demonstrated personal courage in reaching their goals. We salute them.

Diligent and hard-working. Earning a post-secondary degree or other credential, even during the smoothest of times, requires careful attention and the persistent application of effort. Our 2021 graduates have maintained their focus during a turbulent year rocked by social justice concerns and a pandemic. In addition, two out of three completed their studies while holding down a full-time or part-time job. We admire their determined dedication.

Adaptable. This year’s graduates have taken a mix of courses made available through traditional and innovative formats, including online lectures, meeting-style Zoom classes, video broadcasts, and hybrids that combined assorted modalities. SVCC recognizes the importance of giving students opportunities to develop their roles and responsibilities as participants in a changing society. The ever-changing reality of societal transformation has never been more apparent than during the past year. We take our collective hats off to our adaptable students.

Ambitious. The Class of 2021 includes 751 individual academic students who will earn a combined total of 855 awards, including associate degrees and other certificates. Their post-graduation ambitions vary. Some will put their education immediately to use in the workforce; others will continue their academic journeys through transfers to senior institutions.

Positive and driven. 175 students who have completed workforce training programs throughout the year are celebrated with program specific ceremonies. Combined, they have earned 352 industry-recognized credentials. These individuals worked hard to learn new skills and demonstrate the level of mastery required to enter and excel in their chosen professions.

Resourcefulresilient, and strong. All our graduates can tell personal stories about overcoming challenges. One student noted, “I work a full-time job and have small children.” Another explained, “At first, I did not know if I was going to like SVCC being that I was supposed to go to a four-year university and my plans fell through, but now I love it! I would not want to have it any other way.”

There are many other words that can be used to describe the remarkable people who will be honored at SVCC’s commencement ceremony. One I like is Stupendous. As they move into the future, these extraordinary graduates will make a wonderfully stupendous impact as they weave their personal success stories into the fabric of our communities.

 

 

 

 

SVCC & G3 – What does it mean for you?

Get Skilled. Get a Job. Give Back Initiative to Make College Possible for Qualifying Students

On March 29, 2021, Governor Ralph Northam signed the “Get Skilled, Get a Job, Give Back” initiative, or “G3” program bill that will provide $36 million each year, over the next two years, to make program-targeted, tuition-free community college possible for qualifying students.

“Thanks to our legislative leaders," said VCCS Chancellor Glenn Dubois. “We are going to remove the cost to a certificate or degree for jobs that are high in demand. We wouldn’t be here without Governor Northam’s campaign and promise.” 

The G3 initiative aims to target key industries, from health care and information technology to skilled trades, public safety and early childhood education. Data shows that on average, participants in these high-demand degree programs can increase their wages by 60 percent upon program completion.

“Southside Virginia Community College could not be more excited about this G3 initiative and what it can mean for so many in the southside region,” said Dr. Quentin R. Johnson, president of SVCC. “This funding can open the door for career growth and the opportunity for students to receive the training needed for high paying, high-demand jobs.” 

Who is eligible for G3 funding?  Any Virginia resident is eligible if they meet the following criteria:  1) Qualifies for in-state tuition; 2) Has a total household income of less than or equal to 400% of the Federal Poverty Level (roughly an income of $100,000 for a family of four); 3) Is enrolled for a minimum of six credit hours; 4) Is enrolled in a designated G3 program; 5) Has applied for federal and/or state financial aid programs.

For a complete list of SVCC programs that qualify for G3 funding please visit:  southside.edu/G3.  If you have any questions, don't delay, call today at 434.949.1035.  
 
We are waiting for your call and eager to help you get started on the path to a high-demand career!

Graduates Serving on the Frontlines

By Quentin R. Johnson, Ph.D.

Have you recently had a medical appointment? Conducted business online? Needed your electricity restored after storm damage? If so, you may have benefited from the expertise of an SVCC graduate. Our graduates fill frontline positions all across Southside Virginia.

For example, earlier this year, our nursing students helped administer COVID vaccines to 1,500 people. Every year, hundreds of students graduate from our nursing and other allied health programs. The Associate Degree of Applied Science with a major in Nursing (ADN) program prepares men and women to become Registered Nurses. After licensure, RNs fill staffing needs at locations such as physicians’ offices, hospitals, long-term care facilities, clinics, and public health agencies. Graduates of our other healthcare programs, including Practical Nursing, Nurse Aide, Phlebotomy, and Medication Aide, fill specific roles within interdisciplinary teams that serve patients and their families in many settings.

If you or a loved one has experienced an emergency, it may have been an SVCC graduate who rushed to provide assistance. Our programs train emergency medical service technicians at a range of levels from volunteer to professional and from basic to advanced and paramedic. In addition, graduates from our Administration of Justice programs help protect their communities by serving as local and state law enforcement officers and in other public safety roles, such as correctional and security officers.

For many of us, the pandemic increased the need to interact with the world digitally, using home computers and smartphones to access the internet. Graduates from SVCC’s cutting-edge Information Technology (IT) programs stepped up and helped us connect. Although IT workers may not be as visible as the phlebotomist who draws your blood, they have worked tirelessly behind the scenes on behalf of colleges, universities, and school systems to develop and maintain the infrastructure that has enabled students and teachers to work together remotely. IT workers also provided the tools needed to keep local businesses up and running. Some IT professionals have supported workers who moved from office locations to their own living rooms, some have deployed systems that kept supply chains open, and others have provided creative solutions to keep entrepreneurs in touch with their customers.

In addition to challenges presented by the coronavirus, last February’s massive ice storm created numerous problems throughout our region. Tree limbs came crashing down. Utility poles snapped. Thousands of homes and businesses lost electrical power. Graduates from SVCC’s Power Line Worker program were among those who came to the rescue and helped restore power.

Although disasters and calamities draw attention to the need for workers in high-profile areas such as these, other tasks of restoring and maintaining normality rest on many shoulders. SVCC works diligently to prepare people for a vast range of careers that support the local economy and enhance our enjoyment of every day. We train the truck drivers who deliver goods; we train the mechanics who repair the trucks. Our HVAC graduates ensure the safety and comfort of people at home and at work. Our cosmetology graduates make sure you look your best.

SVCC is proud of its role in helping people prepare for diverse careers and to take on responsibilities in today’s everchanging society. Please visit the College’s website (southside.edu) for more information about how SVCC, its students, and alumni contribute to the wellbeing of communities across Southside Virginia.

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Dr. Quentin R. Johnson is president of Southside Virginia Community College, an institution of higher learning that provides a wide variety of education opportunities to a diverse student population within a service area that spans ten counties and the City of Emporia. He can be reached via email at quentin.johnson@southside.edu.

Today vs. Tomorrow

By Quentin R. Johnson, Ph.D.

A popular adage advises, “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” Mangled comic versions go something like this: “Never put off till tomorrow what may be put off until the day after tomorrow.”

Procrastination seems to touch many of us, at least occasionally. We embrace distractions, avoid doing what ought to be done, and trust future luck to meet needs, oftentimes at the adrenaline-filled last minute.

There is even a holiday recognizing this tendency, National Procrastination Week. In keeping with its theme of putting off tasks, the week can be observed during the first two weeks of March, or at another more convenient time.

I have personal experience with procrastination. I tend to procrastinate when it’s time to shop for Christmas gifts. I convince myself that I might catch the best deals by shopping on Christmas Eve. You can guess how it goes. Items are often sold out, prices are rarely good deals, and lines are long.

I also tend to procrastinate when it’s time to cut the grass. I figure the task can wait. The grass will still be there when I get around to it. Unfortunately, when I succumb to this type of thinking the grass keeps growing. It grows so tall I need to take two or three passes just to get rid of all the clumps.

People procrastinate for many reasons. They put off doing tasks they think they will dislike or that will require more effort than they want to expend at a particular moment. They overestimate the likelihood of feeling more motivated in the future. And, some people avoid attempting anything that may yield imperfect results because they fear failure.

James Clear, author of the bestseller Atomic Habits, offers several tips for overcoming procrastination. One is to make tasks more achievable by breaking them down into small steps, and then taking the first tiny step. He writes, “Once you start doing something, it’s easier to continue doing it.”

At Southside Virginia Community College, many of our students make a similar discovery when they take the first step in pursuit of postsecondary education goals by registering for classes. A current student who is on track to graduate this December explains her own journey: “Even though I attended college right after high school, I never obtained a degree.” She goes on to say, “That started to bother me after a while, but by that time it seemed too difficult to do.”

It wasn’t until her children were grown and her youngest child was attending college that she resolved to stop procrastinating. “I decided it was time. SVCC sounded like the best approach, so I applied, registered, filled out the FAFSA, and requested transcripts.”

At first, she first feared the road ahead. She says she “thought I might not be able to get it all done, but here I am. Everyone at SVCC has been so kind, patient, helpful, and encouraging, and I am so grateful.”

If your education goals include obtaining a college degree, industry-recognized credentials, or other certifications, it’s time to take your first step. Registration for summer classes begins on March 15, and FastForward Credential Programs are available with upcoming start dates. Scholarships are available, and many of the FastForward Credential Programs are “Tuition Free”! So, don’t procrastinate. Visit southside.edu for more information.

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Dr. Quentin R. Johnson is president of Southside Virginia Community College, an institution of higher learning that provides a wide variety of education opportunities to a diverse student population within a service area that spans ten counties and the City of Emporia. He can be reached via email at quentin.johnson@southside.edu

Black History and America’s Future

By Quentin R. Johnson, Ph.D.

Black History Month, sometimes called African American History Month, occurs every year in February. Officially recognized by then-President Gerald Ford in 1976, the commemoration grew from groundwork established by Carter G. Woodson and others during the opening decades of the twentieth century. The observation provides a moment to reflect on the contributions African Americans have made throughout the centuries of U.S. history and to honor their achievements. Throughout February’s days, Black History Month affords an opportunity to open conversations and learn more about the intertwined histories of the diverse groups of people who comprise the American population.

February was chosen for this observation because of its link to the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th U.S. President, and Frederick Douglass, a former slave who achieved renown as an author, speaker, and activist for the abolition of slavery. The month opens with National Freedom Day, marking the anniversary of the day in 1865 when Lincoln signed the Congressional resolution that became the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, abolishing slavery.

As Black History Month concludes, our nation will move forward with a renewed understanding of the need for inclusive and thoughtful dialog about the things we value. Virginia’s community colleges have a lot to contribute to this vital conversation. Glenn DuBois, Chancellor of the Virginia Community College System (VCCS), recently acknowledged, “When it comes to the issue of race, Virginia has baggage.” Referring to the 1607 Jamestown settlement, he explained, “Much of the modern America we know sprang from that tiny outpost on the banks of the James River. And race plays a leading role in so many of the chapters of that story, including bloody clashes between native tribes and English settlers; the origins of American slavery; the Revolutionary and Civil wars whose battle scars yet mark Virginia soil; and the shadows of Reconstruction and Jim Crow that linger yet.”

With this in mind, the VCCS has initiated the development of a new strategic plan with a revitalized emphasis on equity, diversity, and inclusion, not just for African Americans but for all people irrespective of race, ethnicity, income level, gender, or other inherent challenges. As president at Southside Virginia Community College, I am strongly committed to work aligned with the statewide initiative that is being done by our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. One of our goals is to have a college community that is reflective of the communities and students we serve.

In honor of Black History Month and in preparation for moving forward into our shared future, I encourage you to get to know someone who is different from you. Talk to someone with a different ethnic group, race, gender, or culture.   Open a dialog with someone who is older or younger. Have a conversation with someone whose life experiences differ from yours. Ask questions, share, and listen. Learn from people who tell stories about their own and their community’s struggles. There is much to be done to reconcile inequities. We need to be not just accepting but appreciative of our differences and of our likenesses.

I am an eternal optimist. I am also a realist. I am an African American male in America, and I have faith in my country, in my college, and in the will of people to change. I believe the future looks bright for all of us. 

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Dr. Quentin R. Johnson is president of Southside Virginia Community College, an institution of higher learning that provides a wide variety of education opportunities to a diverse student population within a service area that spans ten counties and the City of Emporia. He can be reached via email at quentin.johnson@southside.edu.

Recognizing the Importance of Mentors

 

 

By Quentin R. Johnson, Ph.D.

January is National Mentoring Month, an observation led by MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, with support from the Highland Street Foundation.

A mentor is defined as a person who serves as a coach, advisor, or trusted counselor to someone with less experience. In college life, a mentor is much more. A mentor recognizes potential, kindles possibilities, and connects students with opportunities. At its most fundamental level, a mentoring relationship provides a personal connection so that mentees know someone cares. They are not alone.

At SVCC, mentoring is an important part of what we do. Formal mentoring programs stand alongside a host of other efforts that provide vital support for student achievement, including tutoring, career counseling, academic advising, and hands-on assistance in areas such as financial aid, disability accommodations, and transfer planning.

Our longest standing mentoring program, Make It Happen, began operating in 1998. This comprehensive effort supports the success of African-American males. In addition to receiving academic help, participants are given the opportunity to attend leadership development events and are encouraged to seek leadership positions in a variety of campus clubs, organizations, and committees. These activities, which promote adjustment to the college environment and encourage the development of a positive self-image, enable participants to consistently meet or exceed anticipated outcomes as measured by grade point average, retention, and persistence toward goals.

The Women in Search of Excellence (WISE) Mentoring Program seeks to address the challenges facing women in higher education by fostering healthy relationships and providing support, guidance, and encouragement. Participants overcome barriers enabling them to achieve personal, professional, and academic growth. With support from their mentors, WISE students set goals, make informed decisions, identify needed resources, discover pathways, cultivate strong relationships with women in business and academia, and develop leadership and self-improvement skills.

Go For It, a pilot program being launched at SVCC’s Center for Information Technology Excellence (CITE) in South Hill, is aligned with the Microsoft Women in Data Centers Pathway Program. Go For It will pair local students with their counterparts in Dublin, Ireland, and Microsoft staff will provide personal mentoring.

These programs and others help students reach education targets and attain personal success. They are especially valuable for students who are returning to an education pathway after time spent in the workforce. For example, people who find themselves unemployed or underemployed due to COVID-related job changes and wish to train for new career options can find the help they need at SVCC. The Re-Employing Virginians (REV) Grants program, originally instituted at the end of last year, has been extended through 2021. By combining this financial assistance with effective mentoring and student support, our College enables student achievement.

REV grants cover community college tuition for Virginians who meet program requirements and wish to train in REV-eligible programs. These span a wide range of options in areas with high job demand and include associate degree pathways, certificate and career studies programs, and short-term FastForward credentialing opportunities. Fields include nursing and other healthcare-related fields, criminal justice, information technology, and hands-on technical programs such as welding, machining, and automotive repair.

If you’re considering a return to higher education, contact SVCC. Visit southside.edu or call 434-736-2046. Ask us about financial assistance, mentoring, and other student support services that can help you reach your goals.


Dr. Quentin R. Johnson is president of Southside Virginia Community College, an institution of higher learning that provides a wide variety of education opportunities to a diverse student population within a service area that spans ten counties and the City of Emporia. He can be reached via email at quentin.johnson@southside.edu.

SVCC Partners with M.C. Dean for Apprenticeship Program

 

(From left to right): Chris Foster, Instructor of Industrial Technologies, SVCC; David Nelson, Master Instructor, M.C.Dean; and Vincent Brown, Associate Professor of Industrial Technologies, SVCC.

Southside Virginia Community College has partnered with M.C. Dean to pilot an electrical apprenticeship program.

Beginning this spring, M.C. Dean level one employees that are working their way through a four-year apprenticeship program will also become SVCC students.  The apprentices will be able to earn college credit toward an Industrial Electrical Technician Career Studies Certificate.  The program will be housed at the Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center in South Hill.

The students will also have the option to apply the credits toward an Industrial Technology Degree.  Vincent Brown, Associate Professor of Industrial Technologies, SVCC; and Chris Foster, Instructor of Industrial Technologies, SVCC; will teach the curriculum for the program.

The curriculum for the program is the NCCER Electrical curriculum.  NCCER develops standardized construction and maintenance curriculum and assessments with portable credentials. These credentials are tracked through NCCER’s Registry System that allows organizations and companies to track the qualifications of their craft professionals.

David Nelson, Master Instructor with M.C. Dean, recently met with SVCC faculty members to discuss learning outcomes important for their apprentices. 

"M.C Dean is excited about this partnership and the opportunity to recruit local talent.  We want these students to have the best training experience possible, that replicates real world applications," said Nelson.  

M.C. Dean is headquartered in Tysons, Virginia and employs more than 3,700 professionals who engineer and deploy automated, secure, and resilient power and technology systems.  The company has employees currently working at Microsoft's data center in Boydton, VA.  

M.C. Dean designs, builds, operates, and maintains cyber-physical solutions for the nation's most recognizable mission-critical facilities, secure environments, complex infrastructure, and global enterprises. The company's capabilities include electrical, electronic security, telecommunications, life-safety, instrumentation and control, and command and control systems.

Anyone interested in starting the apprenticeship program should contact M.C. Dean at (703) 802-6231.

 

SVCC Announces 2021 Spring Semester Plans

Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) will continue with a full schedule of classes for the spring semester beginning January 11, 2021. 

The college is taking a “HyFlex” approach to course delivery.  This means class options (depending on the needs of each discipline) may include a mix of in-person instruction, expanded online offerings, and a “Zoom to Home” option.

According to Dr. Quentin R. Johnson, SVCC President, "SVCC's partnership with communities to establish off-campus centers, in addition to our Alberta and Keysville campus locations, is a real benefit to students during this unprecedented time in our history.  Our locations allow the college to offer students the flexibility to utilize classroom space and computer labs, and to access high speed internet; while complying with the appropriate Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines."

While priority for in-person instruction will be performance-based classes and labs that cannot be delivered online, additional seated courses will be offered as room availability allows.

SVCC's Fast Forward workforce programs will be offered in small groups. The college's flexible approach allows for appropriate social distancing, while making alternatives available for those students who do not have adequate high-speed internet at home and, therefore, would not be able to participate in online or at-home Zoom classes.

Aware that the outlook can change at any time, Dr. Johnson stated, "We will remain nimble and adjust, as needed, to remain safe and to better serve students." SVCC's COVID-19 Task Force has a plan in place to pivot to fully remote and online if public health and safety requires it."

Since the pandemic began in March, SVCC has complied with guidelines from the CDC for physical distancing, hygiene and safety.  This will continue for the spring semester as all SVCC locations require face coverings; classrooms are configured to comply with social distancing; and access to facilities is limited.

“As we navigate this pandemic together, we want everyone to know that we are still open for business and remain committed to assisting our students in every way possible,” Dr. Johnson added.

Registration for the 2021 spring semester is going on now; for more information, please visit southside.edu or call 434-949-1000.

Boar's Head Provisions Donates to Create SVCC Scholarship

Dr. Daryl Minus, Vice President, Enrollment Management & Student Services, Southside Virginia Community College, accepts a donation from Jeff Hoye, Plant Manager, Boar's Head - Jarratt, that will establish a new scholarship fund.

The Southside Virginia Community College Foundation is delighted to announce that it has received a donation from Boar's Head Provisions to establish a scholarship fund earmarked for residents from the counties of Brunswick and Greensville who are enrolled in either business administration/management, science, or general studies with an agribusiness specialization.  The scholarship is designed to encourage interest in pursuing a management trainee position.

Boar's Head Brand was established in the New York City area in 1905.  A family business, the company began with the belief that consumers deserved a better quality ham, than what was available.  

Today, Boar's Head Provisions Co., Inc., is one of the leading manufacturers of premium delicatessen meats and cheeses while remaining family owned and committed to quality.

Gratitude and Wellbeing

By Quentin R. Johnson, Ph.D.

In 2015, National Day Calendar established November as National Gratitude Month in the United States and Canada. The designation had been advocated by Stacey Grewal, author of Gratitude and Goals, who said “Gratitude is an essential ingredient of a happy, fulfilling life.”

To help people incorporate gratitude into their lives, Grewal instituted a 30-day gratitude challenge. She explained, “Research shows that practicing daily gratitude can enhance our moods, decrease stress, and drastically improve our overall level of wellbeing."

After all the unexpected twists and turns 2020 has delivered, practicing an attitude of gratitude brings a much-needed respite from the daily news. I find myself especially grateful for family, friends, and colleagues.

I give thanks for being selected to serve Southside Virginia Community College as its sixth president. Our college is one of the most diverse institutions in Virginia, and our commitment to inclusivity and excellence helps every student shine. Their success stories are built on a solid foundation established by my predecessors who have shaped the college throughout its illustrious history.

SVCC celebrated its 50th anniversary this year. Construction for the college’s first buildings began in Brunswick county in 1969, and the college opened to students in 1970. A groundbreaking ceremony for SVCC’s second campus in Keysville was held on October 30, 1970.

SVCC’s first present, Dr. Kenneth Dawson, brought with him experience gained through college and university leadership positions in Georgia and Kentucky. He also inaugurated our attitude of service, bringing with him a belief forged through personal commitments, including his work as a consultant to the American Red Cross in Liberia, West Africa.

Through the years, SVCC’s respect for diversity has had many advocates. The college’s fourth President, Dr. John Cavan remarked, “A mosaic of colors and shapes is pleasing to the eye. A mosaic of diverse people is pleasing to society.”

I also appreciate the pioneering work done in many fields by the college’s dedicated faculty. Under the direction of Dr. John Adams, SVCC welcomed its first online students in 1998. Today, cybercourses and other distance-learning options continue to be an integral component of education, and I am grateful for the experienced leadership SVCC personnel bring to this task.

Dr. Edward Chernault established much of the groundwork for current workforce programming options. Dr. Chenault developed regional partnerships for identifying the skills and competency levels required by local employers, and he deployed the Work Keys System developed by American College Testing to document achievement. Today, Workforce Development Services at SVCC continue in this tradition by offering credentialling programs that lead to jobs with family-sustaining wages.

Additionally, I am grateful for all our students. They are amazing people who continue to work with diligence. I am also thankful for our graduates who serve the community as first responders, healthcare providers, truck drivers, information technology workers, powerline workers, electricians, HVAC technicians, members of our nation’s armed services, and more. Their leadership as engaged citizens in our everchanging world gives me hope for a bright tomorrow.

In short, I am so proud to be part of the SVCC family. Although we have been impacted by novel challenges during 2020, there is still so much for which to be grateful. I invite you to begin your own gratitude challenge. If you’re like me, it will indeed help you discover an increased sense of happiness and wellbeing.

Dr. Quentin R. Johnson is president of Southside Virginia Community College, an institution of higher learning that provides a wide variety of education opportunities to a diverse student population within a service area that spans ten counties and the City of Emporia. He can be reached via email at quentin.johnson@southside.edu.

Transferrable Success

By Quentin R. Johnson, Ph.D.

Every October, the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students celebrates National Transfer Student Week. This year Southside Virginia Community College will participate with a Virtual Transfer Fair, which will run October 19–23, 2020.

Plans are underway for an informative, participatory event that can be experienced through socially distant conditions. Institutions to which SVCC students frequently transfer will provide informational videos and have personnel available for scheduled meetings using Zoom video conferencing technology. Students will be able to attend through in-person options at SVCC’s two main campuses or from their homes.

For many students, time spent at SVCC represents a first and foundational step in a longer postsecondary academic journey. At the end of the 2018-19 school year, more than 150 students transferred from SVCC to four-year institutions. Nearly 100 had earned an Associate’s degree, awarding them credit for two full years of academic achievement. Other students focused on earning specific credits that enabled them to skip prerequisites and be better prepared for success in advanced coursework.

About two-thirds of transferring SVCC graduates head to one of Virginia’s public four-year institutions. Popular destinations include Old Dominion University, Longwood University, Virginia State University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia Tech, University of Virginia, and James Madison University. Other students prefer private, nonprofit institutions, such as Liberty University and Mary Baldwin University. To ensure students’ future successes, SVCC maintains transfer and guaranteed admissions agreements with more than 30 of Virginia’s colleges and universities.

The Agribusiness program, established by Dr. Dixie Dalton, Dean of Humanities, Social Sciences and Business, provides an example transfer pathway. Dr. Dalton recently talked with sisters Dottie and Cassie Long, who completed Associate of Arts and Sciences degrees with an emphasis in Agribusiness and then transferred to Virginia Tech, where they went on to earn bachelors’ degrees in Animal Science.

Cassie told Dr. Dalton, “One of the best decisions I made in my college career was enrolling at SVCC with plans to transfer to Virginia Tech. I say this because my experience at SVCC helped me transition into college smoothly, complete general education classes in a smaller setting, and focus solely on Animal and Poultry Sciences courses while at VT.”

Dottie reported a similar experience, “Completing my first two years at SVCC helped me transition into the college life. I enjoyed the smaller class sizes at SVCC, then jumped right into my major at VT. Also, having a good advisor in my corner that helped me take the classes I needed to transfer helped a lot.”

Dottie and Cassie now work managing Long’s Farm Supply in Brookneal, a family-owned store that meets the needs of local farmers and homeowners. Cassie is also pursuing graduate studies and may eventually become a high school agriculture teacher.

Like these sisters, all students who start their academic journeys at SVCC before transferring to a four-year institution can benefit from SVCC’s outstanding student support, advising, and financial aid services. They can also save money because the annual tuition bill at SVCC comes to half or one-third of the tuition at public four-year institutions. Furthermore, by beginning an academic journey close to home, students and their families save on the added costs of room and board.

For more information about SVCC’s transfer programs and the Virtual Transfer Fair, contact Matt Dunn, Career and Transfer Counselor, by phone at 434-736-2020 or by email at matt.dunn@southside.edu.

Dr. Quentin R. Johnson is president of Southside Virginia Community College, an institution of higher learning that provides a wide variety of education opportunities to a diverse student population within a service area that spans ten counties and the City of Emporia. He can be reached via email at quentin.johnson@southside.edu.

Careers 4 Women in Technology Summit

Considering a career in technology?  On Tuesday, October 20th from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm, Southside Virginia Community College will be hosting a virtual summit for women interested in pursuing a career in today’s digital world. 

Presenters include:

  • Kat Roney – Network Acquisition Specialist, Microsoft
  • Pepsi Wirth – Chief of Staff, Xbox Compliance
  • Lesley Kipling – Network Cross Functional Team, US Army Future Command
  • Kia Preston – Information Technology Specialist, Southside Virginia Community College
  • Latarsha Walton – Desktop Support Technician, Department of State Foreign Affairs Security Training Center
  • Kristin Puleo – Microsoft Datacenter Academy Scholar, Intern and Datacenter Technician, Microsoft

Learn about the training and skills necessary for in-demand careers!  Panelists will discuss current positions and how they embarked on their career pathways and obstacles they overcame along the way. 

Registration is required by October 15th.  To register or for more information go to Southside.edu/article/careers-4-women-technology or call 434-955-2252.

Change Your Future in Weeks

Southside Virginia Community College will offer an 80 hour American Welding Society (AWS) certification program at the Southside Virginia Education Center in Emporia beginning September 28th and running through December 9th.  Classes will be held on Monday and Wednesday nights from 5:00 to 9:00 pm.

According to Dennis Smith, SVCC’s Director of Workforce Development, “These classes are open to anyone interested in gaining this valuable, in-demand skill that can lead to well-paying job opportunities.”

Topics will include safety, general welding shop practice, routine equipment maintenance, metal preparation, OSHA 10, the Gas Metal Arc Welding process (MIG) and more. 

Grants and scholarships are available.  For more information contact Courtney Starke at (434) 949-6614 or visit southside.edu.

Impact Study Highlights SVCC’s Contributions

By Quentin R. Johnson, Ph.D.

A recent Economic Impact study undertaken by Dr. Vincent Magnini, a researcher at Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business in Blacksburg, examined the impact Southside Virginia Community College makes across its ten-county service area and throughout the Commonwealth. The findings identified economic contributions and other social benefits in our local region and beyond. The research emphasized that what makes SVCC different and what makes us special is how we take care of our students, how we take care of each other, and how we contribute to the communities we serve.

SVCC’s statewide economic impact for fiscal year 2019 was estimated at $166 million, of which $147.5 million remained within the counties that comprise the southside service area. Salaries and wages represented part of the total. The college’s work contributed to 877 direct and secondary full-time equivalent jobs, leading to combined incomes of $45 million. Other financial elements represented in the economic impact study included local spending by students and other campus visitors, increased income earned as a result of completed programs of study, and the value of federal, state, and local tax revenues.

Benefits beyond direct economic effects included expanding the workforce training pipeline to attract new businesses, using student-centric initiatives to achieve high satisfaction rates, and preparing transfer students to fill upper-level enrollment gaps at four-year institutions. In addition, SVCC offers opportunities to high school students seeking to earn college credits through the Governor’s School of Southside Virginia, career and technical programs, and other dual enrollment options.

In fact, more than 1,800 high school students earned credits for college courses at SVCC in FY 2019. We appreciate the opportunity to help young adults from our region as they pursue academic and career goals. National statistics suggest that secondary students who earn college credentials graduate from four-year colleges or universities (senior institutions of higher education) within four years at a rate that is twice that of their traditional college-going peers who enroll at four-year colleges and universities directly out of high school. Furthermore, they will spend less on college expenses and accrue less debt.

We are also proud of the accomplishments among students who are the first in their families to attend college. In colleges nationwide, fewer than 33% of attendees are first generation students. At SVCC, 65% of our program completers are first generation college students. By increasing access to education and supporting the success of students from low-income, ethnic minorities, and rural families, we play an important role in improving their employability and earnings potential. These are vital ingredients in efforts to address racial equity and fairness.

SVCC’s strategic plan, “One College. One Mission,” focuses on continual improvement to student experiences and achievements. It also aligns with the Virginia Community College System’s strategic plan “Complete 2020-21,” which emphasizes a tripling of earned credentials across our service area. Our efforts to track, monitor, and document evidence of success toward this goal will bring further clarity to the ways SVCC contributes to the wellbeing of the communities we serve.

The Virginia Tech study also noted SVCC’s regular recognition among honorees in the “Great Colleges to Work For” assessment. SVCC has earned specific distinctions in the categories of job satisfaction, professional and career development programs, and employee relationships with supervisors and academic leaders.

The SVCC family brings strength and passion to accomplishing the college’s mission. As our students and alumni know, SVCC’s mascot is the panther, and our “Panther Pride” continues to energize us in the pursuit of excellence.

________

Dr. Quentin R. Johnson is president of Southside Virginia Community College, an institution of higher learning that provides a wide variety of education opportunities to a diverse student population within a service area that spans ten counties and the City of Emporia. He can be reached via email at quentin.johnson@southside.edu.

Dr. Daryl Minus Joins Leadership Team at Southside Virginia Community College

Dr. Daryl Minus recently joined the leadership team at Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) as Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Services. 

Dr. Minus came to SVCC from the Marine Corps Community Services (United States Department of Defense) where he was Education Assistant Branch Manager/Education Services Officer.  Prior to that he served as Vice President, Student Services and Enrollment Management, for Cape Fear Community College. 

“We are extremely pleased to welcome Dr. Minus to SVCC.  He brings a wealth of experience, an entrepreneurial mindset, an understanding of the challenges of community colleges in rural communities, and an excellent team leadership philosophy to the role.  We look forward to his leadership as we respond to the unprecedented evolving challenges, demands and opportunities facing us,” President Quentin R. Johnson said.

Dr. Minus graduated from Hampton University with a bachelor’s degree in marketing.  He earned his master’s degree from New York University in business education/higher education and his doctorate in educational leadership from University of Phoenix. 

“I am thrilled to be part of the SVCC Family,” Minus said.  “I am looking forward to working alongside staff and faculty to impact the lives of students and the communities served by the College."

Flexible with an Emphasis on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

 

 

 

By Quentin R. Johnson, Ph.D.

Southside Virginia Community College will reopen its doors on August 24 with a full schedule of offerings and a range of attendance options that incorporate in-person, online, and hybrid classes. Short-term workforce programs that require hands-on learning will be offered in small groups. We have reconfigured classroom and laboratory spaces to meet social distancing requirements, and in accordance with guidelines, SVCC will require face coverings on campus.

Taking steps to minimize risks while preserving student momentum toward the attainment of education goals is of paramount importance. At this complicated time in our nation’s history, educational offerings at community colleges have never been more important. This is especially true in places like southside Virginia, where historic gaps in opportunity produced enormous impacts on rural and minority communities.

One important means of improving earnings abilities among rural residents and members of racial and ethnic minorities is the attainment of credentials and certifications that are in high demand among local employers. The community college mission incorporates this kind of education, training, and upskilling to help people launch academic journeys, find careers, or get back to work.

Chad Patton, Ph.D., who serves as SVCC’s Dean of Career and Occupational Technology explains, “SVCC has partnered with business and industry to create scholarship opportunities for minorities and low-income residents in specific disciplines. This has worked to remove barriers for students and created more diversity in our classes.” Patton also notes, “Many of SVCC's programs lead to employment with or above family-sustaining wages. I often tell people about the young man who, as a powerline worker, makes more than I do as a college dean.”

At SVCC, we are proud of our efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. We bolster student success through mentoring programs, such as Make It Happen and WISE, and a robust student support system that incorporates tutoring, academic advising, career counseling, and financial assistance.

Diversity in the classroom also demands diversity in staffing. Our goal is to have a college community that is reflective of the communities and students we serve. Keith Harkins, PhD, Vice President of Academic and Workforce Programs is providing oversight for a college-wide Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee to develop a plan that will include recommendations, timelines, and measurable outcomes. Bethany Harris, Human Resources Director, is actively involved with the Search Advocate initiative, which will help overcome implicit biases in the hiring process.

Many other local employers are also seeking to increase diversity. As a part of those processes, some who recognize the need to increase the education and training pipeline have partnered with the college to establish scholarship programs that will lead to better equity in their workforce demographics.

In these unprecedented times, however, addressing diversity issues and financial concerns is not enough. SVCC is also working to tackle inequities created by the existing digital divide. To bridge this gap, we and our community partners are making alternatives available for students who do not have adequate high-speed internet at home. At various locations across the college's 4,200-square-mile service area, SVCC’s campuses and off-campus sites will grant students access to computer labs and high-speed internet connections, while still complying with appropriate distancing guidelines.

At SVCC, we care about our students’ health and their success. For more information and for updates about education and workforce training opportunities visit Southside.edu or call 434-949-1000.

Dr. Quentin R. Johnson is president of Southside Virginia Community College, an institution of higher learning that provides a wide variety of education opportunities to a diverse student population within a service area that spans ten counties and the City of Emporia. He can be reached via email at quentin.johnson@southside.edu.

Challenges and Opportunities

 

By Quentin R. Johnson, Ph.D.

In recent months, our nation has struggled with its responses to two diseases, COVID-19 and racism. One stems from a viral threat, and the other is a symptom of systemic and institutional dysfunction. As news reports have amply documented, both can be deadly.

I was devastated to witness the murder of George Floyd and am saddened by the upheaval that has followed in cities around the country. Some people mistakenly believe civil rights disparities have been relegated to history. Alas, this is not so. In several states, I have been stopped by police and racially profiled while driving through predominantly white communities. My two sons have also had similar experiences. These have been very humiliating situations. People who are not members of racial minority groups are frequently surprised to learn how often this happens.

In addressing racial concerns, Dr. Glenn DuBois, Chancellor of the Virginia Community College System, said, “Equity and access to opportunity have been at the heart of our community college mission since we first opened our doors in 1966. However, our efforts to translate those ideals into action for all Virginians have not always yielded the results that we seek as quickly as we would like. Simply stated, we must do better, and we will.”

As part of this effort, the Chancellor asked me to lead a task force that will examine curricula for law enforcement programs across all community colleges in the Commonwealth. These programs, which enrolled nearly 2,200 students last year, represent one of Virginia’s largest sources of training for law enforcement officers.

Front-line personnel who will offer input include Chad Patton, Ph.D., SVCC’s Dean of Career and Occupational Technology. Patton served as a law enforcement officer for ten years before beginning a teaching career in SVCC’s Administration of Justice program. Patton remarked on the need to improve instruction regarding the use of force. He said, “There is not a dedicated course that has at its core the ethical and legal use of deadly force. I think such a course is needed, and it is needed at the community college level.”

Alfonzo Seward, Ph.D, Professor and Program Head of SVCC’s Administration of Justice Program, emphasized the importance of strengthening relationships between police and communities. “Law enforcement needs to work on building community trust through community policing programs. Law enforcement departments should provide citizens academies to educate the public on police tactics, methods, resources and reasons. The public’s trust will increase when they understand why the police do what they do,” he said.

Travon Smith, an African American Virginia State Trooper and recent SVCC Administration of Justice graduate, commented on the importance of constant diligence. “Racial injustice and inequality need to be addressed all the time and not just when something bad happens,” he observed.

This broader spectrum of concern is echoed in other work underway at SVCC and throughout the Virginia Community College System. A system-wide initiative called Search Advocate is being implemented to reshape the hiring process in a way that ensures inclusive practices and avoids implicit bias. In addition, I am serving on a separate VCCS long-term strategic planning task force that has been refocused with a heavy emphasis on equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Embracing challenges provides an opportunity to do great things. By working together, I am confident that our community can forge a path to a brighter future for all.

Dr. Quentin R. Johnson is president of Southside Virginia Community College, an institution of higher learning that provides a wide variety of education opportunities to a diverse student population within a service area that spans ten counties and the City of Emporia. He can be reached via email at quentin.johnson@southside.edu.

SVCC Announces 2020 Fall Semester Plans

Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) will resume a full schedule of classes this fall beginning August 24th. In what the college is terming its “HyFlex” approach to course delivery, class options (depending on needs of each discipline) may include a mix of in-person instruction, expanded online offerings, and a new “Zoom to Home” option.

Instruction will comply with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for physical distancing, hygiene and safety. “While priority for in-person instruction will be performance-based classes and labs that cannot be delivered online, additional seated courses will be offered as room availability allows. SVCC's Fast Forward workforce programs will be offered in small groups.

The college's flexible approach allows for appropriate social distancing, while making alternatives available for those students who do not have adequate high-speed internet at home and, therefore, would not be able to participate in online or at-home Zoom classes.

According to Dr. Quentin R. Johnson, SVCC President, "SVCC's partnership with communities to establish off-campus centers, in addition to our Alberta and Keysville college locations, is a real benefit at this unprecedented time in our history. It allows the college to offer students the flexibility to utilize classroom space and computer labs and to access high speed internet at various locations across the college's 4,200 square mile service area, while complying with the appropriate guidelines."

Aware that the outlook can change, Dr. Johnson says, "We will remain nimble and adjust as needed. SVCC's COVID-19 Task Force has a plan in place to pivot back to fully remote and online options if public health and safety requires it." Dr. Johnson is quick to point out that it will not be business as usual at SVCC. At all SVCC locations face coverings will be required, classrooms have been reconfigured to comply with social distancing, and there will be limited access to facilities.

Times have changed, but SVCC is still open for business and remains committed to assisting our students in every way possible. More information is available at Southside.edu or by calling 434-949-1000.

First Virtual Graduation

By Quentin R. Johnson, Ph.D.

Southside Virginia Community College will celebrate its 2020 graduates during the institution’s first ever virtual graduation ceremony. The event will recognize the excellence of our students and honor faculty and staff commitments in support of student success. Students, parents, families, and community members can tune in from the convenience of their own homes beginning Saturday morning, June 20 at 9:30 a.m. The prerecorded video can be viewed at any time after its release on the college’s website (southside.edu), through its FaceBook page, and on YouTube.

It has been a year of firsts at SVCC. The 2020 graduating class completed their programs during the first world-wide pandemic in modern times. The virtual graduation ceremony honoring their accomplishments is my first commencement as the college’s President. In addition, SVCC itself is celebrating an anniversary marking its first 50 years of providing educational services to the community. As a commemoration of this anniversary, a time capsule, which will include a copy of the unique 2020 commencement ceremony, will be placed at a campus location.

I am very proud of SVCC’s students, faculty, and staff. They have really pulled together during the past semester’s unusual journey. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has changed many aspects of our lives, it has not altered the excitement and enthusiasm we feel about what our graduates have accomplished.

Serving as Faculty Marshal, Dr. Lisa Jordan, Professor of History and Political Science, will open the virtual ceremony. Dr. Michelle Edmonds, Dean of Nursing, Allied Health and Natural Science, will sing the national anthem. Speakers will include Mr. J. Wesley Shepherd, Chairperson of the Local Board and representatives from our college community.

Dr. Keith Harkins, Vice-President of Workforce and Interim Vice-President of Academic Affairs, will have the privilege of bestowing special honors and commendations. Munimah Fulani will receive the Florence Daniel Riepe Kalbacker Leadership and Community Service Award, which is presented annually to a student who embodies the ideals and spirit requisite for community advancement. Harkins will also acknowledge members of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, an organization of scholars that encourages high-achievement among community college students. Other honorees include participants in the Women in Search of Excellence (WISE) Mentoring Program, the Make-It-Happen Program providing support for minority male students, the Student Ambassador Program encouraging emerging student leaders, and the Dual Enrollment partnership with public school systems permitting students to earn high school and college credit at the same time.

The highlight of the ceremony, of course, will be the more than 870 graduates who make up the Class of 2020. Submitted photographs will be displayed as their names are announced. Dr. Dixie Dalton, Dean of Humanities, Social Sciences and Business, Dr. Chad Patton, Dean of Career and Occupational Technology and Dr. Michele Edmonds, Dean of Nursing, Allied Health and Natural Sciences will recognize the individual graduates.

I am so very proud of SVCC’s graduates. They have risen to the occasion and surpassed expectations. Many grappled with and overcame tremendous obstacles to earn their degrees, certificates, and diplomas. A graduation ceremony acknowledges these many accomplishments, and I encourage each student to move forward with a commitment to be change agents that help make our communities, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and this world a better place. Go forth and make a contribution, make a difference. The future belongs to you. 

Dr. Quentin R. Johnson is president of Southside Virginia Community College, an institution of higher learning that provides a wide variety of education opportunities to a diverse student population within a service area that spans ten counties and the City of Emporia. He can be reached via email at quentin.johnson@southside.edu.

SVCC’s Nursing Program Recognized

 

RegisteredNursing.org recently released its list of 2020 Best RN Programs in Virginia and Southside Virginia Community College is at the top!  SVCC’s Christanna Campus program was ranked #1. 

Selecting the best nursing school in Virginia can be difficult according to the organizations website.  When notified by RegisteredNursing.org of this amazing recognition, Outreach Coordinator Sally Worthington, said, “After carefully analyzing nursing programs in Virginia, it became apparent that Southside Virginia Community College not only prepares students for success on the national NCLEX-RN certification exam, but equips nurses with the skills they need to succeed in various healthcare settings. 

Southside Virginia Community College offers RN programs at three sites, SVCC’s Christanna Campus, SVCC’s John H. Daniel Campus and the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center.  All three programs ranked in the top 25 Best RN Programs in Virginia. 

Dr. Michelle Edmonds, Dean of Nursing, Allied Health and Natural Sciences, emphasized this recognition does not come without dedicated faculty and students who work hard to reach their goal. 

 

SVCC Wins! Minecraft #stayandplay Competition

 

Southside Virginia Community College’s students are finding creative ways to stay busy and engaged during COVID-19 social distancing. On April 15, 2020, Shenandoah University Esports program started the “Minecraft #stayandplay” competition. They welcomed all Virginia colleges to compete in “building” a replica or freebuild of their choice in various categories.

SVCC’s very own Network Server Technician, Anthony Taylor, led three students in the pursuit of a win.  Anthony shares, “The students really took this and ran with it. They were very engaged and productive.”

Students, Caleb Walker, Joshua Smith and Bradley Jones represented SVCC.  Joshua built a replica of SVCC’s Workforce Development Center on the John H. Daniel Campus in Keysville. Caleb provided the detail to the virtual space. Caleb also impressed Anthony and the judges with his replica of a giant SVCC Panther logo using over 65,000 blocks.  “Caleb really represented our SVCC ‘Panther Pride’ through his technical prowess.  The logo was very impressive,” Anthony related.

Southside Virginia Community College was joined in the competition by three other schools - Shenandoah University, Randolph College, and George Mason University.  The schools had the option to submit in one of three categories: Favorite Place to Hangout on the Weekend with Friends, Best Campus Build, and Best Freebuild. Judges critiqued the four individual builds submitted, and Southside won Best Campus Build! Favorite Place to Hangout and Best Freebuild went to Shenandoah University.

To view all of the entries and the judging visit this link: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/617332307

 

Quentin R. Johnson, Ph.D.

 

SVCC’s Ongoing Mission

By Quentin R. Johnson, Ph.D.

A year ago when I accepted the offer to serve as Southside Virginia Community College’s sixth president, the world was a different place. People have commented about what a topsy-turvy year it has been, but I am pleased to have been tasked with a leadership role in such challenging times. There’s no place I’d rather be.

During its 50-year history, SVCC’s mission has focused on serving the regional community through education, outreach, and collaboration. The mission remains unchanged. I am thankful and proud of how the college community has come together to meet COVID-19’s enormous challenges. During the virus-related emergency, SVCC’s staff have been active in seeking opportunities to serve the public in new ways.

Be assured, SVCC is open for business. We are working collaboratively to meet challenges head on. We are collectively doing whatever it takes to serve our students and neighbors. For example, as a service to the community, one of our instructors, Lisa Jordan, has assisted small businesses with their applications for grants. Several faculty members are serving as volunteers to shop for people who are place-bound, and our Campus Within Walls Coordinator, Lisa Hudson, has worked diligently to ensure continued instruction for incarcerated students.

In its mission to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to acquire an educational foundation that develops and extends their skills and knowledge, SVCC has embraced innovative opportunities to serve diverse student groups. Our Career Coaches have been in touch with 2020 graduates from area high schools and have worked diligently to assist high schools in pursuing alternate placement testing options. Students who have elected to stay home rather than return to other institutions across the commonwealth have been welcomed. Financial aid staff continue to work hard to ensure that each student receives the maximum amount of support available, including funds earmarked for students under the CARES Act.

Dr. Dixie Watts Dalton, Dean of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Business, reports that faculty members have adopted an array of technology-enhanced communications, such as live Zoom sessions, utilization of Canvas and Navigate, phone calls, texts, email, and Facebook Messenger. In addition, faculty have put together packets of course materials to be mailed to students without internet access. Also, Dr. Dalton commends instructors who have developed creative solutions in special circumstances. As an example, she explains, “For what is usually a hands-on class, adjunct instructor Katy Clarke created recordings of painting techniques for her art class so that students could watch and listen on their own schedules as they work on their own paintings.”

Dr. Chad Patton, Dean of Career and Occupational Technology, is working closely with his team to develop innovative workarounds to ensure education continues in the online environment. In addition to technical solutions, such as the use of automotive repair and advanced manufacturing simulators, faculty members are working one-on-one with students to ensure success. An example is allowing welding students to complete class projects where they are currently employed and send their work to the instructor for evaluation. Although hands-on labs are not currently permitted, an SVCC taskforce is working very hard to develop best practices to ensure student safety once students can return to our labs.

Dr. Michelle Edmonds, Dean of Nursing, Allied Health, and Natural Sciences who is also serving as Special Assistant to the Vice-President of Workforce and Academics, explains her current strategy, “I pretty much run office hours 24/7. Whenever students write to me by email or text message, I respond right away. If they can send me a picture of their question, I can walk them through it or I can show them another example.”

No one knows for sure what the future holds. If you have questions about any of our classes, academic programs, or short-term FastForward workforce programs which lead to jobs, please give us a call. At SVCC, we are communicating differently and adjusting to working in ways we’ve not worked before, but our strong commitments to the community and to education excellence remain steadfast. We are making every effort to put all hands to the task. Our ongoing mission of community service is too important for us to do anything less.

Dr. Quentin R. Johnson is president of Southside Virginia Community College, an institution of higher learning that provides a wide variety of education opportunities to a diverse student population within a service area that spans ten counties and the City of Emporia. He can be reached via email at quentin.johnson@southside.edu.

Becoming Essential: Southside Virginia Community College Graduates Fill Indispensable Roles

Alberta, VA: Across the Commonwealth of Virginia, people are adapting to new routines as a result of social distancing and other precautions aimed at halting the spread of the coronavirus. Governor Ralph Northam has asked people to stay at home, and he issued an Executive Order closing non-essential businesses. As a result, many workplaces are empty.

Businesses considered essential are still operating, and Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) is proud that so many of its graduates are faithfully serving the local community by filling essential roles. These dedicated men and women are keeping supply lines open, medical facilities functioning, and information flowing. They include graduates from SVCC’s health programs, including nurses (RNs and LPNs), nurse aids, paramedics, and phlebotomists. They include truck drivers who bring food to local grocery stores and diesel technicians who keep the trucks running. They include Information Technology (IT) workers who keep channels of communication open and permit work-at-home solutions. They include power line workers who keep the electricity flowing, as well as electricians and HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) technicians who respond to emergencies. They also include Administration of Justice graduates, who include law enforcement personnel, correctional facility staff members, and other public safety officers.

To keep the education and training pipeline for these vital positions uninterrupted, SVCC itself has had to adapt. In March, the College began moving all classes to online and other alternative settings. In addition, Governor’s School students and other dually enrolled high school students moved to complete their studies via virtual classes.

“Our SVCC faculty and staff are working with our students transitioning to alternative modes of instruction while maintaining our standards of educational excellence,” said Dr. Quentin R. Johnson, SVCC President. “Be assured, SVCC is open—virtually! Faculty and staff are communicating and assisting students to complete class requirements for our spring semester.  Our student services staff is accommodating all students by phone, internet, text messaging, and our website in order to answer any questions, alleviate concerns, and to assist with summer registration.”

SVCC, an open-door institution that is part of the Virginia Community College System, provides higher education opportunities to a diverse student body. Its 4,200-square-mile service region, the largest community college jurisdiction within Virginia, spans ten counties in south-central Virginia. Seated classes are typically held at two main campuses, five off-campus centers, and numerous other satellite sites. During the current coronavirus crisis, distance learning technologies are being used to provide instruction through the college’s existing and expanded online environment. Registration for summer classes is now open. Visit Southside.edu for more information.

COVID - 19 Update from Southside Virginia Community College

In these difficult and unprecedented times, I write to share decisions Southside Virginia Community College is taking based on recommendations from the Governor's Office, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the Virginia Community College System, in response to COVID-19.

Alternative Means of  Instruction

For the remainder of the Spring semester, our SVCC faculty and staff are working with our students transitioning to alternative modes of instruction while maintaining our standards of educational excellence.  

College Facilities

Effective March 23rd, all SVCC facilities will be closed to the public until further notice.  

SVCC Sponsored Events/Commencement/Graduation Ceremony 

We deeply regret that following the CDC guidelines, is requiring that we cancel many of our upcoming events including our commencement/graduation ceremony.  Commencement/graduation is our most exciting event as it is a celebration of our students and their accomplishments. The Class of 2020 will always be special as we look back and remember their ability to be flexible, work hard, and complete your spring semester.  

For an up-to-date list of SVCC events and their status please refer to our COVID-19 information page at southside.edu.

SVCC is OPEN----Virtually

Be assured, SVCC is open---Virtually!  Faculty and staff are communicating and assisting students to complete class requirements for our spring semester.  Our student services staff is accommodating all students by phone, internet, text messaging, and our website in order to answer any questions, alleviate concerns and to assist with summer registration.  

Updates and general college communications are posted on the COVID-19 alert at southside.edu.  Feel free to contact us with any questions you might have. Telephone contacts are included in the COVID-19 alert on southside.edu.

Southside Virginia Community College Releases COVID-19 Plan

In an effort to protect the College community and to mitigate the risks associated with COVID-19, its spread, and the potential strain on area hospitals and clinics, SVCC will be taking the actions outlined below.  Any guidance we pass along will be interim in nature, using the best information available to us at the moment. As noted in previous communications, we are relying on the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other state and local departments for expert guidance. Southside Virginia Community College is taking the following actions:

  • Classes at all locations are cancelled Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 20th. All classes will resume through virtual or alternative delivery starting on Monday, March 23, 2020, and continue until at least Friday, April 3, 2020. Students should check Canvas or contact their professors for class information. Students are expected to check their SVCC email accounts regularly for updates.  Further clarification will be provided next week regarding class delivery after April 3.

    • College operations will be suspended at the following off-campus centers, however employees should report as usual:

      • Estes Community Center--Chase City

      • Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center--South Hill 

      • Southside Virginia Education Center--Emporia

      • Occupational/Technical Center--Blackstone

  • Governor’s School will transition to virtual classes only. The Governor’s School Director will contact all school faculty, staff, students, and school divisions. 

  • All College personnel (Classified Staff, Administrative and Professional Faculty, and Wage Personnel) are expected to report to work on Monday, March 16, 2020 as scheduled, unless on approved leave.

  • All faculty should join a college-wide faculty meeting on Monday, March 16 at 3PM.  Separate email correspondence and Zoom invitation will be forthcoming. 

  • All campus events--both college sponsored and those by outside organizations are cancelled through Saturday, April 4, 2020.

  • Work travel for all College employees is limited to the service area only through Friday, April 3, 2020. 

  • All college-sponsored group travel scheduled through Friday, April 3, 2020 is postponed until further notice. 

  • College services on the John H. Daniel Campus and the Christanna Campus will remain open (Monday – Thursday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.)

  • College services are also accessible online via MySVCC and Navigate.

  • The John H. Daniel Campus and the Christanna Campus will be closed to facilitate extensive sanitizing and cleaning on Friday, March 20 and 27 and Friday, April 3, 2020. Employees should not report to work these days.

This situation is fluid. College administration is actively monitoring conditions for further developments and responding accordingly. SVCC will provide daily updates at www.southside.edu. SVCC’s Emergency Operation Plan is available on the College website.

Consistent with CDC guidelines, students, faculty and staff returning from travel to any country for which the CDC has issued a Level 2 or 3 Travel Warning related to COVID-19 should self-quarantine for 14 days.

For more information about COVID-19, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

 

Southside’s Leadership Team is continuing to monitor the situation closely and will keep you informed via email, Southside Alert, our website, and social media outlets if there are additional changes to SVCC operations. 

 

For additional information visit http://southside.edu/covid-19

SVCC Dean and Local Agritourism Operation to Participate in Virginia Agritourism Conference

Dr. Dixie Watts Dalton, dean of Southside Virginia Community College’s division of Humanities, Social Sciences and Business, and chair of its agribusiness program, will serve as a presenter and moderator at the sixth annual Virginia Agritourism Conference to be held on March 30th through April 1st at the Smithfield Center in Smithfield, Virginia.   Parrish Pumpkin Patch of Kenbridge, Virginia, will be represented on the opening Virginia Agritourism Panel by Jeff and Liz Parrish and son Eli, who is an alumnus of SVCC’s agribusiness program and Virginia Tech’s Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences department. The morning panel on March 31st, immediately following the conference welcome from Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture, Jewel Bronaugh, will be moderated by Dalton.

Dalton’s April 1st morning presentation, “Building the Business Plan,” will focus on the questions that aspiring agritourism operators should be asking, while also providing insights that can be helpful to existing businesses.  Following her presentation, the Parrishes will share their experiences as they started and expanded the Parrish Pumpkin Patch, providing insights on both what went well and what they could have done differently.

Additional Southside-area connections will be a part of the state-level conference. Lunenburg County native, Heidi L Hertz, who serves as Assistant Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry in the Office of Governor Ralph S. Northam, will provide a luncheon keynote address. Hudson Heritage Farm of Halifax County will be showcased during the April 1st sessions.  Owner Denise Hudson, who has hosted SVCC’s agribusiness students at her farm, will present two marketing sessions, one focused on the Barn Quilt Trail and a second on the Veteran Farming/HomeGrown by Heroes initiative.

The 2020 conference, themed “Agritourism in Virginia’s New Economy,” will enable existing and planned agritourism entrepreneurs, economic development staff and local government leaders to explore different facets of Virginia agritourism, a growing industry recently shown to generate more than 2.2 billion dollars in economic impact. Tracks composed of concurrent sessions on a variety of topics have been designed to meet the needs of both beginning and experienced operations.  A highlight of the conference is the numerous networking breaks and networking luncheons that have been built into the programming, with access to exhibitors and resources during those breaks. 

On March 30th, prior to the start of the presentation portion of the conference at the Smithfield Center, farm tours will take place in the adjoining area.  The detailed agenda, with a list of tour locations, is included on the registration site. Visit https://register.ext.vt.eduand search for “agritourism” or visit the direct link: https://register.ext.vt.edu/search/publicCourseSearchDetails.do?method=load&courseId=1043329&selectedProgramAreaId=25576&selectedProgramStreamId

Attendees can register for each day separately or for the entire conference (at a discounted rate of $150 for all three days). For more information, contact Livvy Preisser of Virginia Cooperative Extension at 757-365-6261 or livvy16@vt.edu

The conference is sponsored by Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tourism Corporation, Virginia Tech, Virginia State University Small Farm Outreach Program, Farm Credit, Virginia Association of Counties, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Virginia FAIRS, Virginia Farm Bureau, USDA Rural Development, Virginia Agribusiness Council, and the Agribusiness Program at Southside Virginia Community College.

If you are a person with a disability and desire any assistive devices, services or other accommodations to participate in this activity, please contact Livvy Preisser at 757-365-6261 during business hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to discuss accommodations at least 5 days prior to the event.  *TDD number is (800) 828-1120.

Governor’s Initiative Key to Increasing Access to Local Jobs

By Jackie Gill Powell, Angeline Godwin, and Quentin Johnson

Get a Skill, Get a Job, Give Back. That is the vision of Governor Ralph Northam’s proposed G3 initiative, designed to support Virginia’s students. If approved by the state legislature in the coming weeks, the plan will open new pathways to success for low- and middle-income Virginians to gain employment in high-demand jobs.

Under the plan, citizens of the Commonwealth will have unprecedented access to gaining the real-world skills and experience necessary to meet the current and projected demands of Virginia’s workforce. This is especially true in our colleges’ service regions, following major economic shifts from Virginia’s former reliance on industries such as tobacco, furniture, and textiles.

The Governor’s proposal is not a “free community college” program, but it does aim to significantly, if not completely, reduce out-of-pocket costs for students. The plan also includes textbook costs and other cost-of-living expenses to further support students and alleviate some of the financial barriers that prevent students from pursuing or completing their education.

Our region of Southern Virginia is witnessing an exciting moment in its history, wherein technological advancements are transforming not only our workforce, but also the way we all live our lives. Ensuring we are prepared to meet the demands of rapid economic innovation is vital to our region’s success.

Virginia’s community colleges are already committed to serving our localities and providing affordable access to academic and professional training opportunities. Governor Northam’s proposed plan will allow us to expand on that commitment and increase access to high-demand training in five key areas: Healthcare, Information Technology and Computer Science, Manufacturing and Skilled Trades, Early Childhood Education, and Public Safety.

Demand for workers in these fields is growing in Virginia. This growth means job security, a steady and sufficient income, and access to healthcare and benefits that will allow our communities to flourish and thrive.

Under the G3 model, our career-oriented training programs have been updated to align with the needs of the modern student. As students progress through G3 programs, they earn industry-recognized credentials which build from entry level skills to advanced. The more credentials that students earn, the more competitive they will become for higher-level jobs. Moreover, if a student needs to work while pursuing their education, they are immediately eligible to apply for jobs in their field with the first credential they earn. This means working students could advance their career and their academics simultaneously. This model provides stackable credentials, meaning that the work students complete for one prepares them for and applies to the work they will complete to earn the next. That will allow students to earn more money as they advance in their chosen fields.

Professionals already in the workforce may enter at their specified level and continue on to earn an advanced credential without starting from the beginning of the pathway. This flexibility is critical to supporting modern students and professionals seeking advanced training.

Our community colleges have partnered with employers to transform programs put skills first and allow students to earn stackable college credentials as they move through their training. This allows a student to start and stop, while working, without losing academic progress along the way to earning an associate degree.

A current community college student, a 48-year-old mother of two studying Early Childhood Education, shared that if a program like the proposed G3 initiative had existed two semesters ago, she would not have needed to take out student loans to cover her tuition and textbooks.

One male cybersecurity graduate, a 43-year-old father and military spouse, did not buy his textbooks because they were too expensive. He often borrowed a classmate’s books to complete homework assignments. The student said, “I was able to make it work but if I could have had a program to help pay for the books, it would have been much easier to pass my classes.”

A welding graduate, aged 31, a single mother who lived with her parents and worked full-time through most of school was awarded federal and state financial aid and also had to take out subsidized loans. By covering her tuition, G3 would have provided the resources needed to reduce her part-time work hours or lower her loan amount.

We wholeheartedly believe in and support the Governor’s G3 initiative and the tremendous potential it offers to our families, friends, and neighbors throughout Southern Virginia. We encourage the General Assembly to consider the impact this program will have on the Commonwealth, and how it will position Virginia more competitively in the areas of economic and workforce development.

Jackie Gill Powell is the president of Danville Community College. She can be reached at jackie.gillpowell@danville.edu or by calling (434) 797-8400.

Angeline D. Godwin is the president of Patrick Henry Community College. She can be reached at agodwin@patrickhenry.edu or 276-656-0201.

Quentin R. Johnson is the president of Southside Virginia Community College. He can be reached at quentin.johnson@southside.edu or 434-949-1004.

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