Presentation on the STEM Academy
Dr. Capps introduced Mr. Jonathan Whitt and Ms. Susan Cash stating Mr. Whitt is the Executive Director of Region 2000, and Ms. Cash is the Director of the STEM Academy. Dr. Capps stated by now everyone knew that the governor had given his approval for the STEM Academy and for it to be housed here at CVCC in the AREVA Building.
Dr. Capps stated Mr. Whitt and Mr. Greg Sullivan (Director of Information Technology and Resources at Lynchburg College) approached him with the idea of housing a STEM Academy here at CVCC. He stated the rest is history. Dr. Capps stated this is the first STEM Academy to be located at a community college, and the first to incorporate all schools in specific region.
Ms. Cash began her presentation on the Lynchburg Regional XLR8 STEM Academy by stating Virginia’s Region 2000 is a geographic descriptor of the 2,000 square miles that comprises the City of Lynchburg and the counties of Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford, and Campbell. She stated Virginia’s Region 2000 is also a descriptor of a public/private economic development partnership that has existed since the mid-1980s. Since that time, the region has historically shown exceptional regional collaboration successes. Ms. Cash stated this STEM Academy is a result of a planning partnership that includes all of the region’s public school divisions, Central Virginia Community College, Region 2000 Technology Council, Region 2000 Workforce Investment Board, the Future Focus Foundation, and various private industry partners including: AMTI, AREVA, Babcock and Wilcox, Centra Health, and Delta Star.
Ms. Cash stated in a December 2011 National Governor’s Association report entitled Building a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Education Agenda, it was stated “Virginia has identified career and technical education as an ideal venue for developing STEM literacy and other critical 21st Century skills through applied learning.” She stated it is this model of applied learning that will be the focus of the Lynchburg regional XLR8 STEM Academy.
Ms. Cash reported the planning committee identified three top level needs in Region 2000 based on their collective experience and through interviews of community stakeholders. First, there are unmet student needs that lie between traditional Career-Technical Education and advanced programs such as the Governor’s School. She stated second, there are students that want a blend of career and technical hands-on learning, postsecondary education opportunities, and real-world industry experience, and third, the top two workforce needs within Region 2000 are in the Career Clusters of Health Science and STEM.
Ms. Cash reported the Virginia Employment Commission’s Region 2000 profile indicates that two of area’s four largest employment industries are healthcare and manufacturing. Of the 50 largest employers in the Region 2000 economic profile area, 6 are in the healthcare field and 17 are in the manufacturing sector. (Partner companies such as AREVA, Babcock and Wilcox, Centra Health, and Delta Star are on the list.) She stated potential partners that will be contacted include: Abbott Laboratories, Harris Corporation, Barr Laboratories, Tri-Tech Laboratories, Westminster Canterbury, and CB Fleet.
Ms. Cash stated the educational partners for the STEM Academy are Amherst County, Appomattox County, Bedford County, Campbell County, and Lynchburg City Schools.
Ms. Cash reported the STEM Academy will be using course curriculum from Project Lead the Way. She stated Project Lead the Way is the leading provider of rigorous and innovative STEM education curricular programs used in schools. The two curriculum programs the academy will launch are Pathway to Engineering (STEM) and a Biomedical Sciences Program (Health Science). She stated each program allows local business and industry partners to have input into course offerings, thereby meeting local employment needs and preparing students for further educational opportunities.
Ms. Cash reported Lynchburg City Public Schools has agreed to serve as the fiscal agent for the STEM Academy as they do for other regional programs.This fiscal arrangement with Lynchburg City Public Schools will be similar to the current successful model with the Central Virginia Governor’s School for Science and Technology.
Ms. Cash stated the objectives include a curriculum that will target students who like hands-on work, are technically gifted, have an interest and aptitude in applied science and mathematics and a strong work ethic. They will have opportunities to obtain industry certifications, and dual enrollment credits to help them in pursuing post-secondary education. She stated this program will incorporate a blend of technical skills with academics to be rigorous, relevant, innovative, and internships and job shadowing with partner industries will be another key component to the curriculum.
Ms. Cash stated performance measures will improve academic achievement by analyzing pre- and post-test data, increase the completion rate of dual-enrollment courses in cooperation with CVCC, provide workplace readiness experiences, increase high school graduation rates and reduce dropout rates through increased academic and industry support by five percent each year, increase proportion of students completing college and career-ready curriculum, reduce college remediation by monitoring academy student scores on university entrance exams, increase the number of industry certifications in Health Science and STEM pathways by five percent, and increase the number of graduates employed in high-wage, high demand, and high skill careers from a baseline to be established using local employment data.
Ms. Cash stated the program completion criteria will include earning a standard or advanced studies diploma, a goal to attain 100 percent of the Competency Based task list, successfully finishing a completer project model, successfully completing a work-based learning experience, obtaining one or more industry certifications, and earning a minimum of nine dual enrollment college credits.
Ms. Cash stated regarding funding and facilities, Central Virginia Community College has agreed to provide building and lab space on its campus in the AREVA Building, and local school divisions have agreed to provide support through in-kind contributions and direct funding. She stated the academy planning committee will seek additional funding from business and industry partners, and the Future Focus Foundation will also provide support by seeking grant funding opportunities for the academy.
Ms. Cash stated materials and high-tech equipment will be provided through local contributions from academy planning committee partners with future sources of materials and equipment being provided annually through the budgetary process and governing board of the Academy. She stated the Academy will undergo a continuous quality improvement process to include an annual review of the its policies, procedures, and outcomes by the administrative staff, teachers, planning committee members, advisory committee members, parents and students, an annual review of the program design and instructional delivery by the administrative staff, teachers, planning committee members and advisory committee members.
Ms. Cash stated the STEM Academy staff will participate in local, state, regional, and national professional development and the engineering teachers will be Project Lead the Way certified. She stated opportunities for collaboration between industry partners and instructors will be made available throughout the year, and staff will be evaluated according to the human resources policies and practices of the Lynchburg City Public Schools with the initial staff including a director, and two instructors, one for each career pathway and the possibility of additional instructors being contracted through CVCC or a school division.
Ms. Cash completed her presentation by stating all schools in Region 2000 are very excited about this new program as this will provide a much needed outlet for students that desire hands-on curricula. She stated she looked forward to working with everyone and would welcome the opportunity to tour the facilities with anyone that is interested.
Mr. Michael Bradford
Mr. Bradford began his report on the activities of the CVCC Foundation. He stated the Foundation is the 501C entity that is used to raise money for gifts and grants and then invest that money to be used for scholarships, professional development, instructional equipment, and other needs to benefit the community.
Mr. Bradford reported through the second quarter, fundraising from unrestricted and restricted gifts has increased from $102,000 to $108,000 compared to last year. He stated while this seems to be a small increase, all of the campaigns have not been completed. Mr. Bradford stated usually about 500-550 letters are mailed out in the fall to individuals including the Local Board members but right now only 50 have been mailed and the remainder are in the process of being mailed.
Mr. Bradford also reported only about 35 letters have been mailed to area businesses, and the remainder of those letters will be mailed out this spring. He stated the reason for staging the mailing is the Foundation Board members will follow up on those letters thanking the businesses for past giving and ask that they meet with him to discuss the needs of the College. He stated Phase 2 will roll out during the meetings scheduled in February with letters being sent to another 100 companies. Mr. Bradford stated he feels there is no way this will not result in more giving. He also stated Dr. Capps has agreed to host a series of lunches and invite some of the corporate leaders that have not been on Campus for a while to tour the College.
Mr. Bradford also discussed a new initiative on Campus called the Student Emergency Fund. He stated at a recent Town Hall meeting one concern discussed was that there are students on Campus who are hungry and are missing meals causing them to have a hard time concentrating in class. He stated these same students also have no money for books or even their rent. Mr. Bradford stated a fund was established on the accounting system and employee giving has raised $2,500. He stated he is meeting with Ms. Judy Graves (Dean of Student Services) tomorrow morning to discuss a distribution process.
Mr. Bradford discussed scholarships distributions and stated they are down from $104,000 to $92,000. He stated one reason for that is because the Foundation redefined the definition of a grant which caused none of the students to qualify. He stated he has met with Ms. Graves and Ms. Debbie Marshall (Director of Financial Aid) to redefine the grant in hopes that will result in meeting more of the student needs.
Dr. Joey Fronheiser
Dr. Fronheiser reported on SACS and stated as everyone is aware the College is on Probation for non-compliance of 126.96.36.199 which is evaluation of its educational programs and program assessments. He stated the College is approaching some important milestones in the upcoming months which include: completion of the 2011-2012 program assessments, action steps due from program coordinators on January 18, action steps due from program heads on January 25, and by February 8 all information from the faculty will begin to be entered into Compliance Assist and sent to the printers on February 15.
Dr. Fronheiser reported he is in the process of writing the narrative which preludes the report and stated the entire report must be completed by March 15 and so far, good progress has been made. Dr. Fronheiser stated he will be talking to Dr. Mark Smith (SACS’ liaison) sometime this week to discuss the itinerary of the committee’s April 9-11 visit.
Dr. Fronheiser stated the culture here at CVCC has changed in a short period of time. He reported for the first time, the fall 2012 convocation and the spring 2013 convocation was faculty-led with lots of training involving program assessments. Dr. Fronheiser also stated a General Education Taskforce has been developed to improve specific courses and create action steps.
Dr. Fronheiser stated on April 11, the visiting team (Dr. Mark Smith and three others) will hold an exit interview with key faculty and administrators. He stated the SACS’ Annual Board meeting will meet in June and that is when the announcement will be made as to whether the sanction of Probation has been removed from CVCC. However, Dr. Fronheiser stated in May, the College will receive a final report and will have the opportunity to do a response report. He stated if bad news is received, the College has the opportunity to present a strong case that it is in compliance prior to the Annual meeting in June.
Mr. Witt questioned if the meeting in April is similar to an audit. Dr. Fronheiser stated it is very similar as lots of questions will be asked and proof of accomplishments must be shown. Mr. Witt questioned if the College has an internal audit system in place. Dr. Fronheiser stated it is now just he and one other staff member that are auditing the progress. Dr. Capps stated a report card has also been created with all the necessary ingredients for program assessment and each item checked off when completed. He stated the College has retained a consultant, Dr. Cathy Almquist, and she is reviewing the program assessments and the final report prior to submittal. He stated he, Dr. Fronheiser and Mr. Sandidge met with her at the Annual meeting in December, and Dr. Almquist offered a few suggestions such as a change of order of some of the components of the assessments. Dr. Capps stated Dr. Almquist thought the College was on the right track and also had accomplished a lot in a short period of time.
Mr. Lamb said after hearing the report today he felt good about what all has been accomplished with everyone working hard.
Dr. Capps stated CVCC just stopped doing program assessments in 2004 shortly after the SACS’ Reaffirmation, but now, faculty are now working hard, working together, and will continue to do so. He stated the College is moving forward and will become better and even better in the future.
Dr. John Capps
Dr. Capps reported the College has accomplished many things here and many of them for the first time. He stated that included the STEM Academy, Lynchburg City Early College to compliment all of the counties, a deliberate plan for fundraising, $400,000 in scholarships from the Tobacco Commission, Veterans’ Resource Center (increased from 147-180), Career and Placement Center, Great Expectations with 18 students (for attracting foster youth to higher education and support for them), completed assessments of all academic programs, revised the complete Employee Handbook, and the Small Business Development Center will be located here at CVCC. He stated lots of good things are happening here at the College.
Dr. Capps stated he would like for the Board members to provide council to the College, giving their unfettered ideas and advise.
Mr. Maxey stated he has taught school for 33 years and some of his students fell through the cracks on a regular basis but thinks CVCC has now covered all of his students and their needs.
Mr. Carter stated the College has a lot on its plate but has done well in correcting what was necessary.
Mr. Witt stated he remembered the College saying it would establish a timeline for SACS and asked if those timelines have been met. Dr. Capps reported the College did establish timelines and all have been met. Mr. Witt also stated he was bothered by students who need food and wants some time to digest this. Dr. Capps stated he is on the Beacon of Hope Board, and one of their goals is to provide scholarships to any student in Lynchburg area wanting to go to a two-or-four year school tuition free. He reported it is hard to believe that Lynchburg City schools have over 100 students who are homeless and unsure where they will sleep for the night.
Ms. Jones stated she is impressed with all the SACS efforts made in such a short time. She stated CVCC will now soar.
Dr. Bashore stated the public do not realize the burdens students have these days. He stated one of the best efforts the Foundation decided to do some number of years ago was to provide scholarship money for first-time students who were not eligible to receive Financial Aid.
Dr. Tannenbaum stated he is confident the school is operating on all eight cylinders thanks to Dr. Capps’ leadership. He stated in his Facilities and Finance Committee, revising the master plan for the first time since 15 years ago was briefly discussed. He stated he would like for Board members to have some input in this. Mr. Poole stated he thought this was a good idea and will discuss this with the Facilities Manager, Mr. Tom Bushley. Dr. Tannenbaum stated he likes the idea of Early College.
Mr. Marshall stated he was having dinner at a local restaurant and began talking to his server. He stated the server told him she was a student at CVCC but was originally from Maine. She stated she searched online for a good radiology program and discovered the one at CVCC. Mr. Marshall stated he called Dr. Capps and learned he had already spoken to the same student. Mr. Marshall stated this showed how engaged Dr. Capps is here at the College. Mr. Marshall stated Dr. Capps is doing great things here at CVCC with his leadership. He also stated Dr. Hendrick is really pushing the companies to become engaged in this College. Mr. Marshall discussed the STEM program and stated this will meet a need in the region.
Ms. Brown thanked Dr. Capps for all of his efforts stating he had inherited problems that he did not know about. She also stated she liked the new athletic program because she had previously talked to several students who had chosen other community colleges because they offered athletics and CVCC did not. Ms. Brown stated that will not be the case now.
Mr. Lamb stated he echoed all the comments from each of the members. He stated he felt good about CVCC and its leadership at this point and time. Mr. Lamb stated it seemed the College had for years operated in silos where people operated in their own little world but now those silos have disappeared or are disappearing. He stated this is a great accomplishment and is due to Dr. Capps’ leadership.
Dr. Capps stated he appreciated all the praise but wanted to point out it was not about him but about all the people in this room and at the College. He thanked the Board members for all their investment in the College.
Mr. Lamb stated he was particularly pleased about the Student Emergency Fund. He stated the College saw and need and proceeded to meet it.