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LEC is one-stop shop for academic assistance

September 21, 2015 | 11:57 AM

Whether it's a matter of studying for a particular class or test, or getting help with technology like email or Blackboard, Beaufort County Community College's all-new Learning Enhancement Center (LEC) is a one-stop shop for students to get the assistance they need.

For the first time this fall, several student resources that were formerly offered separately are centrally located in the LEC, including academic support, the writing center and the math lab.

"We've combined those services so that they're all available in the same place," says LEC Director James Casey. "We wanted to streamline the process for our students so they'll know where to go. If you need help, this is the spot."

The LEC, located in Building 3, Room 122, is equipped with a full-size computer lab, as well as a silent testing area. Professional, faculty and peer tutoring is available in disciplines ranging from writing and math to humanities and business. A variety of online resources is also available, and Casey says there will soon be a series of workshops, guest speakers and events that will cover useful topics for both students and faculty.

"It's new, so we're still working on it," says Casey, "but it's a large, comfortable space with a supportive atmosphere. Once a student comes in once and sees how much it helps, they will usually keep coming in."

All BCCC students enrolled in curriculum programs are eligible to receive assistance with the referral of an instructor. Casey says it's easy to speak with an instructor; they are familiar with the process and will get the student pointed in the right direction.

Activity at the LEC is already picking up; in the few weeks since classes began, more than 130 students from 50 different classes have logged almost 500 individual visits to the center.

For more information about BCCC's Learning Enhancement Center, visit or call 252-940-6338.

Get fit at BCCC

September 21, 2015 | 11:56 AM

A new health and fitness program at Beaufort County Community College is aimed at improving the health and fitness of citizens of its service area. The Get Beau-FITT! program will start with a Kick-Off Event on Oct. 27 from noon to 1 p.m. with a brown bag lunch and again from 6-7:30 p.m. with giveaways and sessions on health and fitness. These Brown Bag Healthy Speaker series luncheons will run monthly until May 6, 2016.

"This is a great way to start your exercise program," says Julia Crippen, BCCC Coordinator of Special Projects. "At our Kick-Off Event, we will give away Garmin Vivofit fitness bands to the first 40 people who agree to be a part of our Fitness Monitoring Program, targeting a healthy community. At the kick-off we will walk on our IMFITT fitness trail and set up times for the assessments by Vidant Health Center."

There will also be a demonstration of three new pieces of balance equipment at Station 4 on BCCC's IMFITT trail, a one-mile path through campus with exercise equipment stations. The programs and events, like the trail, are open to the public as well as students, faculty and staff.

The Garmin fitness bands will be used to track the number of steps taken by participants, who will compete in teams to achieve and maintain high activity levels until the conclusion of the program in May; the fitness bands will be theirs to keep. There will also be giveaways including kayak and paddleboard rentals, Vidant Wellness Center memberships, and BCCC gym memberships.

Each month, there will be a Brown Bag Luncheon with guest speakers on a variety of health and nutrition topics, including Exercise on a Budget, Motivation, Eating Around the Holidays, and Healthy Eating for the Small Child. A daylong health fair on May 6, 2016 will wrap up the program.

The fitness program is part of a $25,000 grant through MDC Healthy Places, an initiative to find ways to incorporate community colleges as change agents in improving community health outcomes by conducting research and analysis of the colleges' current and potential roles in influencing healthy behaviors in their communities.

The Kick-Off Event will be held at noon (lunch speaker) and 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 27 in Building 4, Room 102A on BCCC's campus. For more information, call 252-940-6271 or email

Tyrrell County Fire Dept. hosts BCCC Fire School Weekend

September 15, 2015 | 11:10 AM

COLUMBIA, N.C. — The Albemarle Fireman's Association and Beaufort County Community College will host a Fire School Weekend in Tyrrell County on Oct. 2-4, 2015. Classes will be held at the Tyrrell County Fire Department at 618 North Road St. in Columbia, N.C.

Eight classes are currently planned, including Safety and Survival; Driver/Operator: Introduction to Pumps; Mayday; Forcible Entry; Technical Rescue: Lowers and Raises; NCRRS Rural Water Supply: Preparing for a Water Haul Inspection; Grain Bin Rescue; and Emergency Vehicle Driving.

"The Fire School Weekend is part of our effort to make sure that all fire personnel throughout our service area are able to get the continued training that they need," says BCCC Director of Fire Training Programs Johnny Williams.

There is a $20 registration fee for all students, which includes lunch on Saturday and Sunday. The $70 fee for each individual class is eligible to be waived for students affiliated with any North Carolina fire and rescue agency.

For more information contact Williams at 252-940-6363 or

Late Start Classes for Fall 2015

September 15, 2015 | 10:59 AM

Check with your advisor about adding an 8-week, full-credit class to your Fall 2015 schedule. The following classes are available in Late Start format:

ART 111 - Art Appreciation

BUS 110 - Intro to Business

BUS 121 - Business Math

CIS 110 - Intro to Computers

CJC 111 - Intro to Criminalistics

CJC 221 - Investigative Policies

EDU 262* - Early Childhood Admin II

ENG 111* - Writing and Inquiry

HEA 110 - Personal Health

MUS 110 - Music Appreciation

PED 111 - Physical Fitness

PSY 118 - Interpersonal Psychology

PSY 150* - General Psychology

REL 110 - World Religions

*Prerequisites apply

College works to attract, assist, retain students

September 09, 2015 | 10:01 AM

A combination of factors has resulted in a dip in full-time enrollment at Beaufort County Community College for Fall 2015, but the news isn't all bad. The staff and faculty are responding to the challenge by redoubling efforts to ensure that the institution meets the educational needs of the community as effectively and efficiently as possible.

First, the numbers: for Fall 2015, BCCC has 1,607 students enrolled in curriculum programs. For comparison, enrollment for Fall 2014 was 2,029.

Students enrolled in College and Career Readiness, Occupational Extension and Personal Enrichment courses through the Division of Continuing Education are calculated separately, and those numbers are expected to remain steady or even increase. Employees are still needed to fill the area's trade jobs, and the short-term training programs offered through Continuing Education are designed to fulfill that need.

BCCC's participation in the federal student loan program from 2010-2015 boosted enrollment numbers, but turned out to be problematic for both students and the college, as too many students borrowed more than they could afford and later defaulted on the loans. The college was required to inform students of the maximum amount they could borrow — which many did — and it was not permitted to run credit checks when issuing loans. Colleges with high default rates risk losing federal funding such as Pell Grants for students, so the Board of Trustees made the difficult decision to exit the student loan program, effective July 2015.

There were 604 students who participated in the student loan program in Fall 2014, and 408 of those students are not enrolled in fall classes this year, accounting for the majority of the drop in enrollment. Other factors include an improving economy — fewer students go to school when there are more jobs available — and the demographics of BCCC's service area, whose population, especially of college-age residents, is not increasing.

The staff has worked hard to find other funding sources to help students pay for school and keep them enrolled, providing more emergency grants and scholarships, offering short-term loans to bridge the gap until financial aid checks are issued, and creating a payment plan option (starting Spring 2016). The college's administration is also working to boost enrollment for 8-week Late Start courses that start in October, and to promote spring enrollment.

A drop in enrollment means a smaller budget for the next fiscal year, so efforts are also under way to streamline wherever possible by merging low-enrollment classes, using full-time instructors first to minimize the use of adjuncts, and offering more online courses, for which there is increasing demand.

"The mission of BCCC is to meet the educational needs of our citizens and to train workers for the available jobs in our service area," says BCCC President Dr. Barbara Tansey. "That means we are working constantly to make sure the college is the right size for our community and offers the right programs and services to meet its needs."

New program trains fiber optics technicians

August 26, 2015 | 04:13 PM

The days of copper wire within the communications industry are coming to an end. Today, modern telephone, cable television and internet data are carried through fiber optics systems. A new program at Beaufort County Community College is aimed at training technicians to install these high-tech systems.

The Certified Fiber Optics Technician program is offered by BCCC's Continuing Education division in partnership with BDI DataLynk LLC and consists of three courses: a Certified Fiber Optics Technical Course, a Certified Fiber Optics Splicing Specialist Course, and a Certified Fiber Optics Specialist in Testing and Maintenance Course. The three courses will be offered in succession over a one-week period beginning Sept. 14.

"These courses are designed for anyone interested in becoming a Certified Fiber Optics Technician," says Justin Rose, Director of Occupational Extension.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics from May 2011, the median salary for a fiber optics technician working in the United States was $51,720 or $24.87 an hour. More and more of the country's communication infrastructure is being changed over to fiber optics, and technicians are in demand. Construction is currently in progress on a Google project to bring fiber optics-based high-speed internet to the Triangle area.

"With Google Inc. working alongside the city of Raleigh to install fiber optic cable, it is an exciting time to be involved in the endeavor to provide high-speed internet service to all of North Carolina," adds Rose. "The News and Observer reports that as a result of this project, there will be a need for Certified Fiber Optic Technicians to help install fiber optic cable in cities including Raleigh, Durham, Carrboro, Cary, Chapel Hill, Garner and Morrisville."

For more information regarding this program, contact Rose at 252-940-6262 or

State, county fund college’s operations

August 25, 2015 | 12:53 PM

Beaufort County Community College operates on a budget funded by the N.C. General Assembly and the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners, and setting the budget each year is an intricate process.

The state funds its 58 community colleges based on enrollment, but since community colleges accommodate different kind of students — including full-time, part-time and Continuing Education — it's far more complex than simply tallying the total number of students enrolled at each school. Enrollment numbers are standardized using a formula called Full-Time Equivalent (FTE). One FTE equates to a full-time student taking 16 credit hours for two semesters.

Since the average community college student takes fewer hours than that, it takes more than one student to generate one FTE. The Continuing Education division, which provides programs such as workforce development and personal enrichment, uses a separate formula for FTE.

"Everything we do is driven off of FTE", says Mark Nelson, Vice President of Administrative Services. Nelson and his staff, along with the BCCC Board of Trustees and its property and finance committees, are responsible for setting and managing the college's budget.

Each community college receives a base allocation that equates to about six full-time faculty for curriculum programs, one for Continuing Education, and salaries for the president and essential administration. Everything beyond that is based on enrollment. For the 2014-2015 school year, BCCC received about $11.5 million in state funding. The General Assembly has yet to finalize its budget for the new fiscal year, but administrators are preparing for decreased funding.

Beaufort County, which owns the land and buildings housing the college, also contributes to its funding. It pays for maintenance of the buildings and systems, as well as salaries for certain employees including maintenance, custodial, police and campus operations.

"We develop a 10-year plan of what we think we'll need, and send a budget request to the county each year," Nelson says.

The Beaufort County Board of Commissioners then allocates funding based on that request. It recently approved an allotment of approximately $3 million for the current fiscal year.

Grants for specific programs and special projects account for approximately 5 percent of the college's budget. Other funding sources such as endowments and donations from the community are handled through the BCCC Foundation and are generally used for scholarships and emergency grants.

BCCC has a large service area covering four counties and more than 2,000 square miles, and it serves thousands of students each year. The college relies on both the state and the county to ensure that it can continue to address the educational needs of its students and the workforce needs of the region.

Board of Trustees charts the college’s course

August 17, 2015 | 01:30 PM

At the top of the chain of command at Beaufort County Community College is the Board of Trustees, which sets policy for the college and is composed of members of the community.

Members of the Board of Trustees serve four-year terms. The Beaufort County Board of Education, the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners and the Governor of North Carolina each appoint one member annually, so that at any given time, there are four members of the board appointed by each of those bodies, for a total of 12 members. A post on the Board of Trustees is an unpaid appointment. The President of the Student Government Association serves as a non-voting member.

Those who serve do so because they believe in and support the mission of Beaufort County Community College. They come from a variety of backgrounds, including but not limited to education and business. They are active in the community, encouraging its members to both support the college and to take advantage of the learning opportunities it provides.

The President of the college answers directly to the Board of Trustees, which is also responsible for making policy decisions regarding the acquisition of property, and for educational programs, approving new or revised policies, finances and more. The Board of Trustees holds a regular meeting every other month and called meetings as needed. It is responsible for ensuring that the college maintains adherence to the accreditation requirements of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Each Trustee is required to adhere to a code of ethics and to attend orientation and training sessions provided by the North Carolina Association of Community College Trustees, which works to further the goals and development of the state's 58 community colleges.

The current members of the Beaufort County Community College Board of Trustees are Laura Staton, Chair; Betty Randolph, Vice Chair; Jim Chesnutt; Cynthia Davis; James Gaynor; Cornell McGill; James "Cotton" Rawls; Russell Smith; Mitchell St. Clair Sr.; Bill Wall; and Ashley Woolard. There is one unfilled seat awaiting an appointment from the office of the governor.

District Attorney approves new Defensive Driving class

August 10, 2015 | 11:54 AM

Got a traffic ticket? Want to get it reduced?

Beaufort County Community College's Division of Continuing Education now offers a revamped Defensive Driving course based on the Health and Safety Council of North Carolina's DDC-4 program, developed in collaboration with District Attorney Seth Edwards.

Motorists who have received tickets for excessive speed or other violations may be able to get their tickets reduced or dismissed after completing this 4-hour course. For the convenience of students, the single-session class is offered on Monday evenings and Saturdays throughout the year. Currently scheduled dates include Aug. 22, Aug. 31, Sept. 19, Oct. 5, Oct. 24, Nov. 2, Nov. 21 and Dec. 7.

"This is for situations of excessive speed where people will not be given a reduction without taking a driving class," Edwards says.

The class covers topics such as the stages, causes and prevention of collisions; how to reduce collision risk with defensive driving; how distractions affect driving ability; the definition of impairment; the impact of weather, road and traffic conditions; and how to identify and minimize aggressive driving activities. It is designed to motivate participants to change their behind-the-wheel behaviors and attitudes, resulting in more responsible drivers.

This Defensive Driving class can also benefit businesses that employ drivers by demonstrating their commitment to safety for employees, their families and the public while also lowering worker's compensation insurance costs, decreasing fleet premiums, reducing liability exposure and creating a culture of safety.

The registration fee for the course is $60. Students may register by calling 252-940-6375 or in person in room 802 of Building 8 on the BCCC campus. BCCC accepts Visa, MasterCard and Discover. Checks payable to Beaufort County Community College may be mailed to the attention of Eva Peartree, 5337 U.S. Highway 264 East, Washington, NC 27889.

For more information contact Clay Carter at 252-940-6357 or

Tour Italy with the BCCC Foundation

August 10, 2015 | 11:53 AM

The Beaufort County Community College Foundation and the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce are sponsoring a 10-day trip to Italy that will include some of the country's most beautiful and historic sites.

The fully-escorted tour, Reflections of Italy, is scheduled for April 25 to May 4, 2016 and is offered by Collette through New Trends in Travel, a local travel agency. A special presentation about the trip is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 1, in Building 10 on BCCC's campus. Those interested in attending the presentation are asked to reserve a place by contacting the Chamber office at 252-946-9168 or by email at

"We are pleased to offer this opportunity to travel with Collette, a reputable company in the travel industry," says Robin McKeithan of the Chamber of Commerce. "This will be our third trip. Last spring 16 people traveled to Ireland and had a wonderful time, and we will be doing a domestic "Canyon Country" trip in October. We'd like to invite everyone to the informational meeting on Sept. 1 at BCCC – you are under no obligation to book the trip if you attend the meeting."

The cost of the trip is $4,759 per person based on double occupancy at hotels in Rome, Perugia, Florence, Venice and Milan. The package includes bus transportation to and from Raleigh-Durham International Airport; round-trip airfare, air taxes and fees; eight breakfasts, one lunch and five dinners during the trip; and hotel transfers.

A deposit of $250 per person is required at the time of registration. The final payment will be due by Feb. 25, 2016. The recommended cancellation waiver and insurance is an additional $260 per person. With the insurance, travelers may cancel for any reason up until the day of departure.

The itinerary includes an overnight flight, two nights at the Hotel Dei Borgia in Rome, one night at the Sangallo Palace Hotel in Perugia, two nights at the Starhotels Michelangelo in Florence, two nights at the Hotel Carlton on the Grand Canal in Venice, and one night at the Crowne Plaza Milan in Malpensa.

Travelers will have the chance to tour Rome, "The Eternal City," including visits to the Piazza Venezia, the Arch of Constantine, the Piazza Navona and the Colosseum; visit Assisi, birthplace of St. Francis; see Tuscany's scenic hillsides; tour the Academy Gallery, home of Michelangelo's "David"; learn about winemaking; tour Venice by boat; and take in the sights of Milan.

Optional trip experiences available for additional charges include a tour of the Vatican Museums and St. Peter's Basilica; a Tuscan feast; a tour of Rome by night; and a Venetian Serenaded Gondola cruise.

For a complete itinerary or a tour brochure contact Serena Sullivan, BCCC Foundation Director, at 252-940-6326 or by email at; or Robin McKeithan at 252-946-9168 or
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