Reporter’s notebook

Photo: Matthew Dembicki

  • Housing partnership to help students in need
  • Exploring a career in childhood education
  • Alabama college to look at reinstating baseball, softball
  • A fresh take on annual reports

Housing partnership to help students in need

Río Hondo College (RHC) students facing housing issues could be eligible to stay at a local private four-year college’s residence halls.

The partnership between RHC and Whittier College aims to alleviate the housing issues faced by some socio-economically disadvantaged students. The agreement runs from this spring to summer 2026.

RHC students with re-housing vouchers from third-party providers, such as the Jovenes Center, the Salvation Army and Volunteers of America, can now gain residence at Whittier’s dorms. Whittier will also provide reduced rates to students who run out of re-housing vouchers in order to provide housing stability.

“Housing is a basic need, and providing safe housing for our students means they can focus on their academics and prepare themselves to join the workforce or transfer to four-year universities,” RHC Superintendent/President Teresa Dreyfuss said in a release.

Exploring a career in childhood education

Several students at a high school in Alabama are halfway to earning a short-term certificate in childhood education thanks to a partnership with Wallace State Community College (WSCC).

The program at Cullman High School is part of a dual-enrollment option that allows students to earn a short-term certificate in preschool/family childcare.

“One of the benefits of earning the certificate is that they’re going to enhance their resume,”
said Marcie Robinson, who teaches the class and directs the child development program at WSCC. “No matter what they’re doing, they’re going to be able to have an additional credential listed on their resume. Above and beyond anything else, that’s going to set them aside from others.”

The certificate will enable any student who is 18 or older to apply to become an assistant in a state-funded Pre-K program.

Marcie Robinson, director of Wallace State Community College’s children development program, chats with Cullman High School students during a lesson about developmentally appropriate practices for preschool-age children. (Photo: WSCC)

The partnership allows students to examine career opportunities that they might not have considered, according to program officials.

“This class is important to me because I want to be a teacher and make differences in children’s lives,” said student Emma Dodd. “I’m getting a head start, which I believe will help me to obtain my dream career.”

The students will continue the classes for the rest of the school year, taking the two remaining classes required for the certificate in two mini-terms during Wallace State’s spring 2022 term. Students who want to continue into the college’s child development program can apply the certificate toward an associate degree.

Alabama college to look at reinstating baseball, softball

Gadsden State Community College is seeking feedback from the community about possibly bringing back the college’s baseball and softball teams, which were dissolved in 2011 and 2016, respectively.

“A lot of people were disappointed when our baseball and softball teams ended,” said Athletic Director Mike Cancilla. “This is a baseball community. This is a softball community. When we had teams, many local people came out and supported us.”

Cancilla said reinstating the two programs, which could happen as early as spring 2023, would create additional scholarship opportunities for student-athletes and create more interest in Gadsden State. The college already plans to reinstate cross country in the fall.

Of course, reinstating the program would come with costs such as buying new equipment and renovating athletic fields.

“There is certainly a financial challenge that comes with starting new athletic programs, but an investment in our college and in our students is also a win for our community,” Cancilla said. “We just need to know if our community is willing to support us in this endeavor.”

A fresh take on annual reports

Putting together and reading annual reports can be a ho-hum endeavor. But a New Jersey community college has found a way to make both a bit more entertaining.

Over the past few years, Rowan College at Burlington County (RCBC) has presented the reports differently, from a high-gloss magazine to a calendar to a classic newspaper complete with a comic strip. For its newest edition, its tarot cards. The RCBC deck features 31 illustrated cards highlighting students, faculty, alumni and events from the college’s 2020-2021 academic year.

Featured cards include “The Athlete,” highlighting Olympic athlete Priscilla Frederick-Loomis, a frequent client at the college’s dental hygiene clinic; “The Artist,” spotlighting nationally acclaimed artist and RCBC alum Lavett Ballard; and “The Mobilizer,” featuring RCBC history professor Jamie Judge, who created a tutorial on how to complete a mail-in ballot during the 2020 presidential election.

Each card includes an inspirational message, a blurb and a full-color digital illustration of the subject, according to a release from the college. The set also comes with a guide sharing a message from President Michael Cioce, some institutional statistics and a deeper dive into the subject of each card.

Information presented like tarot cards are the newest way Rowan College at Burlington County is publishing information for its annual report. (Photo: RCBC)

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
Matthew Dembicki edits Community College Daily and serves as associate vice president of communications for the American Association of Community Colleges.