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Focus will be reaching people with educational barriers

Halifax Community College (HCC) has recently received a Student Success Activity Grant from the North Carolina Community College System. The purpose of the grant is to reach out to people in the area's population who have multiple barriers to education, including citizens with limited English proficiency.

The plan will offer an innovative recruitment and retention initiative and will target the importance of motivation in achieving student success. The college-wide project involving students, faculty and staff will also include community members, providing another opportunity to collaborate with the college's community partners.

The Student Success Activity Grant will start in January 2008. HCC will be able to hire, for the first time, a part-time Assessment-Retention Counselor. The goal is to have an Assessment-Retention Counselor working with this program during the months of March, April and May 2008. For three months, project staff will work on recruiting hard-to-reach students and also focus on retaining those students until they complete the requirements for their GED.

Working alongside the Assessment-Retention Counselor will be current and former GED students, who will become “student recruiters.” Many students hear about HCC's programs through family and friends, or word-of-mouth advertising.

Student recruiters will receive Literacy Recruitment Bags. These bags will be filled with literacy education materials and other HCC resource materials. The student recruiters will be encouraged to provide the literacy materials to family members, friends and community members. Their efforts will assist HCC in bringing non-completers back to the basic skills program and encouraging prospective students to enroll.

Among the many activities that will start in January 2008 include a GED Kickoff featuring testimonials from former GED students, a motivational speaker and words of wisdom from HCC President, Dr. Ervin V. Griffin, Sr. Staff, GED alumni and other community personnel will facilitate motivational mini sessions. Through the project, HCC is also planning to form a Student Success Committee, which will include current GED students, graduates, Basic Skills staff and other HCC staff in an effort to improve student success. Ultimately, staff would like to form an HCC GED Alumni Association to involve students who have completed GEDs and to create a scholarship for deserving GED graduates to help them further their education.

“Our current Literacy Education Program is an outreach program aimed at individuals with multiple barriers to education. Our Adult Basic Education and English as a Second Language components offer small group and individual attention to students who need to learn to read, improve basic skills and obtain a high school equivalency diploma,” said Griffin. “These additional activities can only strengthen our existing opportunities and, we hope, reach prospective students who most need these services.”

For more information about the new Student Success Initiative, contact HCC Literacy Education staff: Tamba Thompson at (252) 536-7235, Therman Taylor at (252) 536-6362, Brian Hopkins at (252) 536-6395, or Brenda Cousins at (252) 536-7240.