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COA policy and planning committee reviews commencement and new programs

The Policy, Planning and Student Success Committee of the College of The Albemarle Board of Trustees met on May 27 to review commencement exercises and two new programs coming to COA in the fall of 2021.

Dr. Evonne Carter, vice president of learning, recommended a policy change to allow for at least one commencement ceremony to take place each year. The hope is to host more than one, being that the current graduation venue limits seating for family member attendance.

“We never have enough seats in PAC for all students and families to attend,” Carter reported. “We could split apart some of the exercises so that there would be fewer numbers of graduates . . . students could have more seating for their family members.”

Carter said if circumstances were different, the college would have had two graduations in May and a possible third in July for summer graduates. There is also talk of hosting a December graduation; students now usually come back the following spring to attend the May commencement if they graduated in the winter.

Also, in regard to graduation, Carter said the graduation fee would be waived, given the cost “impacted the graduation rate before.”

The committee motioned to approve the policy changes and send them forward to the Board of Trustees for approval.

Robin Zinsmeister, dean of WDPSCR then presented two new programs: Associate in Science in Teacher Preparation and Associate in Arts in Teacher Preparation.

These are transfer programs, so students can start here on the pathway to being teachers. The programs are at the state level and require a special application process.

“This [program] is one that they deem of great importance and we are not required to put forward entire program application, which is quite lengthy.” Zinsmeister will serve as the dean of both of the programs.

No additional faculty will be needed to run the programs, and they will be a part of the College and Career Promise College Transfer Pathways. For the students, Zinsmeister said this will “make it a clear runway for them.”

She commented that there was an increasing need for teachers in the area given recent employment data in the area and 43 respondents already replied to a survey sent out expressing their interest in the courses.

“The method of delivery for this program will include face to face instruction as well as possibility for hybrid and complete online instruction.”

The committee agreed to begin the planning process for the installation of these courses to COA.

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