Complete the survey

Published 10:19 pm Thursday, December 4, 2014

One of the big differences between Virginia’s community colleges and its traditional four-year colleges and universities is the fact that community colleges count serving the communities where they’re located as one of their primary functions. Blacksburg and Charlottesville surely benefit from the location of Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia within their boundaries, but those schools do not make a habit of tailoring programs to meet the needs of the citizens of their communities, and those citizens are not among the universities’ primary stakeholders.

Things are very different for community colleges, though, as they’re intended to reflect the particular needs of their host communities. At Paul D. Camp Community College, which has campuses in Franklin, Suffolk and Smithfield, that local focus has resulted recently in more nursing and logistics classes. Similarly, one might expect that a community college serving a part of the commonwealth with large state prisons to offer programs designed to give a better grounding in corrections work.

But it’s not just a community college’s choice of educational and vocational programs that demonstrate its commitment to local sensibilities. There’s also a need for the institutions to take care when appointing leaders and hiring faculty to ensure that the people who represent the college understand just what makes the community they’ll be serving unique.

Email newsletter signup

With the pending retirement of Paul D. Camp President Paul Conco in the summer, work is well under way to find a suitable replacement at the helm of this important local educational institution. And the college has offered area residents a chance to provide input that could be valuable in ensuring that Conco’s replacement is not just right for the job, but also right for Western Tidewater.

The college has established an online survey for members of the community to provide input into the process. The survey, which can be found by clicking on a link on the college’s homepage at, asks six short-answer questions designed to help identify the attributes people in the community wish to see in the next president of PDCCC and the goals they hope he or she will accomplish. The survey will be live through Dec. 8.

Take a few minutes today to complete the survey, and you will help ensure Paul D. Camp Community College continues to serve the specific needs of Western Tidewater.