PDCCC enrollment climbs

Published 7:08 pm Saturday, August 29, 2015

By Rebecca Chappell

Special to the News-Herald


Paul D. Camp Community College’s enrollment has significantly increased during the past year, more than any of the other community colleges in Virginia, according to Dr. William “Bill” C Aiken, interim president.

Aiken received this information from the report by Virginia’s Community Colleges Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness.

PDCCC showed an 11.5 percent headcount increase, which represents 107 more students enrolled than last year this time. The increase in dual enrollment was 187 more students, nearly four times than the headcount last year.

The number of students taking dual enrollment credits could still increase for this year, because public school has not started yet.

In May, PDCCC had a meeting for college staff to talk about how it could increase enrollment for the upcoming school year. Seventy-five to 100 employees showed up to this meeting.

Employees of the college decided that personal contact with students was something they should leverage to help the enrollment status.

Employees —regardless of their job titles at the college — emailed current students, those who had enrolled last year, but not this year and also those who had enrolled but hadn’t paid their tuition.

They asked students, former students and prospective students what they could do to help them with their experience at PDCCC, and made sure to follow through with the students’ requests. Employees also called, texted and sent out postcards.

The financial aid office worked hard to ensure students with financial issues would be able to attend the college by exploring every option possible for those who qualified.

Aiken even sent a personal letter to everyone on the mailing list.

“People who work here and the community at large are really committed to seeing the college grow,” Aiken said. “The entire campus is elated about the news of our enrollment growth. It has been a concerted effort on the part of the entire campus.”

“Hopefully, we have embarked on a new direction for PDCCC that will help the region have a better workforce,” he added. “We truly believe that the community college is having a positive effect on Franklin, Suffolk and Smithfield.”

Aiken also said he believes the personal contact with current and prospective students is what boosted enrollment this year.

Dean of Student Services and Professional Counselor Trina Jones said the president himself has been a positive factor.

“The leadership has been outstanding. He is a leader’s leader. He doesn’t just talk the talk, but he walks the walk,” she said. “We have really teamed up; the entire college took the multiple-touches approach.”

Aiken added, “Our goal is to retain the number of students we have this year to see they meet whatever goal they set out to.”

Aiken, Jones and other employees said PDCCC helps students reach their goals by providing assessment coaches, student support services and tutors for those who need them and provide personal contact for every student who attends.