This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
College Profile: Northern Virginia Community College


were 30 or older. To help this array of individuals


achieve success, NVCC strives to foster an environment of inclusion and support through two special enterprises: Path- way to the Baccalaureate and Adult Career Pathways. Kerin A. Hilker- Balkissoon, the executive director of both initiatives, says that together they now serve 14,000 students. Under the auspices of the bac-


calaureate program, NVCC works with George Mason University, K-12 schools, nonprofits, social services groups and employers to “create pipelines for stu- dents to come and successfully compete.” GMU smooths the way for participants by waiving their application fees and offering them various uses of its staff and facilities. Admission to the baccalaureate pro-


gram is based on desire, not GPA. “We look at drive and determination,” Hilker- Balkissoon says. Applicants must write a statement about intent, and, if accepted, fulfill supplemental responsibilities such as mandatory community service and attendance at various workshops. In return, they get one-on-one coaching on everything from applying for scholar- ships and financial aid to dealing with the “transfer shock” that they may experi- ence when moving to a four-year school. Monica P. Gomez has been a bac-


calaureate counselor for 10 years. She is


every semester. Nonetheless, Gomez is able to proudly point to the achievements of one of her students, David, who went through NVCC, won one of only 85 Jack Kent Cook undergraduate transfer scholarships offered nationally, graduated from Cornell, and now is in graduate school at Brown University. The Adult Career Pathways’ focus is


Scott Ralls became


president of the school last year.


usually responsible for four or five high schools and carries a caseload of 300 to 350, mostly Latinos, Asians and Middle Eastern students, she says. Gomez maintains a formidable


schedule, attending senior events and parents’ nights, doing one-on-one coun- seling and holding group sessions. The result is that about 70 or 75 percent of her charges make it through the pro- gram. Statistics of how many achieve the ultimate prize of a four-year degree, how- ever, are hard to come by because com- munity college students are notoriously hard to track, given that many are part time and do not necessarily take classes


on helping students “upskill to better-pay- ing jobs,” Hilker-Balkissoon says. It targets veterans — more than 5,000 are enrolled at NVCC — single parents, immigrants and the unemployed or underemployed. It also reaches out to faith and interfaith organizations, nonprofits and community groups, not only to foster college aware- ness but also to help support people who may never have thought higher education was an option for them. “There are so many nonacademic


issues going on in their lives that can derail them,” Hilker-Balkissoon says about those in Adult Pathways. “Many are one flat tire away from dropping out of college.” More emergency funding to help


these students, she says, is her next priority. Money, unfortunately, may be a


tad tighter than it has been in the past. Nationwide, enrollment in higher educa- tion has gone down from a peak about five years ago, and funding is driven by the numbers. NVCC has fared better than most


community colleges, falling from its peak full-time equivalent student enrollment of 34,697 in the 2010-11 academic year to 34,586 in 2014-15, a drop of less than 1 percent. “We reached a plateau five years


ago,” Ralls says, “And in the last two years we’ve had some drops, but at a quarter of the rate of most other schools. The reason behind the decline, he


says, is a “good news/bad news” scenario. The bad news is that as work


Northern Virginia Community College has six campuses, three academic centers and online studies offering certifi cates and degrees.


opportunities have expanded, students, particularly older, working ones, feel the need to take fewer courses. The good news is that the companies


that are hiring need more highly skilled technology workers than ever. That fact alone would seem to promise that Northern Virginia Community College should enjoy its own version of cyberse- curity in years to come.


98 AUGUST 2016


Top: Photo courtesy Northern Virginia Community College Bottom: Photo by Mark Rhodes


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100  |  Page 101  |  Page 102  |  Page 103  |  Page 104