ECCC offers ‘local’ education at an affordable cost

From press reports

Not only is shopping at home a great idea, but continuing one’s education at a local community college also makes good sense! Located in the heart of east central Mississippi, East Central Community College in Decatur is the perfect fit for students of all ages who want to continue their education in the academic, technical and career areas; improve or learn new job skills; or even receive a high school equivalency diploma! Since its humble beginning in 1928 when 18 freshmen comprised the student body, East Central Community College has offered a quality education at an affordable cost. Today, East Central offers coursework for more than 200 academic programs of study and guarantees those credits will transfer to the state’s public four-year colleges and universities, according to an articulation agreement between the two-year schools and universities. In addition to providing classes on the Decatur campus, East Central offers classes at various locations in the five-county district. In Winston County, classes are held at the Winston/Louisville Career-Tech Complex and at Louisville High School. East Central also provides an extensive list of technical and career programs on the Decatur campus. Technical programs are offered in the following areas: Automotive, Computer Programming, Computer Networking, Microcomputer, Office Systems, Healthcare Data, Hotel Restaurant Management, Culinary Arts, Drafting and Design, Architectural Engineering, Land Surveying, Electrical, Heating and Air Conditioning, Collision Repair, Precision Machining and Early Childhood Education. Career programs include Cosmetology, Carpentry and Cabinetmaking, and Welding. Thousands of area citizens are also served through the College’s Workforce Development Center and Adult Basic Education Department in the areas of workforce training, adult basic education and GED preparation. To round out a student’s college experience, East Central sponsors 10 intercollegiate athletic teams, various intramural activities, and more than 30 student organizations and clubs for varied interests. “ECCC is a quality academic transfer institution that attracts students from throughout the state to its unique programs,” said Dr. Randall E. Lee, Vice President for Student Services. “As with most of our sister community colleges, we fully serve our five-county district (Leake, Neshoba, Newton, Scott and Winston counties) and a high percentage of students from our area schools attending East Central is proof that we serve them well.” The College reported a record 2012 spring enrollment, as 2,665 students registered for classes. Of the total, approximately 300 students reside in Winston County. Among students attending EC from Winston County are sophomores Raychal Reed and Tate Rogers, both of Louisville. Both students have received numerous honors and have participated in various campus activities. Reed, who most recently was named to the 2012 All-Mississippi Academic Team and was selected a 2012 Coca-Cola Bronze Scholar, said she chose EC because the school was the “right fit for me.” “There was no question in making my decision to attend East Central Community College except how soon could I get there! I couldn’t imagine choosing any other college upon graduating from high school. East Central is absolutely the fight fit for me. From the outstanding student body to the supportive administration, faculty and staff, every aspect about the College goes above and beyond to uphold EC’s motto, ‘With You in Mind.’ I have been blessed with so many opportunities here, and I’m so thankful that I chose to attend such a wonderful school. East Central Community College is truly like home to me. I only hope that one day I can give back to East Central as much as it has given to me.” Reed is a President’s List Scholar and a member of Theta Xi Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year colleges. She also serves as co-editor of the Wo-He-Lo (yearbook) and is a staff writer on The Tom-Tom (newspaper) staff. Reed was selected Most Beautiful for 2011 and has served the past two years as a member of the Centralettes, the dance line for the Wall O’ Sound Marching Band, and was co-captain for 2011-12. She was also named to Who’s Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges. Reed, a 2010 honor graduate of Winston Academy, was also the recipient of numerous scholarships to attend ECCC. She plans to continue her education at Mississippi State University in Starkville or the University of Mississippi in Oxford. Her goal is to become a physical therapist. Her parents are Ray and Shelia Reed of Louisville. Rogers said he chose EC “because it was close to home and many of my friends were coming here. All of my family went to EC as well and they enjoyed it and knew it was a good school. I also had heard from other people who attended EC and they enjoyed it, too. I also came here because I wanted to play football.” Rogers said he has “enjoyed” his two years at East Central and added: “I’ve made many new friends who I will keep up with the rest of my life. I have gotten to play two more years of football and have also been well prepared to continue my education at a university and receive my degree.” Rogers was a two-year member of the Warrior football team and received second team MACJC All-State honors. He also served as team captain and earned the team’s academic award.Rogers was selected Mr. ECCC for 2012 He is also a member of Theta Xi Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa and participates in several campus activities. He was also selected for Who’s Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges. Rogers is a 2010 honor graduate of Louisville High School and was a recipient of several scholarships to attend EC. He plans to major in physical education at Mississippi State University in Starkville. His parents are Don and Rebecca Rogers of Louisville. ECCC’s record enrollment is a further indication of the College’s commitment to academic excellence offered at an affordable cost. “East Central’s continued growth is a reflection of a quality education and excellent employees who work hard at providing quality student services,” said Dr. Lee, whose office coordinates the College’s recruiting efforts. “It is amazing that the student body keeps growing despite a downward trend at most colleges!” The College also offers the lowest tuition among the state’s community and junior colleges, which currently stands at $895 per semester. To accommodate its growth, East Central makes every effort to provide the most up-to-date facilities for student learning. The most recent addition to the College’s campus is the Aaron R. Davis Science Building, which was completed for the 2012 spring term. The two-story structure includes state-of-the lab facilities for science students and was constructed at a cost of $4.1 million. State bond funds accumulated in recent years provided the financial resources to complete the much-anticipated addition to the Decatur campus. A renovation of Cross Hall – where science classes continue to be held – is scheduled to begin this summer. In addition to providing a quality learning environment for students, East Central continues to grow in the areas of technology and eLearning. Gone are the days when students have to balance their class schedule with their work schedule. Now students have the option to take many classes completely online from the comfort of home. During the past nine years, the number of East Central students taking classes online has increased almost 230 percent, according to Dr. Chris Jenkins, Dean of eLearning. Approximately 1,100 students are currently enrolled in online courses. “The online program allows students to complete their class work when it is convenient, making work schedules easier to have and families easier to manage,” said Dr. Jenkins. East Central’s commitment to technology is further evidenced by its new Student Information System, which allows students to employ social web-networking technology to interface with instructors, college administrative offices, campus organizations and more. “This system makes registering for classes online and receiving up- to-the-minute college information much simpler and more personalized for individualized student needs,” said David Case, Dean of Admissions, Records and Research. East Central has also improved the way it reaches out to a diversified community of consumers in business and industry through services provided by the Workforce Development Center. “East Central has heightened efforts to improve and increase access to much-demanded services by acquiring instructional resources, opening training centers and placing equipment and staff at sites more convenient to the various citizens who, now more than ever, look to their college to serve the development needs of their community and economy,” said Roger Whitlock, Dean of Workforce Development and Education. One such example is the West Alabama/East Mississippi WIRED Grant, a $15 million project which partnered ECCC and three other Mississippi community colleges with four Alabama colleges to upgrade the skills of workers throughout the entire region. Along with the College’s efforts in workforce education is the Adult Basic Education program, which provides instruction and assistance to those in need of a high school equivalency diploma. Classes are offered free at various locations in the College’s five- county district and those who complete the program are recognized at GED Graduation ceremonies held twice each year on the Decatur campus. As evidenced by the broad range of services offered, East Central Community College takes is role as a “local” community college very seriously. “East Central has a long history of providing educational and training opportunities in east Mississippi,” summed up ECCC President Dr. Phil A. Sutphin. “The College has grown substantially since its founding and we are continually planning for the future needs of our community.” ECCC’s Board of Trustees also plays a vital role in the College’s success. Board members from Winston County include Patsy Clark, Jerry Nance, Randal Livingston, Delane Hudson and Dr. William C. Wade, Supt., Louisville Municipal School District, all of Louisville; and Leo Parker of Noxapater. For more information about ECCC, contact the Office of Admissions, Records and Research, 601-635-6206 or call toll free, 877-462-3222, ext. 206.