Inaugural event hosted by Paul D. Camp Community College focuses on retention

Symposium Antwan PerryAntwan Perry of Germanna Community College leads a motivational presentation with students during the Student Success Symposium.
Paul D. Camp Community College’s STEPS program hosted its first Student Success Symposium recently at the Regional Workforce Development Center with 145 faculty, staff, administrators and students attending. STEPS is an acronym for Students Transitioning through Education Programs Successfully.
The event, sponsored by the Office of the Vice President of Academic and Student Development, The Faculty Senate, The Classified Staff Council, and the Planning and Effectiveness Committee in collaboration with the Chancellor’s College Success Coach Initiative, was focused on ways to help increase the number of students graduating with an associate’s degree, career readiness or other certificates; or transferring to other places of higher learning to continue their education.
“This event not only provided students with information about motivation and success, but also served as a professional development opportunity for our faculty and staff, to increase the effectiveness of their roles in the classroom and offices,” said PDCCC College Success Coach Laura Clark.
The symposium was highlighted by a presentation from Dr. Bethanie H. Tucker, professor of education at Averett University in Danville, co-author of Understanding and Engaging Under-Resourced College Students and specialist with the company, aha! Process. She spoke to faculty, staff and administrators about the “hidden rules” of social class and its implication in the classroom. She emphasized the importance of defining what respect looks and sounds like, and realizing that “some students are living in the moment,” Tucker said. “Instructors should ask students, ‘What is your plan?’”
In her session with students, Tucker encouraged students to consider what resources are necessary to be successful in college and the professional working world. She also shared practical steps to maintaining motivation.
Also featured was guest speaker, Antwan L. Perry, director of the Early College Academy and special projects manager with the Office of Student Success at Germanna Community College. A former student success coach at the community college, Perry is a first-generation college graduate and is on schedule to complete his Doctor of Education degree from Regent University at the end of this year. He presented “Engaging Black and Minority Males on the College Campus.” He spoke about African-American male student achievement, noting, “The graduation rate of black males is extremely low,” which he attributed to his belief that stereotypes play a significant role in the low success rate. He conducted a workshop for black males, allowing them to recommend best practices for college success.
During his session with students, Perry shared compelling stories from his personal journey that helped the audience know that success is possible with motivation and persistence.
Students also had the opportunity to learn about leadership from Ellis Cofield, student activities officer and full-time student at PDCCC. He shared several ways that leadership skills can be developed during the college years and honed in the workplace for years to follow.
Working in mixed groups, students and faculty worked through case studies of situations that often present barriers to student success and retention in the college setting.
Examining barriers that our students face gives us a better understanding of how to help them get enrolled and stay enrolled throughout the academic process,” said College Success Coach Dr. Sandra Walker.
According to Vice President of Academic and Student Development Dr. Tara Atkins-Brady, the event also supports the Chancellor’s plan for community colleges to triple the number of credentials awarded by 2021.
“I am extremely proud of our college success coach team,” she said. “The symposium was very informative and was designed to assist everyone at the college. We had a great number of participants and look forward to offering additional symposia in the future.”

Symposium Bethanie TuckerDr. Bethanie Tucker led a session for faculty, staff and administrators that focused on “Understanding and Engaging Under-Resourced College Students.”