Co-Lin may move to 4-day class schedule

Published 10:19 am Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Copiah-Lincoln Community College is considering a four-day student class schedule.

Jane Hulon, vice president of Instructional Services, presented the idea to the Board of Trustees at a recent meeting.

“Just to make you aware, the Wesson Campus faculty and staff have been exploring the possibility of modifying the class schedule for the academic classes and some career technical programs, not all but some, to a four-day format, which would follow a Monday, Wednesday class and a Tuesday, Thursday class, with no classes scheduled on Friday,” Hulon said.

The modification will only apply to the class schedule, not the work schedule, Hulon said. Community colleges across the state are attributing their success to the modified schedule, she said.

“Mississippi Delta Community College has done it,” Hulon said. “East Central adopted this sometime ago. Northeast Mississippi Community College is also running this type of schedule, so we’re asking questions and trying to find out from them what we should be aware of as we move forward with this.

“This class schedule has been offered at the Simpson County Center since it was opened in 2005 and works very well,” Hulon said. “The Natchez campus began offering this four-day format this time last year and from what I understand works very well.”

Hulon said the college is currently exploring the benefits of the modified schedule.

“We’re looking at how it would affect us with recruitment,” Hulon said. “What attention it might generate. Retention is a factor, and we’re looking at all the new opportunities we might would have, as far as hosting events and things we could do with the facilities on Friday.”

“There is an opportunity for some savings, but we’re just looking at a more progressive schedule on this campus,” Hulon said. “It does allow more of your commuter campus students to work on Fridays because a lot of our students do hold part-time and some full-time jobs. It also saves them from traveling to campus, so there’s a gas savings. There could be a potential utility savings. After we study this for a little while, there may be some facilities where we don’t have to run the power at full capacity.”

Hulon said most teachers are embracing the proposed change due to the success other campuses have seen, but Ronnie Nettles, president of Co-Lin Community College, disagreed.

“I think it would be fair to say when you’re dealing with faculty, they’re not all embracing it,” Nettles said. “We’ll have to deal with some further discussion to understand what their concerns are. That’s one reason we start it this way so we can at least get it on the table and give us some time to kind of hear what the concerns are before preceding forward.”

Hulon said the modified schedule would provide an opportunity for professional development and meetings between all three campuses if the Wesson campus had Friday available.

Northeast Mississippi Community College saw an increase in enrollment last fall after switching to the modified schedule, Hulon said.

“Northeast attributes their increase in enrollment last fall to changing,” Nettles said. “I don’t know if you could say that’s true or not. They were the only college in the state to have an increase in enrollment last fall.”

The board will be presented with more information about the proposal at the next meeting. There was no vote taken on the proposal.

 

Early college high school considered

Nettles presented the board with a report involving the early college high school Memorandum of Understanding.

“Let me just give you an update, we were contacted last fall by the Natchez-Adams School District, the Mississippi Department of Education and the curriculum unit at [Alcorn] State University about the development of an early college high school program in Natchez,” Nettles said. “Essentially what this would do would be move a group, not all, but a small group of ninth, 10th, 11th and 12th graders from their high school onto the campus of Co-Lin and Alcorn.”

Nettles said there was one of these schools already in existence at East Mississippi Community College, but a different model is being proposed for the program in Natchez.

“In the early college model, students literally start taking classes as early as the ninth grade,” Nettles said. “Now typically those college classes are things like orientation or study skills, but as they advance through the ninth, 10th, 11th and 12th grade, the number of hours that they take at the college level increases.”

Nettles said there are many questions that need to be answered before a program like this is adopted.

“There are many, many questions and many, many things we need to iron out,” Nettles said. “A lot we have to learn about the support for this in the Natchez-Adams School District and community. We are proceeding slowly. There are two big issues that we at Co-Lin have questions about and the number one is the funding of it. Who pays for these students to take these classes because quite frankly, we’re not in a position to give up space and tuition dollars for the program? We have to learn that. Typically, there is an arrangement, but that has not been presented to us very specifically.

“Secondly and just as important is how it will affect our accreditation,” Nettles said. “You can’t just go out and start teaching students college classes. Those things have to either be approved. I will just sum up by saying we’re going through that process of review. At some point we will likely bring an MOU to you to get your action to either proceed or not.”