Germanna president pledges new, hyper-focused commitment to student success

In his semi-annual State of the College address Tuesday , Germanna Community College President David A. Sam promised a new, hyper-focus on student success this year and beyond.

â??Community colleges and Germanna have focused for a long time on access –the open door,â? Sam said in a talk delivered to about 300 faculty members and staff at the Daniel Technology Center in Culpeper. â??Weâ??ve done an increasingly better job at not leaving people behind.

â??We have more first generation students, more people of color, and others from underrepresented groups, especially those who are disadvantaged,” he said.

Sam, a Culpeper resident, said there is still much room for improvement.

â??For too many, that open door is a revolving door or a door to nowhere. Too many fail to complete their goal. So we need to focus on student success.â?

For some, he said, that goal is not a degree or a certificate, but a promotion or a new skill set.

He cited Germannaâ??s new Student Success Coach program, its new Gladys P. Todd Academy and its new Career & Transfer Center as examples of calculated moves toward helping students find the right path and stay on it.

The Student Success Coaches stay with students all the way through Germanna, providing what Sam called â??an arm around the shoulder–and a kick in the behind, when necessary.â?

Germannaâ??s Todd Academy, started this fall with a $2 million donation from philanthropist Doris Buffett, helps first generation high school students earn associateâ??s degrees by the time they graduate from high school, free of charge. The Todd Academy targets students at James Monroe and Spotsylvania high schools and Walker-Grant and Post Oak middle schools. Germanna Scholars, a similar program in Culpeper, serves students at Eastern View and Culpeper high schools.

The new Career & Transfer Center helps students decide what they need to study based on career goals and where they plan to transfer.

â??Yes, we do need to meet the needs of employers, but weâ??re also educating citizens. Weâ??re also educating people who are going to be raising families. Our job is bigger than training students for the short-term job. â??