NCI's enrollment at record level: More interest in bachelor's degrees now

July 23, 2010

The New College Institute had record enrollment during the 2009-2010 school year, and officials said interest in undergraduate programs offered through the school is growing.

During a meeting of the institute’s board Thursday, Associate Director Leanna Blevins said 413 students were in enrolled in NCI during the 2009-10 school year.

During the 2008-09 school year, there were 347 students enrolled, board documents show.

NCI is a state-supported school in uptown Martinsville that offers local access to master’s degrees and the second two years of classes needed to earn bachelor’s degrees. It was founded in 2006.

Blevins said the interest in bachelor’s degree courses has been increasing.

In 2007, most NCI graduates were in master’s level programs, but each year the number of undergraduates has increased, she said. In 2009-10, there were 217 students in undergraduate degree programs and 193 in graduate degree programs, documents show.

NCI is getting inquiries from high school students and those who are attending community college and may want to transfer to NCI to complete their bachelor’s degrees, Blevins said.

Executive Director Barry Dorsey said NCI recruiters will continue working to increase NCI’s visibility at community colleges.

He added that a list of necessary courses is provided by NCI staff to students at Patrick Henry Community College who are interested in the early childhood education program at NCI. If students take those recommended courses at PHCC, they will be able to enter NCI’s program at the junior level, he said.

Dorsey said the institution will offer a new program, bachelor’s of accounting, in the fall through Virginia Commonwealth University. Board member Mark Heath added that NCI eventually will be able to offer courses for professional accountants in the area.

Blevins said the institute also hopes to build better relationships with potential students through a new Hobsons’ Data System. The system, which went into effect July 16, will track information about each visitor who requests information on degree programs through NCI’s website, she said.

During the summer, Dorsey said two teacher recertification courses were offered. The teachers who took it said they learned a lot and appreciated having the course offered locally. He added that summer internships and camps also were successful.

During the meeting, the NCI general fund operating budget for 2010-11 was approved. Dorsey said two new positions will be funded with money already in the budget.

There was a budget for 11 positions, but so far only nine have been filled. One of the positions to be added will be a full-time finance director and the other position will be a part-time secretary.

NCI will open an office with recruiters in the old Henry County courthouse, and the secretary will handle calls and questions from potential or current students when the recruiters are out of the office. Dorsey said he is happy for NCI to be identified with such an iconic building in the community.

Charles Toothman of NCI discussed the operations report at the meeting. He said that other businesses — local and from outside the area — have visited NCI to observe its video-conferencing technology to decide if they want to purchase similar technology for their businesses.

Dorsey said the Piedmont Governor’s School for Mathematics, Science and Technology has decided to continue to use NCI’s facilities in the Jefferson Plaza next year. High school students enrolled in the governor’s school were happy with the video-conferencing technology available in the facility, he said.

Also at Thursday’s meeting, Jay Edelen was sworn in as a member of the institute’s board. Edelen said he has worked in Martinsville most of his life and looks forward to the future of NCI.

George Lyle was reappointed to the board and will be sworn in at the next meeting.

Board members received copies of a resolution thanking Kimble Reynolds Jr. for his service. Reynolds, who is leaving the board, did not attend the meeting.

Officers were elected during Thursday’s meeting. Rob Spilman was re-elected chairman, Elizabeth Haskell was re-elected vice chairman and Lyle was elected secretary.

Haskell updated the board on the work of the New College Foundation and its fundraising campaign. The foundation has raised $988,528, she said.

According to NCI’s website, the New College Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization, was established in 2006. It receives donations to benefit NCI and NCI students.


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