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2019-5-20

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Transferring Success

 

By Dr. Al Roberts

In March of this year, 250 representatives from more than 60 educational institutions across Virginia met to discuss potential obstacles facing students with plans to transfer to baccalaureate-awarding colleges and universities after beginning their postsecondary educational journeys at two-year institutions. Existing pathways involve an assortment of articulation agreements that can be complex to navigate. The Virginia Community College System maintains agreements with more than three dozen public and private colleges and universities. These are supplemented with hundreds of additional agreements between individual institutions.

Legislation addressing this concern led to the development of Transfer Virginia, a three-year initiative to reform the Commonwealth’s transfer system. Goals include improving communication and collaboration among institutions of higher education, more closely aligning academic expectations, and streamlining agreements that facilitate transfers.

Removing barriers to transfer success offers significant financial benefits. When compared with the cost of beginning academic pursuits directly at four-year institutions, students who begin their postsecondary education at a community college can save an estimated $17,000 on the cost of obtaining a bachelor’s degree. Part of the savings can be lost, however, if students are unable to apply all earned credits toward their degrees.  According to some estimates, the current system can cost improperly prepared students the equivalent of an extra semester in time, tuition, and fees.

To address these concerns, SVCC offers resources to help guide and prepare students. Transfer Clubs on both main campuses give students opportunities to explore options. Four-year college campus fairs and visits highlight opportunities. Transfer counselors provide one-on-one and group guidance. Added to these efforts, SVCC is playing an active role in the work of Transfer Virginia to develop consistent and uniform transferability between all of Virginia’s community colleges and baccalaureate-awarding institutions. Specific tasks include developing transferrable programs where all courses satisfy lower-division general education requirements, mapping degree program requirements from two-year to four-year programs, ensuring common student learning outcomes in all transfer courses, and exploring dual admission and co-enrollment.

The VCCS Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic and Workforce Programs, Sharon Morrissey, explains Transfer Virginia’s anticipated results: “Virginia will be better off for the effort, with a higher education system that is more affordable, more efficient, more equitable, and more relevant for students in the 21st century marketplace.” Transfer Virginia estimates that it will result in the Commonwealth’s ability to award more than 6,000 additional baccalaureate degrees annually to transfer students.

SVCC already has a strong record for preparing transfer students for success. The top five destinations for transferring graduates are Old Dominion University, Longwood University, Liberty University, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Virginia State University. For more information on how to structure your educational journey with the most efficiently, contact Matt Dunn, Transfer Counselor, at 434-736-2020 or matt.dunn@southside.edu.

Dr. Al Roberts is president of Southside Virginia Community College, an institution of higher learning that provides a wide variety of education opportunities to a diverse student population within a service area that spans ten counties and the City of Emporia. He can be reached via email at al.roberts@southside.edu.

Advanced Heart Failure (Treatment Options)

Community Out-Reach Education

South Hill – You are cordially invited to attend May’s health seminar featuring treatment options for Advanced Heart Failure.

There are nearly five million Americans currently living with congestive heart failure. Many people with heart failure lead normal, active lives. They do so because they have learned to take good care of themselves by better understanding heart failure.

Dr. Nimesh Patel, heart failure expert, will discuss:

  • What is Advanced Heart Failure?
  • What are the warning signs of Advanced Heart Failure?
  • Living with Advanced Heart Failure and knowing your treatment options including LVAD and heart transplant.
  • Learn about what health care decisions you will need to make after discussion with your doctor and family.

Dr. Nimesh Patel is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Cardiology, Echocardiography, Nuclear Cardiology and Vascular Cardiology. He provides comprehensive invasive diagnostic cardiovascular services for adults in his practice, CMH.

This FREE program will be on Tuesday, May 21st at 4:00 p.m. in the VCU Health CMH Education Center inside the C.A.R.E. Building located at 1755 N. Mecklenburg Avenue in South Hill.

Reservations are required for this program; seating is limited.  For more information or to register to attend, please call (434) 447-0917 or visit www.vcu-cmh.org. All attendees with have a chance to win door prizes and enjoy refreshments!

USDA Reopens Continuous CRP Signup

Extensions also available to Many Expiring Contracts

WASHINGTON, May 15, 2019 – USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will accept applications beginning June 3, 2019, for certain practices under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) continuous signup and will offer extensions for expiring CRP contracts. The 2018 Farm Bill reauthorized CRP, one of the country’s largest conservation programs.

“USDA offers a variety of conservation programs to farmers and ranchers, and the Conservation Reserve Program is an important tool for private lands management,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “CRP allows agricultural producers to set aside land to reduce soil erosion, improve water quality, provide habitat for wildlife and boost soil health.”

FSA stopped accepting applications last fall for the CRP continuous signup when 2014 Farm Bill authority expired. Since passage of the 2018 Farm Bill last December, Fordyce said FSA has carefully analyzed the language and determined that a limited signup prioritizing water-quality practices furthers conservation goals and makes sense for producers as FSA works to fully implement the program.

Continuous CRP Signup

This year’s signup will include such practices as grassed waterways, filter strips, riparian buffers, wetland restoration and others. View a full list of practices approved for this program.

Continuous signup enrollment contracts are 10 to 15 years in duration. Soil rental rates will be set at 90 percent of the existing rates. Incentive payments will not be offered for these contracts.

Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program Signup

FSA will also reopen signup for existing Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) agreements. Fact sheets on current CREP agreements are available on this webpage.

Other CRP Signup Options

Fordyce said FSA plans to open a CRP general signup in December 2019 and a CRP Grasslands signup later.

CRP Contract Extensions

A one-year extension will be offered to existing CRP participants who have expiring CRP contracts of 14 years or less. Producers eligible for an extension will receive a letter describing their options.

Alternatively, producers with expiring contracts may have the option to enroll in the Transition Incentives Program, which provides two additional annual rental payments on the condition the land is sold or rented to a beginning farmer or rancher or a member of a socially disadvantaged group.

More Information

On December 20, 2018, President Trump signed into law the 2018 Farm Bill, which provides support, certainty and stability to our nation’s farmers, ranchers and land stewards by enhancing farm support programs, improving crop insurance, maintaining disaster programs and promoting and supporting voluntary conservation. FSA is committed to implementing these changes as quickly and effectively as possible, and today’s updates are part of meeting that goal.

Producers interested in applying for CRP continuous practices, including those under existing CREP agreements, or who need an extension, should contact their USDA service center beginning June 3. To locate your local FSA office, visit www.farmers.gov. More information on CRP can be found at www.fsa.usda.gov/crp.

Community Baccalaureate Service Planned for June 9

Plans have been completed for a Community Baccalaureate Service, tentatively scheduled for Sunday, June 9 at 7 p.m. in the Greensville Elementary School Auditorium. This community service is for ALL graduating high school seniors, regardless of where they attend school: private, public, home-schooled, or Christian school. It is being sponsored by The Greensville-Emporia Ministerial Association.

Local public schools have not held a baccalaureate in several decades.

The baccalaureate is a religious service and will feature Christian music and prayers. There will be three speakers who will deliver a Biblical message of encouragement and inspiration for the graduates. They include the Rev. Larry Walczykowski, Dr. Muriel Artis, and Dr. Kim Evans. Several other local ministers and lay people will be participating in the service.

GEMA would like to invite all high school seniors who live in the Emporia-Greensville community, regardless of church affiliation, to participate. You do not have to register to participate, nor be a member of a church: simply arrive at the school by 6:30 p.m.

Graduates are asked to wear a white dress shirt, blouse or dress. There will be no distinction among schools. GEMA would like to have all participating students assemble and march in together, then sit together regardless of school affiliation.

The theme of the baccalaureate will be “The 9/11 Generation.” Most of this year’s graduates were born in 2001, the year of the 9/11 attacks. Their world has been changed and will be forever different as a result of that day.

Attendance and participation in this baccalaureate service is entirely voluntary; no participants are sponsored by or endorsed by any government agency; no government funds will be used nor will they be accepted for this service. All expenses are being paid with voluntary contributions by individual citizens and/or the Greensville-Emporia Ministerial Association. Any participation by public school employees or other government officials is voluntary and is done as private citizens.

Anyone wishing to make a donation or needing more information can contact Ed Conner at (434) 637-2879.

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