Learning Communities Provide Support and Motivation

This fall, the concept of learning communities will be implemented at Jackson State Community College. Two new communities have been formed to give students with similar backgrounds and interests the opportunity to meet and learn together. One group is focused on single parents and another group is for students interested in learning from a multicultural perspective.

Learning communities are not a new concept. They have been utilized at campuses around the country. Their purpose is for groups of students with like-minded goals and shared life experiences to complete their courses together. These communities are closely related to the cohort style that is popular in so many college and university settings.

Dr. Liz Mayo, assistant professor of English, formed the group for single parents. When asked why these groups are important, Mayo states, Learning communities help to forge a social bond where other community college studentsall of whom leave campus at the end of the dayhave a harder time making these connections.

It is noted that there is a large population of single parents attending classes at JSCC. Mayo felt compelled to establish learning communities after becoming aware of the special circumstances that this population of students is up against. I was once a single-working mother, Mayo states. I know that having the emotional support and motivation from other like-minded students should and can help these students complete their programs.

A multicultural learning community is also being established for the fall semester. Dr. Anna Esquivel, assistant professor of English, differentiates this group from the single parents group noting, The multicultural cohort is designed to reflect on how individual experiences and social environments are connected to writing and communication skills. Like the single-parents group, assignments and activities will allow students to think critically about their own experiences and to connect with the experiences of others in the class.

At the heart of both of these learning communities is student success and retention. Both Mayo and Esquivel have pointed to the successes of similar programs at other colleges and universities across the state. It was felt that those successes could and should be modeled at Jackson State.

Esquivel notes that students typically seek out campus organizations and groups for support and identification. Many of my students and I have talked about their desire for a more active campus experiencemore opportunities to interact with their peers, professors, and staff outside of the classroom, states Esquivel. It is hoped that the creation of these communities will go a long way to fill this need.

Mayo and Esquivel should be contacted for more information about learning communities. Call Jackson State at 731-424-3520. Dr. Mayos extension is 50258, or email her at lmayo6@jscc.edu. Dr. Esquivels extension is 50217, or email her at aesquivel@jscc.edu.

Taylor Walker selected to TCL All-Star Team

Taylor Walker, former first baseman for the Generals, was selected to the starting lineup for the Texas Collegiate League All-Star Game played on Tuesday July 8th. The game was set up as a North-South format this year with the host Brazos Valley Bombers, East Texas Pump Jacks and the Texas Marshals to make up the North. The Victoria Generals, Woodlands Strykers and the Acadiana Cane Cutters represented the South team.

The Texas Collegiate league is regarded as one of the top summer circuits in the nation and features some of the nations top college baseball players.

Walker, a 6’4′ 225 lb first baseman for the Generals, signed earlier this year to play ball with the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, MS. Walker had a productive freshman season for the Generals last year where he hit .288, drove in 49 runs, and led the conference with 10 homeruns.

In 32 games with the Cane Cutters, Walker has a batting average of .281 with 34 hits, 18 runs, 6 doubles, and 2 homeruns. He currently leads the Cane Cutters with 21 RBIs. On defense, Walker has recorded 259 put outs to lead the Cane Cutters. Walker is currently tied for second place in the TCL with 21 RBIs.

The Acadiana Cane Cutters are a locally owned summer collegiate-league baseball franchise located in Youngsville, Louisiana. Founded in 2010, the Cane Cutters play their home games at Fabacher Field in South Side Regional Park. The club is owned and operated by Richard and Sandi Chalmers & Baseball Ventures of Louisiana, LLC.

For more information on the Cane Cutters visit www.canecuttersbaseball.com.

JSCC Announces New VPAA

After an extensive and thorough national search and subsequent interview process, Dr. Larry G. Bailey was chosen to be the next Vice President of Academic Affairs (VPAA) for Jackson State Community College. He comes to JSCC with a unique and extensive background that includes serving as a faculty member, chief academic officer, and as a president of Mississippi Delta Community College (MDCC).

Dr. Bailey completed his BBA and MBA degrees from Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi. He earned his Ph.D. in Business Administration from the University of Mississippi and completed postdoctoral work in community college leadership at Mississippi State University.

Dr. Bailey served as president of MDCC from 2001 to 2012 and as Dean of Academic Affairs from 1993 to 2001. MDCC is a comprehensive community college that serves the heart of the Mississippi Delta with its main campus located in Moorhead and supporting four other satellite campuses.

‘The mission statement for JSCC matches my personal philosophy and vision of what a community college should be,’ states Bailey. He notes that his philosophy of education is focused on the student and believes that students are the most important people on campus and that it is the job of the community college to provide an opportunity for everyone who desires to pursue a college education.

Dr. Bailey, a lifelong resident of Mississippi and the Delta region, attributes his work ethic and sensibility to his upbringing in this rural agricultural area. ‘At an early age, my parents taught me the importance of being independent,’ states Bailey. ‘I have held a full-time job since the age of 15 and had to work my way through high school, college, and graduate school.’ It is this type of experience that he feels has developed a deep appreciation and commitment for assuming responsibility, working diligently, helping others, and living by high moral standards.

Dr. Bruce Blanding, JSCC president, notes, ‘Dr. Bailey has a wealth of experience that will serve our students well.’ Noting the similarities between the two institutions, he continues, ‘He should be able to step in and assume this role with minimal time for transition.’

Noting both professional and personal experience, Dr. Blanding says of Bailey, ‘He is very well suited to serve as our vice president of academic affairs,’ continuing, ‘During his campus interviews, he demonstrated the perspective and dedication the college is looking for to provide leadership as our chief academic officer.’

The VPAA is JSCC’s chief academic officer and has major responsibility for ensuring that all academic courses and programs are highly effective and successful.

JSCC Generals Score Big in the Classroom

The Jackson State Community College baseball team had a very successful 2013-2014 season by winning over 70 percent of the games on their schedule. Supporting this season were a number of exemplary players. Among those on the team were five standouts that were also recognized for outstanding performance in the classroom.

Each year the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) recognizes Athletes of Distinction who have excelled in their studies off the field. This recognition is given to players who have completed 45 semester hours. Players are recognized at three levels by three corresponding GPA requirements:

  • Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence (4.00)
  • Superior Academic Achievement (3.80-3.99)
  • Exemplary Academic Achievement (3.60-3.79)

This year’s honorees at JSCC include:

  • Benjamin Sanderson (4.0) – Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence
  • Taylor Walker (4.0) – Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence
  • Trevor McGee (3.81) – Superior Academic Achievement
  • Zachary Tompkins (3.74) – Exemplary Academic Achievement
  • Joshua Tubbs (3.63) – Exemplary Academic Achievement

This information along with statistics for the rest of the team are available at the NJCAA website http://njcaa.org/athletes_of_distinction_academic_all_americans.cfm?menu=26&yr=10&collegeid=1347.