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Victoria College preps for re-accreditation

By Carolina Astrain
Sept. 12, 2012 at 4:12 a.m.
Updated Sept. 13, 2012 at 4:13 a.m.

Also discussed:

• Total enrollment at VC is 4,419 as of Sept. 5, the college's official reporting date.

• Spring 2012 enrollment was 4,213.

• President Tom Butler said the staff is still going over the new enrollment data and will have a more detailed report in weeks to come.

• Fewer women than men enrolled this year, Butler said.

Victoria College is working to make its classroom experience more interactive for students and instructors.

The change is part of the school's plan to gain re-accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, college President Tom Butler said Wednesday during the Victoria Chamber of Commerce's monthly meeting.

The meeting was a breakfast at the college.

Every 10 years, community colleges that are part of the SACS are required to re-apply for accreditation.

"If we don't have a good plan, we don't get accredited," Butler said.

The topic of the college's plan this year is student engagement, "Improving Student Engagement Through Active Learning."

In his presentation, Butler said the days of traditional lecture hall demand a more engaging and interactive teaching style for today's students.

"There are more ways to actively engage students in class," Butler said.

One example Butler shared was the use of clickers in the classroom. Clickers picked up popularity in the early 2000s, and have been used by the Mathematics Department Dean Jerry Hamilton for the past two years.

"Different people use them different ways," Hamilton said. "It's just a way for the instructor to gauge how the students in the class are understanding the material."

Some clickers are more sophisticated than others, with some brands enabling students to submit answers without saying a single word in class.

"It's a great way to reach students," Assistant Professor of Mathematics Matt Wiley said. "I use it to see what the pulse of the classroom is."

The plan is scheduled for approval by the SACS in fall 2013.

In other business, Butler updated the audience on the construction of the Emerging Technology Center, which will be across the street from the new Caterpillar Plant headquarters off Lone Tree Road.

"We're absolutely excited about the center," Caterpillar Human Resources Manager Chris Heitzman said.

In May, Victoria County voters approved a $22.5 million bond for the center's construction.

That same month, VC acquired the Leo J. Welder Center, previously owned by the Victoria Performing Arts Center. Butler said the college hopes to use the center as a meeting place for businesses along with the traditional theater and ballet productions.

"It will still be used for performances," Butler said. "I believe that will always be at the heart of it."



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