May the Storm Be Behind Us; Let It Become the Wind in Our Sails

Dr. Boham portrait
Dr. Kenneth Boham, Interim Preisdent, James Sprunt Community College

As published in the October 25th edition of The Duplin Times.

Every ten years, colleges and universities have to be reaffirmed in order to maintain its accreditation status in offering degrees. This year it was James Sprunt’s turn to go through the process, which we have been preparing for since 2016.

Our quality enhancement plan, or QEP, is Spartan Skills: Skills for School, Work, and Life. This plan will help the college become better at what we do and improve the education that our students receive. Spartan Skills focuses on the soft skills that so many employers seek in graduates, such as communication, professionalism, problem-solving, and teamwork. These soft skills will be incorporated into the curriculum of every program at James Sprunt. We want our students to be able to land the job of their dreams, and we know this will help give them a head start, along with the credentials that they earn.

The college hosted the reaffirmation team from Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS COC) last week (October 16, 17, and 18). The mission of the SACS COC is to assure the educational quality and improve the effectiveness of its member institutions.

I am pleased to announce that thanks to the collective efforts of everyone at James Sprunt Community College, the college will be reaffirmed in June 2019 to award associate degrees. The faculty and staff prepared well in advance and our efforts were evident to the reaffirmation team during the onsite visit.

The Committee left us with instructive comments on our great QEP and just one recommendation for improvement in the area of General Education Outcomes. It was truly a job well done! I give thanks and praise to all our employees, especially those who played a pivotal role in ensuring our ability to continue offering the most excellent education possible to our students.

Now with the college reaffirmed, we can now look forward to “getting back to normal” and carrying forward with the business of student success.

We are very thankful that the college was spared during Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael, receiving minimal damage. We continue to keep all those impacted by these storms, in our thoughts and prayers, and we know there is so much more to be done as Duplin County continues to move forward and rebuild.

With Hurricane Florence being the “storm of a lifetime” our legislators in Raleigh have been working overtime trying to help our students overcome the challenges they are facing.

We are very thankful for the efforts of our legislators in passing emergency funding and aid for community colleges in the wake of Hurricane Florence. We thank the general assembly and local delegation for their quick resolve to help ease the burden of our students during this time.

The State Board of Community Colleges approved allocation of $5 million to help students who have suffered financial hardship caused by damage and destruction by Hurricane Florence.

Of the $5 million, $4.9 million will be used as emergency grants at the 21 community colleges located in the federally designated disaster counties, as Duplin County has been designated, and $100,000 will be used for emergency grants for other eligible students.

James Sprunt Community College has received $160,969. These funds will cover grants of up to $1250 to each eligible postsecondary student and will cover costs related to transportation, textbooks, tuition and fees, and living expenses. We will begin accepting applications for these grants November 1st.

As a college, we understand that life for many of our students is very difficult right now. We hope that this funding will help to make our students whole again and that our students will continue in their pursuit of their educational goals and dreams.

In life, there will always be storms that knock us down, but we can’t let them keep us down. Today is a new day, and what we do with this day and every day forward, will be what our life becomes.

To any of our students who have stopped attending classes this semester because of Hurricane Florence – I get it. If I were in your shoes, I may have done the very same thing. But I hope and pray, that you will return next semester, or if not next semester, next year, and that you will not allow this storm to cause any further damage to your life, your success, your dreams.

– Dr. Kenneth Boham / James Sprunt Community College

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