The incoming class at H. Lavity Stoutt Community College is arriving at an important time, new students were told during their orientation session on Aug. 14 at the Eileene L. Parsons Auditorium.

After welcoming the largest class since Hurricane Irma — which includes more than 200 students — Dr. Luverne Baptiste, HLSCC’s act- ing vice president, gave an update on the ongoing “re-affirmation of accreditation” process, according to a press release issued last week.
HLSCC, she explained, was granted accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education in 2015. The status is on an eight-year cycle with the exception of new institutions, which are on a five-year cycle, meaning that HLSCC has to seek “reaffirmation” next year, she explained.

Success in the endeavor, she added, will help the students transfer their HLSCC credits to schools abroad.

As part of the process, MSCHE representatives are scheduled to visit the cam- pus in December and April. During those visits, students may be selected to answer questions or give feedback on their experiences at HLSCC, according to the administrator.

Alumna’s reflections

Students also heard from alumna Washeema Grant, who is currently the risk and control lead on the Finance Transformation Project for Sainsburys, the second largest chain of supermarkets in the United Kingdom.

Ms. Grant reflected on her journey from a new student sitting at the HLSCC orientation 11 years ago to working at the company in London.

“You must ensure your foundation is strong enough that even Hurricane Irma can’t uproot you from the soil,” Ms. Grant said, adding that faculty and staff at the college “actually genuinely care about you as opposed to larger colleges and universities. It feels like family.”

HLSCC acting President Judith Vanterpool also spoke, stating, “The word ‘we’ is vital. We are the community college: You’re not alone any- more. You now have become family. We are here to help guide you.”

Going digital

Students were also updated on recently announced plans to use digital technology in the classroom.

To that end, they will be able to access their textbooks online and download them to their laptops, tablets or phones, according to the college. They also will be able to access several digital
library resources, e-learning platforms like Moodle, Microsoft Office applications, and research databases, they were told.

Dr. Richard Georges, HLSCC’s director of institutional advancement, explained the resulting cost savings.

“An average textbook costs $150, Microsoft Office applications cost $150 a year, and e-learning platforms like EBSCO, Moodle and Cengage at $150 per semester; everything can cost up to $875 per semester,” he said. Dr. Georges explained that with a new education resource fee of $250 per semester, students will not have to pay so much.