VGCC tackles distance education across state lines

May. 20, 2014 @ 09:39 PM

The Vance-Granville Community College board of trustees have gotten ahead of a crackdown on online courses and distance education Monday night.

Trustees approved a policy on quality in distance, online and hybrid learning.

Some states have begun talking about charging institutions in other states up to $30,000 for offering education to their residents, according to the college’s president, Stelfanie Williams.

“Basically what’s going on out in the distance education world is that states have become creative with legislation because they are realizing that students are crossing state lines to take distance education courses,” Williams said.

The policy states Vance-Granville will secure authorization from any state legally requiring it to do so before offering online classes to a student. It also outlines monitoring procedures for maintaining those authorizations.

“We are actually going through right now to evaluate each state and what it would cost to teach one of their students through distance education,” Vice President of institutional research and technology Kenneth Lewis Jr. said.

Williams said the community college will join the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements, which seeks to set national standards to make it easier for students to take distance classes across state lines.

The board also is looking to amend its admission process so student residency is assessed before enrollment into online courses. The executive board will bring that amendment to the full board of trustees’ July meeting.

The board also approved a revised fee schedule to take effect in the fall.

Fees for licensure exams for an associate degree in nursing will increase from $600 to $800 while licensed practical nursing exam fees will increase from $500 to $600 as designated by the Assessment Technologies Institute.

The North Carolina Board of Education decreased GED diploma testing fees from $120 to $80.

The National Council Licensure Examination Review Course will decrease from $410 to $400 for associate degrees in nursing and $320 to $300 for a licensed practical nurse degree.

During the meeting, Vice President of finance and operations Steven Graham outlined the sustainability portion of the college’s strategic plan.
The sustainability report included purchasing energy-efficient and waste-limiting appliances and products, using flex fuel vehicles, and central heating and control units.

“Our efforts have been great here as far as the sustainability that we have started here at the college.” Graham said. “We have maintained records of our progress, and this is really good for us.”

The 2012 Community College Energy Report ranked VGCC ninth in efficient energy consumption per full-time equivalent student.  

Additionally, the 2014 energy consumption report showed from 2007-2008 to 2012-2013 Vance-Granville’s energy consumption decreased 21 percent and water use decreased 18 percent per square foot.

“As we try to incorporate this into our academic program, it is very important that we demonstrate that as an institute as well,” Williams said. “It’s also important that we are good stewards of the resources.”

Graham said the board will continue to look into transitioning the campuses’ to LED lighting sources both inside and outside and exploring opportunities for on-campus electric vehicle charging stations.

Some trustees wanted to see a breakdown of how sustainability was helping the college save money.

“When you talk about the environment, it’s not just an environmental piece; it’s an economic piece of sustainability as well,” trustee Abdul Sm Rasheed said. “A spreadsheet should show that, based on savings.”

Williams and Graham said they would start working on the long-term breakdown to bring back to the July meeting.

In other business:

• Building committee chair John Foster said the corporate campus, now to be referred to as Building 10, renovations are underway. Emergency responders and public enforcement classes will move to that building once renovations are complete. 

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