Monday, November 9, 2015

BCCC Success Story: Fulbright program sends Harris to Germany

Maurita Harris, who received her Associate of Arts Degree from BCCC as a member of the first graduating class of Hyde County Early College High School (now Mattamuskeet Early College High School), is now conducting research at the Technische Universit├Ąt Berlin in Germany under a Fulbright Fellowship.
Harris credits three courses at BCCC — Introduction to Psychology, Developmental Psychology and Abnormal Psychology — with helping her choose a field of study.
“Like many high school students, I had no idea exactly what I wanted to do upon graduating and going to college. I was interested in so many different things at the time that I could have ended up in almost any field,” she says. “Each course included topics that I have always wondered about and made me interested in knowing more about the world of psychology.”
After graduating from BCCC, she enrolled at North Carolina State University, where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, taking extra courses in German and Spanish to extend her time as an undergrad student to three years.
“I wanted to slow down and enjoy my time as a college student,” she says.
Harris then earned a Fulbright Fellowship, under which she is now conducting research and studying in Berlin. The Fulbright Program is a prestigious, merit-based grant that sends students, teachers and professionals from the U.S. to study abroad, and vice versa. Harris’s research is focused on creating a video game to teach German Sign Language, and her courses are in Human Factors Psychology. When she returns to the U.S., she will be attending Georgia Tech to pursue a Ph.D. in that field, also known as Engineering Psychology.
“From there, I hope to become a professor and have my own research lab where I can make an impact on students,” she says.
For Harris, who grew up in Fairfield, N.C., located in Hyde County, BCCC and the Early College High School gave her an opportunity to get a head start on her educational career, and by all accounts she has established a track record as an exceptional student. She is one of many remarkable representatives of Eastern North Carolina and Beaufort County Community College.
“Maurita had all the qualities of a scholar from her first days at BCCC,” says Social Sciences Lead Instructor Judith Luna Meyer. “She is inquisitive, motivated, persistent, diligent, and inspired. Maurita has never feared a challenge, as her outstanding academic career so clearly exhibits! … I’m quite sure she will be an outstanding psychologist who will make significant contributions to the field.”

For more information about Psychology and other Social and Behavioral Sciences at BCCC, contact Meyer at 252-940-6256 or

Monday, November 2, 2015

Online classes offer flexibility

Beaufort County Community College’s service area is the largest of any community college in the state, geographically, covering more than 2,000 square miles. For students in Hyde, Tyrrell or Washington counties, or even the other side of the river in Beaufort County, BCCC’s main campus is more than an hour away.
As part of its effort to serve all of the residents in those four counties, the college now offers many classes in online format. In fact, there are now eight associate degrees, two diplomas and fifteen certificates that can be completed entirely through online classes.
“It gives us a way to reach people that are an hour away even though they’re within our service area,” says Ben Morris, Dean of Business and Industrial Technology. “It provides flexibility for students with family or a full-time job, and it’s also beneficial for the long-distance student.”
Programs offering all or some of their classes online include College Transfer, Computer Information Technology, Computer Programming, Criminal Justice, Medical Office Administration, Office Administration, Business Administration, and Early Childhood Education.
Online classes are not without their own challenges, Morris adds. Just like normal classes, there have to be enough students registered for a class to be offered. Some activities, such as lab exercises, are difficult to set up and oversee when students aren’t on campus in person, and taking classes online requires students to be self-motivated. The idea that online classes are easier is a common misperception, he says.
Just like an on-campus class, there is an assigned text. Instead of coming to class, students may participate in an online discussion board. There is homework to show that they have done the reading, and sometimes there may be assigned videos to watch, as well. There are quizzes and usually a research project or paper that’s due at the end of the semester. Some classes have proctored exams that need to be arranged for the students to take near where they live.
“The ideal student for an online class is self-motivated and has a strong desire to learn,” Morris says. “They have to be willing to read, to watch videos, and to complete all assignments and participation activities when they’re due. The challenge with online classes is to maintain the students’ interest, as well as academic rigor and accountability.”
For many students, though, taking some classes online provides an additional means of balancing studies with work, family, and the challenge of a long commute. BCCC is committed to serving as many students as possible within the service area, and online classes have become a bigger and bigger part of that equation.

For more information about online classes and programs at BCCC, call the Admissions Office at 252-940-6233 or visit

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Spring 2016 Registration Schedule

Beaufort County Community College announces its registration schedule for Spring Semester 2016, which is scheduled to begin Wednesday, Jan. 6. Both current and newly enrolled students are encouraged to register for classes as soon as possible.
The dates for enrolling and registering are as follows:
·        Monday, Oct. 26 – Registration for graduating students only, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
·        Tuesday, Oct. 27 – Registration for all students opens, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
·    Oct. 27-Dec. 11 – Registration continues Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
·        Nov. 30 – Bills mailed to students for Spring Semester classes
·        Dec. 11 – Last day for students to pay for Spring Early Registration courses
·        Dec. 16 – Students who have not paid will be purged/deregistered from Spring courses
·        Jan. 4-6, 2016 – Last chance registration for Spring 2016 courses
·        Jan. 6, 2016 – First day of Spring Semester classes

Prior to Oct. 26, faculty will post their office hours and a sign-up sheet with times they will be available to meet with students during the registration weeks (Oct. 26-Dec. 11). Students should start contacting their faculty advisors now to make an appointment to complete the student’s Spring 2016 schedule. There are no pre-advising weeks. As students are advised, they will be registered. The Spring 2016 course schedule is available online via the “Schedule” link on the main page of BCCC’s website.

Spring 2016 tuition and fees have been approved by the N.C. Board of Community Colleges. Tuition for in-state students is $76 per credit hour and student fees at $4 per credit hour for a total of $80 per credit hour. Tuition for out-of-state students is $268 per credit hour and student fees at $4 per credit hour for a total of $272.

BCCC provides an opportunity for students in Eastern North Carolina to continue their education at a significant cost savings. The average graduate sees a wage increase of 40 percent!

For more information about enrolling for classes at BCCC or to schedule a placement test, contact the Admissions Office at 940-6237. Applications are available on the BCCC website at

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Twitter boosts engagement for English students

Beaufort County Community College students in English Instructor Jamie Johnson’s Writing and Inquiry class have an additional component in their participation grade this semester. The class meets in person three times a week, but Johnson and her students are also utilizing Twitter as a way to communicate ideas and discuss topics from class.
Johnson says she borrowed the idea from a class she took in graduate school. By creating a hashtag for the class, everything the students post for the class can be accessed on one webpage. It can also be accessed via smartphones and tablets using the Twitter application.
“They can use their personal account or create a new one for the class,” says Johnson. “Because there is a limit on the length of each post, it requires them to be concise and use strong verbs.”
This is Johnson’s first time using Twitter in class, and she says there was some confusion about it at the beginning of the semester. After reviewing what Twitter is and how to use it, she says, most of the class is doing a good job of participating.
For a paper the students had to write, Johnson had them tweet their thesis statements.
“Then we were able to pull them all up in class and talk about which ones were strong and which ones needed work,” she says. “It encourages them to take ownership of what they’re doing because they can all see it, and they know it might be discussed in class.”
The platform has also given the students access to new resources. After watching a speech by Mary Fisher, they were able to ask her questions – and receive replies – using Twitter.
“Some of them get very creative with it,” Johnson says. “It increases the class content, and also the general community of the class. They have shared some things with each other that might not have come up otherwise in a normal classroom setting. I think it has made them more comfortable with each other.
As an added bonus, Twitter gives Johnson an additional means of reaching her students in case of inclement weather or other changes to the schedule.
“I usually get responses faster that way,” she says. “They’re more likely to check their Twitter before their email. When campus was closed due to the flooding around town, they asked if their homework was still due, and I was able to respond immediately using Twitter.”
Johnson’s use of social media as a platform for class communication is just one example of a BCCC instructor using innovative and up-to-date methods to improve the learning experience and boost engagement with her class.

BCCC welcomes new trustees to board




The Beaufort County Community College Board of Trustees affirmed two new members — Colonel Kathleen Simpson and Student Government Association President Elizabeth Cobb — during its meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 6. Another member new to the board, James Gaynor, was affirmed during the board’s previous meeting on Aug. 4, 2015.
Simpson was born at Fort Bragg but calls Washington home. She graduated from Washington High School and received her Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from UNC-Greensboro, followed by a Master’s in Nursing Administration from the University of South Carolina. She started her nursing career at Beaufort County Hospital before joining the Army Nurse Corps, where she served for 29 years.
In the Army she served at every nursing leadership level as well as on the Department of the Army Staff as the Senior Nurse in the Office Health Policy and Services, Office of the Surgeon General. Her last military assignment was Chief, Nursing Administration, Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Among her military awards are the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star.
Simpson returned to Washington after retiring from the Army in 2005; she was a Clinical Assistant Professor at the ECU College of Nursing for six years and most recently was Vice President for Patient Care Services at Vidant Beaufort Hospital. She has also served on a number of local and regional boards and commissions.
She has taken advantage of some of BCCC’s Continuing Education classes, and her son took classes at the college before transferring to ECU. Simpson was appointed to the BCCC Board of Trustees by N.C. Governor Pat McCrory.
Working at the local hospital, she says, “I’ve seen the college’s products, especially in the nursing program, and they put out a fine product. … This is a worthwhile mission, and I don’t mind making a commitment to something that’s worthwhile.”
Gaynor, who was appointed to the board by the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners, is a native of the county and a graduate of Pantego High School. He served in the military for three years before starting his college career at what was then Beaufort County Technical Institute. He transferred to ECU and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy.
“I’m an alumnus and I have a lot of love for BCCC,” he says. “It’s where I got my start and began my professional career. I was able to save a lot of money and graduated with no debt.”
After working as a therapist for several years, Gaynor decided to start his own occupational therapy business, which he did in 1989. Occupational Therapy Plus started in Greenville but now serves eight counties in Eastern North Carolina as well as Vance County. The company provides rehabilitation services to school systems and works with children who have developmental disabilities. Gaynor’s own specialties are hand therapy and providing services to home health care agencies. He has served on the local Economic Development Commission Board.
Cobb, as President of BCCC’s Student Government Association for the 2015-2016 school year, serves as an ex-officio member of the college’s Board of Trustees. She lives in Bear Grass and is a lifelong resident of Martin County. At age 23, she is the mother of two small children and is enrolled in the Medical Office Administration program. She hopes to graduate in May 2017 and plans to seek employment in a local medical office.
The BCCC Board of Trustees is the policy-making board of the college. Its role is to ensure the citizenry of the area that effective and competent leadership is provided by the college administration for the adequate operation of the college.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Growing program partners with agriculture industry

Beaufort County Community College’s Agribusiness Technology program was created in 2014 in response to demand from both students and employers in the college’s four-county service area, whose economy depends heavily on agriculture.
The program was approved in part due to the $153 million annual economic impact of the agriculture industry in the four counties, along with statistics showing that hundreds of jobs are expected to become available as many in the industry near retirement. New technology means that educated employees are in demand, and recently released data indicates that wages in the industry are on the rise.
The Agribusiness program was started with a $97,075 grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation to support its first two years. The college is looking for additional partners to help strengthen the funding for this start-up program.
Enrollment has been strong for the new program, which is now in its second year, says Agribusiness Technology Instructor Billy Askew. He is working to partner with local agriculture-based businesses to find mutually beneficial opportunities and to provide work-based learning opportunities for students in the program.
On Tuesday, Sept. 22, representatives from local businesses visited BCCC to get an overview of the program and to discuss their needs as employers, as well as possible partnerships. Included in the round-table discussion were representatives from Gerard Seed Company, Raised in a Barn Farm and N.C. Farm Bureau.
“We want to take this opportunity to show you what we’ve done,” Askew told the group, “and to ask your thoughts on what we need to do going forward.”
The Associate in Applied Science Degree in Agribusiness Technology covers a broad range of topics and is flexible enough to be tailored to individual students, Askew added. Graduates should be qualified for jobs in a variety of sectors of the industry, from horticulture and landscaping to chemical sales.
“Some students may even want to take what they’ve learned and apply it on the family farm,” he added.
For students who want to continue their education, BCCC has partnered with the University of Mount Olive to offer a four-year agribusiness degree, and is working on a similar agreement with North Carolina A&T State University.
“This is the No. 1 industry for all four counties in our service area,” Askew says, “and we are the only community college in northeastern North Carolina that offers an agribusiness program.”
For more information, contact Askew at 252-940-6304 or

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Visit Ireland while earning college credits

The BCCC Study Abroad Program is providing an opportunity to travel to Ireland next summer. The program provides students with an opportunity to travel internationally while earning college credit.
The trip will take students up and down the eastern side of Ireland, where we’ll visit Dublin, Cork, Belfast, and many smaller Irish villages. This 12-day experience will allow students to view both urban and rural living in a European country.

“Students will explore the cobblestone streets of Dublin, walk along the Giant’s Causeway, and even have an opportunity to kiss the Blarney Stone,” says English Instructor Suzanne Stotesbury. “We’ll immerse ourselves into the culture, eating the food, visiting historical sites, and attending traditional Irish events.”

The trip is provided in conjunction with HUM 180 - International Cultural Exploration, a summer course. Students completing the trip and the course will receive three hours of transferable humanities elective credit.

Payment plans and fundraising are available for the trip. Students must be at least 18 years old and have a 2.5 GPA to join the trip.

Interested students should contact Suzanne Stotesbury at 252-940-6339 or For more information visit