The College Board, which met Feb. 27, has approved the expansion of Thomas Nelson’s academic offerings to include a new associate of applied science (AAS) degree and two new career studies certificates (CSC).
The AAS in Fire Protection Systems provides a pathway for students seeking a career in the design, construction, installation, inspection and testing of fire protection systems or for supervisory positions within the industry. Graduates of the program will obtain practical knowledge and skills including, but not limited to: interpreting how building, fire and life safety codes impact the requirements for fire detection and alarm system; practicing collaboration with other constructions trades (i.e. plumbing, mechanical, structural and electrical); calculating the proper and economic planning of sprinkler system layout and installation methods and; explaining the general requirements associated with notification appliances. Developed by Thomas Nelson subject-matter experts in concert with statewide industry professionals and constituency groups, the comprehensive program’s curriculum is structured to provide “stackable” industry workforce credentials as well as a pathway for student who want to pursue articulation into four-year programs.
The CSC in Fire Alarm Systems prepares students for industry certification and immediate entry into the workforce. Also allowing students to continue their studies in the AAS in Fire Protection Systems, the 21-credit CSC covers principles of fire alarm system design, construction, installation, inspection and testing to prevent or minimize potential losses from fire, water, smoke and explosions. Completers may take the National Society of Protection Engineers – National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies Fire Alarm Systems Level I, II, II and IV exams.
The CSC in Fire Sprinkler Systems is a combination of engineering and fire science courses that explore the principles of fire sprinkler system design, construction, installation, inspection and testing to prevent or minimize potential losses from fire, water, smoke or explosions. The 27-credit CSC prepares students for industry certification and immediate employment. Students may also continue their studies in the AAS in Fire Protection Systems. Completers may take the National Society of Protection Engineers – National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies Water-Based Systems Layout Level I and II exams.
Also during the Feb. 27 meeting, the Board approved nominations for the Thomas Nelson Medallion and Dana B. Hamel Award. Recipients will be announced in April and both awards will be presented in May during commencement exercises. This year marks the College’s 50th graduating ceremony. The Thomas Nelson Medallion honors citizens who exemplify the spirit and highest ideals of Thomas Nelson – patriot, soldier-statesman and governor. Named in honor of Dr. Dana B. Hamel, the first chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges (VCCS), the Dana B. Hamel Award recognizes individuals or entities for their commitment to public service; to fostering access to higher education; and promoting an understanding of the role of workforce development as an essential part of Thomas Nelson’s mission.
In other action, the Board heard reports on enrollment, workforce development and capital projects. Also among reports was a legislative update which touched on highlights from the 2019 General Assembly session which ended Feb. 24. Items of particular interest to VCCS were but not limited to:
- Salary Increases: The budget recommends an across-the-board increase for state employees of up to 2.75 percent, and for faculty and state-supported local employees of up to 3 percent. State employees are also eligible for a merit increase of up to 2.25 percent.
- New Economy Workforce Credential Grants (FastForward): $13.5 million will be appropriated for the New Economy Workforce Credential Grant (FastForward) program in FY 2020, an increase of $4 million above the FY 2019 level. This was a top priority for the VCCS, and will ensure that 1,800 more Virginians will be trained and credentialed for high-demand jobs in FY 2020.
- Dual enrollment: The budget does not contain any language that will determine a deadline for the development of uniform tuition models for dual enrollment. Funding in the amount of $250,000 is included to be able to offer high school teachers scholarships up to $7,500 apiece to be able to take graduate level courses in order to qualify to teach dual enrollment classes.
Also during the legislative update, Board members Mr. Bob Harper, Dr. Joyce Jarrett, Mr. Mike Kuhns, and Mr. John McMillan were acknowledged for their Feb. 6 participation in a delegation to Richmond with students for meetings with Virginia lawmakers who represent Thomas Nelson’s service area.
Before adjourning, the Board received an update on upcoming events. Topping the list is the free Women’s Conference on March 16 followed on March 21 by the Annual Retiree Brunch. Plus, the College’s annual Open House is set for April 4 in Williamsburg and April 17 in Hampton. April also brings the Performing Arts production of “Romeo and Juliet” weekends April 5- 14 with Friday and Saturday shows at 8 p.m., and 3 p.m. performances on Sunday. Look for details about these and other events on the College’s website and in the weekly e-newsletter.
Board meeting minutes will be available soon at tncc.edu/board. The Board’s next meeting is April 24. General Board meetings are open to the public in accordance with the Virginia Freedom of Information Act.