New Regional Centers Serve Eastern Students

March 5, 2008

Update 3/5/08: Close on the heels of Mary Baldwin’s sixth regional center in Hampton, the college will soon begin to enroll students at a seventh center, at Rappahannock Community College (RCC) in Glenns, Virginia on the state’s Northern Neck.

For a few years, RCC — about an hour and a half from the Mary Baldwin regional center in Richmond — had been home to one of the Baldwin Online and Adult Programs’s “adopted” centers that were created to reach rural areas of the state. Mary Baldwin’s established presence at RCC enabled the college to step in and offer services to students when Old Dominion University recently closed its satellite office there, transitioning Mary Baldwin from a satellite center to a full regional center for adult and graduate studies.

In fall 2006, Anne Vokes was the first Rappahannock-area

student to complete a program at the “adopted” center; she earned her prekindergarten and elementary teacher licensure through the Post Baccalaureate Teacher Licensure Program. Another Rappahannock student, Nancy Jackson, was the first to earn her bachelor’s degree in 2007.

Dean of Adult and Graduate Studies Nancy Krippel expects many students who want to finish a four-year degree, particularly those seeking teacher licensure, to enroll at Mary Baldwin’s Rappahannock Regional Center.

A grand opening date and personnel at the site has not yet been determined, but more information about the RCC center will come soon. For now, interested students in the Northern Neck area should contact the main adult and graduate studies office in Staunton at (800) 822-2460.

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A Virginia map that plots the locations of Mary Baldwin University’s regional centers, now has a spoke that reaches far to the east, to the city of Hampton and Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC). The college’s sixth center for adult and graduate studies is now enrolling for summer 2008 courses, and it extends Mary Baldwin’s virtual campus about 180 miles to the Chesapeake Bay and into an area with several metropolitan centers.

A map illustrating Mary Baldwin's regional center reach; the line farthest to the right is the newest center in HamptonMary Baldwin’s transfer agreement with all 23 community colleges in the state provided a launching point for the new center. Thomas Nelson Community College was looking for more four-year opportunities for its students, and Mary Baldwin was seeking a location in the Tidewater region. A partnership was born.

“It is a good location, particularly for teacher education and licensure,” said Nancy Krippel, dean of adult and graduate studies. “We have the opportunity to make a real difference in that community.”

Joyce Johnson, dean of student development at TNCC, which enrolls approximately 13,000 students, said one of that college’s goals is to provide students with as many transferable options as possible. A guarantee of transfer of credit to Mary Baldwin and an on-site academic counselor will be attractive to students, she said.

Krippel said the Mary Baldwin program thrives where it can provide learning opportunities for place-bound students. She also believes there are untold benefits in hiring a director from that area who understands the specific needs of students. At TNCC, that director is Hampton resident Jean Fleming.

Fleming worked as adjunct assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, George Washington University, and North Carolina State University. Until accepting the position with Mary Baldwin, she led courses in adult learning and development and program planning. She earned her undergraduate degree and master of education at Colorado State University, and her doctorate of education at University of Northern Colorado, and she is a member of the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education. Fleming’s professional life spans seven states and includes managing a restaurant and owning a small business in addition to wide-ranging experience in adult education.