Pearl River Community College is celebrating nine consecutive semesters of growth for fall 2020.
According to the 10th day enrollment report published by the Mississippi Community College Board, Pearl River’s enrollment is 5,298 with 75,615 credit hours in fall 2020. Compared to fall of ’19, Pearl River’s credit hours have increased 3.8% percent giving the institution another semester of growth.
“We have put great emphasis on providing efficient, accessible and affordable higher education opportunities over the past several years,” Pearl River President Dr. Adam Breerwood said. “Covid-19 presented unprecedented challenges and obstacles for all members of the PRCC family. The college's continued growth, despite these challenges, is a testament to the overwhelming commitment of our faculty, staff and students. College enrollment has dropped significantly throughout the state and nation over the past few years. To have ongoing growth for nine consecutive semesters is unique and nothing short of remarkable.
“The Mississippi Community College Board’s enrollment report has provided a boost of confidence to remain focused on the continued expansion of facilities and programs. I believe our best days are still ahead of us. The River is Rising.”
EDUCATION ON YOUR TIME
Recent changes at Pearl River have made starting your education journey as attainable as ever. With online, face-to-face and hybrid classes, as well as multiple start dates throughout the semester, pursuing the path to a degree has never been more convenient. Holding together the foundation of this convenience are PRCC employees who make students a priority.
“Steady, consistent increases in enrollment are the result of the people who embody PRCC—the instructors, the office workers, the physical plant employees, the alumni,” PRCC Senior Vice President of Instruction and Provost Dr. Martha Lou Smith said. “Fall 2020 has certainly been full of the unexpected, but instructors and students have risen to meet the challenges. Whether it’s COVID-19 or a potential storm, class schedules have provided flexibility allowing students to continue accessing courses even when not on campuses.”
Pearl River’s commitment to educate students on their time makes an education accessible to a wide range of students. Academic and Career and Technical degree plans open a variety of post-graduation career opportunities for both traditional and non-traditional Pearl River students. Whether you are looking to go back to school after a long hiatus, wanting to change career paths or are just starting your educational career, Pearl River has a schedule that fits those needs.
While 2020 has set in place many obstacles for all of higher education, PRCC has continued to keep students and their needs as the main objective. Pearl River realizes that once students join the Wildcat Family it is just as important to their educational goals that they are supported and encouraged in and out of the classroom.
“We may be living in uncertain times, but the Wildcat family is stronger than ever,” Vice President for Forrest County Center, Allied Health and Nursing programs Dr. Jana Causey said. “Pandemics and hurricanes will not hold us back. I am super proud of our outstanding faculty as they have truly been the glue holding us all together. Our faculty have worked tirelessly to reach every student through many different learning options. Students can choose the best option for them to learn, and we are dedicated to helping all students reach their educational and career goals. We, at Pearl River Community College, are committed to helping students in and beyond the classroom.”
ADAPTING TO COVID-19
Pearl River seamlessly adapted to the conditions set by COVID-19 by adjusting teaching methods, implementing safety measures and securing materials needed to keep the Wildcat community safe.
Signs were hung at key points around campus that include QR codes to direct students and employees to instant access of COVID-19 protocols and updates. Buildings are routinely sanitized, 26 temperature kiosks were installed, desks were moved to account for social distancing guidelines and more than 5,000 face masks were purchased to provide students protection free of charge. Wellness self-check emails are also sent to employees each morning before they arrive on campus.
With instructors utilizing the HyFlex teaching method, students are given the option to learn in a traditional face-to-face setting or online in real time. The virtual technologies employed have opened doors beyond COVID-19 for students to choose where, how and when they want to learn like never before. By working out learning opportunities with each class, instructors are able to meet the needs of each individual student.
While causing adaptation in many aspects of the college’s operations, PRCC’s Office of Recruitment especially had to make adjustments to its outreach efforts in local communities.
“Due to the Covid-19, we have had to adjust how we reach out to and communicate with prospective and applied students,” Director of Recruitment Richard Gleber said. “Since we cannot visit most schools, we have held our typical classroom visits and application days virtually. To allow students to meet with PRCC recruiters face-to-face, we now host Recruiter Meet and Greets on our Forrest County and Hancock County campuses. The Meet and Greets, offer both prospective and recently applied students an opportunity to meet with a PRCC recruiter and have any questions they may have about the upcoming year answered. The recruiters will also be able to assist students in completing a new student application.
The goal of the Office of Recruitment is to still offer the personal attention prospective students deserve, we are just going about it in a different way”
WE ARE W1LDCATS
Pearl River recently announced the institution’s theme for the 2020-21 year: “We Are Commun1ty. We Are Fam1ly. We Are W1ldcats.” These words represent a variety of experiences that are at the heart of what it means to be a Pearl River Wildcat. No matter the background or plans for the future, those at The River are invited, accepted and held to a standard in line with the “Wildcat Way” of living.
“‘Together we stand, divided we fall’ is a great summation to the environment we share at PRCC,” Pearl River Assistant Vice President for Hancock Center Raymunda Barnes said. “Fall 2020 presented challenges to every educational institution across the country. However, the PRCC family faced the storm of COVID-19 and alternate teaching and learning platforms standing on the principles of ‘Pride, Respect, Class and Character’ together as one team. We are W1ldcats.”
As an institution that prides itself on aiding students to become successful community members who embody pride, respect, class and character, Pearl River expects this year’s rally cry will strengthen the feeling of what it means to be a Wildcat.
“When I was deciding on college to attend, I was told by someone that ‘it’s just different over there’ at PRCC,” Pearl River freshman Quentin Williams said. “I have now learned what they meant by that. PRCC cares on a different level than most other colleges. Instructors and others at PRCC really want us here and want to help us to succeed. They are willing to go the extra mile to ensure student success. PRCC alleviated a lot of stress that I had about finances and it was a better decision for me to go to a two year college first than a University.”
“We Are W1ldcats” signifies to others what those a part of Pearl River Community College already know. There is a strong, supportive and loyal family waiting for you at The River.
As numbers rise at The River, so does the dedication and anticipation for even greater things to come.
Pearl River Community College offers equal education and employment opportunities. The College does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, veteran status, or disability. For inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies or to request accommodations, special assistance, or alternate format publication please contact Tonia M. Seal, Director of Admissions and Records/ ADA/Civil Rights Coordinator at P.O. Box 5559, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1060 or Maghan James, Assistant Vice President of Student Services/Title IX Coordinator at P.O. Box 5805, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1132.