DENMARK, S.C. (courtesy voorhees.edu) — Voorhees College President Ronnie Hopkins shared several priorities and successes with faculty and staff during the biannual faculty and staff institute, Jan. 4, which was held virtually.
Classes will begin Mar. 14 for the newly-approved master of education degree in teaching and learning and the college looks forward to its 10-year reaffirmation of accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) in June, according to Hopkins.
“A Voorhees University priority will be establishment of the Becoming Beloved Community initiative, which will focus on increased community engagement. Another Voorhees University priority will be improved customer-client services along with diversity, equity and inclusion efforts,” Hopkins said, referencing the institution’s name change to Voorhees University, which will happen on April 7.
Hopkins told the audience of more than 115 employees that the institution is working to complete its strategic plan in the coming months and his priority remains to grow enrollment to 800 students over the next five years.
Hopkins, who told the audience to encourage others to follow campus COVID-19 protocols, mentioned that the institution will be establishing regional recruiters, focusing on dual enrollment, increasing graduate program, and growing the number of online learners.
“We are looking to expand our recruitment efforts to the west coast, the northern part of the country, the central part of the country, and internationally,” Hopkins said. “We will increase our recruitment efforts within the Episcopal Church. Students affiliated with the church get scholarships to attend institutions like Voorhees.”
Other presenters during the virtual institute included Brenda Ishmael, a mental health expert, who advised the audience that self-care should be a priority during this time when mental health issues are at crisis levels in the U.S. Once people take care of themselves, they are in a better position to support others, particularly students who may be dealing with multiple mental health issues, Ishmael said. Rodney Bond, a public safety expert, provided active-shooter awareness training and offered tips on what to do in an active-shooter situation. Faye Hargrove, a customer service expert, discussed the importance of customer service and shared some strategies that audience members could implement.
Damara Hightower Mitchell, provost and vice president for academic affairs, facilitated the faculty and staff institute. Each vice president provided updates on their divisions.
The institute, originally planned as an in-person event, was held virtually due to the surge in the Omicron variant of COVID-19. All employees were tested before being allowed on campus. Students, who also must be tested before being allowed on campus, began arriving Jan. 5. Classes started virtually Jan. 10 and a decision on whether to continue with virtual learning will be made after the Jan. 17 Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.