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Last Modified: Monday, February 17, 2014

VGCC hosts noted Education Innovation expert

Feb. 17, 2014

Vance-Granville Community College recently welcomed a nationally-known author, innovator and expert in the field of higher education. In January, Dr. Terry O’Banion addressed a convocation of all VGCC faculty and staff, and also offered a break-out session for employees involved in student services and the college’s Quality Enhancement Plan, which deals with academic advising and career planning.


O’Banion, president emeritus and senior league fellow for the League for Innovation in the Community College, spoke on the relationship of academic advising to the “Completion Agenda,” a national movement to double the number of students who earn a certificate, associate’s degree, or transfer to a four-year college or university by the year 2020. “For the first 100 years of their history, community colleges focused on the democratic ideal of ‘access’ to higher education,” O’Banion said. “In our second 100 years, we are moving on to focus on student ‘success,’ or completion, and North Carolina is one of the leading states in implementing the Completion Agenda.” O’Banion added that VGCC had already made a strong commitment to student success in the Mission, Vision and Values statements found in the college’s new “Vanguard Vision” strategic plan.


“Academic advising is the second most important function in the community college,” the guest speaker said. “If it is not conducted with the utmost efficiency and effectiveness, the most important function in the college—instruction—will fail to achieve its purpose of ensuring that students succeed in navigating the curriculum to completion.” He noted that each member of the college faculty and staff plays a role in advising.


Dr. O’Banion was President of the League for Innovation in the Community College for 23 years until his retirement in 1999. Under his leadership, the League became an international organization serving over 700 colleges recognized by Change magazine in 1998 as “the most dynamic organization in the community college world.” Since retirement O’Banion has worked on special projects for the League for Innovation, MetLife Foundation, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Chauncey Group International, and Walden University. O’Banion has consulted in more than 800 community colleges in the United States and Canada. Author of 14 books and over 170 monographs, chapters, and articles on the community college, his 1997 book, A Learning College for the 21st Century, was awarded the “Phillip E. Frandson Award for Literature in the Field of Continuing Higher Education.” O’Banion has served as a dean of students at Central Florida Community College, founding dean at Santa Fe Community College (FL), vice chancellor for education for the Dallas County Community College District, and professor at several universities.


Above: From left, VGCC President Dr. Stelfanie Williams greets Dr. Terry O’Banion (VGCC photo)

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