VGCC Announces Transition to 8 Week Terms

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When students begin registering for spring classes at Vance-Granville Community College on November 1, they will notice a big change. Starting with the upcoming semester, most classes will be offered in eight-week terms instead of those that last 16 weeks. Some courses will be scheduled from Jan. 7 – March 4, while others will be scheduled from March 14 – May 10, 2022.

Each course covers the same material, and provides the same amount of credit hours, as it would if it were offered over 16 weeks. Students who, for example, earn six credits in the first eight-week term and another six in the second eight-week term, will be considered full-time students.

VGCC began researching the success of an eight-week model approximately two years ago. Since then, college officials learned of several student success stories from schools such as Odessa College and Amarillo College in Texas, Trident Technical College in South Carolina, and Chattanooga State Community College in Tennessee.

“Vance-Granville began planning for this transition last spring, with the goals of improving student retention and course success rates, offering a better pathway to completion, and closing existing equity gaps,” said Dr. Levy Brown, vice president of Learning, Student Engagement and Success for VGCC. “With these goals in mind, a diverse group of faculty and staff from across the college were assembled to plan for the Spring 2022 implementation of an eight-week model.”

Flexibility Leads to Success

Though this model may be new for some academic areas at VGCC, a handful of programs made the transition several years ago and have seen the benefits firsthand. The Office Administration and Medical Office Administration programs made the decision to offer their first courses in primarily eight-week terms in 2016. According to Christal Thomas, Department Chair of Business Technologies, “some of the benefits we have seen include faster completion of credentials (particularly certificates), the ability to focus on one or two classes at a time, less burnout, and higher course success rates.”

“I am excited for the opportunities this transition will provide our students,” VGCC Dean of Arts & Sciences Cecilia Wheeler added. “Transitioning to eight-week terms will be beneficial to all VGCC students, particularly our working adults. While the course material remains as rigorous, this model allows students to focus on one or two classes at a time and potentially finish their degree in a shorter timeframe.”

“It is important for us to be creative and use student success research to inform our practices. Our students have diverse educational needs. Some students have full-time jobs with families. This type of opportunity allows them to focus on multiple classes during a shorter period of time,” said Dr. Rachel Desmarais, president of VGCC.

VGCC will become one of three community colleges in North Carolina offering most of their courses in eight-week terms. Since 1969, VGCC has focused on providing educational and training opportunities to Vance, Granville, Franklin and Warren counties. Advising and registration for Spring 2022 courses begins on Monday, November 1, 2021. Students seeking to take courses from January through May 2022 are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the November registration period.

For more detailed information on enrolling at VGCC or about the courses offered during the Spring eight-week terms, visit www.vgcc.edu.

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