Rappahannock Community College has recently gained nationwide recognition for its effective use of information technology, and the resulting high level of service it provides to its faculty, its students, and the surrounding communities. In the 2012 Digital Community Colleges Survey from e.Republic’s Center for Digital Education, RCC tied for sixth place in the “Small Colleges” category (fewer than 5,000 students). Winners were selected from colleges representing 26 of the United States.
Among the areas covered by the survey were digital and emerging technologies, such as use of mobile devices, integration of technology into curricula, strategic planning and data management, and delivery models and professional development, including technology tools and training supplied to faculty and students. In addition, participating colleges were evaluated on their technology priorities, shared services, cloud computing, infrastructure and networks, outreach, and workforce development. The survey concluded that the nation’s community colleges have made innovative use of technology an important part of their prompt and creative response to increased enrollments and limited budgets.
“It is really exciting to be acknowledged by our peers for our hard work toward excellence in the application of educational technology,” says Leslie Smith, RCC’s dean of technology and distance learning. “The reason we attained recognition is because of the passionate staff and faculty we have at RCC, and their willingness to experiment with technology.”
Close to one third of the awards presented went to Virginia community colleges. Also winning in the “Small College” category were Patrick Henry, in seventh place, and Southwest Virginia, in ninth place. In the “Mid-sized” category (between 5,000 and 10,000), Lord Fairfax, Virginia Western, Germanna, Piedmont, and Southside Virginia Community Colleges earned awards, while Northern Virginia and Tidewater Community Colleges were recognized in the “Large Colleges” category (10,000 or more students). Ten awards were given in each category, but several ties brought the total number of colleges recognized to 36.
The Center for Digital Education is a national research and advisory institute specializing in K-12 and higher education technology trends, policy, and funding. It is a division of e.Republic (a national publishing, event, and research company focused on smart media for public sector innovation), and supports a media platform that includes the “Converge” Special Reports, an e-mail magazine at http://www.centerdigitaled.com, e-mail newsletters, and custom publications.