ESCC Successfully Exits 3-Year Reboot
The Virginia Community College System (VCCS) assesses each community college annually on four sustainability factors: a minimum service region population, a minimum number of enrollment in academic programs, operating costs relative to the system average, and the trend of issuing credentials in workforce programs. In 2018, Eastern Shore Community College failed to meet established thresholds for all four sustainability factors, triggering a detailed assessment.
Following that assessment, in January, 2019, the State Board for Community Colleges approved a three-year reboot plan to establish Eastern Shore Community College as a strong, sustainable college that would more effectively and efficiently serve the educational and training needs of the Eastern Shore of Virginia. It included the condition that, “At the conclusion of the reboot period in July 2022, the college will be reassessed using the established thresholds inVCCS Policy. The results will either signal the viability of the college, or the State Board will seek an additional detailed assessment to determine whether the college should be consolidated with another Virginia community college.”
On September 12, 2022, President Jim Shaeffer received a letter from VCCS Chancellor Morrissey informing Eastern Shore Community College that “the results of sustainability analysis presented to the State Board for CommunityColleges at the May 2022 meeting showed evidence of progress in addressing the challenges identified. Since the May 2022 board meeting, data has validated that the college is currently meeting one of the four thresholds. As such, I am lifting the reboot status of the college” (bold lettering added by the Chancellor).
With hard work and the support of the community, ESCC has increased workforce and academic enrollments. The college has also changed its business model and stabilized finances, bringing in more revenue and lowering expenses.
During this three-year period, ESCC established a new culture of YES! Your Eastern Shore. It is a culture of hospitality, transparency, accountability, and inclusion. Through YES! everyone shares ownership of the college, its mission, vision, and values.
Every faculty and staff member embraced new roles including student recruitment and retention, program development, and being an advocate for the college. Also having to respond to the challenges of the pandemic, ESCC was suddenly an online college with online student services. However, students still attended classes, received services, and best of all, completed programs and graduated.
President Jim Shaeffer commented, “With the lifting of the reboot, Your Eastern Shore Community College is focused on serving the post-secondary education needs of the Eastern Shore for the next fifty years.”
The college has recently completed the next five-year strategic plan that begins to position ESCC for the next 50 years to reach a vision of “being the national model of a community college serving a rural area through diverse programming that leads to better lives and a better Shore.”