Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Tracey Wells Report: My Reynolds Ambassadors Experience

Being a part of the Reynolds Ambassadors program has been a great experience. I have met a lot of people and experienced many new things and it is only September. When the program started in May, none of us really knew what we were getting into as we sat around the table filling out paperwork. Before we knew it, we were doing training for S.O.A.R. which is a program that freshmen attend where we help them find their way around campus and schedule classes. For four weeks, we were practicing leading tours at the Downtown and Parham Road campuses. We also held rehearsal for our skit about values at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College.
            On the first day of student orientation, there we were seven of us standing tall—Zack, Phoebe, Carolyn, Angela, Cheri, Moe and I. We all came together for one purpose—to prepare first year students for their first semester, making sure that each student left with all their questions answered. Because of the anticipated volume of freshmen, we had help from members of Student Council.
Our first S.O.A.R. started at the Parham Road Campus. Everyone had to report to campus by 7:30 a.m. We all gathered around the front of Georgiadis Hall to greet the students and their parents as they arrived. All of all sudden, people started swarming into the building from left and right. For about an hour, everyone was either helping students with their user names and passwords, checking people in or directing students to the different display options we had available. After an hour of doing that, we gathered the students and parents into the auditorium. Then Dean of Students Dr. Brian Richardson did his opening speech to warm up the crowd for us. This took about 10 minutes and we became very fond of his wrap up side joke to finish his speech.
“The people you see here wearing those shirts represent student leaders at our college and they are here to help you. Now I have a question. Are those shirts forest green or are they hunter green? If you can come up with the right answer you will win a prize.”
(I still do not know the answer to that question about the color of our Ambassadors' shirts.)
             After Dr. Richardson’s speech, each of us went to the stage and introduced ourselves and told everyone our majors. Next, we did our little skit, that I’m proud to say got a big applause. After the skit, we dismissed for tours and the Jeopardy game. The game taught the students about some of the policies and procedures that are in place at J. Sargeant Reynolds. Sometimes the game got really intense as everyone was going neck and neck, trying to raise their hands first. In the end, they all were winners and each student was given a free flash drive. After the Jeopardy game, the ambassadors presented a 30 minute tour of the Parham Road Campus. When we did tours at the Downtown Campus we were given the same amount of time. It was easier and faster to do the tours Downtown because we were not hot and we had access to elevators and steps. The Parham tours required a lot of walking outside and it was very hot. 
After the tours and the jeopardy game, the new students went to advising and registration. The students were separated by major and were sent to different locations to get started. This process took a couple of hours because each student’s schedule had to be setup to start them on the path to success.
At the conclusion of the S.O.A.R. session, we came together to discuss how the day went. We laughed at how some of the crazy parents would try to sneak out of their own sessions in the auditorium and go to their child’s sessions to see which classes they were registering for. S.O.A.R. officially ended two weeks before school started.
 During the first week of school, we were helping students find their classes and print class schedules. We also had a Back to School Fair, where we helped served popcorn, pizza, drinks, and free school supplies. This really wrapped up the summer session of my Ambassador experience. I can’t wait to see what is in store for the rest of the academic year.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Learning Communities share experiences

Learning Communities at Reynolds remain a practical way to learn. The concept of a Learning Community is to coordinate what you’re learning in one class and apply it to another. Two or more classes are linked together during the same semester and students are enrolled in both/all classes. Professors work together to coordinate assignments, content, and improve crossover learning between the courses.  Classes are typically back-to-back, or at the same time on alternating days.

Being part of a Learning Community at Reynolds also means you get credit for “shared experiences” and discussion. For instance, the VCCS Excellence in Education Award-winning Learning Community, "Getting a Clue," which pairs sections of ENG 111 and SDV 100, featured a shared experience this fall. All eight "Clue" Learning Communities (nearly 200 students) received free access to the 1997 film, Good Will Hunting, through their laptops. The College also featured five public showings of the film. Students in the Learning Communities were invited to write about how the film portrayed various educational themes and settings.

Learn more about Reynolds Learning Communities at

Monday, September 19, 2011

Program Spotlight: Sleep Tech

Many of us have heard by now that sleep – quantity and quality – can be at the root of a myriad of health issues such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. It’s no wonder business at sleep labs are exploding. As usual, J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College is answering the call to help fulfill workforce needs. JSRCC now offers a fully accredited Sleep Technology for Polysomnography Certificate program online. Students can complete the program in just two semesters (27 credits) and be well-prepared to take the national exam for certification. Course work is offered online and clinical work is coordinated with sleep laboratories in each student's local area. When they’re done, they’re likely to be offered a job pretty quickly, says Program Head Michelle Sartelle.

“Techs are needed in private labs and almost every major hospital,” said Sartelle. “If you’re a good problem solver, have good customer service skills, are comfortable with computers, and you like working the night shift, you could be a great sleep tech.”

Sleep techs monitor brain waves, heart rate, breath, oxygen, leg movement and eye movement, among other things, to determine treatment for a variety of sleep disorders. Patients are often hooked up to several monitors, so it’s also the sleep tech’s job to make them calm and comfortable.

JSRCC’s Sleep Technology for Polysomnography Certificate program is the only program in Virginia and one of 36 in the country. The program is one of many allied health programs offered through the College. For more information about the program or current clinical sites in Virginia, contact Michelle Sartelle at or (804) 523-5375.

Campus construction update

Here’s a quick and dirty update on recent campus construction…the renovations between Burnette and Georgiadis Halls on the Parham Road Campus are nearing completion. New brick pavers have been installed. Irrigation, landscaping and seating will soon complete that project. The Workforce Development and Conference Center construction is moving right along. Upon completion, the Community College Workforce Alliance will relocate and operate in this building. The first floor will offer a large multi-purpose room, a flex room, two classrooms, three large conference rooms, 17 offices and a catering kitchen. The College administrative offices, including the President’s Office, will be upstairs.

A rendering of the soon to be
Workforce Development Conference Center
on the Parham Road Campus.
Other recent completed renovations on the Parham Road Campus include the relocation of the Financial Aid and Central Admissions and Records offices to Georgiadis Hall. Third floor Georgiadis Hall corridor renovations have also been completed. The Marketing and Public Relations Office as well as the ODU Teletechnet program is scheduled to relocate to Georgiadis Hall within several weeks. Burnette Hall’s roof is also being replaced this month. At the Goochland Campus, the student commons/community room is being renovated and major renovations on the Downtown Campus remain ongoing.

For the most recent construction update report, visit