Friday, December 6, 2013

VCCS Listening Tour stops at Reynolds Community College

J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College hosted the eighth and final stop of the VCCS Fall Listening Tour on Thursday, December 5 in the Workforce Development & Conference Center at the Parham Road Campus.

VCCS Chancellor Glenn DuBois has been conducting a series of listening tour sessions around the state, giving him the opportunity to hear directly from elected, community, education, economic development and business leaders about challenges that would benefit from greater community college focus.  Work on the third strategic plan of DuBois’ tenure as chancellor will begin in January, and continue throughout 2014. 
Thursday’s meeting was well attended by business and community leaders, educators, local entrepreneurs, board members, faculty and staff.  Topics of discussion included job retaining for workers as technology advances, formalizing internships programs, increasing community awareness of community college offerings such as the Guaranteed Transfer program and Advanced College Academy, programs for adult learners, and investigating ways that small businesses could increase their engagement with community colleges to the benefit of both.
 “Increasingly, community colleges are being looked at as the go-to place for bringing a community together and building a consensus for designing its future. That’s a new 21st century role that we are being asked to fulfill, and our community colleges are up to the task,” said DuBois.
DuBois expects to announce the members of a taskforce that will create the next VCCS six-year strategic plan in the next few days.  The plan will succeed the current VCCS six-year strategic plan, Achieve 2015.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Valley Proteins Fellow: Margo Fairchild

Each time Margo Fairchild enters a class at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, she envisions herself as an empty cup ready to be filled with knowledge.

Margo hasn’t always been so dedicated to formal education. At the end of her junior year at Massaponax High School in Fredericksburg, despite a good academic record she lost interest in school. She dropped out, earned her GED at 16 years of age, and spent the next four years working with no real plans for her future. Eventually she found herself longing for something more. She enrolled at Reynolds in the fall of 2012 where she discovered a new thirst for knowledge and a desire to pursue a career helping others. Just over a year later she’s already well on her way to that future. 
According to Margo, she fell in love with her Spanish class at Reynolds. Her professor, Maria Espiritu, recognized Margo’s talent and enthusiasm and suggested she take on the role of tutoring students in Spanish 101, so Margo did just that. Margo’s hard work resulted in a 4.0 grade point average in her first year at Reynolds and induction to the PTK honor society.
In May 2013 Margo learned she had been selected as a member of the 2013-2014 class of Valley Proteins Fellows. In addition to covering the cost of tuition the scholarship program also offers opportunities for professional development, travel and cultural experiences, a stipend for an internship and a community service project. Margo credits her receipt of the Valley Proteins Fellowship to Reynolds Scholarship Manager Nichole Page who advised her of the scholarship opportunity and prompted her to apply. “The fellowship has meant so much to me, most importantly peace of mind as I don’t have to worry about working to pay for my classes, allowing me to concentrate on my studies.” 
Seeking an opportunity to immerse herself in the Spanish language over the summer of 2013, Margo and her roommate engaged in a fundraising campaign hoping to raise enough funds to finance a three-week trip to Guatemala to volunteer at an orphanage with about 60 children. The fundraising campaign was so successful that in addition to financing their trip and making a financial donation to the orphanage, the young women were able to purchase Earthbox container garden systems for the orphanage. They set a goal of teaching the children sustainable gardening during their stay, with a vision of expanding the orphanage’s food supply. The gardening system boxes were shipped from Mexico to Guatemala and were waiting for them when they arrived, along with a farming specialist who traveled from Mexico to Guatemala to provide instruction in the use of the Earthboxes.   
It was while she was in Guatemala that Margo was offered the opportunity, as a Valley Proteins Fellow, to attend the 2013 International Youth Organization Forum in China along with 200 other students representing 26 countries. She jumped at the opportunity. During her week-long trip in October Margo enjoyed many new experiences, meeting and exchanging ideas with students from many different cultures and visiting landmarks like the Forbidden City and the Great Wall.  
Margo plans to transfer to VCU in the fall of 2014 to pursue a bachelor’s degree in International Studies with a minor in Spanish. Her long term goal is to pursue a career helping people of many different cultures, perhaps by increasing their food security through sustainable gardening. Whatever path she chooses, Margo is well on her way to a bright future.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Are you a college advisor? You better believe it!

So now you ask, “Where’s my first paycheck for my advising services?”  Hmmm, well that’s not going to happen for a few more years assuming you follow that education/career path; nonetheless since you’re now a seasoned Reynolds student, they will be asking for your advice about, well, college.  The ubiquitous “they” may be underclassmen from your old high school, “they” may friends and family members, and/or “they” may be the guys you work with. They are those who populate one or more of your own information networks.  

Most people accept the often-used four word formula for success, i.e., “make yourself more useful,” which frequently involves getting more education.  As they begin to think about their educational options, Reynolds is certainly on the radar screen for those who live in and around Greater Richmond.  So they’ll be asking you questions like, “Does Reynolds offer fill-in-the-blank program?”  “What’s it cost to go to Reynolds?”  “How are the teachers?” “Is it hard?” etc., etc., until they get to, “How do I get off to a good start?” and this is where you can really shine as someone’s college advisor.
In the opinion of this writer, the three most important items on the how-do-I-get-a-good-start list include,
1.      Take your college placement tests for reading, writing and math, and follow the recommendations. 

2.      Before your classes start, participate in a FREE Reynolds orientation program such as SOAR (Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration) or a SOAR derivative.  These programs are only a few hours in length but they can be THE decisive factor in getting a good start.  

3.      During your first semester include SDV100-College Success Skills in your schedule of classes.  Don't be tempted to blow this class off as inconsequential because there is solid evidence that students who take this course and take it seriously simply do better in terms of grades and persistence.  An even better way to take this course is when it’s linked up with another course to form what’s called a “learning community.” 
Uh Oh!  A new term has just been introduced; what is a “learning community”?  A learning community (LC) is when two course sections in the same semester are linked together and the same students enroll in both course sections. Professors work together to coordinate assignments, content, and improve crossover learning between the courses.   WHY?  Just as with SDV 100, students tend to do better in and as a result of LC participation.  They’re happier, more engaged in their classes as well as with their professors and with other students. 
One of Reynolds most popular learning communities links SDV100 with ENG111 (Composition Skills I) and this LC is branded as “Getting a Clue” or simply “Clue.”   As you may suspect ENG111 is as writing course so by linking ENG111 with SDV100, students are able to reinforce the college success and survival skills discussed in SDV100 by writing about them in ENG111. Think of synergy.  Clue will assist its students along the path to making certain critical life choices (like picking a major, a career, or a transfer college) by teaching how to set goals, improve productivity, and develop the habits needed to ensure success in school and in life.  Reynolds’ Clue LC was awarded the Virginia Community College System’s first-place honors for Excellence in Education in the spring of 2010.  Keep up the good work guys. 
Somewhere above I mentioned your information networks.  Another thing that these LCs tend to accomplish is helping students to form their own reliable information networks; which is simply an outgrowth of enrolling the same group of students in two (or occasionally more) course sections.  These students see each other twice as often and it gets easier to pick out who’s reliable and who’s just taking up a seat in class, and then to approach another student (hopefully one of the reliable ones!) to form a study group or ask about a homework assignment.  So a direct benefit to you of these learning communities is that your gang will stop bugging you with all these questions when they begin to use their own newly-formed information networks! 
The following quotes come from three of Reynolds’ Clue LC students, 
This class really did restore my confidence in both my writing and myself.  The realization that I’m going to make it in college, that I can do this, is priceless to me and I’m so grateful.
I have found myself, for the first time, open to the discoveries of knowledge that college can provide.  As I have come to realize, college is not about grades or tests (though their importance is not lost on me), but rather being able to open your mind to the possibilities of further ways of thinking… I have learned more about myself in four months than I had in the previous twenty-one years.
Honestly, if I hadn’t taken this LC I would still be following the path of something that just wasn’t right for me. It’s intimidating to venture off the path and out of a career that I thought was right for me, but I know that it is necessary. All of these years I was very close minded about thoughts of other careers and possibilities.
For more info about LCs see  

Charlie Peterson is Assistant Dean of Educational Support Services, Professor and Director of Learning Communities at Reynolds Community College



Monday, November 25, 2013

Reynolds Automotive Technology Programs earn Accreditation Renewal

The J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College automotive technology programs have achieved renewed accreditation status from the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) for an additional five years. 

Founded in 1983, NATEF’s mission is to improve the quality of automotive technician training programs nationwide by examining the structure, resources and quality of training programs and evaluating them against standards established by the industry.  By ensuring training programs meet the highest standards, NATEF accreditation benefits everyone from schools, students and future employers, to the automotive service industry and everyone driving on our nation’s roads.

The five-step accreditation process includes an extensive self-evaluation performed by program instructors, administrators and advisory committee members and an on-site evaluation conducted by an ASE Master-certified Evaluation Team Leader.

The findings of the October 18 on-site review were overwhelmingly positive and the lead reviewer noted, “This program is a shining example of how it can be done.”  Other reviewer comments included:

             A very progressive program that teaches the very latest technology using the latest state of the art equipment and methods.

             The programs are very well organized and staffed with excellent personnel.

             The facility and equipment are meticulously maintained.

             The automotive department head and instructors have gone above and beyond to develop and improve the curriculum.

“The NATEF accreditation process ensures that the Reynolds Community College automotive technology programs are of the highest standards.  We are pleased with the results of the accreditation renewal process and look forward to continuing to offer cutting edge educational opportunities to our students,” noted Kelly Schwendeman, Program Head, Automotive Technology.

For information on the automotive technology programs please visit or contact Kelly Schwendeman at or Alan Couch at


Monday, November 18, 2013

Reynolds Change Agents: Innsbrook Rotary Club and Henrico Fire E-21

Reynolds Change Agents is a new spotlight series in Campus Happenings highlighting the spirit of service and philanthropy by and for Reynolds Community College.

This week, see why riding the bucket truck was just one of the highlights at a recent visit to Henrico County Fire Station E-21 by the Innsbrook Rotary, and learn how these (adventurous) Rotarians are making a difference for students.  Watch the story here.  

The Educational Foundation is tremendously thankful for the support we receive from local Rotary clubs to help students achieve their goals.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Sin Nombre

Sponsored by the Multicultural Enrichment Council, Reynolds’ "Around the World through Movies" recently presented Sin Nombre. Attendees included Reynolds students, staff, faculty and guests from the Richmond community.

Sin Nombre is about a beautiful young Honduran woman, Sayra, who joins her father and uncle on an odyssey en route to the United States seeking the promise of America. Along the way she crosses paths with a Mexican gang member who is trying to outrun his violent past and elude his former associates. Together they must rely on faith, trust and street smarts if they are to survive their increasingly perilous journey towards the hope of new lives.
Carlos Ossandon, Assistant Professor of Spanish led pre and post movie discussions that highlighted migration versus immigration as well as driving forces and causes behind Hispanic immigrants in the U.S. He also shed more light on some fascinating statistics on various immigrant populations from Central and South America in the U.S.
The audience enjoyed a variety of refreshments from El Salvador.  The movie was followed by a post discussion where many students and staff won prizes including many items donated by the Reynolds bookstores and the Office of Marketing.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Phi Theta Kappa inducts 107 Reynolds students

J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College’s Chapters of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society held their annual fall induction ceremony on Saturday, November 2 in the Lipman Auditorium of the Massey Library Technology Center at the Parham Road Campus. Students who have completed 12 transferable credit hours and have a 3.3 cumulative GPA at the college are invited to join PTK every fall and spring semester.  

Alpha Iota Beta Chapter President Tiffany Plumber opened the festivities and Reynolds President Gary Rhodes welcomed the audience. 117 new members were inducted, many of whom participated in the ceremony. 

Ms. Dawn Beninghove, founder of Companion Extraordinaire Home Care Services, delivered a motivational speech as the keynote speaker, emphasizing the importance of being both a leader and a servant. Beninghove graduated from Reynolds in 1981 with a degree in nursing. 

“You are here because you have recognized that academic achievement is a plan that gives you a hope for your future,” Beninghove explained to the inductees. “PTK provides an opportunity for you to develop your leadership skills and continue on this path of academic excellence.” 

In closing Beninghove stated, “Never, ever underestimate the power of a plan no matter how humble it’s beginning. Each time you learn something new, the world around you becomes richer and fuller of opportunities at every turn. Life can only be completely understood looking at it backwards, but must be lived forward… forward every day.” 

Established in 1918, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society serves to recognize and encourage the academic achievement of two-year college students and provide opportunities for individual growth and development through honors, leadership and service programming.  Reynolds has two chapters at the college.  The Alpha Iota Beta chapter represents members enrolled in programs at the Parham Road Campus and the Alpha Gamma Omicron chapter represents members enrolled in programs at the Goochland and Downtown campuses.  Reynolds has inducted 4,604 members since 1982.

PTK-Fall 2013

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Middle College Program Honored at Richmond History Makers

The Middle College program at Reynolds Community College was honored on October 15, 2013 as a recepient of a 2013 Richmond History Makers award.  The Richmond History Makers, launched in 2005 by the Valentine Richmond History Center, "honor and celebrate those everyday citizens and outstanding organizations that are making significant contributions to the greater Richmond region."

The Middle College program helps young adults, 18-24, earn a GED, transition to post-secondary coursework or training, and learn a practical job skill.  The four-month program affords students intensive and personalized instruction, but it is the student’s work ethic that ultimately determines her or his success.  Since 2003, more than 800 students have enrolled in Middle College; 76% have graduated and earned a GED, with nearly half continuing their education – an amazing achievement, as Middle College receives no direct state funding and is supported by grants and private philanthropy. The program gives stability, skills, and hope to our young people, changing their lives and our communities for the better.

Photo: Middle College program administrators Jackie Epps and Mary Jo Washko with Reynolds Community College President Dr. Gary Rhodes. (Photo courtesy Valentine Richmond History Center)

Update: WRIC story on the Richmond History Makers awards.

For more information about the Middle College program at Reynolds click here

For more information about the 2013 Richmond History Makers honorees click here

Monday, September 30, 2013

Great Expectations Students Meet, Greet, and Eat

Author Devan Mitchell and Dedra Hampton, Great Expectations Coordinator
A group of about 20 J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College’s Great Expectations students gathered on Tuesday, September 24 to celebrate the success of one of their own and to explore a new mentoring opportunity.

Great Expectations Coordinator Dedra Hampton introduced guest speaker Davon Mitchell, a Great Expectations student and newly published author.  Davon spoke of his journey in foster care, the benefits of his participation in the Great Expectations program, and how he met Nina Wells, a publisher, at a Great Expectation forum a few years ago.  Ms. Wells, impressed by Davon after speaking with him, promised that she would help him publish the book he was writing if he stayed in school and graduated.  Mitchell is on track to graduate from Reynolds this year, and Ms. Wells recently delivered on her promise.  Copies of Mitchell’s new book were distributed to lucky door prize winners at the gathering. 
Dedra Hampton also introduced Sean Scott, an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer working with the Great Expectations Program.  Sean has been charged with developing a new mentoring program to match volunteer mentors with youth to advise and accompany them through higher education and their everyday lives.  The group enjoyed refreshments while exploring and discussing the mentoring needs of Great Expectation students. 

For more information about the Great Expectations program, please contact Dedra Hampton at or 523-5294.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

16th Annual Scholarship Luncheon

The annual J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College Scholarship Luncheon is an opportunity for the College’s scholarship donors to meet the recipients of their generosity and is always a heartwarming affair. This year’s luncheon, on Thursday, September 26, was certainly no exception. More than 220 donors, students, board members and faculty took part in this year’s celebration.

The luncheon was the perfect setting for donors and student recipients to meet each other, many for the first time. Smiles and tears abounded as grateful scholarship students relayed the positive impact the scholarships have had on their lives and how they are now able to pursue their dreams.

For the last academic year, the J. Sargeant Reynolds Educational Foundation awarded scholarships totaling more than $434,000, opening the doors of opportunity for 387 students.

Students addressing the gathering included Joshua McVeigh, who spoke on behalf of the Reynolds Scholars, Margo Fairchild, a 2013 Valley Proteins Fellow, and Justin Terry, the first recipient of the Steven Ridley Memorial Scholarship.

 At the conclusion of the luncheon donors and recipients paired up for pictures to commemorate the day’s festivities. For more information about available scholarships, how to apply and important deadlines, visit

Monday, September 23, 2013

J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College named as Military Friendly School for 2014

The fifth-annual Military Friendly Schools® list was released on September 10, 2013 by Victory Media, and once again J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College made the list.  The Military Friendly Schools® designation is awarded to the top 20 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace military students and ensure their success in the classroom and after graduation.

The 2014 list of Military Friendly Schools® was compiled through extensive research and a free, data-driven, survey of more than 10,000 VA-approved schools nationwide. The survey results that comprise the 2014 list were independently tested by Ernst & Young LLP based upon the weightings and methodology established by Victory Media. Each year, schools taking the survey are held to a higher standard than the previous year via improved methodology, criteria and weightings developed with the assistance of an Academic Advisory Board (AAB) consisting of educators from schools across the country.
This year’s Military Friendly Schools ® list criteria also incorporate a survey of over 4,000 actual student veterans. This feedback provides prospective military students with insight into the student veteran experience at particular institutions based on peer reviews from current students.
The 2014 list of Military Friendly Schools can be found at 
There are 385 veterans enrolled at Reynolds this semester.  Patrice Jones, student success center coordinator noted, “We are pleased that J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College’s commitment to supporting and advancing educational opportunities for those who have served our country has been recognized and that our designation as ‘military friendly’ has been extended for 2014.”
For information regarding educational benefits for veterans at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, please contact the Office of Student Affairs at (804) 523-5368.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Reynolds Information Center Celebrates One Millionth Call

J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College’s Information Center celebrated its 10 year anniversary just last month, on August 5.  On September 4 the Center achieved another milestone - servicing its 1,000,000th caller.  The Information Center staff fields calls for all of the three Reynolds campuses and the Ginter Park Center.  Frequently asked questions include questions about admissions, financial aid, registration and queries about special events.
(L-R) Terri Britt, Sidney Young, Dr. Gary Rhodes and Marianne McGhee

The lucky 1,000,000th caller was Sidney Young of Henrico County who will begin classes at Reynolds in January 2014 planning to pursue a degree in nursing.  You might say that nursing is in her blood as she is following in the footsteps of her mother, aunt and grandmother.  With a 4 year-old son just beginning pre-school, Sidney decided it was time to pursue her dream of becoming a nurse. 
On September 4 Sidney called the Information Center to inquire about the status of her financial aid application.  According to Sidney, she received a very prompt, concise and professional response to her question and then was asked to hold for one moment.   Information Center Manager Terri Britt came back on the line, amid a background of clapping and cheering, and congratulated Sidney on being the Information Center’s 1,000,000th caller.  After finally convincing Sidney that the celebration was real, Sidney agreed to visit with the Information Center staff on Thursday, September 12th to commemorate the milestone. 
To Sidney’s surprise when she arrived on September 12 she was greeted by Reynolds President Dr. Gary Rhodes, Director of Development Marianne McGhee, Information Center Manager Terri Britt and many other staff members and a celebration that included cake, balloons, Reynolds giveaways, and a $1,000 scholarship.  Amid a few tears of joy, Sidney expressed her thanks and excitement at the prospect of beginning classes in January.
The Information Center is open from 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.  Over the last ten years the center has grown from a staff of one full-time and two part-time staff members to eight full-time staff members that answer an average of 100,000 calls per year. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Gubernatorial Candidate Terry McAuliffe completes tour of Virginia Community Colleges with visit to J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College

Senator Tim Kaine, McKenzie Carroll, Terry McAuliffe, William Quarles and Dr. Gary Rhodes

Gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe fulfilled his pledge to visit all 23 Virginia Community Colleges with a visit to Reynolds on Friday, September 6 accompanied by U.S. Senator Tim Kaine.

Reynolds President Dr. Gary Rhodes greeted the visitors and introduced Student Ambassador McKenzie Carroll who led the group on a brief tour of the Parham Road Campus.
William Quarles, Terry McAuliffe, Professor Deborah Neely-Fisher and Senator Tim Kaine
McAuliffe and Kaine visited Professor Deborah Neely-Fisher’s ecology lab where the candidate and senator joined students in examining micro-organisms through microscopes and emphasized the importance of acquiring STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) skills.

The group also toured the new welding lab in the Workforce Development and Conference Center where they chatted with CCWA’s Assistant Vice President for Open Enrollment Natalie Meredith about the Growing America through Entrepreneurship (GATE) program and the Adult Career Choice program.  

The visit culminated with a roundtable discussion with college administrators on a variety of topics including distance learning, academic excellence, the importance of early childhood education, new academic programs, workforce programs and community college challenges. 

McAuliffe noted, “In order to fill jobs for the 21st century I have said consistently that the community colleges are your engines for workforce development. I believe I am the first candidate for governor to visit all 23 community colleges. I want you to know that as governor this is a top priority for me, to focus on these community colleges.”

Monday, September 9, 2013

Goochland project combines community service, art and history

Goochland artist Patty Rosner, who graciously painted the beautiful mural in the stairway of the main building on the Goochland Campus, is the inspiration behind a new project, “The Villages of Goochland, - Painted by District” which combines history, art and community service in Goochland County. 

Rosner began the project by researching the five historical villages of Goochland County and collecting a series of photographs from years gone by.  Her plan is to create five paintings, one representing each of the villages. The completed paintings will be donated to the county and will be housed in the Goochland Administration Building for the public to enjoy.
The community is invited to select the photographs that will serve as the inspiration for the paintings by voting on a Facebook page Rosner created.  The 5 villages with the most LIKES will be what she develops the paintings around. 
To help fund the project Rosner is selling reproductions of a piece of her work, an 1830's painting of the Goochland Courthouse, which is available in prints, matted prints, coffee mugs, decorative plates, note cards and canvas reproductions.  Any funds collected in excess of the actual project cost will be given to the Goochland Free Clinic and Family Services and Goochland Historical Society.
For more information, please visit or contact Patty Rosner at (804) 457-4676.


Fall Eyeglass Clinic

Need some new glasses or contact lenses?  Want some new shades for this winter?  The J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College Fall Eyeglass Clinic opened for business on Wednesday, September 5 and is open on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

The clinic offers eyeglasses, contact lenses, sunglasses, sports and safety frames, repairs, adjustments and cleanings. If you want to make a purchase, please bring a current prescription as the clinic does not offer eye exams.  The clinic is open to students, faculty, staff and family members.  This a great opportunity to purchase designer frames and premium lenses at cost! These are NOT retail prices!
For more information, please contact Kristina Green at 523-5415 or 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

James Cuthbertson named to Virginia Community College Board

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell announced the appointment of James Cuthbertson to the State Board of Community Colleges on August 16, 2013.

An accomplished medical entrepreneur and healthcare leader, Cuthbertson founded American Cardiac Care, Inc. a specialty healthcare delivery corporation utilizing cardiovascular physician networks and cardio-pulmonary rehabilitation facilities. Prior to that endeavor, Mr. Cuthbertson led the Texas Heart Institute, the world's largest cardiovascular care center as its President and Chief Executive Officer. Before accepting that position, he served for thirteen years as Chief Operating Officer of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, the nation’s second largest, tertiary-care enterprise and pre-eminent research center. 
Mr. Cuthbertson is recognized as a distinguished healthcare leader whose vision and leadership contributed greatly to the advancement of treatment modalities and the eradication of suffering in many of the health disciplines with which he has been associated.
Mr. Cuthbertson served as Chairman of the J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College Board from July 2011 to June 2013, and remains on the College Board representing Henrico County.  He is also a past member of the school’s Foundation Board of Trustees.
He served with distinction as an infantry company commander in Vietnam, receiving the nation's third highest award for bravery, the Silver Star. He is also the recipient of two Bronze Star Medals w/ “V” devices, three Purple Hearts, five Air Medals, a Valorous Unit Citation and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.
Mr. Cuthbertson is a graduate of Kent State University and holds a master's degree in business administration from Case Western Reserve University.  He and his wife Barbara have three adult children and live in Glen Allen, Virginia.

Monday, August 26, 2013

"Relevation for Elevation" Radio Show features Great Expectations Coordinator Dedra Hampton

On Saturday, August 24 Reynolds Great Expectations Coordinator/Coach Dedra Hampton was a guest on the “Revelation for Elevation” radio show to discuss the college’s Great Expectations program and foster care advocacy.

The Reynolds Great Expectations program helps young adults – those who are or were recently affiliated with the Virginia Foster Care System – transition to college. More than 500 children in the Virginia foster care system age out each year. Without social or family support, foster care children experience significant challenges living on their own. However, with access to education, foster care youth can find satisfying, well-paying jobs. To find out more about the Reynolds Great Expectations program, visit
Listen to the interview here:   Relevation for Elevation - 8/24/13 Show


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Smart Beginnings Leader Institute

A group of 25 community leaders from around the state gathered at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College in Richmond to discuss issues related to school readiness and early childhood initiatives during the Smart Beginnings Leader Institute on Tuesday, August 20.   This was the second of five sessions of the seven-month Leader Institute, which launched on July 30 in Charlottesville.

Reynolds President Dr. Gary Rhodes, who also serves as Chair of the Leadership Council for Smart Beginnings of Greater Richmond, welcomed the group to Richmond and stressed the importance of a good foundation in early childhood education.
Today’s session focused on building dynamic partnerships to support early childhood systems and featured speakers from South Carolina’s statewide early childhood initiative, First Steps, with presentations on “Building and Sustaining Effective Boards” and “Building and Sustaining Effective Community Partnerships.”
In addition to learning from the featured presentation, participants had the opportunity to network with their counterparts from Smart Beginnings initiatives across the state, sharing best practices in school readiness and services.
The Virginia Early Childhood Foundation (VECF) created the Smart Beginnings Leader Institute to engage, educate, and enrich the capacity of leaders across the state to advance school readiness for Virginia’s children.
The Leader Institute is supported and partially funded by the Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission. Several businesses and educational institutions are hosting the sessions, including LexisNexis in Charlottesville, J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College in Richmond and Cox Communications in Roanoke.
For more information on the Smart Beginnings Leader Institute, contact the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation at (804) 358-8323.
 Reynolds President Dr. Gary Rhodes who also serves as chair of the Leadership Council of Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond, Jacqueline Hale, Director of Childhood Initiatives and Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond, and Steve Clementi, Leadership Council Member, Great Beginnings Greater Richmond

Horticulture Articles

In addition to teaching horticulture classes at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, Instructor Scott Burrell is a frequent contributor to Virginia Gardeners magazine and a well known speaker on horticultural topics. 

The September 2013 issue of Virginia Gardener Magazine includes two articles penned by Burrell along with pictures. The articles, available at these links, are entitled "Fabulous Foliage - Favorites of a foliage freeloader"  and "Serbian Bellflower."

Scott and his wife Beth, a landscape architect, maintain a 1-1/2 acre garden at their home in Mechanicsville. Scott can be reached at 523-5950 or by email at


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Welcome back!

August 21 marked the first day of classes at all three campuses of J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College.  First year students, we welcome you to Reynolds and returning students, welcome back! 

As you prepare for another academic year we encourage you to begin thinking of ways you can get connected to student life on campus.    You’ll want to know about the many events that Reynolds has going on throughout the semester, so make it a habit to check out Student Life’s Events Calendar. To get the most up-to-date information, be sure and “like” us on Facebook and follow the college on Twitter. Your involvement in campus life will enhance your overall college experience.

The Office of Student Life is starting things off by hosting Welcome Back events on all three campuses on August 27, 28 and 29 featuring food, giveaways, music, and games.  Why not stop by for some treats and try to Dunk-a-Dean?
The Student Life Game Centers open on September 3.  The Game Centers located at both Downtown and Parham Road campuses offer Pool Tables, X-Box, PS3, Wii, Chess and Checkers so stop by to relax, eat lunch, play games or just hang out with friends when your schedule permits.   
Upcoming events include blood drives in early September, the annual Busch Gardens bus trip on September 7 (tickets are currently on sale in the Business Offices), and intramural sports orientation sessions, just to name a few.
On a more serious note, renovations at the Downtown campus continue and some services have been temporarily relocated while construction takes place.  We appreciate your patience during the construction and have posted signs to keep you abreast of changes.
We look forward to a great year!  Thank you for choosing J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College to reach your educational goals.   We are excited about working with you to achieve them.  Whether you plan complete a certificate or degree, transfer, or simply take classes for personal development, we wish you great success this academic year!


Monday, August 19, 2013

Reynolds Holds Active Shooter Drill

J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College Department of Police, in conjunction with Henrico County Police Division, Henrico County Division of Fire, Virginia State Police, and Virginia Department of Emergency Management held a multi-jurisdictional "active shooter drill" on August 10th at the Parham Road Campus.

The Saturday drill simulated an emergency incident in Georgiadis Hall, triggering a response from numerous local emergency management partners including personnel and units from Henrico Police, Henrico Fire, Tuckahoe Volunteer Rescue Squad and Lakeside Volunteer Rescue Squad. More than two dozen volunteers role-played as victims with varying degrees of injuries.  

Reynolds Police Chief Paul Ronca noted that the drill was "an important opportunity to work with several outstanding local partners to test our response capabilities and interoperability with multiple agencies."

Henrico County Chief of Police Douglas Middleton attended the active shooter drill and noted, "The objective here is to create an environment that is as realistic as possible so that officers, non-sworn personnel, and firefighters understand how to respond when a crisis actually does occur."

The successful active shooter drill is another important milestone of excellence for the Reynolds Department of Police, coming on the heels of the department's June accreditation by the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission (VLEPSC). Reynolds Police was the first department at a VCCS member institution to receive such an accreditation.

Video footage of the drill, including brief interviews with Chiefs Ronca and Middleton, as well as photos from the drill can be found below.

(All weapons shown were safety-secured prior to the drill and inoperable during the drill)  

Thursday, August 15, 2013

New Advanced Automotive Technology courses offered

Are you interested in learning about advanced automotive technology?  Today’s automotive diagnostics and repair careers are challenging and financially rewarding.  J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College is offering the following three new advanced automotive courses this fall.

(1)    AUT 230 - Intro to Alternative Fueled & Hybrid Vehicles (3 credits):  This online course offers general information about the exciting new automotive technology of alternative fuel including electric vehicles.  No prerequisites are required.  Anyone interested in automotive technology is welcome to sign up. There is no lab associated with this course. 

(2)    AUT 243 - Automotive Control Electronics (4 credits):  This online course covers control systems in electric vehicles and fuel celled vehicles.  Students should talk with school advisors about enrolling in this course.  There is an associated lab that meets on Tuesdays from 6 p.m. – 8:40 p.m. 

(3)    AUT 256 -Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (4 credits):  This online course covers fuel cell vehicle systems and advanced automotive electronics. Come learn about what the not-to-distant future automobile will have under the hood. Students should talk with school advisors about enrollment requirements.  There is an associated lab that meets on Thursdays from 6 p.m. – 8:40 p.m.

Scholarships are available for these classes.  Classes begin on August 21.  For additional information about the scholarships and the courses, contact Kelly Schwendeman at or (804) 523-5938 or Alan Crouch at or (804) 523-5969.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Bridging cultures

The staff of UVA's Alderman Library showed Bridging Cultures faculty some of the resources of the library and seduced us with tales of the Semester at Sea. We toured Alderman's gorgeous Asian Reading Room, where we were treated to an impromptu storytelling session by Slavic librarian and professional storyteller George Crafts.

Back in the Open Grounds classroom, Edith Clowes explained the theological and (mostly) political division between the Eastern and Western (Orthodox and Catholic) churches, and the characteristics of Orthodox cathedral architecture and iconography. Next, Natasha Miles presented an intro to Buddhist philosophy and a detailed life of the Buddha. We finished the day with Rich Cohen's millennia-spanning lecture on Hinduism and Jainism including their ancient roots and most influential reformers. Most interestingly, he pointed out that "Hinduism" is a label applied largely by non-Hindus to attempt to collect the diverse beliefs of a huge nation into a convenient conceptual packages. Concepts like the Ishtadeva, or personal god, mean that one can expect to see a great diversity of belief and practice from region to region, or even from Hindu to Hindu. 

After Dr. Cohen's lecture, I feel like I'm already semi-fluent in Sanskrit, but I think I'm about to learn how little I know since today's lectures focus on language and linguistics. Once more into the breach!

-          Jason Lira

The above blog is a recount of Reynolds faculty member Jason Lira’s experience at the symposium on Bridging Cultures. Seven Reynolds faculty members joined other participants from representative VCCS institutions in a weeklong, National Endowment for Humanities-sponsored symposium on Bridging Cultures. Hosted by the University of Virginia and led by Project Director Rachel Stauffer, Outreach Coordinator of the Asia Institute and Lecturer in Slavic Languages and Literatures, the Bridging Cultures Symposium provides VCCS faculty with the opportunity to develop their understanding and knowledge of the culture, geography, history, and human development in South Asia, East Asia, Russia and Eurasia, and the Middle East.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

JSRCC Faculty Participate in UVA-NEH Bridging Cultures at Community Colleges Symposium

In the interim days between the end of the summer semester and the start of Fall 2013 classes, seven JSRCC faculty have joined other participants from representative VCCS institutions in a weeklong, NEH-sponsored symposium on Bridging Cultures. Hosted by the University of Virginia and led by Project Director Rachel Stauffer, Outreach Coordinator of the Asia Institute and Lecturer in Slavic Languages and Literatures, the Bridging Cultures Symposium provides VCCS faculty with the opportunity to develop their understanding and knowledge of the culture, geography, history, and human development in South Asia, East Asia, Russia and Eurasia, and the Middle East.

On Monday, August 5, symposium participants enjoyed a series of intense and detailed lectures from UVA scholars whose research focuses upon Ancient China, Ancient South Asia, and the ancient civilizations of Central Asia. Some specific areas of conversation included discussions of the Silk Road, the philosophical and cultural attributes of ancient Chinese dynastic empires, and movements of peoples and cultures throughout ancient South Asia. In addition, participants witnessed a traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony shared by Haruko Yuda, Japan Outreach Coordinator at the Asia Institute of UVA.
Participating JSRCC faculty include Joseph Appiah (History), Cynthia De Riemer (Communication Studies), Ghazala Hashmi (English), Jason Lira (English), Maria Ramos (English), Jane Rosecrans (English), and Christopher Thomas (History). Dr. De Riemer also serves as the JSRCC Project Liaison in this two-year long collaboration between UVA and VCCS faculty. At the end of the week’s Symposium, Reynolds faculty will define areas of focus and effort for this academic year, and also develop plans to share their work with other faculty and students at JSRCC.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Bringing color and collaboration to Burnette Hall


 Bringing color and collaboration to Burnette Hall, artists-in-residence from Westminster Canterbury Richmond and Cedarfield retirement communities have transformed formerly bare walls on the Second Floor of the Arts & Humanities into a welcome gallery space. 

In an effort to bring more artwork and visual interest to the college, Dr. Rhodes has reached out to local artists, such as photographer Wayne Dementi, whose images are featured at the Goochland Campus; Beth and Wolfgang Jasper, displayed in the Workforce Development and Conference Center; and, the collection gifted by W. Baxter Perkinson at the Downtown Campus.  Westminster Canterbury and Cedarfield, both with active art programs, each adopted a wall in the Arts & Humanities wing, giving the residents ample room to showcase their talents.

Westminster Canterbury’s “The Four Seasons of Richmond, Virginia” murals feature well-known monuments and landmarks.  “Virginia Trees in Their Native Habitat” by the Cedarfield artists takes a more bucolic turn.  “Viewing the pieces is like taking a drive through the city and then through the country,” said Brenda Bickerstaff-Stanley, an artist and project coordinator at Cedarfield. 

Among the contributing artists from Westminster Canterbury is Dr. M.L. Foy, retired Physics professor at Reynolds.  She and the other artists from both programs met each other for the first time recently to swap stories, photos, and admire each other’s work.  Pausing to look at each panel, Dr. Foy remarked, “Very nicely done.  Everyone did a great job.” 
In a testament to Dr. Foy’s remarks, it’s not unusual to see students poised in a moment of quiet reflection in front of the pieces, or hear a comment of appreciation from a passerby to another.  It seems the project – as art has the power to do – is continuing to bring people together in a meaningful way.