Monday, December 5, 2016

Reynolds welcomes new Honors Students

The Reynolds Honors Program recently held an orientation session to welcome students that will start the program with the Spring 2017 semester. 

“I love seeing the faces of the new students and the excitement they bring to the program,” said Dr. Ashley Bourne-Richardson, Honors Program Faculty Coordinator.

The Reynolds Honors Program is meant to foster the sustained intellectual growth and personal development of students as they develop the confidence and skills necessary for continued academic and professional leadership, while also helping facilitate successful transfers to 4-year colleges and universities.

This program helps students to enhance their critical thinking and communication skills, to identify clear educational and personal goals, and to pursue those goals with a sense of purpose and meaning.

Currently 69 students are enrolled in the Honors Program and an additional 13 students will start with the Spring 2017 semester. Applications for future Honors Programs will be accepted between January 16 and March 15. For more information on the Reynolds Honors Program, visit

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

New partnership and funding bring GED workforce pilot to Reynolds

Reynolds is piloting a new workforce program providing Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) training for participants as they earn a GED®.  

PluggedInVA (PIVA) is a statewide workforce program focusing on GED® preparation combined with skill development leading to industry-recognized credentials. With a strong track record in other localities, Reynolds’ Middle College and the Capital Region’s Adult Education programs partnered to launch the PIVA project model in the Richmond area.  

While the pilot will launch with CNA instruction, using the PIVA model allows Reynolds to expand to other career studies programs. After completing the GED, PIVA students would then matriculate into Reynolds credit courses focusing on Personal Care Assistant, Certified Nurse Aide and other healthcare related classes. Reynolds is exploring additional industries, such as welding, manufacturing, and logistics, for future PIVA programs.  

Virginia Credit Union joins PIVA, the Jackson Foundation, and Capital One in providing grant funding to support the GED® to CNA pilot. “We’ve supported Middle College for many years,” said Virginia Credit Union President Chris Shockley. “This new element of having participants also graduate with a credential for employment adds muscle to the GED. It’s a smart upgrade, and we’re pleased to support the effort.”

The “learn and earn” structure attracted Thomas, a self-employed handyman. “I felt incomplete not having my GED, and this sounded appealing. They actually need more men in the nursing field.” Thomas has completed half of this digital literacy coursework and is preparing to take his second of four GED tests. “It’s building my confidence for a stable job as a nurse aide. As a handyman, I like helping people. This is helping, but in a different way. I’m enjoying it and my kids are excited for me, too.”

The contextualized curriculum makes this GED program unique, according to Mary Jo Washko, director of Middle College and Great Expectations at Reynolds. “The GED reading and math coursework is infused with vocabulary and practical math used on the job – by Certified Nurse Aides and Personal Care Assistants. Upon GED completion, students will continue, as a cohort, into the second semester where they will train and sit for the Certified Nurse Aide exam. Because of our grants, we can offer this at no charge to participants – and, these are men and women who truly need the opportunity and are grateful to have it.” 
Adult Education is a key partner, providing classroom instruction and outreach to the communities of Region 15

Classes are held at Reynolds’ Downtown Campus, which is the site of the college’s School of Nursing and Allied Health. “This is a college and career pathway initiative, because it positions students to continue their training in healthcare while gaining practical experience and a paycheck as a CNA. Middle College has always been focused on GED attainment as an important first step to post-secondary education, but it shouldn’t be the last,” Washko said. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

J. Sargeant Reynolds building culinary institute to bring food and job training to East End development

J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College is expanding its culinary arts program in a move that, if successful, will create a much-needed pipeline of trained kitchen workers for Richmond’s booming restaurant scene.

The Culinary Institute at Reynolds, as it will be known, also will help boost a development that already plans to house a grocery store serving Richmond’s Church Hill North neighborhood, a food desert in the city’s East End.

Click here to read the full Richmond Times-Dispatch article. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Reynolds faculty assists National Park Service with local bioblitz

On October 1, Richmond National Battlefield Parks hosted its first ever bioblitz, a nationwide event in which volunteers become citizen scientists and help catalogue as much of their local biodiversity as they can. 
Reynold’s adjunct biology faculty member Travis Anthony (center)
Volunteers also include numerous professors and students from University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University. Professors incorporated this experience into their curricula to give students a better appreciation of how much there is living in one’s local environment and give students a taste of conducting real scientific research. Richard Groover from Reynolds also led a team for this research.

Using the smartphone app iNaturalist, with which anyone can document and make accessible local wildlife observations, volunteers were able to document 226 unique species living at our Totopotomoy Creek site, on  October 1st.

Assistant dean and biology professor Richard Groover has been surveying for the last 6 months all possible insect species found at Totopotomoy Creek Battlefield. At the National Park Service’s request, he will continue to survey insect species at three more battlefield over the coming years.

The above article was provided by Richard Groover, Reynolds Assistant Dean of Mathematics, Science, & Engineering