From press reports
When Dr. Billy W. Stewart was selected as president of East Central Community College in Decatur in 2012, his goal was to establish a strategic planning process, which would shape and guide the future of the 85-year-old institution.
As a result, 2020 Vision was created and includes a long-term desire to be nationally recognized and locally preferred while meeting the educational and training needs of the residents of the college district, which includes Leake, Neshoba, Newton, Scott and Winston counties.
According to Dr. Stewart, 2020 Vision’s seven Core Values of Wisdom, Excellence, Accountability, Respect, Enthusiasm, Efficiency and Creativity (WE ARE EC), “define the institution’s highest priorities and deepest-held beliefs.”
2020 Vision is also comprised of five institutional commitments: Student Success, Teaching and Learning, Community Partnerships, Resource Planning and Development, and Communication.
During the past year, the college began making strides towards those commitments as evidenced by recent successes and accomplishments.
East Central Community College received national recognition for its success in providing a quality education when it was selected 23rd best community college in the nation by Washington Monthly. In the magazine’s September edition, ECCC was included in the 2013 College Guide’s annual ranking of “America’s Top 50 Community Colleges.”
The success of ECCC students was also recognized in recent reports from Mississippi’s Institutions of Higher Learning, which revealed that transfer students from East Central achieved the highest cumulative grade point average (3.18) of all community college transfers in the state.
In addition to its academic success, East Central Community College was listed as the Sixth Fastest Growing Community College in the nation with enrollments from 2,500 to 4,999, according to reports published in Community College Week.
The college was also recognized for success in recruiting, retaining and providing services to military students and for two consecutive years has been named a Military Friendly School. G.I. Jobs magazine included ECCC in the top 15 percent of all colleges, universities and trade schools nationwide in providing educational services to military students following a survey of more than 12,000 schools.
East Central Community College’s athletic department also received national recognition as seven ECCC teams were honored for their success in the classroom.
The men’s and women’s tennis teams received the highest recognition with their selection as National Junior College Athletic Association Academic Tennis Teams of the Year. Men’s Soccer (2nd), Baseball (3rd), Women’s Soccer (Tied for 4th), Softball (Tied for 12th) and Golf (Tied for 23rd) all placed in their respective sport areas.
Warrior athletic teams have also been nationally recognized for various community service projects.
Recent support from alumni and community partners has helped East Central provide financial assistance to many students and to make much needed upgrades to facilities.
In October 2012, the college received in excesses of $3 million dollars from the estate of Frances Gaines Blum Slagle, a 1940 ECCC graduate and former Decatur resident. The cash, stocks and certificates of deposit were used to establish student scholarships and this gift represents the largest single donation ever received by East Central Community College.
Various Endowed and other Special Scholarships are presented each year during the ECCC/AT&T Scholarship Appreciation Program/Luncheon. Approximately 130 students received scholarships valued at more than $71,000 at the most recent ceremony.
With state and private funding, improvements have also been made to the college’s physical plant.
Heading the list is the completion of Davis Hall, a state-of-the-art facility housing laboratory space for the entire science division. Cross Hall Science Building is currently undergoing renovations and will contain updated lecture halls for all science classes and house the Chemistry lab and classroom.
The college has also made a commitment to upgrade technology with 55 classrooms having been outfitted with projectors and computer equipment. The projectors include interactive styli, which allow instructors to annotate on the screens as if they were writing on a whiteboard with a marker. Each computer has Internet access and video playback capabilities so that Canvas and other online course materials can be accessed during class.
Improvements have also been made in the areas of parking, pedestrian walk-ways, heating and air conditioning systems and roofs for several buildings, and the Brackeen-Wood Physical Education Building received a much needed renovation including new seating and a refinished playing surface.
The latest project is a proposed Football Operations Center to be constructed at the north end of Bailey Stadium. The estimated $4.8 million complex will include a state-of-the art weight room and athletic training facility for all student-athletes at the College. It will also include a Warrior Room as well as meeting space for the department of athletics and the community. Also included in the plans is a $1 million turf field to replace the existing grass field.
A comprehensive community college, which offers graduates the Associate in Arts, the Associate in Science and the Associate in Applied Science degrees, and various certificates and certifications, East Central Community College continues to strive towards the goal of meeting the educational and training needs of citizens in the district.
For more information contact the Office of Student Services at 601-635-6205.