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Wiregrass navigating students through college

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Wiregrass navigating students through college Submitted photo

Navigating through college can be overwhelming for students. From completing admissions and financial aid paperwork by required deadlines to knowing what classes to take and when, it can be difficult to keep up and all this happens outside the classroom. The leadership at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College has made an investment in technology and support that is helping them take steps to navigate students through college as easy as possible. A training was held for administrators and staff from admissions, financial aid, advising and retention center, faculty, high school services and more to help these employees better serve Wiregrass students. Dr. Nina Lyon Bennett, Director, Member Education and Research Delivery with the Education Advisory Board (EAB) was the training facilitator. EAB is a research based company with a wealth of knowledge from across the nation that helps college put the needs of the students first and creating a path for success. Wiregrass purchased an EAB educational program, Navigate, that provides an online student portal used to help “navigate” the student from the initial application to college through to graduation.

The communication tool was implemented at Wiregrass Tech last Spring and has proven to be very successful and highly beneficial the college’s students. Dr. Jammie Wilbanks, Wiregrass’ Dean of Retention and Advising shared, “Using Navigate we were able to confirm retention of 63 percent of our fall enrolled students for spring semester….in 11 days of registration. What we accomplished in the first 11 days of returning student registration has taken us 20 or more days in past semesters. Navigate allows us to easily conduct targeted outreach to specific groups of students and applicants so that they get the information they need at the right time.”

This past fall The Educational Advisory Board, with a membership of over 1,100 colleges and universities, presented the Visionary Leadership Award at their 2017 annual conference to Dr. Shawn Utley of Wiregrass Georgia Technical College. The award is presented to "an individual who, through leadership, vision, and commitment to innovation, has helped their college realize significant, positive change through faculty/staff engagement, process improvement, results-orientation, and major cultural transformation. The award is given to one member each year and is accompanied with a student scholarship given to WGTC in recognition of Dr. Utley's achievement.

Wiregrass Tech is currently accepting new students for Spring Semester B-term classes, which begin Feb. 14, 2018. To apply or learn more about the college visit wiregrass.edu.

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