Community College Expands Its Community

NORFOLK - These days, just about every college campus is going through some type of change. Whether it's construction, layoffs or changes to the curriculum; colleges everywhere are changing. Northeast Community College in Norfolk is no different. One of their focuses is expanding the diversity of the student body. The most recent survey on the school's website shows that in 2012, minorities  accounted for only 17% of the student body. School President Dr. Michael Chipps explained the significance of diversification. "In a declining population, it's wonderful to bring new people here that may not have come here in the first place." In efforts to address the school's diversity, Northeast Community College is partnering with a college preparatory school in Malawi. Current Norfolk resident Dr. Joe Mtika established Norfolk Schools as a way to give back to his native country of Malawi. This year's graduation class of 12 expressed their interest in coming to Northeast Community College in Norfolk. The partnership between the two schools was the topic of discussion during a recent trip taken by Dr. Chipps, Executive Vice President John Blaylock and Vice President of Educational Services Lyle Kathol. Dr. Chipps spoke about the experience. "Tremendously bright young people, one of them even had an ACT score of 28, which is absolutely miraculous even for an American student. And yet they don't have anything; they [students] have one book that a lot of time they are sharing with a faculty member. All twelve of those students, I'd take anyone of them here at this college." That is the plan; the 12 students have already applied to Northeast Community College. To help with finances, the Northeast Foundation Office is offering scholarship funds that the Malawian students may apply for once accepted into the college.