Blue Mountain College eager to work with community colleges

From our vantage point in higher education, one of the most exciting things going on in Northeast Mississippi is the growing number of county governments and economic development groups willing to underwrite free tuition programs for two years of enrollment at community colleges in the region. This growth is truly impressive and speaks directly to our region’s deep and abiding commitment to education – a commitment that has made our region a progressive one in the state. At Blue Mountain College, we share this commitment and look forward to working with Northeast Mississippi Community College and Itawamba Community College, as we have for many years, to see to it that the transition to the final years of pursuing an academic degree is as seamless as possible for the students. While BMC has always provided, and will continue to provide, a rich environment for freshmen and sophomore students, we welcome the opportunity to work with all transfer students. Certainly, we will continue to recruit many of the same students as NEMCC and ICC. We do not, however, see this as competition as much as we do a shared philosophy that all institutions of higher learning have a responsibility to focus on the educational needs of students as opposed to enrollment figures. I think we have all seen that if we concentrate on the greater good then we will each do just fine individually. Blue Mountain College has a history of working closely with NEMCC and ICC. Members of our faculty have a collegial relationship, as do our admission offices, and we have taken steps to streamline and simplify the transfer process. We see the communication and coordination between the institutions getting stronger as each of our institutions continues to grow. We fully understand the decision-making process in choosing a college, especially in this uncertain economy. What a blessing it is for so many students in our area to have this opportunity to continue the pursuit of educational goals beyond high school. I am a product of the Mississippi community college system and I cherish the two years I spent at Jones County Junior College. My community college foundation was strong and has served me well throughout my career in higher education. At BMC we are intent upon helping transfer students continue to build their futures. We work hard at Blue Mountain College to focus on the individual needs of our students right now, rather than trying to make them fit into some preconceived idea of a college or university. One of the attributes of a small college is accommodating the needs of the individual student. The money invested in our community colleges is more than an investment in the schools; it is an investment in our region’s human capital. It is a bold statement that the Northeast region of Mississippi is willing to take the initiative to ensure that we produce generations of well-prepared citizens to be productive in the workplace and to contribute to the well-being of our communities. Dr. Bettye Rogers Coward is in her eighth year as president of Blue Mountain College. Contact her at bcoward@bmc.edu or call (662) 685-4771, ext. 130.

Dr. Bettye Rogers Coward