The River Continues to Rise
Poplarville – As the tenth day of enrollment approaches, all college presidents wait impatiently in front of their computers checking their email accounts all in search of one thing: numbers.
Before Dr. Breerwood, President of Pearl River Community College, even opens his inbox though, his mind is already at ease in that he knows the institution has been continually improving. For the past two years, this email containing the enrollment report has brought Dr. Breerwood and Pearl River Community College excitement and pride.
PRCC posted a positive enrollment increase during the 16-17 and 17-18 academic years. Building off this success, the college worked to put in place more programs and resources for students and continued to take an aggressive approach to student success leading into the 18-19 school year.
These efforts were reflected in the tenth-day enrollment report with PRCC reporting a 6.1% increase in credit hours from Fall 2017 to Fall 2018. This is the highest percentage of growth in credit hours of the 15 community colleges in the state. PRCC also posted a 2.6% headcount increase over that of last year. This is the first time since 2012, based on tenth-day enrollment, the college has been over 5,000 students.
This is the third consecutive year that the institution has posted at a positive increase, effectively making PRCC the fastest growing community college in the state of Mississippi. Having a positive enrollment increase once is a great accomplishment, but being able to post at this level of progress continually is a testament to hard work and dedication evident in this institution.
The numbers are impressive when comparing Pearl River to other community colleges in the state but the institution also stands out against national enrollment data. PRCC isn’t continues to lead among Mississippi schools but rather is becoming a national trendsetter.
For Dr. Breerwood, it’s more than numbers. It’s a reaffirmation of the work and continued tireless efforts that every individual at this institution puts into each day at PRCC. More important than the positive numbers is the positive student oriented progress and impact PRCC continues to demand of itself. In the past year PRCC has devoted resources to many extended education opportunities and freshman dropout realities. PRCC has, and is still continuing to, grow the online availability of academic and career technical pathways. This is a crucial part of giving traditional, and nontraditional students alike, the opportunity to create bright and previously unimagined futures for themselves.
“People know what we do here and how we do it. What is most important is WHY we do what we do. The impact a college degree has on a student and future generations is limitless,” says Dr. Breerwood. “We want to make sure to do everything in our power to support those students and allow them to meet and exceed their potential.”
Ted J. Alexander Administration Building, Pearl River Community College, Poplarville, MS
Within the first few weeks of college students feel immense pressure and often find themselves unprepared for the expectations of this new environment. PRCC has invested in the support of these freshmen through pre-semester orientation sessions, which include major specific tailored advising sessions. Also offered to combat these freshman struggles, is a first semester orientation class that focuses on topics such as grit and individualized study tactics all in an active learning environment.
The excitement in the air at PRCC is contagious. “Dr. Breerwood is creating an environment that encourages collaboration allowing employees to see how each person is important to the success of the college” stated Dr. Martha Lou Smith, Vice President for the Poplarville Campus and General Education. These sentiments show that faculty, staff, and administrators have all shared in the efforts that make sure the River continues to Rise.
“Mississippi’s community college system has always been a driving force behind the state’s economy; directly effecting the communities of the students that are on our campuses,” says Dr. Breerwood. “PRCC is appreciative of the local communities it is afforded the opportunity to offer its service to and proud of being a part of Mississippi’s strong community college system.”
PRCC is ever growing and challenging itself to new standards and this year’s tenth-day report only raises the bar higher for what this institution will aspire to achieve as it moves forward.