HANCEVILLE, Ala. – A new fall semester began at Wallace State Community College this week.
Classrooms were full of freshman newcomers and returning sophomores, parking lots were filled to capacity and an aura of excitement was abundant on campus.
Among the enthusiasm, Wallace State’s English Department was getting nestled into its new home at Wilson Hall, which was the former location of Wallace State’s Nursing Department. Most of Wallace State’s English classes were previously located in the Computer Science building.
Wallace State’s social behavioral science classes, such as history, psychology and sociology, have also found a new home in the old biology/chemistry building.
Derik Bell, a Wallace State freshman from Oneonta, opened his college career this week and is enrolled in general studies courses.
“I’ll admit I’m a little nervous, but all the teachers seem to care and have been friendly. I’m still adjusting to the campus,” Bell said. “I chose Wallace State because it seems to be the right fit. It’s at a great location.”
Wallace State English instructor Dr. Kathy Buckelew believes one of the best ways to soothe freshman fears in classes like English Composition I (ENG 101) is to make it a comfortable setting for them.
“You try to have a sense of humor about things and let them know it’s not as difficult as they think it may be. At the beginning of English 101 we do a lot of review to sort of ease them into it,” Buckelew said. “They’ve done a lot of things in their high school English classes that we use in 101. We just approach it a different way. We want to make it as fun and interesting as possible.”
Brandon Smith, a math instructor at Wallace State, agrees it’s important to calm the early nerves with humor.
“Some freshmen come in here scared to death. Math classes seem to flip people out or intimidate them. All in all, most students are conditioned. The best way to lighten things up is to be funny or not rigid. You want them to know you’ve been in the same seat as them,” Smith said.
Smith also loves the first week of classes.
“The last few days leading up to this, I always get excited. It’s exciting to meet the new group of students,” Smith said.
Wallace State’s James C. Bailey building is home to the Lion Central desk, which is the daily campus hub for students to ask questions, seek information, receive advising or iron out any admission or financial aid requirements, among other opportunities. Students can also obtain their student identification card and parking decal at the Bailey Center.
All front-line Wallace State student services offices are housed in at the Bailey Center, helping to streamline and simplify the student experience. A financial aid lab was also instituted this summer for the first time.
“Every year we try to make an improvement in some area. We’ve really worked hard on improving financial aid areas and set up the lab this summer. I feel it’s helped make the process smoother. We have students who have their aid processed and completely paid for classes earlier than ever before,” said Wallace State Director of Enrollment Management Jennifer Hill.
“I love the first day and week of classes,” Hill said. “Everyone in my office was here early on Monday. It’s a new beginning for so many people. It’s so nice to see those local high school students coming in to be students here. We’re excited they are making the next step in their lives with us and we want to ease that transition. We certainly try to help as much as we can and make it a smooth experience. We’ve really tried to anticipate the questions students are going to come in here asking.”
Wallace State, an Achieving the Dream institution, has been ranked among the top 120 community colleges in America by the Aspen Institute, and among the Top 50 in the United States by Community College Week.
Wallace State is starting its second academic year of offering both associate in science and associate in arts degrees fully online. The college has also started a Patient Care Specialist program in the Nursing Department and a Transportation Management option through the Business program.
For the sixth consecutive year, Wallace State employees and students are participating in a campus-wide initiative, called the Common Read project. This year’s selection is “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green. The book was captured on film this summer as a major motion picture. It spent multiple weeks atop the New York Times best-seller list and has been acclaimed as one of the top books of the year. As part of the Common Read, Wallace State will welcome Wayne and Lori Earl on Wednesday, Sept. 24, at 9:30 a.m. in the Betty Leeth Haynes Theatre. Wayne and Lori Earl are the parents of the late Esther Earl, who inspired “The Fault in Our Stars.”
Students who would still like to take classes this semester will have another chance to enroll for Mini-Term II beginning October 14.
For more information about Wallace State and other upcoming activities this fall semester, visit wallacestate.edu.
Wallace State employees Teresa Gibbs, left, and Brett Messersmith assist students at Lion Central during the first day of classes on Aug. 18.
The first day of fall semester classes made for busy streets and sidewalks on campus.
Wallace State English Instructor Dr. Kathy Buckelew discusses to her English 102 class about the “Fault in Our Stars,” the college’s Common Read selection for the 2014-15 academic year.
Dr. Buckelew discusses the class syllabus at the outset of her English Composition II class on Monday.
Brandon Smith’s Math 100 Intermediate College Algebra class fills out biographical information as they prepare for the semester in his class.
Wallace State math instructor Brandon Smith passes out a syllabus for his Math 100 Intermediate College Algebra class.
Wallace State Community College
P.O. Box 2000, Hanceville, AL 35077
1-866-350-9722 256-352-8443 direct
Visit us online at www.wallacestate.edu