AU CoffeeBreak Special Edition 7-1-15

Posted on July 1st, 2015 by Emily Tomlinson


This week’s CoffeeBreak is a special summer edition that shares highlights from the past academic year and provides updates on summer projects and events.

Please send information you would like included in CoffeeBreak via this form by 4:30 p.m. Friday, July 3 for a Wednesday, July 8 publication.


main_hallThere is good news in the area of traditional student enrollment. We have 354 deposits as of last Wednesday, which is above our goal of 330 new students (we are significantly ahead of last year). Also at this point we are projecting an increase in our freshmen retention rate, which now stands at 69 percent. It could reach 70 percent if more students register. Currently, we have more than 525 returning students registered for fall classes. In addition, with an anticipated 85 transfer students, we are very optimistic about achieving or exceeding our overall traditional enrollment target of 880 for this fall.

In our Graduate and Professional Studies Program, we have 931 total students enrolled in the program compared to 897 at the same time last year. Our goal is to exceed last year’s August total of 961, and since we are projecting 966 students we are on track to do just that. Each month ends with us ahead of where we were at the same time last year. A huge thank you to the efforts of many people across the university, as we are in the final stages of mapping out processes that keep our students at the center of everything we do. We continue to work strategically to enhance the student experience.

The percentage of GPS students taking classes online continues to grow, reaching 57 percent of our total at the end of June.

cb_ia2015campaign_closeCapital Campaign Ends

While our Big Dream Bold Futures Campaign ended yesterday, and we will announce the final total in a few weeks, we are optimistic that we will have raised between $28.7 and $29M. This means we will have exceeded our original goal of $25M by about 16 percent. Thanks to all who participated in the campaign. Go Cougars!

golf1MRI Golf Tournament

Every year, Averett participates in the annual Military Resale Golf Tournament (MRI), formerly the Dan Daniel Golf Tournament, held at Andrews Air Force Base. The proceeds from this tournament go to an endowment devoted to military scholarships that enables the family of deceased or wounded military members to obtain an education at the university. Since 2009, $200,000 has been raised for the endowment; an additional $40,000 will be added from this year’s proceeds.

VCFVCF Disbursement

This year, Averett received $184, 326 from the Virginia College Fund (VCF), which celebrated its 50th anniversary on June 1. The VCF was established to assist its member schools (Averett, Bluefield College, Eastern Mennonite University & Ferrum College) with scholarships and general support. It is headquartered in Richmond and its mission is “making a private, college education affordable for Virginia’s students.”

2015alumni_eventJune Alumni Events

The Alumni Office held two events in June, both of which garnered 20 people each. For the third year in a row, alumni met at the Crystal City Sports Pub in Arlington, a popular tourist destination. The second event was held at the Spring House restaurant in Winston-Salem, N.C. The Spring House is a historic mansion that was home to the man who invented the commercial humidifier; the building has been converted into a beautiful restaurant and bar.

It is always exciting to have an opportunity to see alumni and to share with them the great things happening at all of Averett’s campuses!



 A warm Averett welcome is extended to:

howell_aaronAaron Howell, our new Vice President for Business and Finance, who has officially joined us. As you see him around campus, make sure you introduce yourself.



mayhew_chloeChloe Mayhew ’14, the new Coordinator of Communications/Public Relations for the President’s Office. Chloe, who will be starting Monday, July 6, earned her bachelor of arts degree in communication studies and is in the process of pursuing a master of arts in strategic communications at Liberty University. She will gather information, conduct research, compile data and help prepare required reports and presentations for various constituents. She also will assist the President with a variety of executive communications (e.g. online messages), mandated reports and other communiqués with various governmental agencies, as well as provide primary support to the Governance Committee of the Board of Trustees. Her office will be on the second floor of Main Hall.

pearce_carlyCarly Pearce, who has been at her new role as Director of GPS Student Success for several weeks. As Director, Pearce has been charged with supervising the team of student success counselors and implementing and evaluating retention strategies and services for students. In addition, she is there to support the growth, development and degree completion of students enrolled. Pearce will also be working with our Graduate Assistants (GA) from the application process onward. She is working to streamline the process and provide better customer service to our own people. (If you have a GA, or are hiring one, make sure he or she meets with Carly so she can guide them through the process.)

Suvi Piipponen ’13, our new Coordinator of Special Events, Camps and Conferences, who will be joining the Office of Institutional Advancement on Monday, July 6. She received her bachelor of science degree in physical education: sport management and was a member of the women’s soccer team. Suvi has been working with Office of Institutional Research as a Graduate Assistant. Her office will be in Main Hall and she can be reached at ext. 15625 or


strategic_planSome of the outcomes of the strategic plan in its first year include:

  • The Center for Community Engagement and Career competitiveness (CCECC) is preparing for more engagement opportunities for faculty, staff and students and supporting service-learning in collaboration with the incorporation of experiences in IDS 101
  • New faculty development and training for distance education faculty is being implemented to ensure quality online learning experiences
  • Social media planning is reflected in coordination of branding and message delivery
  • Process redesign to achieve efficiency and consistency for student services
  • The launch of the new Averett website
  • The opening of the Averett Commons in the Mary B. Blount Library

Theme Team Chairs and the planning team are bringing tighter focus and clarity to the objectives of each theme, narrowing the number of projects that are active and identifying others as being in the queue.

  • The Academic Innovation Theme Team is targeting engaged teaching and learning as well as experiential learning opportunities and building capacity with projects such as: faculty development and mentoring; improved technology and learning environments; funding for an instructional technologist and classroom technology; and continuing review of academic structures, resource allocation and efficiencies.
  • The Student Success Theme Team is focusing on achieving timely program completion and signature career services and supporting these areas by enhancing student advising and further supporting first-year student success. Funding efforts are targeting resources for exploration of best practices and developing support for specific populations of students (e.g., first generation students).
  • The Branding Excellence Theme Team is establishing a Marketing Advisory Board to develop strategies for communicating successfully with prospective students, current students, alumni, families, community and others. Increasing capacity through staff development and expansion into video and other modalities are also current initiatives.
  • The Strategic Growth Theme Team is concentrating on a few of the many great projects that were identified: creation of single course registration options, exploring pep band and women’s lacrosse offerings. Those not being evaluated or pursued now will be shelved for further consideration as the current ones are operational or discontinued. Creation of predictive enrollment models, improved customer service training and integration of all students into the retention building software are continuing projects.

cb_sacsSACSSACS Process Begins

We have begun the process of reaccreditation using the standards for higher education established by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Audit teams were created to review the standards, collect and digitize evidence of compliance, and identify potential discrepancies and gaps in available documentation. In the fall, more faculty will be added to the audit teams, which will become compliance review committees.


  • Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) topic selected in the fall of 2015
  • Compliance Certificate submitted to SACSCOC in September 2016
  • Compliance report reviewed by external committee comprised of peer institutions in November 2016
  • QEP plan developed and report submitted by December 2016
  • Visiting committee on campus February 2017
  • Findings are addressed by further documentation and final accreditation announced December 2017


software1Technology Upgrades

The IT Department has been working on various technology upgrades at the Main and satellite campuses. Approximately $60,000 is being invested. Project highlights include:

  • Upgrading all remaining Windows XP computers to Windows 7 in preparation for the PowerCampus upgrade; upgrading PowerCampus and PC Self-Service; adding system capacity to allow remote campuses access to PowerCampus
  • Investigating replacement for Bulk-TV contract to improve cable TV signal and channel offering in residence halls and apartments
  • Upgrading the internet for a faster connection
  • Adding new anti-virus and malware system to better protect the campus network from viruses and remote attacks
  • Upgrading technology at all remote campuses with new lecterns, ceiling mounted amplifier and speaker systems; replacing projectors and wiring at each campus; adding capability for “Bring your own device” to each lectern at remote campuses (Richmond, Watkins, Chesapeake, Newport News and Roanoke completed); installing VOIP phones at remote campuses; and redoing networks at Chesapeake and Richmond to accommodate the Averett phone system

chem_labRenovated Labs in Frith Hall

Completion of the update to the biology and chemistry labs in Frith Hall is slated to be completed this week. Grants totaling $85,000 from the Carrington Trust, Centra and an anonymous donor provided for the renovations, which included combining the Frith 404 and 406 labs into one large lab featuring nine new work stations, new black lab sinks, new faucets, new cabinets with sliding glass doors and more. In Frith 400, a new 10′ fume hood with corrosive and flammable storage cabinets was installed in the chemistry lab. In addition, improvements have been made to the chemical storage and preparation room.

Nurse1New Technology for Nursing Students

Thanks to gifts totaling $147,000 from the Tobacco Commission and Centra, our nursing students will be working with first-in-class technology this fall. This new technology includes mobile medication carts, electronic medical records and iPads. This is the same technology used in Averett’s partner hospitals, which means our nursing students will be able to step seamlessly out of the classroom and into the clinical environment. Other new technology includes a pregnant SimMom who gives birth, new digital bedside cameras and simulation equipment for debriefing.

old_gymOld Gym Made New Again

The gym beneath Pritchett Auditorium is receiving a facelift this summer. Renovations include a refinished gym floor, a new ceiling, a new heating and cooling system, new backboards and painting and logos. The refurbishment, at a cost of approximately $145,000, is made possible thanks to gifts from the Carrington Trust and several anonymous donors. When the gym reopens in August for our students it will be known as the Carrington Gym.

construction1General Campus Improvements

The commitment of approximately $100,000 to furniture for residence halls is the continuation of a program implemented five years ago to upgrade the environment for our residential students.

Additionally, the ARAMARK team has a long list of maintenance, repair and upgrades that you will see taking place around campus such as painting, patching and infrastructure. Please note, if you see something that you think needs to be attended to, please send a note to Fixit@Averett to make sure it is on the list of things to be addressed.


Several small projects that could make a big impact on our students are underway in the GPS Program this summer. Those projects include:

  • Exploring the idea of a GPS concierge role, one-stop-shop for all students needs/questions
  • Looking at all GPS forms in an effort to streamline and improve them
  • The regional sites will be rebranded so that our GPS students feel like they are a part of the Averett family
  • Chris Ellis ’01, Student Success Counselor, is now splitting his time equally between our Newport News and Chesapeake campuses, which allows for face-to-face time for students at both sites
  • Restructuring the student process to determine the why, what and how so all processes are student-centered with impeccable service


Girl_Pitcher1Softball Players Make History

Softball players Taylor Dix ’16 and Samantha Hall ’17 have made school history. They were named to the 2015 Capital One Academic All-America Division III Team as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Both were also NFCA All-Americans. They are also the first Averett student-athletes in any sport to earn All-America and Academic All-America honors in the same season. To read more about their accomplishments, click here.

cougar_head12014-15 Athletics Season Highlights

  • 7 teams earned grade point averages over a 3.0, our most ever; congratulations to our Golf, Softball, Volleyball, Women’s Basketball, Men’s Tennis and Men’s and Women’s Cross Country teams
  • SAAC won Pennies for a Purpose and raised more than $1,800 for cancer research
  • Two All-Americans in Volleyball: Nicole Barringer ’15 and Hannah Shields ’18 (both were Honorable Mentions)
  • USA South Conference Regular Season Champions: Men’s Basketball & Softball
  • 28 USA South All-Conference Selections
  • 2,000 hours of community service
  • Bren Taylor was named Virginia Sports Information Director (VaSID) Coach of the Year
  • 79 USA South Academic All-Conference Selections
  • Ranked 4th in USA South President’s Cup, highest since 2007

cb_rankingsAUlogoUniversity Recognized by Third Party Reviewers

Two third party reviewers have recently recognized the university – and Affordable Colleges Online. recognized us as a College of Distinction in Virginia and Affordable Colleges Online ranked us eighth for Best Online Colleges in Virginia for 2015.

Averett was chosen as a College of Distinction based on its continued commitment to four distinctions: engaged students, great teaching, vibrant community and successful outcomes. Colleges of Distinction is an online college guide that looks at schools that are the best places to learn, grow and succeed.

Affordable Colleges Online has identified the Virginia colleges and universities with the greatest lifetime return on investment. According to Affordable Colleges Online, graduates from these schools enjoy the largest earnings gap between non-degree holders over 30 years, and earn more on average than graduates from other Virginia schools.