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New president speaks of job to be done

Barbara Tansey (left) greets psychology teacher Judith Meyer at a luncheon Tuesday to welcome Tansey as Beaufort County Community College’s new president. Tansey assumes the office May 31. (WDN Photo)

For Barb Tansey, the opportunities to put the “community” back into Beaufort County Community College are limitless.

Tansey met with BCCC faculty and staff Tuesday during her first official visit to the campus since she was named the new president of BCCC last month. Though, technically, she won’t take the BCCC reins until May 31, Tansey is already strategizing ways to reach out to the community and further develop BCCC’s partnerships with local schools, businesses and residents.

“We need to be joined at the hip,” Tansey said of the college’s role in local economic development efforts. “We need to be the engine for training and development.”

That would mean expanding job-specific skills instruction to help students make an easy transition to local employment, but Tansey also envisions partnering with area schools to help better prepare students for college.

According to Tansey, 60 percent of high-school graduates need developmental education — to learn how to develop often-individualized ways to achieve academic success. It’s a nationwide statistic, but Tansey believes an earlier solution can be found by working with local public schools, and with students before they head to college.

Tansey leaves her position as vice president of academic and student services at Fayetteville Technical Community College, where she introduced the College Connections Academy, that gave students at Cumberland County high schools an opportunity for more career alternatives and technical education, programming similar to what’s already in place at BCCC. If the ability to do so is there, Tansey plans to expand such programs.

The community of which Tansey speaks is broad. Her stated task is to find more ways for the college to fit the needs of the most-diverse student body, from early college students to retirees, from children who live with their families, to single mothers who work third shift. Funneling students into the right areas of study, giving them a good blend of courses, keeping a faculty and staff who are passionate about what they teach are ways in which Tansey plans to boost BCCC’s student retention rates and success rates.

As for being the first female president in the school’s 45 year history, Tansey said it’s just part of the job.

“The job is neither male or female,” she laughed. “The job is the job to be done.