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Voorhees president shares priorities and successes at faculty/staff institute

Denmark, S.C. – Voorhees College President Ronnie Hopkins shared several priorities and successes with faculty and staff during the biannual faculty and staff institute, Jan. 4, which was held virtually.

Classes begin on March 14 for the newly approved master of education degree in teaching and learning and the college looks forward to its 10-year reaffirmation of accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) in June, according to Hopkins.

“A Voorhees University priority will be establishment of the Becoming Beloved Community initiative, which will focus on increased community engagement. Another Voorhees University priority will be improved customer-client services along with diversity, equity and inclusion efforts,” Hopkins said, referencing the institution’s name change to Voorhees University, which happens on April 7.

Hopkins told the audience of more than 115 employees that the institution is working to complete its strategic plan in the coming months and his priority remains to grow enrollment to 800 students over the next five years.

Hopkins, who told the audience to encourage others to follow campus COVID-19 protocols, mentioned that the institution will be establishing regional recruiters, focusing on dual enrollment, increasing graduate program and growing the number of online learners.

“We are looking to expand our recruitment efforts to the west coast, the northern part of the country, the central part of the country and internationally. We will increase our recruitment efforts within the Episcopal Church. Students affiliated with the church get scholarships to attend institutions like Voorhees,” he said.

Other presenters during the virtual institute included Brenda Ishmael, a mental health expert, who advised the audience that self-care should be a priority during this time when mental health issues are at crisis levels in the U.S. Once people take care of themselves, they are in a better position to support others, particularly students who may be dealing with multiple mental

health issues, Ishmael said. Rodney Bond, a public safety expert, provided active-shooter awareness training and offered tips on what to do in an active-shooter situation. Faye Hargrove, a customer service expert, discussed the importance of customer service and shared some strategies that audience members could implement.

Damara Hightower Mitchell, provost and vice president for academic affairs, facilitated the faculty and staff institute. Each vice president provided updates on their divisions.

The institute, originally planned as an in-person event, was held virtually due to the surge in the Omicron variant of COVID-19. All employees were tested before being allowed on campus. Students, who also must be tested before being allowed on campus, began arriving Jan. 5. Classes will begin virtually Jan. 10 and a decision on whether to continue with virtual learning will be made after the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, Jan. 17.

A high resolution image of Hopkins is available at https://voorhees.edu/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/Dr-Hopkins-NLoE-thumbnail.jpg.

About Voorhees University

Voorhees University, founded by Elizabeth Evelyn Wright in 1897, is a private, coeducational institution affiliated with the Episcopal Church and the United Negro College Fund. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate and graduate degrees. Its mission is to produce highly qualified graduates who coalesce intellect and faith in pursuit of life-long learning, healthy living, the betterment of society, and an abiding faith in God. U.S. News & World Report has ranked Voorhees as a #1 best value, #3 in social mobility and #33 among regional colleges in the south in 2022-2023; and #26 among Historically Black Colleges and Universities, nationally. Additional information about Voorhees University can be found at www.voorhees.edu.


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