QA with Angelia Mance: Alabama Southern looks ahead

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Now that you have had a chance to settle into your new role, what are some goals you have for the college?

The first semester is officially under my belt. I have to say it&8217;s been a good learning experience to be out and about in the community and meet everyone. The thing that surprises me the most people are still not aware of what we can offer and that we&8217;re out here. We have wonderful facilities. My biggest aim is to still let people know we&8217;re out here.

We&8217;re heading into our third or fourth year, and we just want to be a part of the community. When people think of education or any type of learning situation, we want them to think Alabama Southern. I see my role as endearing ourselves to the community. If they need adult education, if they need university transfer, if they need a meeting place, if they need a place to brush up on some basic skills such as computers, I want us to be the first thing that pops into their mind.

What are some of the things you&8217;re excited about this upcoming year?

We have a new chancellor for two-year colleges, Bradley Byrne. I&8217;ve have the opportunity to hear him speak this semester. He emphasized that mission of a community college, which includes workforce development, adult education and academic transfer. Those are the things we need to make sure that our focus is on.

As far as adult education, I&8217;ve talked with people who work in the community, like mental health workers and policemen, and even a lot of them have still not been aware that our adult education is free. The materials are free and the tuition is free. They meet a lot of people in the community who would benefit from that. We&8217;re willing to work with people. And I&8217;m not sure if people in the community realize what a good thing that is, because if we were not here just to finish a GED, they&8217;d have to take a drive to Shelton state or someone else.

Tell me more about the dual enrollment partnership Alabama Southern has with Demopolis High School.

I am so proud that relationship continues to grow. I know Dr. (Isaac) Espy and I are on the same page and know how important that is. Research shows dual enrollment is a win-win situation, whether the students are doing it for university transfer or career-tech prep. Students who do that &8212; it&8217;s been prove in statistics &8212; get a stronger start. So one of my aims is to continue to work with Demopolis High School on that but also expand into other schools in the area.

I have been out to visit all the guidance counselors of the schools in the immediate area. There are some out in the county that I haven&8217;t been to. I&8217;ve been to John Essex, Linden and Marengo Academy. Those that I haven&8217;t seen yet are on the list for the spring.

Have the schools who don&8217;t currently participate in dual enrollment been receptive to get a program like that started?

They have. They have been very nice to meet with me and spend their time with me. We would like to do regular placement testing in all the schools. Dr. Espy has told me he would let us do that in Demopolis High School this spring so we can test the entire class of seniors. If they go ahead and take that placement test, they can go ahead and see what kind of standing they have. A few people who might not otherwise think about college might realize Alabama Southern has something to offer me.

Do you see any other kinds of expansion plans in the future for this campus?

We have been asked by the mayor to do a needs assessment study to see what businesses and industry need. I would say in the future, we will work harder to meet the needs of industry and I hope we will see some career and tech prep on campus.

We know business people and heads of industry in Demopolis need well-trained people. We also know it&8217;s not feasible for everyone to go to Shelton State or University of West Alabama or even our Thomasville campus.