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WVNCC opens student success center

NOW OPEN — Cutting the ribbon to open the new student success center at West Virginia Northern Community College are, from left, Dave Artman, board chair; Tricia Marker, director of facilities; Natalie Armstrong, a nursing student; Janet Fike, vice president of student care and success; and President Daniel Mosser. - Derek Redd

WHEELING — Monday was a perfect day for West Virginia Northern Community College to honor its history and take a look in to the future of what the college can offer its students.

WVNCC’s celebration was twofold – the grand opening of the college’s new student success center on the exact day that WVNCC celebrated its 50th birthday. In the midst of cake and coffee, college officials were abuzz over a new center they feel will make the WVNCC student experience much easier to navigate.

“Years ago, when they designed the college, I don’t know that they had the focus or understood how the students would use the space,” WVNCC President Daniel Mosser said. “Now that we’ve lived in it for a number of years, we’ve done a much better job of designing a space that is inviting and comfortable for students, but also an efficient workspace for our employees.”

The key change, WVNCC officials said, is that all student services now inhabit one space. In past years, a student might have to traverse to different floors of the schools B&O Building — or even to different buildings on campus — to get what they need.

Now, they can find everything after they walk through the main entrance. Right through the door, they can find the WVNCC Foundation and alumni office, and a recruiting space packed with college-branded materials. Down the hall, they’ll find a walk-up service center, plus offices for admissions, testing, advising, financial aid, career services and more.

“Students won’t get lost in the process,” Janet Fike, WVNCC vice president of student care and success, said. “Someone will be able to walk with them or direct them. Our staff will be able to help students a lot better, because we can walk over and talk with them, without leaving our space. It’s going to be very convenient.”

It’s also more welcoming, Mosser and Fike said. The new space features new furniture and areas to gather. Officials hope that will foster a greater sense of belonging.

That sense of belonging is something Mosser wants to help spring Northern into the future. He’s proud to be the president of the present, to guide the college through its fifth decade as an educational institution in the Northern Panhandle. It’s a college that, in those 50 years, has expanded its footprint with campuses in Weirton and New Martinsville and has evolved into more than just a conduit for local students to get into four-year colleges.

“I’ve spent an entire career specializing in workforce development,” Mosser said. “To be here at this time with such a focus on workforce development and preparing people for careers in the community … this college has a real focus on the community and serving the community right now, partnerting with businesses and other agencies.

“For me, it’s the high point of a career where I’ve focused on these things,” he said.

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