On February 11, 2013, the Higher Education Student Association (HESA) in conjunction with the Cohen Career Center organized a panel discussion, "What is it Like to Work at a Community College?" at the School of Education. Leaders from Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC) and a former leader in the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) participated in the discussion. Speakers included Dr. Bill Travis - Provost and Dean of Health Sciences at TNCC, Dr. Lonnie Schaffer - Vice President of Academic Affairs at TNCC, Dr. Betsy Harrison - Dean of Student Development at TNCC, and Michael Turner - formerly the Coordinator of Student Affairs/Academic Services and Research at VCCS and currently the Director of Programs and Special Projects in the Registrar's Office at William &Mary. Of note, Dr. Harrison, Dr. Schafer, and Mr. Turner are all alumni of the higher education program at William and Mary.
The panelists recounted their own career paths that led to careers in community colleges, and spoke about what challenges and rewards constitute community college work. Participants learned about the role of internships in discovering more about potential careers, the options available in two-year colleges that range from advising to teaching to administration of programs, and of the rewards in seeing students succeed against the odds. Dr. Pamela Eddy moderated the discussion which was followed by a question and answer and networking session during which students got an opportunity to ask questions from panelists and discuss community college issues that interested them.
This was the HESA’s premiere event and officially launched the student led organization. The session was well attended and attracted students from across programs at the School of Education as well as William & Mary. Some School of Education alumni also joined current students and took advantage of the opportunity to learn and network.