Complete 2 Compete Initiative launches website

By Caron Blanton, APR, Director of Communications, Mississippi Public Universities Governor Phil Bryant voices support for the effort The portal to a better future is just a click away for thousands of Mississippians. The Complete 2 Compete website provides information and resources available to help Mississippi adults who have completed some college, but no degree, to return to college and complete the requirements necessary to earn their degrees. “Complete 2 Compete will grow our skilled, educated workforce, in turn growing economic development across the state,” said Governor Phil Bryant. “This partnership will ensure Mississippi remains attractive to business and industry looking for a favorable tax climate and a workforce ready to excel on day one. I am grateful to everyone involved in making it a reality.” The website will serve as an important resource for thousands of Mississippians:

  • More than 2,400 former students age 21 or over have enough credits to earn a bachelor’s degree with no additional coursework.
  • An additional 28,000 students have enough credits to earn an associates degree with no additional coursework.
  • More than 100,000 former students can earn either an associates or bachelor’s degree with some additional coursework.
“This website provides important information that can have life-changing results for many Mississippians,” said Dr. Glenn Boyce, Commissioner of Higher Education. “Workforce studies have shown that the vast majority of future jobs will go to those with a postsecondary degree or credential of value beyond high school. I would encourage individuals to access this website as it could be an important first step in helping them achieve a goal that will ultimately lead to a better, higher-paying job and greater job and financial security.” Mississippi Public Universities, the Mississippi Community College Board and the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges are partners in the effort to identify target groups, implement adult learner services and re-engage adult students to help them complete their degrees. “As a statewide initiative, Complete 2 Compete has the potential to impact hundreds of thousands of Mississippians,” said Dr. Andrea Mayfield, Executive Director, Mississippi Community College Board. “Expanding career and wage opportunities are just two, of many, benefits of Complete 2 Compete. I am excited to see this collaborative effort become a reality. Without the partnership and efforts of many, this initiative would not be possible. I look forward to the positive impact on individuals, employers, and Mississippi's economy.” The Mississippi Department of Human Services has provided funding through a grant designed to help low-income Mississippians improve their job skills. “The Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS) proudly supports the Complete 2 Compete Project,” said John Davis, Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services. “Our generation plus (gen +) approach at MDHS begins by addressing poverty as well as associated barriers encountered by Mississippi families. The approach is designed with an intentional focus on working with the family as a whole.  Education is one of the key components to create a foundational framework​ for individuals along their pathway to independence.  The Complete 2 Compete Project perfectly aligns with our efforts to holistically assist households obtain livable wages.” The Mississippi Department of Employment Security also provided a grant for the program. There is no cost for submitting information through the C2C website and doing so may help an individual determine how close they are to completing degree requirements. Depending on what programs are needed to satisfy an individual’s career and educational interests, the Complete 2 Compete website will match him or her to a list of schools that offer the classes needed to complete a degree. Tuition and fees for enrollment in courses may be assessed according to the established tuition and fee schedule at each institution. Some incentives, including academic forgiveness, virtual tutoring, adult learner scholarships and tuition assistance, prior learning assessment and repayment plan options may be available at some of the institutions. Pictured: Governor Phil Bryant speaks at the press conference to announce the launch of the Complete 2 Compete website.

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Northwest’s Project Gateway grant will benefit women with financial need

Beginning with the Spring 2018 semester, Northwest Mississippi Community College will initiate a new grant program called “Project Gateway: From Community College to Careers” that will help the college’s female students who need financial help outside of what their traditional financial aid awards cover. The $50,000 grant comes to Northwest from the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi (WFM), the “only grant- making and advocacy organization in the state entirely dedicated to funding programs that improve the lives of women and girls statewide,” as their website states. According to WFM, the purpose of Project Gateway is to “alleviate financial burdens that hinder women by covering expenses outside of tuition that are not covered by other financial aid, but are associated with completing their degree. The program provides funds for books, supplies for technical programs, labs, scrubs and gas vouchers for student travel for practicum.” Tara Dunn, Northwest dean of students, is the administrator of Project Gateway. According to Dunn, students who want to apply for the grant will need to get a referral from a college employee. “They must have a reference from a faculty member, financial aid counselor or other employee who is aware of their financial hardship. Once the referral is submitted, they can begin the application process,” Dunn said. She explained that a committee made up of members of each Northwest campus has been formed to review the applications. “The committee will review the application, review the reference and then send it to the Financial Aid Office to make sure they have exhausted all of their awards and are eligible to receive grant funds,” Dunn said. The grant is available for women who are facing financial hardship. There is not a set amount, but is based on what is needed on a case-by-case basis. The grant funds are being administered by the Northwest Foundation, and the application will be similar to the one a student uses to apply for a Foundation scholarship.  “It was such a pleasure to work with Ms. Dunn in crafting this proposal, which was graciously accepted by the Women’s Foundation.  The Foundation Office looks forward to working with Ms. Dunn and her committee in disbursing these funds to our female students who need that extra bit of encouragement to complete their studies at Northwest which will prepare them for the next step. We are also excited to have a permanent endowment established with a portion of the grant.  This will assure the continuation of this assistance for generations to come,” said Sybil Canon, associate vice president of Development and Special Projects. There is also another aspect to the grant, according to Dunn. Any Northwest employee can volunteer to mentor a grant recipient to make sure that they follow through with their educational goals for the semester. Dunn said that she will be holding informational sessions on each campus to introduce the grant to Northwest employees, and explain the reference and mentoring processes to them. The grant will continue for two years, ending in the 2018-2019 school year. For more information, contact Dunn at 662-562-3939 or email

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New Northwest Foundation staff welcomed   

Sybil Canon, Northwest Mississippi Community College associate vice president of Development and Special Projects, is pleased to announce that Patti Gordon is assuming the responsibilities of director of Alumni Affairs and Foundation Operations and Marla Kennedy is the new scholarship coordinator and foundation assistant. Gordon, a graduate of Delta State University and a native of Cleveland, began her tenure at Northwest in June 2015.  She has held volunteer leadership positions with Delta State’s Alumni Association and is looking forward to using those skills in the Northwest Alumni Association. Gordon will also maintain the foundation accounting records and assist in fundraising projects. Kennedy is a graduate of Senatobia High School and Argosy University.  She and her husband, Cory, and their son, Dalton, have recently relocated to Senatobia from Dyersburg. Canon is excited about the talents and dedication being brought to the Northwest Foundation/Alumni Office. “These two ladies are consummate professionals, they have a sincere desire to help our students, and they possess an enthusiasm and passion for the work we do that is inspiring,” Canon said. For more information on the Northwest Foundation, contact Kennedy at 662-560-1105 or email Pictured: New Northwest Mississippi Community College Foundation staff members Patti Gordon, left and Marla Kennedy, right, are welcomed by Sybil Canon, associate vice president of Development and Special Projects, center. Gordon, who came to Northwest in 2015, is assuming the responsibilities of director of Alumni Affairs and Foundation Operations and Kennedy is the new scholarship coordinator and foundation assistant. (Photo by LaJuan Tallo)  

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President accepts NMEC endowment donation

Dr. Gary Lee Spears, president of Northwest Mississippi Community College, right, recently accepted a grant in the amount of $10,000 from Dr. C. L. Stevenson, co-director of the North Mississippi Education Consortium (NMEC), left.  This grant will be added to the NMEC Scholarship Endowment which has already been established with the Northwest Foundation. “NMEC has been providing annual grants to Northwest since 2007, all of which have been used to provide scholarships to prospective Mississippi teachers. Our college and foundation are extremely grateful for this support of our students who have chosen Education as their career pathway,” Spears said. According to the NMEC website, The North Mississippi Education Consortium is a partnership among 44 North Mississippi public school districts, three community colleges, and the University of Mississippi School of Education whose purpose is to provide a means whereby participating members can assure quality educational programs through cooperative efforts and shared resources, for the benefit of students and communities being served. (Photo by LaJuan Tallo)

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New faculty introduced at Northwest back to school meeting

Northwest Mississippi Community College held its opening faculty meeting on Aug. 7 on the Senatobia campus, during which new full-time faculty members were recognized. New faculty on the Senatobia campus are Jared Brownlee, assistant band director; Kevin Hopson, business instructor; Jeremy Jarreau, automotive technology instructor; Jay Sarver, English instructor; Bonnie Griffis, sociology instructor; David Hendrix, biology instructor and Tony Smith, collision repair instructor. Three new faculty members at the DeSoto Center are Ebone Dukes, funeral service technology instructor; Natacia Davis, English instructor; Josh Green, Writing Center coordinator and Carla Townsend, history instructor. On the Oxford campus, Cathy Wilburn is the new surgical technology instructor and Carroll Huebner will serve as Writing Center coordinator. Fall semester day and evening classes begin Monday, Aug. 14. Late registration will begin Aug. 14 and end Aug. 18. For more information, please visit the college’s website at Pictured: Northwest Mississippi Community College President, Dr. Gary Lee Spears (far right) welcomed new faculty members at the annual opening faculty meeting on Aug. 7. Front row left to right are Ebone Dukes, funeral service technology, DeSoto Center; Natacia Davis, English instructor, DeSoto Center; Jeremy Jarreau, automotive technology instructor, Senatobia campus; Jay Sarver, English instructor, Senatobia; Bonnie Griffis, sociology instructor, Senatobia and Carla Townsend, history instructor, DeSoto Center. Second row (l-r) are David Hendrix, biology, Senatobia; Josh Green, Writing Center coordinator, DeSoto Center; Tony Smith, collision repair instructor, Senatobia and Kevin Hopson, business instructor, Senatobia. Not pictured are Jared Brownlee, assistant band director; Carroll Huebner, Writing Center coordinator, Oxford and Cathy Wilburn, surgical technology instructor, Oxford.  (Photo by LaJuan Tallo)  

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Higdon honored for years of service to board

Pictured: Northwest Mississippi Community College President, Dr. Gary Lee Spears, right, recognized Northwest Board of Trustees member Sammy Higdon of Yalobusha County for his 10 years of service to the board at the August meeting. Higdon was honored at the MACJC Board of Trustees one-day conference, held in July at the Clyde Muse Center in Pearl. (Photo by Julie Bauer)

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Late registration dates for Northwest Fall 2017 semester set

It is not too late to register for the fall semester at Northwest Mississippi Community College. Late registration is taking place from Monday, Aug. 14 through Friday, Aug. 18 on all campuses. Students may register for online classes at any campus during this time.
On the Senatobia and Oxford campuses, registration will take place from 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. each day.
At the DeSoto Center, registration will take place Monday – Thursday, Aug. 14-17 from 8 a.m.– noon and 1:30–6:30 p.m. and Friday, Aug. 18 from 8 a.m. – noon and 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Financial Aid is still available for those who qualify. New students can call (662) 562-3222 for information about applying to the college or visit
Stop by any of the Northwest campuses in Senatobia, Southaven or Oxford to complete registration.
For more information, visit the college’s website at or call 662-562-3200.  

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Open House set for new child care resource center at Northwest

  An open house for Northwest Mississippi Community College’s new resource center for child care providers will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 29 from 5-8 p.m. The center is housed in the Berry Building, Room 105 on the Senatobia campus. The center will serve child care providers in Northwest’s 11-county district.   Marti McCloud, coach and professional development specialist, will be implementing the training and coaching for providers, while Heather Perryman, resource and referral associate, will be cataloging and checking out resources at the center. Perryman will also be managing the training calendar, once trainings begin Sept. 5.   “We are excited about the open house, which will include giveaways, a scavenger hunt, fun activities and crafts for the children and their families. Child care providers, faculty, and families are welcome.  There will be door prizes, and refreshments will be served,” McCloud said.   The Early Childhood Academy (ECA) is funded by the Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS) with funds from the Child Care and Development Block Grant. The ECA will provide professional development training and coaching for child care providers. It will also provide a resource and referral center for technical support along with learning materials to check out.   McCloud explained that training classes will be held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6-8 p.m. with extended hours in the resource center on those days for providers to come and check out resources before training begins. They will also have training one Saturday a month. “Child care providers need 15 hours of continuing education each year for licensing; this is something we can provide on our campus,” McCloud said.   ECA’s services extend past training, according to McCloud. As a coach, she can provide a more in-depth, goal-setting relationship with providers, and help them develop plans to meet their goals. For providers who want to grow a “comprehensive” center rather than a “standard” center, the professional development support will give more in-depth, individualized coaching and collaboration.   Both families and child care providers will be able to check out learning materials, including professional and parenting books and toys from the resource center, according to McCloud. “We are in the process of cataloging everything and putting some learning materials in thematic units. This helps parents and directors when they are selecting learning materials and planning for rich learning experiences. The thematic units help ECA make better decisions about what learning materials are needed as we connect learning across domains,” she said. Technical support will be provided in the resource center and onsite at the child care centers. “Parents and families can come in and let their children play in the center while finding out about local learning centers and other support that is available to children in the community,” McCloud said.   She explained that parents who want to check out materials for their children will have to provide photo identification, and they will be able to keep items for two weeks. Child care centers will be able to check out materials to take to their centers for the children, as well, McCloud said.   The ECA is a different entity from Northwest’s Early Childhood Education Technology program and Child Enrichment Center, which is housed in the Marilyn R. Spears Building on the Senatobia campus.   Both McCloud and Perryman are Northwest alumni. Perryman recently graduated with an associate degree in Early Childhood Education. McCloud holds a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership. Her father, Claude Haraway, was an instructor at Northwest’s DeSoto Center for many years.   “Northwest has always been a special part of our family. I really wanted to get into professional development, and this position seemed to be perfect for my background. I am excited to see ECA and Northwest help children and child care providers receive the resources they need to be successful,” McCloud said.   For more information on the open house or ECA, contact McCloud at 662-560-1137 or email   Pictured:  An Open House for the new Early Childhood Academy (ECA), located on the Senatobia campus of Northwest Mississippi Community College, will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 29 from 5-8 p.m. The ECA will provide professional development training and coaching for child care providers in Northwest’s 11-county district.  Staff members are (l-r) Marti McCloud, coach and professional development specialist and Heather Perryman, resource and referral associate. (Photo by LaJuan Tallo)    

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Calloway wins Northwest’s Grisham Excellence in Teaching award

Jarrod Calloway, a psychology instructor at Northwest Mississippi Community College, was presented the Sandy Grisham Excellence in Teaching Award at the college’s opening faculty meeting on Aug. 7. This award is given to an academic faculty member on the Senatobia campus in honor of Sandy Grisham, a retired instructor in the Social Science Division. The selection is made by the Academic Division directors on the Senatobia campus. The award winner receives a check in the amount of $1,000 from the Northwest Foundation, which represents earnings on the endowment established by faculty and staff. Calloway received his bachelor’s degree from Harding University and his master’s degrees from Pepperdine University. He has been teaching at Northwest since August 2006. “Jarrod excitedly incorporates our changing world into lectures that maintain a crisp edge and some might say, a cutting edge in his classroom. He never cowers in the face of changing technology, but embraces and celebrates change, especially if the change is going to enhance the classroom environment,” said Dr. Chuck Strong, division director of social sciences at Northwest. For more information, visit the college’s website at Pictured: Northwest Mississippi Community College President, Dr. Gary Lee Spears (left) presents Jarrod Calloway, psychology instructor (center) with the Sandy Grisham Excellence in Teaching award for his work on the Senatobia campus. Sybil Canon, associate vice president of Development and Special Projects (right) joined Dr. Spears for the presentation at the college’s Faculty Meeting on Aug. 7. (Photo by LaJuan Tallo)      

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Upcoming Reading Roundtable set for Aug. 29

  The August meeting of Northwest Mississippi Community College’s Reading Roundtable, made possible with funds from Sycamore Bank, will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 29 at 2 p.m., in the R.C. Pugh Library on the Senatobia campus. Author Susan Cushman, will be in attendance for questions and discussion about her book, Tangles and Plaques. Culled from 60 blog posts spanning eight years, Tangles and Plaques is a candid account of a mother and daughter’s changing relationship as they face the progressive landscape of Alzheimer’s Disease together. As the twisted fibers (tangles) build up inside the nerve cells in her brain and the protein fragments (plaques) fill the spaces between those cells, Effie Johnson, like millions of others who suffer from Alzheimer’s, loses her memory and the stories that make up the fabric of her life. Part Polaroid, part cautionary tale, the reality woven throughout these records of long-distance caregiving is that the tangles and plaques aren’t only in our brains, but often in our relationships. The purpose of the program is to provide a forum to read and discuss a variety of books during the course of every semester. Meetings are held on the last Tuesday of each month. Participants must fill out a registration form, and those wishing to purchase a copy of the book being discussed may do so for $5. Personal or library copies may also be used. For more information or to register, contact Courtney Hicks, instructional librarian at (662) 562-3278 or e-mail  

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