Over the past 50 years, literally tens of thousands of students enrolled in Fayetteville Technical Community College have discovered that the college’s Success Center can help ensure their academic success. One-on-one and small group supplemental instruction and support have made all the difference to many students in achieving success. FTCC serves a cross-section of the communities within Cumberland County and beyond. Students range from teenagers dual-enrolled in high school and FTCC to recent high school graduates to adults seeking a new career to military service members deployed throughout the world. For many, the challenge of attending college is a dream fulfilled.
FTCC second-year Criminal Justice student Michael Morrow explains how he benefited from FTCC’s Success Center: “Because of the extra instruction and support that I received from caring Success Center instructors, I made the Dean’s List last semester.” Morrow’s comment echoes those made by many students since 1963, when the original Learning Lab opened in the one-building (Lafayette Hall) campus of Fayetteville Technical Institute. Originally housed in Lafayette Hall, the Learning Lab began with a handful of instructors selected by its first Director, Patricia Nunalee. At that time, the Lab’s “technology” included 33 1/3 rpm vinyl records and filmstrip projectors — cutting-edge technology — at that time.
During those early years, Learning Lab staff focused on providing one-on-one tutoring. They gained the trust of students and established an enviable reputation among their peers. As the college’s enrollment grew and new courses of study were added, the staff responded by researching and identifying new ways to serve the ever-increasing student body. The first computer was added in the early 1980s, and by the early 1990s, there were more than a dozen computers available to students, along with a range of instructional software designed to help students improve their academic skills, succeed in their studies, graduate and enter their chosen careers.
In 2001, as a department within the new Learning Technologies Division and under the leadership of its second director (Roger Dostall), the Learning Lab began transitioning from almost exclusively tutoring students one on one to increasing the use of state-of-the-art technology and the instruction of small groups. Today, Success Center instructors are joined by visiting classroom faculty, colleagues who voluntarily share their expertise on a scheduled basis. The focus remains on providing supplemental instruction to meet individual learning needs, with a strong emphasis on helping students recognize and accept responsibility for their own learning, progress, and success. In 2005, the Learning Lab became the Success Center, moving into its first-ever custom-designed facility on the second floor of the Harry F. Shaw Virtual College Center.
With 40-plus student computers, workspaces for at least 75 students, five small Focused Group Instruction Rooms, and a classroom serving individuals who are studying to maintain their NC Teacher Certification through specially-designed Continuing Education courses, today’s professional staff strives to fulfill the Success Center’s mission of providing “…supplemental instruction and resources to FTCC curriculum and developmental studies students in order to help them succeed academically and become independent learners.”