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Empowering Students: The Unique Role of Central Virginia Community College

At Central Virginia Community College (CVCC), there’s no shortage of opportunities for students in Lynchburg, Va.. As the only public college of the five higher education institutions in the area, CVCC provides an outlet for individuals looking for an affordable, accessible education.

Michael Farris, dean of student services, takes pride in serving students from all walks of life and is committed to helping students achieve their goals.

“We take a lot of pride in being public and we understand that there’s a significant amount of responsibility that comes along with being the only public college,” said Farris. “We want to be open access to everyone and help everyone we can.”

Comprehensive Student Support

For many students attending community college, providing academic support isn’t the only resource that’s needed for their success. Unlike some traditional students, community college students may face unique challenges that demand additional accommodations to ensure academic achievement.

“We understand that our student population, they have their feet in several different worlds as transient students and as commuters,” said Farris. “There’s been a recognition that we needed to be able to connect students with community resources. Resources such as mental health support, food support, things that traditionally we may not have been able to provide students, emergency assistance.”

Leading By Example

For Farris, helping students isn’t just a job, it’s truly a passion. As a first-generation college student, he knows how hard it can be to find success and how having support can help students live up to their potential.

“I feel so fortunate that I now have the ability to work with students that were in many ways in similar situations I was 30 years ago,” he added. “I’ve blazed a trail for my own family, and I enjoy helping students navigate this experience and get them through programs and classes and credentials and rewrite their family’s story.”

Virginia’s Community Colleges play a pivotal role in their communities with different needs and different backgrounds throughout the commonwealth. Central Virginia Community College continues to be a beacon for students looking to find their answer and grow as people and professionals.

“I’ve worked at a couple of community colleges in the Commonwealth, and I can tell you that the needs of the greater Fredericksburg area are different than the needs of the Central Virginia region, and I’m fascinated by that,” said Farris. “We have a unique role in our community at CVCC, and I just love being a part of it.”