A Virtual Reality At RBC

Message from: President Debbie L. Sydow, Ph.D.

As the utilization of technology for teaching and learning continues to expand in higher education, Richard Bland College is on the forefront of both innovation and research among two-year colleges. This past year, our newly formed Research & Innovation unit, led by Kim Boyd, Ph.D., has secured more than $3 million dollars in grants, with another $6 million pending. The College has far surpassed expectations, and we are optimistic about future opportunities for state and federal grants that support STEM, campus safety as it relates to violence prevention, reengagement of COVID Traumatized Students, and the newly formed RBC Global Gateway. 

At Richard Bland College, we value research, and we promote innovation. This third edition of Inside RBC Magazine is dedicated to that focus. As you read about newly formed community partnerships and grant program initiatives, also take a moment to learn about the incredible accomplishments of RBC alumni and athletes. The RBC family is incredibly proud of this year’s accomplishments. Drone technology and aviation have become more than a virtual reality at RBC. Research and innovation have literally taken off!


Message from: President Debbie L. Sydow, Ph.D.

Viewed from any perspective, Richard Bland College is on the rise. This fall, RBC enrollment grew by more than twenty percent (20%), and based on growing interest, we are sanguine about projections for future enrollment. As a new model for higher education in Virginia, RBC offers flexible and personalized study options, work-based learning, and high-value credentials to high school, college and adult students throughout the Commonwealth. RBC’s affordable, one-size-fits one approach is different.

At RBC, we believe in the power of difference, and this second edition of Inside RBC Magazine features stories that highlight our rich diversity of pro- grams, partnerships and people. Whether you read the magazine from cover to cover, select stories of particular interest, or just flip through the pictures, I hope you will be inspired by what you find.

From the arrival of un- manned aircraft at the new DroneUp Flight Academy at RBC, to the increase of research and innovation grants that support student persistence, to the promotion of faculty profiles through our Study With Me campaign, Richard Bland College is on the rise.


Message from: President Debbie L. Sydow, Ph.D.

Richard Bland College, one of the smallest, and largely untapped, institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth—com- posed of a diverse population of predominantly low-income students— offers a glimpse into what may lie ahead for higher education. Despite its small size and unique status as Virginia’s only junior college, Richard Bland College has proven to be an effective higher education innovator in the realm of talent pathways through bold initiatives like the new Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME) program that launched in the fall. Not only did the College establish an industry-aligned program, it established the first FAME chapter in Virginia, linking nine regional manufacturing companies with student apprentices who “earn and learn.” This is about internships, but so much more. Students benefit from the integration of the technical core, professional behaviors, and a manufacturing culture. The FAME program is just one example of RBC’s approach to higher education, demonstrating its capacity to be innovative in addressing 21st- century workforce needs by meaningfully linking work and school.

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