The Transylvania Times -

BRCC's Student Success Center Here To Help


Last updated 2/27/2019 at 3:10pm

Photo courtesy of Edward Maglott

From left to right, Blue Ridge Community College peer tutor Wren Harry, Student Success coordinator Michele Handy, and peer tutor Wesley Sheffield are part of the Student Success tutoring team.

At Blue Ridge Community College, the Student Success Center plays a central role in the academic climate. From tutoring to providing access to valuable resources, the Student Success Center oversees a wide range of support services.

Michele Handy, librarian and Student Success coordinator, set her mission to help students while she was pursuing her degrees. Handy earned a master's degree in English literature from Appalachian State and a master's in library and information science from the University of North Carolina Greensboro, taught college English, and served as an elementary school media coordinator in Henderson County before joining the Blue Ridge Community College staff in 2013.

After coming to Blue Ridge, Handy began to recognize students from her "story-times" in the elementary schools. Handy describes Blue Ridge Community College's Transylvania Campus as the ideal setting for her; she loves to see students set and then achieve their goals. Handy, who feels motivated by BRCC's tagline "Your Success is our Mission," provides friendly support to students in order to help them succeed. In an increasingly impersonal digital world, the Student Success Center at Blue Ridge Community College offers personal, accessible support to students navigating higher education and future job opportunities.

In this era, nothing could be more important than education, and at community colleges all across North Carolina many people are advancing their studies and receiving valuable job training. Blue Ridge Community College serves over 10,000 residents a year, with students seeking degrees or pursuing continuing education.

To help those returning to school, the Student Success Center provides academic support, helping students advance toward important goals. All students benefit from Student Success Center assistance: students may be straight out of high school or home school, non-traditional, may be taking online courses, may be working full-time, or balancing raising a family with school work.

Ro Hayden, a student graduating in May 2019, returned to community college after a 26-year break from education.

Hayden said, "I cannot say enough about the Transylvania campus, Michele Handy and all the tutors in the library. This semester I have (Susan as) my own math tutor. I'm lost without Susan. . . . I feel so blessed. And she sticks with me until I get it."

The Student Success Center's various services seek to give students the best chance for academic accomplishment. Faculty tutors help students grasp material. Peer tutors help fellow students while also understanding their struggles academically. In an increasingly fast-paced world, the Student Success Center keeps up. Students can use digital tools to help improve their writing and consult with online tutors who have master's degrees in their fields.

One of the Student Success Center programs that Handy feels proud of is peer tutoring. Handy recruits students who have achieved success in academic subjects to help others complete coursework and study productively. Peer tutors are paid by the hour; tutors become temporary employees of the college, and are given an outlet to sharpen their own understanding of a field they are interested in.

Peer tutor Wren Harry said, "Being a peer tutor is rewarding and an honor because I am able to help others, particularly fellow students. I feel a peer tutor can better relate to a student and understand his or her needs or concerns with a class."

At Blue Ridge Community College, every service and function is intended to walk alongside students and offer them the best chance for success. No matter what academic skills need improvement, the Student Success Center keeps its students' success at the center.

For more information about Student Success Center tutoring at Blue Ridge Community College, contact the Transylvania Campus at (828) 883-2520 or visit


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