VGCC Offers Medical Office Assistant Course at South Campus and Franklin Campus

— VGCC Press Release

VGCC Offers Medical Office Assistant Course at South Campus and Franklin Campus

Area residents interested in getting jobs in medical offices will have two opportunities for learning new skills this summer through continuing education programs at Vance-Granville Community College.

The Medical Office Assistant course is scheduled to begin in mid-May on VGCC’s Franklin Campus. Another offering of the course is scheduled for early June at South Campus.

At the Franklin Campus, the course will be offered on Mondays, May 14 through June 18, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and two Saturdays, May 19 and June 2, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The Franklin Campus is located at 8100 NC Highway 56 in Louisburg.

At the South Campus, the course will be offered on Mondays and Wednesdays, from June 6 through July 2, from 9 a.m. to noon. The South Campus is located between Creedmoor and Butner at 1547 Campus Drive, off NC Highway 56.

For both course offerings, students will also complete 42 hours of coursework online.

This course is designed to provide training in the skills required for a medical office assistant. Course topics include keyboarding and basic computer skills; preparation of medical records, health insurance and financial records of patients; understanding medical terminology, body systems, diseases and clinical procedures used in a medical office; preparation of medical reports; health care law; handling front office operations; and assisting the physician and medical staff.

Students who complete the program will be eligible to apply for entry-level administrative positions in doctor’s offices and clinics, as well as health care facilities such as nursing homes and retirement communities.

This course is approved for CE to CU credit at VGCC. Those students who pass the course and earn a certificate from the college can use the contact hours as credit in the Office Administration and Medical Office Administration certificate and degree programs. Students can also earn 6.6 CEUs as professional development.

The instructor is Tammy Ball, an instructor for the college’s Office Administration and Medical Office Administration curriculum programs.

Students taking this course must be aged 17 or older and have a high school diploma or its equivalent or permission from their high school counselor.

The cost of the course is $187. Qualifying students may be eligible for tuition assistance.

Prospective students can now register and pay for the course online (

The deadline to register for the Franklin Campus course is May 8 and for the South Campus course May 31.

For information or registration, please contact Kyle Burwell, VGCC’s director of Occupational Extension at [email protected] or (252) 738-3276. For questions about the course, please contact the instructor, Tammy Ball, at [email protected] or (252) 738-3248.

(This is not a paid advertisement.  VGCC is however an advertising client of WIZS.)

VGCC chapter of Phi Theta Kappa honor society receives awards

— courtesy VGCC

VGCC Phi Theta Kappa chapter President Brenda Ellis of Durham (left) accepts an award for service on behalf of the chapter from Seth June, the outgoing Carolinas Region vice-president for South Carolina, during the convention in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

The Vance-Granville Community College Alpha Sigma Chi chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society recently brought home several awards from a regional gathering.

Attending the Phi Theta Kappa Carolinas Regional Convention in Myrtle Beach, S.C., March 9-11, were VGCC chapter President Brenda Ellis of Durham, chapter Vice President of Leadership Pamela Campbell of Littleton and chapter advisor Maureen Walters, who teaches English at the college. The Carolinas Region includes 84 Phi Theta Kappa chapters at two-year colleges in North Carolina and South Carolina. Students and advisors at the convention enjoyed a variety of educational seminars, guest speakers, social activities, elections of regional officers and award presentations.

Tiffiny Wolf (left), outgoing secretary for the Carolinas Region of Phi Theta Kappa, presents an award recognizing VGCC’s chapter with “three stars” to chapter Vice President Pamela Campbell of Littleton, during the convention in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

VGCC received three awards of excellence. The chapter was presented with the Carolinas Region service project award for outstanding participation in a “Carolinas Read to Succeed” project, which in VGCC’s case was an effort to collect school supplies and books for children in grades K-12 who are affected by domestic violence.

VGCC was further recognized as a “three-star” level chapter for its community service, the involvement of its members and its efforts at leadership development. Alpha Sigma Chi was one of only two three-star chapters recognized this year in the Carolinas.

Finally, chapter advisor Maureen Walters received the “Horizon Award” for her work in developing the chapter and demonstrating dedication to the mission of Phi Theta Kappa. “Not only did we have a great time at the convention, but we also put VGCC on the map for Phi Theta Kappa,” Walters said, regarding the three honors.

VGCC Phi Theta Kappa chapter advisor Maureen Walters (left) accepts the “Horizon Award” from Ricky Swing, outgoing president for the Carolinas Region, during the convention in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Phi Theta Kappa is the international honor society for students of two-year colleges. VGCC students honored with induction into PTK must have a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.5 in associate degree curriculum programs and have completed at least 12 credit hours toward their degrees. Since VGCC’s chapter of PTK was chartered in 1991, more than 1,900 students have joined. For more information, contact Maureen Walters at 252-738-3406 or [email protected]


VGCC to hold event aimed at homeschoolers

— courtesy VGCC

VGCC to hold event aimed at homeschoolers

Vance-Granville Community College, in partnership with The College at Southeastern, will soon hold an information session specifically designed for high school-aged homeschoolers and homeschooling parents. The event, called “Generation Connect,” is scheduled for Tuesday, April 3, 2018, from 1-3:30 p.m., in the Civic Center on VGCC’s Main Campus in Vance County.

Attendees will learn about the educational opportunities available at both institutions, and the unique partnership that VGCC and The College at Southeastern have recently formed. The colleges will be helping students (at any age) who want to enroll at both institutions at the same time, in order to maximize their career options.

Vance-Granville offers more than 40 degree, diploma, and certificate programs to prepare students for further education or to enter a career directly after graduation. Students will find opportunities through programs in business, computer science, construction, education, engineering, health sciences, human services, industrial technologies, law and public safety, public services and transportation technologies. The college operates four campuses, one each in Vance, Granville, Franklin and Warren counties, while also providing unique online opportunities, with six degrees available totally online.

The College at Southeastern began in 1994 as an undergraduate school of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, located in Wake Forest. The Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees at Southeastern consist of a core curriculum which includes vital training in biblical studies, Christian worldview, world history, theology and English. In addition to their selected Bachelor of Arts major, all students complete a minor in Christian studies with the option of adding a second minor in their area of interest. For students on a Bachelor of Science track, all students have the option of transferring in credits from an Associate in Arts or Associate in Science degree, dual-enrolling in a vocational program at another institution like VGCC, or completing the business minor.

For more information and to RSVP for the information session, contact VGCC TechHire Project Manager Ken Wilson at [email protected] or 252-738-3259.


(This is not a paid advertisement)

VGCC Trustees OK Budget Requests For County Funding

— courtesy VGCC

VGCC Trustees OK Budget Requests For County Funding

The Vance-Granville Community College Board of Trustees approved a proposed total budget request of $3,190,150 for the 2018-2019 fiscal year for Vance, Granville, Franklin and Warren counties at its bimonthly meeting on the college’s Main Campus on Monday, March 19.

In other action, the board also heard updates on the college’s recent grant success, the state’s audit of energy consumption, and the annual financial audit by the state.

VGCC’s budget requests for plant operations and maintenance funding, which include $2,578,710 in current expenses and $611,440 in capital outlay, now go to the board of county commissioners in each of the four counties served by VGCC. The capital outlay budget is composed of $95,960 in recurring needs and $515,480 in one-time needs.

“We are requesting level funding for operating funds for each of our campuses from our counties this year,” said Steven Graham, VGCC’s vice president of finance and operations. “We have projected that our continuation costs are in line with the amount of funding that we are currently receiving from our respective counties.”

Of the $2.57 million current expense county budget, $1,151,597 is being proposed for Vance County for the Main Campus and the nursing simulation lab at Maria Parham Health; $752,184 for Granville County for Main Campus, South Campus and the Culinary Arts location in Oxford; $369,168 for Franklin’s campus; and $225,625 for Warren’s campus. The college will be using $80,136 in institutional monies to fund current expenses.

Of the $95,960 in recurring capital outlay requests for facility improvement needs, funding by county is: Vance, $41,220; Granville, $28,740; Franklin, $20,000; and Warren, $6,000.

The college is requesting the one-time capital outlay funds of $515,480 for the Main Campus in accordance with VGCC’s Capital Improvement Plan submitted to Vance County, said Graham. Vance and Granville share in the funding of the campus between Henderson and Oxford on a 3:1 ratio. A total of $386,610 is being requested from Vance County and $128,870 from Granville.

“The majority of that requested funding will go towards parking lot repairs and resurfacing here at the Main Campus,” said Graham, adding that the funds will also help with the replacement of groundskeeping equipment and a campus police vehicle.

County funding represents approximately 9.5 percent of the college’s overall budget.

Grants Update

Vance-Granville has received grants totaling $1,615,222 for 2017-2018, according to a report delivered to the board by Dr. Ken Lewis, the college’s vice president of institutional research and technology.

The grants include: Perkins, $185,266; NCWorks Career Coach, $116,000; Duke Energy/Piedmont Natural Gas Apprenticeship, $200,000; Department of Transportation Summer Institute, $35,000; Basic Skills Continuation, $827,504; Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, $205,000; Heavy Equipment Operator, $31,452; and NC Tobacco Trust Fund, $15,000.

Additional grants are in progress, including the NC TechHire Alliance, Governor’s Innovation Grant, Siemens Solid Edge CAD and Tecnomatix, and Cannon Foundation, Dr. Lewis noted.

The update was provided from the board’s Curriculum Committee, chaired by Trustee Barbara Cates Harris.

Environmental Assessment

Vance-Granville has saved more than $1 million in energy and water costs over the past decade, according to the results of a State Energy Office assessment recently announced by the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality.

“We are pleased to report that Vance-Granville is 30 percent below the baseline for community colleges in energy consumption and 27 percent below our 2007-2008 consumption,” said Dr. Stelfanie Williams, VGCC’s president, in making the announcement to the board.

The environmental quality assessment gave VGCC a ranking of 12th out of the 58 community colleges in lowest consumption, which Dr. Williams described as “extraordinary given the age of our buildings.”

Danny W. Wright, VGCC’s chair of the Board of Trustees, said, “This demonstrates great stewardship on the part of the people who manage plant operations.”

State Financial Audit

The State Auditor’s Office gave Vance-Granville a clean financial statement audit for the 2016-2017 fiscal year, according to an announcement from Dr. Williams.

“The results of our tests disclosed no deficiencies in internal control over financial reporting that we consider to be material weaknesses in relation to our audit scope or any instances of noncompliance or other matters that are required to be reported under Government Auditing Standards,” said State Auditor Beth Wood in a letter to the college’s Board of Trustees.

“This is a great credit to our Business Office as well as all of the employees throughout the college who deal with financial information,” said Dr. Williams. “I know that I speak for all of the board in commending all staff involved.”

State Budget Priorities

The North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) has adopted seven legislative priorities for the 2018-2019 session of the North Carolina General Assembly, Dr. Williams informed the trustees.

Totaling $52.6 million in recurring funds and $15.2 million in non-recurring funds statewide, the priorities are: closing the skills gap by investing in short-term workforce training programs leading to industry credentials; modernizing the information technology system; ensuring colleges continue to have direct access to information technology staff; incentivizing student access and completion; ensuring high school students are career and college ready; ensuring students have access to 21st Century equipment; and supporting faculty and staff.

The NCCCS adopted a comprehensive strategic plan in February, “Putting Education to Work,” that will guide the system through 2022, focusing on student interest and access, clear and supported pathways for student progress and success, economic and workforce impact, and system effectiveness.

Building Projects

A final assessment of field work has been submitted to the college for the replacement of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and fire alarm systems on the Main Campus, according to a report of the board’s Building Committee, delivered by Trustee Donald C. Seifert, Sr., chair.

The fire alarm replacement work will be completed first, with the initial HVAC system renovation projects for two of the Main Campus buildings being completed in 2019.

With design work and construction documents scheduled to be completed in April, bids are scheduled to go out in May for the renovation of a 3,200-square-foot area at the back of Building 10 to accommodate a practical simulation lab for the Fire/Rescue, Basic Law Enforcement Training and Emergency Medical Services programs. The renovation should be completed this summer.

Renovations to the Welding lab and a demonstration area in the Welding classroom at Franklin County Campus are expected to be completed in early April.

Each project is being funded by monies allocated by the Connect NC Bond passed in March 2016 by North Carolina voters.

Exterior masonry renovations on the Main Campus, which are scheduled to be bid out in April and to begin in May, are being funded by the bond funds and a remaining balance of $69,000 from county resources used for structural renovations to roofs and masonry.

Other Action

In other action:

• Sovanny “Sophie” Taylor of Louisburg, student trustee and president of the Student Government Association, detailed recent and upcoming events for students.

• The Investment Committee, chaired by Trustee L. Opie Frazier, Jr., reported on college’s investments.

• Trustee Sara C. Wester, chair of the Personnel Committee, updated board members on new employees, retirements and resignations, and she informed the board of the plans for the annual evaluation of the president.

• Dr. Williams announced the following events: Sixth Annual Dinner Theater, April 26-27; Endowment Fund Golf Tournament, May 1; Vance-Granville Community Band concert, May 7; and Graduation, May 11. She said the board will have its annual retreat on Aug. 27.

The next meeting of the VGCC Board of Trustees will be held on Monday, May 21, at the Main Campus.


Altec of Creedmoor to VGCC Endowment Fund

— photo and information courtesy of VGCC

Altec Industries of Creedmoor recently made a contribution to the Vance-Granville Community College Endowment Fund to serve as the afternoon round sponsor for the upcoming 34th Annual Endowment Fund Golf Tournament. VGCC Endowment Director Eddie Ferguson, South Campus Dean Cecilia Wheeler and Endowment Specialist Kay Currin accepted the sponsorship from Altec Human Resources Manager Jeff Tingen and Patrick Wooten, General Manager for the Creedmoor location. Pictured above, from left, are Ferguson, Wheeler, Tingen, Wooten and Currin. Wooten noted that, as the Creedmoor facility continues to expand, he looks forward to continuing to grow Altec’s partnership with the community college. The company is a longtime supporter of the golf tournament and partners with VGCC programs related to advanced manufacturing, including Welding and Mechatronics Engineering Technology. Altec is a leading provider of products and services to the electric utility, telecommunications, tree care, lights and signs, and contractor markets.

The Golf Tournament is scheduled to be held on Tuesday, May 1, 2018, at the Henderson Country Club. For more information, call (252) 738-3409.


VGCC instructor’s children donate pieces of history to library

— courtesy VGCC

The children of a longtime Vance-Granville Community College instructor who qualifies as one of the “founding mothers” of the institution recently donated historical records and other items to the college library.

The late Frieda Bender Haun of Kittrell, who passed away in 2010 at the age of 95, became well-known in the community in part for the “personal enrichment” classes she taught at VGCC. Her involvement in the school started long before it opened in 1969, however. In 1965, Haun was appointed to what was then called the “Vance County Community College Steering Committee,” a group formed to research establishing a local two-year college and to gather support for it.

Documents related to that steering committee are among the papers and items that one of Haun’s daughters, Erika H. Rosenberger of Raleigh, inherited. She organized them and offered them to VGCC Director of Library Services Elaine Stem, to become part of the college archives. Stem noted that the items provide unique glimpses into the history of how the college was founded.

Seated, from left, in the VGCC Library are siblings Betsy H. Stuart of Fayetteville, Harold W. Haun of Raleigh and Erika H. Rosenberger of Raleigh, along with some of their mother’s handmade baskets and a scrapbook of materials their mother kept. Standing, from left, are VGCC Endowment Director Eddie Ferguson and Director of Library Services Elaine Stem. Another sibling, Veronika H. Marquoit, lives in New York State and was unavailable for the photo. (VGCC photo)


“Our VGCC Library scrapbooks only begin with 1969,” Stem said. “What is significant about this collection is that Mrs. Haun had documents dating back to May 6, 1965. The VGCC history book (‘Vance-Granville Community College: The First Thirty Years’) references the 1965 Steering Committee, and now we have some of those original letters.”

The earliest letter in the collection is from Emily Whitten, clerk to the Vance County Board of Commissioners. Whitten wrote to Haun, “Considerable thought has been given by the Board of Commissioners to the establishment of a Community College in Vance County…. We hope we can be in a position to request State funds for this project in the 1967 session of the Legislature. In order to be in this position, many things must be accomplished on a local level. Therefore, the Board has appointed certain citizens of the County to serve on a Community College Steering Committee…. You have been appointed to serve on this committee. We hope you will agree to serve in this capacity to help assure a Community College for Vance County.” Of the 36 people appointed at that time to the Steering Committee, Haun was among just five women.

“She was very proud of the opportunity to serve in that capacity,” Rosenberger said. “She was probably selected to be on the steering committee because she was active in the Kittrell community and people knew that she was interested in education.”

Haun was quickly chosen to be a member of a three-person nominating committee to select the leaders of the new Steering Committee. She was later appointed to serve on the “General Survey Committee.”

The steering committee later changed its focus to seeking a Technical Institute, when it became apparent that the state was not going to approve a community college in Vance County. Local leaders knew they could always seek community college status at a later date, which they eventually did. Haun continued serving on the steering committee to form a technical institute, an effort which succeeded in 1969. One record shows she was involved in discussions of where to locate the initial campus for the technical institute. “I think about the people she served with on the committee back in the 1960s, and I think they’d be pleased to see how the college has grown,” Rosenberger said. “It was just a dream back then.”

A Warren County native, Frieda Bender married Walter Haun, and the couple raised four children. She led an active life, becoming involved in the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service, Home Demonstration Clubs, 4-H Clubs, the Kittrell Community Club and Delta Kappa Gamma. She was a member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.

“She took advantage of every opportunity to learn and to pass knowledge along to others,” her son, Harold W. Haun, recalled. “She always aimed higher.” Proud of her work at VGCC, he and his siblings remembered that their mother was, for whatever reason, the only one of her siblings who did not have the opportunity to go to college. “But she often said that, despite that fact, she was the only one of her siblings who taught at a college,” Rosenberger added.

When Vance County Technical Institute was still fairly new, Rosenberger said, her mother enrolled to take a continuing education class. “Someone in the class said they would like to learn about chair caning or making baskets, and my mother knew how to do that. She had been teaching things like that for the Home Demonstration Club,” Rosenberger recalled. “So she approached the college in the early 1970s about teaching such classes, and they agreed.” Haun continued teaching arts and crafts classes for VGCC through around the year 2000, when she was 85.

In the 1980s, it became difficult for Haun to leave her ailing husband at home for extended periods of time. With the permission of college officials, she started holding her classes in the basement of her own home. “VGCC became a great vehicle for her,” Rosenberger said. “Having the ability to teach in her basement really enriched her life in her later years.”

Along with letters, the records Haun kept about VGCC included meeting minutes and newspaper clippings. In addition, Rosenberger and her siblings have donated some of Haun’s handmade baskets to represent her artistry. Haun made baskets and stools and was particularly adept at chair caning. A chair she made was selected to represent VGCC in the N.C. Community College System’s art exhibition and sat for one year in the office of Robert Scott, the former governor of North Carolina, then serving as president of the system.

“Our mother would be glad that the college appreciates her collection and delighted that all those clippings she kept will be maintained here,” said her daughter, Betsy H. Stuart. “I’m glad she’s being remembered in this way.”

“We’re so grateful to the children of Frieda Haun for thinking of VGCC and for preserving their mother’s legacy,” said VGCC Endowment Fund Director Eddie Ferguson. “The unique items they have donated will be invaluable to us as we prepare to celebrate our college’s 50th anniversary in 2019.”

For more information on donating items related to VGCC history, contact Elaine Stem at [email protected] or (252) 738-3340 or Eddie Ferguson at [email protected] or (252) 738-3264.


VGCC honors Men’s Basketball sophomores

— courtesy VGCC

Three sophomore student-athletes on the Vance-Granville Community College Vanguards men’s basketball team were recently honored on the completion of their playing careers at the college.

From left, VGCC student-athlete Mitch Beck, Men’s Basketball Head Coach DeMarcus Oliver and student-athletes Kenneth “KJ” Finley and Calvin Malik Manley are seen here during a ceremony to recognize the sophomores, right before their last home game at Aycock Recreation Center in Henderson. (VGCC photo)

Just before the start of the Vanguards’ last home game of the season, versus Guilford Tech Community College on Feb. 24, VGCC Head Coach DeMarcus Oliver recognized three departing players — forward Mitch Beck of Raleigh (a graduate of East Wake High School), point guard Kenneth “KJ” Finley, Jr., of Louisburg (Wakefield High School) and combo guard Calvin Malik Manley of Louisburg (Louisburg High School).

Beck is also a VGCC student ambassador and will soon complete the Associate in Arts program. Finley and Manley are both finishing up their associate degrees in Criminal Justice.

For more information on joining the Vanguards next season, contact Jermiel Hargrove at 252-738-3246 or [email protected].


VGCC scholarship endowed by Ardagh

— courtesy VGCC

Ardagh Group, a global leader in packaging solutions with a facility in Henderson, has established a new scholarship at Vance-Granville Community College. Once fully endowed, the Ardagh Academic Achievement Scholarship will be awarded to a VGCC student each year.

Ardagh Group manufactures packaging for some of the world’s biggest brands. The company operates 109 glass and metal manufacturing facilities in 22 countries, employing approximately 23,500 people. Ardagh has won over 100 international awards related to innovation and has been granted over 50 worldwide patents. The company, which was once known locally as Saint-Gobain Containers, has collaborated with VGCC for many years, utilizing the college’s industry services, including customized training. Ardagh also partners with the college on Work-Based Learning opportunities and programs related to advanced manufacturing.

Pictured, from left, at the Ardagh plant in Henderson are VGCC President Dr. Stelfanie Williams, Ardagh Operations Manager Todd Concienne, Plant Manager Stephane Jean, Human Resources Manager Todd Glawe, VGCC Endowment Specialist Kay Currin and VGCC Endowment Director Eddie Ferguson. (VGCC photo)

The manufacturer has supported the VGCC Endowment Fund Golf Tournament for several years and was one of the premier sponsors for the record-breaking 33rd annual Golf Tournament in 2017.

“We send our employees to various VGCC programs, and it’s been a seamless process for us,” said Todd Glawe, human resources manager for the facility in Henderson. “The manufacturing world is changing, with much more sophisticated equipment, so we need the training provided by technical programs at the college in order to help us be efficient and successful.”

Ardagh’s Henderson plant manufactures glass bottles and jars, and counts North Carolina’s own Mt. Olive Pickle Company among its longstanding customers. That company holds a special place in the history of Vance-Granville Community College, as college Endowment Director Eddie Ferguson noted, because the largest single gift in VGCC history came from the estate of Robert B. “Bob” Butler of Warrenton, a retired executive with Mt. Olive.

“We have been pleased to be able to assist Ardagh for many years by meeting their needs for training, and we are delighted by their generous support in the form of a scholarship that will help local students achieve career success while also enhancing workforce development,” said Dr. Stelfanie Williams, president of VGCC.

Ferguson added, “Ardagh is not only a leading manufacturer on the international level, but is also one of our great local employers and partners, so we are honored by their investment in the future of our college and our community.”

Through the Endowment Fund, VGCC has awarded more than 9,100 scholarships to students since 1982. Scholarships have been endowed by numerous individuals, industries, businesses, civic groups, churches and the college’s faculty and staff. Tax-deductible donations to the VGCC Endowment Fund have often been used to honor or remember a person, group, business or industry with a lasting gift to education. For more information about the Endowment Fund, call (252) 738-3409.


All VGCC Campuses Closing at 1 p.m. on 3-12-18

— submitted by Andrew Beal, Public Information Officer, VGCC

Due to projected inclement weather, all campuses of Vance-Granville Community College will close at 1 p.m. today, Monday, March 12, 2018.

Thank you for helping us to spread the word.

Researcher explores “Your Brain on Its Own” in VGCC lecture

— courtesy VGCC

To deal with change, manage stress and gain insight into making good decisions, it’s best to understand yourself and how your brain works, neuroscience researcher Phil Dixon shared with an audience at Vance-Granville Community College on Feb. 27, for his second of three sessions on “Using Your Brain for a Change.”

“In all of these situations, if you don’t understand yourself, you’re not going to be able to understand others,” Dixon said. A resident of Oxford, N.C., who is originally from England, Dixon has worked in a variety of industries around the world, including a time with Apple. His passion for neuroscience led to the series of lectures that are being sponsored by VGCC’s Office of the Endowment. The first was held in January, and he’ll conclude with a session later this month.

In the February session, “Your Brain on Its Own,” Dixon focused on various profiles, tendencies, influences and contexts that help persons understand who they are and how they are likely to react. His research about the brain is driven by a desire to help individuals become better leaders and make better decisions in their daily lives.

Dixon explored a variety of “profiles” designed to help individuals better understand themselves. The “Five Ps” profile, for example, reveals that we are all different. “What is a threat to one person may not be a threat to another,” Dixon noted.

“Character Profile,” meanwhile, begins with distinguishing individuals by whether they have an “ask” or a “tell” orientation. “To what degree do you tell people what to do, versus asking people what should be done?” he asked. From that vantage point, individuals are seen in one of four categories: Analytical (being correct vs. wrong), Driver (wanting results vs. fearing failure), Amiable (valuing relationships vs. fearing rejection) and Expressive (feeling exhilaration vs. a fear of not being good enough).

Meanwhile, knowing your tendencies — biases, habits, patterns of behavior, the triggers that may cause reactions, and paradigms — will help you better understand how to maintain your focus, Dixon explained.

He also noted the importance of understanding those things that have an influence on your life — beliefs, values, familiarity, memories, available choices, intelligence, etc. — and the context in which you view the world — your personal experiences, life cycles and recent events. “Your genetics make a difference,” he added. “The current data says that your genetics give you about 40 percent of your character.”

In discussing the dynamics of how the brain reacts to change, Dixon explored the learning process required should a person decide to go through a change — feasibility, appeal, agreeableness, resistance to change, readiness to change, and the celebration of small successes, among other points.

He recalled the character, “Yoda,” from the “Star Wars” movies, who said, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” Dixon noted, “When we say that I’ll ‘try’ and do that, what happens in your brain? You set yourself up with an excuse. I only said I’ll try and do it. I didn’t say I’d do it.”

Dixon also explored strategies for dealing with stress, ways to prevent stress and how important it is to get enough sleep and maintain positivity in your life.

Decision making, he said, needs to be carefully planned. Making decisions is only sometimes logical, rational, conscious and data-based, he said. It’s often based on emotion and is nonconscious and irrational, clouded by tendencies such as bias, habits and patterns.

“To make good decisions, understand yourself. Be aware of what your tendencies are around decision making,” he offered. “Prepare the process of making decision before you have to make decisions.” For many people, the time of day for deciding is paramount. “If you have tough decisions to make, make them in the morning,” he said.

The best insights come when you are at your freshest, he said. “When do you have your best ideas?” he asked. “The conditions for having insight tend to be when you are relaxed, first thing in the morning, when you are jogging, when you are in the shower, when you are doing something repetitive that doesn’t require your pre-frontal cortex to be taking control, and when you’re not too happy. If you are only happy, those signals override it. When you are slightly reflective, slightly far away and when you are not thinking about the problem, those are the times you are likely to have your biggest insights.”

The concluding session in Dixon’s series, “Your Brain with Another Person,” scheduled for Tues., March 27, will explore bias and the nonconscious brain, communication, coaching, influencing and negotiating, encouraging innovation in others and helping others change. The lecture is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. to noon, in the small auditorium in Building 2 on VGCC’s Main Campus in Vance County. The public is invited. For more information, contact VGCC Endowment Director Eddie Ferguson at (252) 738-3264 or [email protected].