Community college earns top grades among faculty, staff

By Josette Keelor

Those who work at Lord Fairfax Community College were not surprised when the Middletown school was named to the Chronicle of Higher Education’s 2014 Great Colleges to Work For list.

Of 92 colleges nationwide that made the grade, Lord Fairfax ranked well, joining the top 42 on the Honor Roll list, according to the website, http://tiny.cc/nx8pjx. Only 12 schools on the Honor Roll are two-year schools like Lord Fairfax.

For employees Eileen Rexrode and Steve Wisecarver, it’s a public confirmation of what they already knew.

“On a personal level, I’ve always known it,” said Rexrode, who started as a faculty secretary and has been an admissions specialist for the last 25 years.

Wisecarver, a fulltime psychology professor for the last 19 years, noted, “It’s just a great place to be.”

He said the school supports the faculty by providing a supportive staff, tools for success and the freedom to teach in a way that works for them.

“But the best part is the students,” he said. From 16 year olds to 75 year olds, “Most of them are there because they really want to learn.”

Schools were chosen from faculty and staff surveys, by tallying their school’s performance in several employee-related categories, a news release from the school stated.

Lord Fairfax was recognized for outstanding features in 10 out of 12 qualifying categories, including compensation and benefits; confidence in senior leadership; facilities, workplace and security; and work/life balance.

Other area schools named to the Great Colleges to Work For list are James Madison University in Harrisonburg for professional/career-development programs, George Mason University in Fairfax for respect and appreciation and work/life balance, Washington and Lee University in Lexington for compensation and benefits and Blue Ride Community and Technical College in Martinsburg, West Virginia, for supervisor or department-chair relationship and work/life balance.

This is the third year Lord Fairfax made the Great Colleges list and the second it made the Honor Roll of top schools.

Lord Fairfax Community College was founded in 1970, and according to Rexrode, the school grows better with age.

“Everybody here has loyalty and respect for the mission of the college towards our students and to each other,” she said. “It makes people dedicated and resourceful, knowledgeable and that goes for everybody.”

She attributed the friendly atmosphere on campus to college President Cheryl Thompson-Stacy, whom she called “one of the nicest people around.”

“She connects with all of her college community,” Rexrode said. “She always makes us feel like we’re worthwhile and that we’re doing a good job, and I just think that’s a win-win situation.”

Read more about the Great Colleges to Work For list at http://chronicle.com/article/Great-Colleges-To-Work-For/147387/#id=hr

Contact staff writer Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or jkeelor@nvdaily.com>