Courtesy of SKCTC

Academic Advantage Program Director Dr. Deborah Hodge, left, and Coordinator Sheila Gordon accompany Academic Advantage students on a campus tour of EKU.

SKCTC Academic Advantage welcomes funding increase, new director

At Southeast Kentucky Community & Technical College, good news comes in pairs. Student Support Services, locally known as Academic Advantage, recently learned that the U.S. Department of Education has allotted over $290,000 for the next academic year, a 2.5 percent increase. According to Dr. Carolyn Sundy, vice president of diversity, the program has been awarded nearly $1.5 million over a five-year period.

In addition, longtime Southeast employee Dr. Deborah Hodge was named program director. Dr. Hodge has considerable experience, having served as academic coordinator of the program for the past 11 years. She has worked at the college in various capacities since 1999. This past May, she earned her doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from Eastern Kentucky University. According to Hodge, “I really enjoy working with our students and helping each of them achieve their individual dreams.”

Students qualify for Academic Advantage if they meet at least one of the following criteria:

• Parents do not have a bachelor’s degree;

• Family has limited financial resources; and

• Student has a documented disability.

In addition to receiving the same free tutoring offered to the entire student population, these students receive customized tutorials, counseling and assistance with transfer, financial aid, scholarships, and visits to four-year institutions. Participants with additional challenges are provided with reasonable accommodations in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Currently, the college serves 140 students on its Cumberland and Harlan campuses.

“Most of our students are in Cumberland,” says Hodge, “with a limited number in Harlan.”

For more information on Academic Advantage, contact Hodge at 606-589-3063.