PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — The first day at Pensacola State College was a busy one, according to PSC Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Jon Stephenson.
“The first day of school has been great. It has not been overwhelming, but it has been very busy, which is always good on a first day,” said Stephenson. “When I first pulled into the parking lot this morning, the place was full.”
As of 4:05 p.m., on Monday, the college had 410 students registered for classes just for that day.
“Our headcount is 7,571,” Stephenson said. “The headcount when I started here around June 1 was right around 4,000. This is not an admissions only effort. I have been very impressed with the college in general. I like to mention the slogan, ‘Together excellent, apart mediocre.’
Being a former college football player, you’ve got all walks of life, different denominations coming together for one goal for a football game. Here, it is the same thing. We’ve got all different walks of life. Everybody is coming together, from our grounds crew to our upper-level administration. Our president, Mr. Meadows has been here every week. So, we have had the support from everyone. When you have that, you are going to have good results.”
This is week five of a makeshift registration process that is usually held in the Registration Center, but is now being held in the Allen Liberal Arts Building. Stephenson said it has grown from week to week.
“The average of the past two weeks has been in the 400s,” said Stephenson. “It has been great for the college, considering COVID has played such a game changer in higher education. To see colleges growing now, after what we have experienced the past couple years is exciting.”
Stephenson said the college is implementing several student organizations, sports are getting underway and the college is adding an esports team. Stephenson said he is fitting right in at PSC.
“I like to say that there’s not a job in student services that I haven’t done,” said Stephenson. “Basically, you’re going to find me running up and down stairs. I’m not going to ask someone else to do something. Even in the role that I am here, my sleeves are rolled up and I’m right in the midst of it with everyone else.”
Having a student-first philosophy is something that Stephenson said he ensures PSC follows through with.
“I don’t know how the culture has been over the years here, but one thing you’re going to find now is that we are trying our best to treat each student the way they need to be treated and they are not just a number,” said Stephenson. “We call out these numbers and they are good data, but with student success and student first philosophy, they are a success story. That is the way you need to treat things. That is what we are incorporating into the mission here at the college.”
When asked what advice he could give first-time students on a college campus, Stephenson quoted his father and mentioned students should be familiar with the campus.
“One thing my father always told me, growing up as a higher educator himself, is that the first day of classes, so many students are running around in a hamster wheel trying to figure out where to go,” said Stephenson. “This is a great place. It is basically a four-year college setup. So, if I could give anybody advice, go and look at our campus maps. Go and identify your buildings and know where you’re going.”
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