New name, same commitment

Coastal Alabama Community College remains hub for higher education in Baldwin

By John Underwood / john@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 8/25/17

BAY MINETTE, Alabama — For more than 50 years, one local community college has been the hub of higher education in Baldwin County.

Beginning as Bay Minette State Junior College, Coastal Alabama …

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New name, same commitment

Coastal Alabama Community College remains hub for higher education in Baldwin

Posted

BAY MINETTE, Alabama — For more than 50 years, one local community college has been the hub of higher education in Baldwin County.

Beginning as Bay Minette State Junior College, Coastal Alabama Community College began life as one of the 13 original two-year colleges created by an act of the Alabama Legislature in 1963.

The name was changed to the William Lowndes Yancey State Junior College in 1966 to honor a pre-Civil War statesman and educator. In 1970, the college was christened James H. Faulkner State Junior College to honor James H. “Jimmy” Faulkner, owner and publisher of the Baldwin Times newspaper and a former Bay Minette mayor and state senator.

The name Faulkner State Community College was adopted by the State Board of Education in August 1992 to more accurately reflect its mission and purpose.

In addition to its main administrative campus in Bay Minette, the college maintains campuses in Fairhope (opened at its present location in 1987) and Gulf Shores (opened in 1993). From an initial enrollment of 401 students and one campus in 1965, the college has grown to more than 5,000 students on its three campuses.

In January of this year, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges Board of Trustees approved the consolidation of Faulkner State Community College with Jefferson Davis Community College, based in Atmore, and Alabama Southern Community College, based in Monroeville, under a new name, Coastal Alabama Community College.

“We each have been around for more than 50 years,” said Gary Branch, regional president of Coastal Alabama Community College in a statement in January. “This is not a new mission for our colleges; however, it is a new beginning for Coastal Alabama Community College.”

The Bay Minette campus serves as the regional main campus for the newly consolidated college and on Monday, Aug. 21, students were welcomed to campus for the start of its first full year of service under the new designation and name.

“This consolidation took everyone being on board with the purpose and seeing the vision,” Branch said. “Now that we have enrolled our first fall class, we are seeing the results of the work. Employees at the college have worked for nearly two years to see this consolidation through. There is a renewed energy across all of our campuses as we continue this new legacy known as Coastal Alabama Community College.”

Coastal Alabama’s Registered Nursing program in Bay Minette and Fairhope has been ranked the No. 1 program in Alabama of all four-year and two-year Nursing programs. Also emphasizing the prestige of the college, the culinary arts program was ranked one of the top 20 culinary programs in the nation. This fall, the college expanded two programs, cosmetology and culinary arts, to new campuses as it continues to grow.

The Animation & Visual Effects program at the Fairhope campus is the only one of its kind in the state and region. Using software equivalent to that used by industry professionals, students learn the techniques in animation and computer-generated imagery found in today’s movies and films.

“Students are reaping many benefits from this consolidation,” Branch said. “They have more access to more programs of study, more classes, more activities and more locations.”

For instance, this fall, CACC added culinary arts in Atmore and cosmetology in Robertsdale. Access to unique programs such as Paper & Chemical Technology and Animation & Visual Effects are also now available to all students.

Beginning this fall, Coastal Alabama also began promoting programs in aviation, such as airframe, avionics, and power plant technology. In Baldwin County, the programs are available at the Academy at the Fairhope Airport.

“The dedication of our faculty and staff is unmatched,” Branch said. “They are the ones leaving an imprint with our students, and we are all proud to be a part of the Coastal Alabama family.”

The Alabama Community College System consists of 25 comprehensive community and technical colleges, Marion Military Institute and the Alabama Technology Network. ACCS is committed to providing a unified system of institutions delivering excellence in academic education, adult education and workforce development. ACCS serves approximately 185,000 people annually through all of its entities, with over 83,000 of those served enrolled in credit courses.

For more information about all that Coastal Alabama Community College has to offer, go to CoastalAlabama.edu.