FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Andrea J. Burney, APR
Director of Public Relations
DR. BRUCE SCISM SETTLES INTO NEW JOB AS DCC PRESIDENT
Dr. Bruce R. Scism is Danville
Community College's fifth president.
DANVILLE, VA, August 6, 2013 – Dr. Bruce Scism spent the first
few days on his new job as president of Danville Community
College by moving into his office; getting to know the faculty,
staff and students who stopped by to meet him; and conducting
“DCC is very stable and doing a lot of good things, especially
in workforce development and student success,” Scism says
explaining his interest in DCC. “The Virginia Community College
System has a strong reputation. The College (DCC) has a good,
solid foundation and the key is to build upon these strengths.”
Scism began his duties as DCC’s fifth president on August 1,
succeeding Dr. Carlyle Ramsey, who held the position for 21
years. He acknowledges Ramsey’s efforts, and says his priorities
are to expand the good work started in economic development and
workforce services and promote student success.
“All of this has been good work. Now we have to take it to the
next level. I want to look at the academic programs that we
offer, and see where they are trending and what the needs are
for this area. The goal is to train students for success,” he
Prior to coming to DCC, Scism was vice president of academic
affairs at Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin, TN,
for five years. Scism also served as interim president at
Volunteer State from October 2011 to May 2012. He was chief
academic officer at Lee College, a comprehensive community
college in Baytown, TX from 2006-2008, where he directed
academic affairs including transfer, technical/vocational
programs, and workforce development.
Previously, he served as vice president for academic affairs and
student services at Triton College in River Grove, IL
(2002-2006) and as associate vice president for instructional
technology at Triton College (2001-2002). He was coordinator of
the Illinois Prairie Higher Education Consortium and the
Illinois Prairie Internet Consortium from 1999-2001, and served
as director of virtual learning at Lake Land College in Mattoon,
IL, from 1998-2000. He also previously served as an elected
member of the Charleston, IL City Council from 1985-1993, and
was re-elected and served from 1997 to 2001.
Scism is no stranger to Southside Virginia. He proudly discusses
his deep roots in the area. He was born in the hospital in
Danville, VA to parents, Tom and the late Shirley Chilton Scism,
who had a tobacco farm in Pelham, NC. The family moved to Chapel
Hill, NC, and later to Illinois, where Scism finished high
school. His father, Tom, still resides in the Pelham community.
His maternal grandparents lived in Danville, and he frequently
visited the area to see his grandmother, Ella Mae Chilton, who
died in 2007 at the age of 96. He has an uncle, Jack Scism, and
aunt, Nancy Scism, formerly of Danville, who now reside in
Greensboro, NC. He notes Nancy was even employed at DCC in the
early 1970’s. Scism has a brother who lives in Wilmington, NC.
“My short-term goal is to get to know the people –internal and
external and their perspectives. I want to learn of any
shortcomings the College may have and work to overcome them,”
Scism says. “I also want to build upon those relationships that
are crucial to the College.”
Scism notes that he understands the challenges that students
have in deciding what to do after high school. He explains that
he was unsure of what he wanted to do himself after finishing
high school and that he was not strongly committed to continuing
his education. Instead his dad enrolled him in a community
college, and he attended several years taking classes off and
on. But eventually the spark was ignited and he transferred to
Eastern Illinois University, where he earned his bachelor’s and
master’s degrees in political science. He earned his Doctor of
Education Degree (Ed.D) in Community College Leadership from the
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
“One of the pressing problems facing community colleges is how
do we attract people who otherwise don’t see themselves as
college bound to give college a try,” Scism says. “Once you
become interested in learning, you can’t get enough of it.
That’s what happened to me. The key is how do you take what’s
routine and make it relevant.
“I am very interested in economic development and student
success,” he continues. “As a community college we want to know
what’s relevant in the student’s life today and let’s prepare
him or her for that.”
Scism adds that he plans to be very visible on the DCC campus
and in the community.
“I want to capture a lot of feedback from students and the
community. I want to know what they like about their experiences
here,” he says. “I plan to be very approachable and have regular
opportunities for listening to this feedback.”
Scism adds that he plans to increase access to the community
college through creative delivery options, such as developing
additional certifications, alternative scheduling, and
fast-track delivery of education. At all times, Scism says
student success will be the focal point at DCC.
Scism’s other areas of interest include music and the arts. He
describes himself as a “strong proponent” of the humanities -
performance and fine arts. An accomplished musician, Scism is a
singer and songwriter and publisher at Scism Music. He also
plays piano, guitar, and bass, and says he is learning the
mandolin and fiddle. He has had some success with placements in
professional music libraries and has earned recognition for his
music, including being a finalist for Songwriter of the Year and
Song of the Year Awards by Houston Fort Bend Songwriters'
Association (2007). Several of his musical compositions have
been nominated for “Best of Song U”.
“This (music) is another way to reach out to people who do not
see themselves as college bound. The arts can bring a sense of
engagement and sense of belonging on campus,” Scism explains. As
an example, he says he developed an associate degree in
bluegrass music at Volunteer State Community College, which has
had success in attracting students.”
In addition to settling into his new job, he and his wife, Beth,
are also settling into their new home. The couple has three
children: son, Joel, a police officer in Illinois; son, Taylor,
a recent nursing graduate at Cape Fear Community College (NC);
and daughter, Jaclyn, a bank employee in Illinois, who is also a
singer and songwriter.
“I am looking forward to getting acquainted with the campus and
the community and in letting them get to know me,” Scism says.
Copyright © 2013 by Danville Community College