Mid-Shore Education: Chesapeake College’s Clay Railey

Given Clay Railey’s resume, including a doctorate in English from Vanderbilt, a long teaching career at Chesapeake College, and more recently, being provost of Bucks County Community College, it was not a total surprise that he was appointed vice president of academic affairs of the Wye Mills community college in 2016.

But perhaps missing in that background was another experience that could be seen as a real asset for the job of stewarding the college’s educational goals. And that was the not too trivial fact that Dr. Railey had been a Jesuit priest for twenty years before his move into public education. And while the order’s renowned reputation for scholarship and intellectualism may have little day to day impact on Chesapeake College, there can be very little doubt the Railey remains true to the Jesuit mission of “cura personalis,” which is Latin for “care for the whole person.”

From students moving forward with workforce career training to those on a traditional liberal arts academic track, Clay Railey is redesigning Chesapeake College’s approach with that “whole person” in mind.

In our first Spy interview with Clay, he talks about some of those redesign plans and programs that significantly expand Chesapeake College’s special mission of training the Mid-Shore adults for 21st Century jobs and opportunities.

This video is approximately four minutes in length. For more information about Chesapeake College please go here


Children’s Home Foundation Awards Scholarship to Chesapeake Student

Aaron scholarship

Chesapeake College President Barbara Viniar, Aaron Turner, Martha Austin and the Right Rev. Sanosh Marray, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Easton.

Aaron Turner of Easton was recently awarded the Workforce Training Scholarship by the Children’s Home Foundation, a ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Easton.

A Chesapeake College employee for four years, Mr. Turner is a custodian with the Facilities Department. He has been taking Chesapeake classes for three years.

“We’ve found that nontraditional students like Aaron are a wonderful investment. They have clear goals and are highly motivated,” said Martha Austin, board member of the Children’s Home Foundation. “Through these scholarships, we can help individuals improve their lives and achieve their goals. We look forward to helping more students like Aaron.”

Mr. Turner, a 2010 Easton High School graduate, said the $1,350 scholarship will allow him to complete the Electrician Program in May.

“I’m grateful to have this help to finish my program. I’m learning valuable skills now that will give me opportunities,” Mr. Turner said.

Chesapeake College, Shore United Team Up to Fight Hunger

Shore United Bank is supporting Chesapeake College students through the campus Corner of Care.

A campus food pantry developed to aid needy Chesapeake students, the Corner of Care is used year-round by students of all ages, some who must support their families. The pantry is stocked solely with donations from Chesapeake College employees and the service community.

shore united 2

Shore United Bank employees at the Dover Street branch in Easton recently kicked off the Corner of Care collection effort. Items may be donated at branches through the end of February.

“The Corner of Care ensures that Chesapeake students do not have to choose between attending college and going hungry,” said Director of Advancement Elizabeth Devlin. “Students of all ages make sacrifices to attend college. While aid and scholarships help with tuition costs, living expenses are still a challenge.”

This month-long collection campaign for the Corner of Care will have an enormous impact on students, according to Ms. Devlin.

“Shore United Bank is committed to aiding our community in a variety of ways. Donating to the Chesapeake College Corner of Care allows us to help community members in need, and also show our support for students as they pursue their dreams,” said Laura Heikes, Shore United Bank’s SVP, Community & Government Relations Officer.
Collection boxes, provided by Kangaroo Self Storage of Chester, are now located in 14 Shore United branches in Maryland. Items needed include dry and canned goods, microwavable foods, plastic utensils, household paper products, toiletries, school supplies and bottled water.

For more information about donating to the Corner of Care, please contact Director of Advancement Elizabeth Devlin at edevlin@chesapeake.edu.

Public Invited to Black History Month Event at Chesapeake

To celebrate Black History Month and raise money for a scholarship fund, the Chesapeake College Multicultural Advisory Committee (MAC) is hosting the 17th annual community luncheon on Saturday, Feb. 4 in the Chesapeake College Caroline College Center at 11:30 a.m. The event is open to members of the public.

green, dale greenwoodProceeds from the event will benefit the J.C. Gibson Scholarship Fund.  Each semester the committee awards Chesapeake students scholarship money to purchase textbooks.

Director of Multicultural Affairs Tasha Thomas said the annual luncheon is designed to encourage community unity and celebrate diversity.

This year the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Multicultural Advisory Committee will celebrate young Unsung Heroes; local high school seniors. They will be recognized for service and goodwill demonstrated within their respective high schools and communities. 

“This is an opportunity to celebrate area youth as well as build a scholarship fund dedicated to the memory of JC Gibson, a former staff member of the college who hoped to ensure that students had the greatest opportunity possible to succeed,” Thomas said. “Through the support of our campus and local community members, we continue to strive to accomplish this goal.”

The keynote speaker will be Professor Dale Glenwood Green, an Eastern Shore native and Assistant Professor of Architecture and Historic Preservation at Morgan State University. He is also a Partner in the fifth oldest African American architectural firm in the country, Sulton Campbell Britt & Associates.

He is best known for his engaged scholarship and applied research in the areas of African American Heritage Preservation and the Making of a Scholar Activist. He has been interviewed on Fox 45 News National, can be heard on NPR and was featured on the front page of the Washington Post.

Professor Green is the recent recipient of several national and local awards in the areas of heritage, design, preservation, activism and community engagement. His work on The Hill project of Talbot County is one of his most notable accomplishments in this area.

Entertainment will be presented by the Church of the Nazarene “Jesus Loves You” Dance Ministry. Tickets for the event (including a buffet lunch) are $20 general admission or $10 for students and seniors. For more information or to purchase tickets, please call Ms. Thomas at 410-827-5857.

Strategic Planning: Nonprofit Board Chair Roundtable Set to Explore this Topic

All nonprofit Board leaders – Chairs & Presidents – are invited to join the conversation on Wednesday, January 25, 2017 at the Talbot Hospice offices, 586 Cynwood Drive in Easton. This facilitated discussion will begin with a brief networking reception at 5:00 pm and will conclude at 7:00 pm. Barbara Viniar, Ed.D, President of Chesapeake College will share her insights and expertise on this important and timely topic. Diane Rohman, President of Talbot Hospice Board of Directors will host the Roundtable; Teri Bordenave, founder of the Board Chair Roundtable, will facilitate this session. Diane says, “The Roundtable is a wonderful forum to exchange ideas, questions and concerns amongst local nonprofit board leaders regarding the challenges that we all face in trying to better serve our community. A huge thanks to Teri for facilitating this effort which brings together some of the very talented people we have in our area so we can benefit from their knowledge and experience.”

The nonprofit sector has always faced challenges; those challenges have increased in recent years thereby putting more pressure on the governing bodies of these organizations. Effective Board leadership is essential to sustaining successful, viable nonprofit businesses. The Nonprofit Board Chair Roundtable offers an opportunity to strengthen governance leadership skills and knowledge, to develop a peer learning network, and to provide support for these key volunteer leaders.

The Roundtable, which has been meeting since the spring of 2010, was initiated and is facilitated by Teri Bordenave of The Thalia Group LLC. Since that time, Teri has continued to offer her services to this effort pro bono. Teri has more than 25 years experience in the nonprofit sector as a CEO, Trustee, and governance consultant. Topics for these lively sessions are driven by Roundtable participants. The Roundtable meets quarterly around the Mid-Shore region.

There is no cost to participate, participation is limited, and pre-registration is required. To register, contact Teri Bordenave at 443.249.3268 or bordenave.teri@gmail.com.

Chesapeake College Hosts Second Saturday Event

Celebrate Second Saturday on Saturday, Jan. 14 with an art show opening in the Leggett Gallery at the Chesapeake College Cambridge Center from 5-6:30 pm. This event is free and open to the public.


Photo by Jameson Harrington

This month, the gallery features the works of local photographer Jameson Harrington.  An Eastern Shore native, Harrington is the guy who likes to drag his camera with him everywhere, much to the torment of his friends. He enjoys shooting almost anything, whether it be helping out a local business, covering an event for a magazine, taking the occasional portrait or just capturing the beauty of where he happens to be, it is guaranteed he’s putting his heart into it. When not occupied with a thrilling career in mapping or snapping away you can find him chasing down a new craft beer to try and planning out what he would do if he won the lottery.

This exhibit will feature scenes of daily life on the Eastern Shore.

Refreshments for the opening reception will be provided by The Wine Bar. For more information, please contact Marcie Molloy at 410-827-5825 or  mamolloy@chesapeake.edu.

Bank Creates Scholarship at Chesapeake College


Pictured L to R are: Chesapeake Board of Trustees Member Robert Grace, The Peoples Bank President and CEO Ralph Dowling, Chesapeake College President Barbara Viniar and The Peoples Bank Executive Vice President and Director William “Tad” Wheatley.

The Peoples Bank, a local and independent community bank since 1910, recently gave a $50,000 donation to Chesapeake College

The $50,000 gift will establish an endowed scholarship to be awarded yearly to deserving students from Chesapeake’s five-county service area for career training or degree preparation.

“As our business has expanded, I’ve seen the impact that Chesapeake has had on our employees and customers,” said The Peoples Bank President and CEO Ralph Dowling. “The college is an incredible resource for everyone in our region. Businesses, in particular, can benefit from the education and training Chesapeake offers to prepare the local workforce.  We see Chesapeake as a strategic priority for economic development in the area.”

The Peoples Bank, with headquarters in Chestertown, has branches in Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties. As part of its mission as a community bank, The Peoples Bank, supports efforts that benefit many in the service community.

Chesapeake College, Mr. Dowling added, is an entity that serves all populations on the Shore with a range of opportunities. From trades training to transfer degrees, Chesapeake offers programs that prepare students for careers or the next step.

“The college is a great feature of this area, which is basically rural and somewhat isolated.  Chesapeake is open to all, and able to fill the educational gap between high school and a career in so many fields,” Mr. Dowling said.

Vice President for Advancement Lucie Hughes said of the donation, “We’re grateful to The Peoples Bank for a generous gift that will help many students achieve their dreams. An endowed scholarship ensures that we can continue to help our students for many years to come. “

For more information about scholarships at Chesapeake College, please contact Ms. Hughes at lhughes@chesapeake.edu

Celebrate the Holidays at TPAC

Take a break from the holiday rush and come experience the culture and traditions of the season in “Sleigh Ride Around the World” in the Todd Performing Arts Center at Chesapeake College. This original musical revue full of high energy song and dance will be presented on Friday, Dec. 16 at 7:30 p.m.

sleigh-rideFor several years, Creative Productions at TPAC has taken audiences somewhere on a “sleigh ride.” This year, travel with the Sleigh Ride Company as they explore traditions, dances, stories and melodies the world over. The audience will experience “an incredible journey” of holiday celebrations.

The performers are from the Eastern Shore, Baltimore, and Virginia. Using elements of theatre, music and dance, it’s a magical show, about a magical time that defies cultural boundaries, and something not to be missed. Make it a part of your tradition and bring the whole family on a “sleigh ride” around the world!

Show only tickets are $15 adults and $10 children 10 and under.

Interested in making it a full “night out”? A special dinner/show package with be offered at 6 pm for $30/adults and $20/children.  Reservations for the dinner package must be made by Dec.12. For tickets, please call the box office at 410-827-5867 or email lzaragoza@chesapeake.edu.


Chesapeake College Hosts Second Saturday Event

Celebrate Second Saturday on Saturday, Dec. 10 with an art show opening in the Leggett Gallery at the Chesapeake College Cambridge Center from 5-6:30 pm. This event is free and open to the public.

This month, the gallery features the works of local photographer Bill Whaley.  An East New Market resident, Whaley has traveled the globe photographing people and places in many countries. His favorite works, however, continue to result from his travels around the Delmarva Peninsula.

whaley-headshot    whaley-photo

This exhibit will feature local scenes of wildlife, lighthouses, beaches and people that make the region special.

Refreshments for the opening reception will be provided by The Wine Bar. For more information, please contact Marcie Molloy at 410-827-5825 or  mamolloy@chesapeake.edu.

About Chesapeake College

Founded in 1965 as Maryland’s first regional community college, Chesapeake serves five Eastern Shore counties – Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot. With more than 130,000 alumnae, Chesapeake has 2,300 students and almost 10,000 people enrolled in continuing education programs.

Chesapeake College to Focus on GPA and Eliminate Placement Exam for Admission

Chesapeake College is implementing a substantial change in its admissions policies and will begin using high school GPA as the primary measure of college readiness for the majority of its students.

Beginning with the 2017 Winterim and Spring semesters, most individuals within three to five years of high school graduation will no longer be required to take the College Board ACCUPLACER tests used by Chesapeake and most community colleges nationwide.

Previously, students falling below the standardized placement exam cut-off scores were required to enroll in developmental classes at Chesapeake before they could take credit courses.

“It’s a real game changer in helping our incoming students get enrolled in the program of their choice immediately,” said Dr. Barbara Viniar, President of Chesapeake College. “Starting out closer to their goal makes it easier for them to achieve degree completion.”

A study based on nationwide student assessments conducted by the Community College Research Center at Columbia University has shown that GPA is a far better predictor of one’s success in the first year of college, according to Dr. Clayton Railey, Chesapeake’s new Vice President for Workforce & Academic Programs.

“Students often get lost in developmental classes that can be a significant roadblock to retention and degree completion,” said Railey. “We want to get them enrolled in the credit world without setting them up for failure.”

Under the new Chesapeake policy, students applying to Chesapeake within five years of graduating from high school are considered “college ready” in reading and writing if they had a GPA of 3.0 or better.

For math, students must still have a 3.0 GPA or better and have achieved at least a
C grade in Algebra 2 or a higher-level course within three years of taking that math class. Requirements are stricter, according to Railey, because research shows math skills atrophy more quickly.

Students who have graduated from high school more than five years before applying to Chesapeake must still take the ACCUPLACER test.

Over two years, Chesapeake conducted two pilot tests to validate use of GPA vs. ACCUPLACER as a predictor of success. The first was held with 22 students in Talbot County Public Schools in 2015 and a second in the 2015 – 2016 school year with 57 students that also included the public school systems in Caroline, Dorchester, Kent and Queen Anne’s counties.

The results showed that a higher percentage of students in the pilots earned a C grade or better in credit-level math and English during their first year at Chesapeake than did students in the same courses who were not part of the pilot.

Railey then spearheaded the permanent change in admissions policy over the last six months.

“Thanks to the faculty’s Development Studies Committee chaired by Marc Steinberg and Melinda Baer and county educators throughout the region, we moved quickly to implement this change for students applying in our initial 2017 semesters,” said Railey. “The teamwork and support of everyone involved is commendable.”

Area school superintendents praised the change.

Dorchester County Public Schools
“This program allows deserving students the opportunity to advance their educational careers in an efficient and equitable manner,” said Dr. Henry Wagner, Jr., Superintendent of Dorchester County Public Schools. “We appreciate the added flexibility that is now being provided.”

Kent County Public Schools
“ACCUPLACER may have been a valid assessment in prior years; however, it is not aligned to the Maryland College and Career Readiness Standards,” said Dr. Karen Couch, Superintendent of Kent County Public Schools. “We are thrilled Chesapeake College has been progressive and willing to revise their procedures to meet the needs of our students.”

Talbot County Public Schools
“The use of a student’s GPA will allow more TCPS students to enter credit-bearing courses, which was proven to be most successful through our collaborative pilot last year,” said Dr. Kelly Griffith, Superintendent of Talbot County Public Schools. “We will continue to work together to prepare our students for college and career by expanding their access to courses.”

Open registration begins December 1 for Chesapeake College’s Winterim (Jan. 2-20, 2017) and Spring (Jan. 23-May 5, 2017) semesters. Students may apply online at www.chesapeake.edu/admissions