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Awake 58: Will we still have 58 community colleges in ten years?

This is a copy of the Awake58 newsletter originally sent on Tuesday, September 24, 2019. Click here to subscribe.

Will we still have 58 colleges in ten years? A question people are asking… A cyber security attack happened at Richmond Community College… Year Up launched in Charlotte… Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton promises NC will lead the way on attainment…

Will NC have 58 community colleges anymore? Maybe not, if enrollment trends continue on pace, according to Peter Hans, president of the NC Community College System, in a piece that Alex Granados reported out last week.

Board Chair Breeden Blackwell said there needs to be a change in thinking in the system.  Blackwell declared last week, “Elected officials…are not going to let you sit out there with empty classrooms and empty colleges.”

What do you think of this conversation? Read the piece and let us know in the survey below.

Alex also shared out the findings from Richmond Community College’s experience with a cyber attack this summer.  How did they deal with this? Their staff had to effectively pitch in and get creative. They began registering people on paper, the way it was done more than a decade ago. They rigged up phones for receptionists in key positions so people could get in touch with the college. To find out more, read Alex’s piece.

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EdNC reads

Will North Carolina still have 58 community colleges in 10 years?

“Ten years from now, North Carolina might not have 58 community colleges anymore. That’s if enrollment trends continue on pace, according to Peter Hans, president of the North Carolina Community College System.” Alex Granados reports.

How a cyber attack shut down Richmond Community College
What happened when a cyber attack hit Richmond Community College? Online services went down. Telephones stopped working. Printing was an issue. Payroll went from taking an hour and a half to taking about 14 and a half hours. And the cyber attack threatened  to prevent students from paying and registering for classes. 
Is early childhood education a viable career option for community college students?

As the importance of early childhood education has become a rare bipartisan agreement in recent years, many early educators still make less than a living wage. Early childhood educator programs across the community college system have declined in enrollment. The bottom line from Surry Community College President David Shockley? “You have individuals coming to school getting a degree still making wages that are just below or at poverty level.”

Year Up, a workforce development program for low-income students, comes to Charlotte

Year Up, a national nonprofit that aims to launch careers for low-income young adults, announced its first North Carolina site Tuesday at Central Piedmont Community College. If you want to know more about their work, check out the piece.

Community colleges look beyond enrollment to focus on attainment and economic mobility

Mary Rittling, former president of Davidson Community College, explained why attainment matters at the recent Belk Center symposium. She noted, “[Community colleges] really are the foundation for so many of our citizens to at least begin the pathway for educational attainment, livelihood, and social mobility, and all the things that we would love to see our citizens have.”

Other reads

A must read: The choices facing community colleges

James Fallows sets out many of the choices in this piece in The Atlantic: “How does a successful college think about the balance between training for specific skills, and general adaptability? How does it balance between the jobs of today, and those of a decade or two from now? (The Communiversity, in Mississippi, is wrestling with just these questions, plus the one about graduates who might move away.)”

New Mexico announces plan for free college for state residents

The New York Times has the story: “In one of the boldest state-led efforts to expand access to higher education, New Mexico is unveiling a plan on Wednesday to make tuition at its public colleges and universities free for all state residents, regardless of family income.”

Around North Carolina

Perspective from Walter Dalton | With support, NC’s community colleges will lead the way on attainment

Former Lt. Governor Walter Dalton explains the role community colleges might play in achieving our state’s new attainment goal. Dalton issued a call for investing in community colleges to boost pay for faculty and staff, additional scholarship resources, and more. Check out his piece and let us know if you agree.

Haywood Community College names a new president

Haywood Community College named a new president. Dr. Shelley White, who is currently a vice president at AB Tech, will lead the college beginning January 1. 

Southeastern Community College looks to turn tide against nurse shortage

The story: “Officials at Southeastern Community College said they hope a nearly $1 million upgrade to their nursing program facilities will help turn the tide of the nursing shortage in the Tri-States.”

RCC names new Allied Health Center after Shackleford

The new Allied Health Center at Randolph Community College will be named after current  president, Robert Shackleford. Shackleford told the crowd, “I have truly never been so shocked in my life. I never even imagined such a thing. I’m just truly blessed to be here. Every morning when I drive up I’m reminded how grateful I am that the trustees 12½ years ago took a chance on me. I’ve loved it every day since.”

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Nation Hahn

Nation Hahn is the chief of growth for EducationNC.