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Awake58: Scott Ralls, the Senate budget, and a chance to meet Sam

This is a copy of the Awake58 newsletter originally sent on Tuesday, June 11, 2019. Click here to subscribe. 

Scott Ralls, the Senate budget, and a chance to meet Sam

We caught up with Scott Ralls as he returns to his roots in the NC Community College System… Alex Granados breaks down what the Senate budget looks like for community colleges … the myFutureNC bill is proceeding through the Senate…

I have always found the North Carolina budget process to be a confusing one. Dueling budgets from the two different legislative bodies, a proposed one from the Governor, votes, and then a conference committee to reconcile the budgets. Oh, and then the governor must decide whether to sign the budget or exercise a veto.

My colleague Alex broke down how the Senate and House budgets compare for North Carolina’s community colleges. It is a must read if you are trying to decipher how your local college might fare.

Last week, I met up with President Scott Ralls of Wake Tech to hear more about his return to the North Carolina Community College System. Dr. Ralls returns after serving as President of NoVa Community College. During our meeting, he echoed much of what he shares in this video. It is worth a watch for his views on the strong local support of our colleges, the need for collaboration for colleges to thrive, and a reminder of how complacency can also prove to be a challenge.

And while this isn’t about community colleges, I would encourage you to check out this stunning, important read from Rolling Stone on the suicide epidemic in our country. It is an issue that flies under the radar too often despite the magnitude of the challenge. “All American Despair” has stuck with me since I first read it a week ago.

Thank you, as always, for reading. It means a lot. Check out the rest of the articles we feature this week — and let me know what stories we missed.

Sign-up here to keep receiving this newsletter if you were forwarded it by a friend. Please consider sharing it with your social networks as well.

– Nation

EdNC Reads

Data lookup: Child care in North Carolina

I’ve been struck by the persistent challenges community college students face around child care in North Carolina. Check out our new data tool looking at the availability in your county to learn more about access. I would love to know if your college is doing anything to support students who have young children.

Budget talk: What about the community colleges? 

We’ve heard a lot about the budget priorities of the NC Community College System office in recent months. Now that we have both the Senate and House budgets approved and heading to conference, Alex takes a look at how those priorities fared.

(VIDEO) Meet Scott Ralls, new president of Wake Tech

Dr. Scott Ralls shares a call for increased collaboration in this video interview documenting his return to North Carolina as the president of Wake Tech.

Meet Sam

A few weeks ago, we met a UNC-Charlotte student named Sam in Asheville. Sam attended early college at Asheville-Buncombe Tech and credits the experience with launching him on a path towards educational success. Meet Sam in this video.

myFutureNC update: The attainment goal is voted out of committee

The Senate Education Committee voted in favor of amending three portions of House Bill 664, “myFutureNC/Postsecondary Attainment Goal,” and sent it forward to the Senate Rules and Operations Committee — bringing it closer to becoming law.

Other Reads

McDowell students excel through Career and College Promise program

The McDowell News spotlights the McDowell Career and College Promise program through the prism of two recent graduates, Candace Cooper and Zoe Miller, who graduated from high school with their Associate degrees.

Grant awarded: Rowan-Cabarrus Community College

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College received a grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation to “increase levels of community engagement and social cohesion through individual storytelling that highlights how racial, cultural, and ethnic diversity of communities makes them stronger and more resilient.”

Opinion: There are better ways to do college

I must admit that I wasn’t familiar with the concept of work colleges prior to this article, but this piece makes a case for a different approach to college through the prism of “work colleges.”

More undergraduate students are from poor families

The most stunning statistic of the week: “At community colleges, the share of dependent students who are in poverty has doubled from 13% in 1996 to 27% in 2016.”

Glenmark Pharmaceuticals and South Piedmont Community College spotlighted

This Business North Carolina spotlight on Glenmark Pharmaceuticals highlights their partnership with South Piedmont Community College.

One more thing to consider

The 2019 North Carolina Community College Performance Partnership Summit, “Innovative Practices for Improving Student Success,” will be held on July 22nd and 23rd at the Embassy Suites in Cary.  The Summit focuses on the sharing of insights and promising practices that facilitate student success.  Events on July 22nd include opening remarks from NCCCS President Peter Hans and concurrent sessions focused on five areas: Basic Skills; Career and College Promise; Career and Technical Education; Equity; and Institutional Research. On July 23rd there will be 50 concurrent sessions and a keynote session by Florida State University’s Dr. Karen Oehme and Central Carolina Community College’s Dr. Linda Scuiletti as they present “Enhancing Student Resilience: From Research to Practice.”

Registration is $85 and includes a networking breakfast and lunch on July 23rd. Registration and hotel information can be found at

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Nation Hahn

Nation Hahn is the chief of growth for EducationNC.