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Awake58: Spending a day with the legislature

This is a copy of the Awake58 newsletter originally sent on Tuesday, April 2, 2019. Click here to subscribe. 

Spending a day with the legislature

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This Wednesday, community college leaders will head to Jones Street to visit their legislators and discuss the legislative agenda… We want to know more about summer melt… Dr. Pat Skinner is retiring… And let’s discuss completion.

After our recent video on “summer melt”, we heard from a number of you about what that means to you. Summer melt refers to the significant portion of high school graduates who were planning to enroll in college who fail to do so the following fall. We’d like to learn more about your experience with summer melt in your community. Will you fill out this brief survey by clicking here? It will only take a few minutes. It would mean a lot.

The state’s community college leaders will spend Wednesday at the Capitol to speak about the system office’s legislative agenda and meet with local representatives. The system office is expecting 300 presidents, trustees, community college and student leaders to make the trip.

EdNC’s Alex Granados will be on the ground and reporting on announcements from Community College System President Peter Hans and following Surry Community College President David Shockley as he meets with local officials. Follow him on Twitter for more!

The system office’s legislative agenda includes the following priorities:

  • $11.5 million to complete funding for short-term workforce training programs that lead to state- or industry-recognized credentials. The additional investment would place funding for these programs on the same level as funding for traditional academic programs. It also would allow community colleges to be more responsive and flexible to local business and industry needs since programs can be started quickly.
  • $15 million to upgrade workforce development-focused information technology systems serving all 58 community colleges, including online registration for workforce development courses. System leaders say an upgraded IT system would integrate modern technologies that students, business, and industry want; enhance data quality and accessibility; and eliminate manual processes and customizations.
  • $2.8 million to expand the Career Coach Program. Career coaches are embedded in high schools to assist students with determining career goals and identifying community college programs that align with those goals. Currently, North Carolina has only 64 career coaches. The investment would provide for up to 30 additional coaches.
  • $2.3 million to fund workforce-focused campuses for Forsyth Tech, Guilford Tech, Richmond Community College, and Wake Tech. These additional campuses, which provide comprehensive instructional support at convenient locations apart from a college’s main campus, have been approved by the State Board of Community Colleges.
  • The system is seeking increases in faculty and staff compensation to bring it closer to the national average of $60,422. The average salary for full-time faculty in North Carolina is $47,362.

We will have the story next week. Drop me an email if you have any thoughts!



EdNC Reads

Gaston College’s President Dr. Patricia Skinner announces plans to retire in 2020

“Gaston College President Dr. Patricia Skinner has announced her plans to retire in March 2020… In August of this year, she will have served as President of Gaston College for 25 years. She is the first woman and fourth president to lead the 2-year community college that serves Gaston and Lincoln counties.”

Artificial brain intelligence to digitally transform NC Community College System

Could an artificial ‘brain’ help usher in a digital transformation for the system? Analisa has the story. “We have 59 — counting the system office — buckets of intellectual property, data, information, and history spread throughout the entire state. One of the challenges we face is how do we capture that information? How do we bring that information together so that we can leverage it to enhance each other? All of us are smarter than any one of us,” shared Jim Parker, the Chief Information Officer of the NC Community College System.

Video: How many NC students don’t finish college?

Most of the students who leave college do so during or after their first year. By increasing first-year retention, or the number of students who return after one year of higher education, North Carolina could make strides towards our state’s attainment goal. Robert Kinlaw and Rebecca Tippett of Carolina Demography explain more.

Inside North Carolina’s leaky pipeline: How many students stay in college?

Rebecca Tippett explains, “First-year retention rates are a critical indicator: “Students are more likely to drop out of postsecondary education during the first year than any other time.”

Video: Tyshon Hinton on starting his career without a degree

Liz Bell captures the journey of Tyshon Hinton, now 22 and living in Garner, who decided school was not for him early on due to his focus on football. Hinton did not make the NFL, but he does have a story for us to learn from regarding our educational pipeline in North Carolina.


Other Reads

Single Stop impact report

Single Stop released the findings of an impact report that studied the program and the impacts of their interventions. Our own Analisa Sorrells covered the event. Check out her Twitter for more.

The implicit punishment of going to college when poor

Stunning: “The Fafsa is pages upon pages of details about your parents’ finances. I had never filed taxes, so I didn’t know what half of the terms meant. It was scary because there was so much at stake… At the time, I was living with my sister, sleeping on her couch, because my mom was in a homeless shelter. I almost missed out on qualifying for aid because I couldn’t get the forms I needed from my mother, who was still my legal guardian.”

Place and purpose matter: What the best community colleges understand

Check this piece out: “At excellent community colleges, a deep-rooted sense of place and purpose drives reforms. Their leaders, faculty, and staff start with the where. They are unusually effective with the what (strong reform models) and the how (effective delivery). But perhaps what distinguishes them most is their consistent effort to keep everyone at their colleges focused on the why: They are dedicated day in and day out to finding the best ways to foster social mobility for their students and develop talent for their communities.”



EducationNC ( believes a more informed, connected, and engaged North Carolina is a better North Carolina. Thank you so much for joining us in the conversation around our students, our state, and our future. If you have any questions about our mission and vision, feel free to email me.


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Nation Hahn

Nation Hahn is the chief of growth for EducationNC.