Skip to content

EdNC. Essential education news. Important stories. Your voice.

Awake58: What do North Carolinians think of our community colleges?

This is a copy of the Awake58 newsletter originally sent on Monday, December 3, 2018. Click here to subscribe. 

What do North Carolinians think about our community colleges?

Dr. Karen Stout of Achieve the Dream called for centering teaching and learning in the next generation of community college leadership at the Dallas Herring Lecture… New polling results from the myFutureNC Commission and Gallup indicate strong support for community colleges… We also spotlighted innovative efforts at Lenoir Community College to bolster enrollment and opportunity.

What if more community colleges reoriented their reform efforts around teaching and learning quality? Dr. Karen Stout of Achieving the Dream made the argument during the Dallas Herring Lecture last week. In case you missed it, we would encourage you to watch the lecture today.

We used our platform Reach NC Voices to bring attendees voices into the conversation. It would not surprise you that when we asked everyone what the greatest value of community colleges might be for their communities most of the attendees noted open access, opening doors, and providing access to everyone for postsecondary education as key.  If you would like to join in the conversation moving forward, sign-up here.

The myFutureNC Commission also just released the findings from a Gallup survey they commissioned to measure our state’s perception of our education system and the educational opportunities for all of our students.

Two key findings:

  • “40 percent say that a two year community college education has ‘a lot’ of impact on the long-term success of students in life, while 51 percent believe it has ‘some’ impact.”
  • “77 percent agree that community college is a good place to get started on a four-year college degree in NC.”

My colleague Molly Osborne has a spotlight on the results out now. One key finding Molly highlighted should concern us all: “These results demonstrate North Carolinians believe in the value of education beyond high school, but they also have concerns about barriers to access, including affordability. Almost half of those surveyed (46 percent) do not think education is available to anyone who wants it in the state.”

myFutureNC also posted the full results on their website.

I’d be interested to know your thoughts regarding Dr. Stout’s argument for colleges to focus on teaching and learning, as well as what you think of the myFutureNC results. As always, just reply directly to this email.

All the best,



EdNC Reads

Sampson Community College teaches a village to raise a hog

Y’all may know that I love BBQ so this headline caught my attention. Robert Kinlaw explores the thank you we owe to both Sampson and Duplin County as we bite into our next forkful of pork, but he also addresses the ways in which Sampson understands it must change. This section grabbed my attention: “…almost all of the largest programs at the college, even nursing, can be traced back to farming in some way. If the industry in the region shifts in the future, (President Bill Starling) said, the college will have to follow suit. ‘The question about what we’re going to be is really a question of what eastern North Carolina is going to be.'”

How one community college is responding to changing demographics and workforce needs

Molly Osborne visited with Lenoir Community College to hear about their new short-term training options, which they hope will create more ladders to opportunity for students. President Rusty Hunt also walked her through the new LCC Guarantee scholarship program, texting chatbot Lance that is focused on combating summer melt, and their implementation of the RISE model.

Stringing sound: Violin making at Surry Community College

In addition to their famous wine program, Surry Community College boasts a unique violin making course. Yasmin Bendaas found out more about the program that has drawn students from Mount Airy to Utah.

Wayne Community College: Creating opportunities for every student

Caroline Parker spotlights the QUEST ESL program at Wayne Community College. New citizen Jorge Martinez provided her with this inspiring quote: “This opened the door for new opportunities to get a job and do something in this new country for me. This is not only for my family, it’s for the country.”


Worth a click

Five finalists chosen for CCCC president position

The Central Carolina Community College Board of Trustees have selected their five finalists for their presidency including Lisa Chapman who serves as the Senior Vice President/Chief Academic Officer at the North Carolina Community College System Office. They will offer meet and greet events with the finalists in December.

Spellings reflects on UNC accomplishments, board oversight and political passions

UNC system president Margaret Spellings reflected on her time as head of the system with reporters recently. When asked about the future of education Spellings declared, “We need to serve more people, more affordably, more conveniently and more rapidly, throughout our lifetimes.”

NC House Minority Leader expects more cooperation come January

The legislative landscape is changing in North Carolina next year. House Minority Leader Darren Jackson told WFAE, “But with divided government people expect you to talk to each other and work across party lines. And, now, with the governor’s veto being able to be sustained, it’s going to be required at least on bills that the governor’s willing to veto.”

Community Colleges and Career Education

EducationNext also spotlighted Lenoir Community College — with a particular look at their relationship with Spirit Aerosystems and the new manufacturing academy which propels students towards jobs on a quick time frame.

Quartz: The future of college

Quartz continues to look at the future of various industries with a look at the future of college. They pose provocative questions around the value of degrees, barriers posed through the mobile delivery of education, and more.


By the numbers: Rural and Urban

This week our team collaborated with the Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) at NC State for the launch of their new three year project entitled ReCONNECTNC. In February, IEI will continue ReCONNECTNC by spotlighting rural and urban North Carolina. A speaker this week urged us to avoid the label of rural versus urban divide because it “normalizes division and differences.”

As our work moves forward, we would love to hear about the unique strengths and opportunities for rural community colleges. Email us directly with your thoughts!

17% of the system

Wake Tech Community College and Central Piedmont Community College make up 17% of the system by FTE. The smallest 20 colleges in the system combined make up less than 17% of the system.

32 NC counties set growth records

32 NC counties saw record growth in 2017. Most of these counties are in the rural western region of the state. Meanwhile, 34 counties saw a decline in population. These counties were almost all in the non-coastal eastern region of the state.



EducationNC ( works to expand educational opportunities for all children in North Carolina, and increase their academic attainment. We believe a more informed, connected, and engaged North Carolina is a better North Carolina. Our work takes many forms including storytelling, research, data, and community engagement. Thank you so much for joining us in the conversation around our students, our state, and our future. If you wish to donate to support our work, please do so by clicking here.


Perspectives needed

Do you have a story to share about a bright spot in your local community? We need your voice to tell the stories of our state’s 58 community colleges. We are now accepting first-person perspectives from anyone who wants to lift up their voice.

To learn more about submitting an article, click here. If you respond to this email, I am happy to help you think about how to frame your perspective and story.
Recent perspectives include a look at how welding can build a secure and stable future for students and an additional story from the recent trip to Mexico a number of community college leaders attended.


Do you want more EdNC in your inbox? 

Did you know EdNC provides news coverage and research across the entire educational continuum. Sign-up for our other newsletters and become more informed about North Carolina and beyond. Our goal is to engage and connect you to your state.

We send a daily email out with all of the essential education news you need. Sign-up for the Daily Digest to receive it each morning.

We are launching a newsletter focused on high school and community college sports across North Carolina. Join GameTimeNC today.

For a weekly digest of education news across North Carolina, subscribe to EducationNC’s Weekly Wrapup.

Your voice matters. Weigh in on weekly conversations about policy issues in North Carolina by joining Reach NC Voices.

Interested in policy research, trends, and analysis? You might like the Center’s weekly policy email, Friday@Five. You can subscribe here.

Would you like updates on STEM education in North Carolina? Subscribe to our monthly STEM newsletter, EdNC STEM.

Nation Hahn

Nation Hahn is the chief of growth for EducationNC.