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An update on community college governance and other bills

A note from us

Hi, Emily here with this week’s edition of Awake58. If you missed last week’s, you can read it by clicking here.

Updates on community college governance and other bills impacting community colleges…  How high-impact practices can shape the experiences of Hispanic transfer students… Blue Ridge President Laura Leatherwood shares her thoughts on workforce development…  The importance of finding your why at work and in your community… The State Board of Community Colleges will meet virtually today…

It’s a busy week for many of you as graduation ceremonies begin – and we want to help celebrate. If you have a story about a student who is graduating that you’d like to lift up, reply directly to this message or email me at: [email protected]

Last week, Senate leaders amended the bill that would overhaul community college governance (SB692). Some of those amendments include rolling back some of the powers the original version vested in the system president and allowing counties to appoint two additional board members of local community college boards.

“The bill provides that the General Assembly appoint eight members of local community college boards and county commissioners appoint another four.

Some community colleges have satellite campuses in neighboring counties. The original bill did not provide for these county commissioners to have a say in appointments, but the amended version would allow these counties to appoint two additional local community college board members.”

The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 31-19 and now goes before the House.

May 4 was the crossover deadline and the General Assembly pushed to get bills through at least one legislative chamber before then. You can view a list of some of the bills that the House and Senate passed in Hannah’s article here. 

The State Board of Community Colleges will meet virtually today, May 9, at 11:00. You can view the agenda and how to livestream here. 

We have several perspectives for you this week, starting with this piece from Blue Ridge Community College President Dr. Laura Leatherwood. Leatherwood describes how community colleges need to strategically think about workforce development and provides solutions for maximizing efforts. 

Dr. Steve Turner, dean for humanities & social sciences at Guilford Technical Community College, shares his research brief that highlights the importance of high-impact practices (HIPs) for student retention, engagement, and persistence for students across all backgrounds. Specifically, Turner discusses how service-learning and student abroad participation shape the experiences of Hispanic transfer students. 

Gregory Singleton, dean of workforce & continuing education programs at Central Carolina Community College, writes about his personal journey of being a justice-involved individual and how it fueled the “why” for his work at the college and within the community. 

Nation and I will be on the road this week. I’ll be in Durham for the last ElevateNC convening among cohort three members.

Remember to send us your student graduate stories. Email me at [email protected] or reply directly to this message. 

Thanks for reading – 

Emily Thomas 

Policy Analyst –

EdNC reads

Senate leaders amend community college governance bill as legislators ask for feedback

We have updates on SB692 and other bills impacting community colleges. EdNC’s Rupen Fofaria discusses the amendments made to SB692, along with more information on HB601 and HB607.

SB692, a bill that seeks to overhaul community college governance in North Carolina, passed the Senate by a vote of 31-19 last week. It will now go before the House.

Several amendments were filed before SB692 passed the Senate. We’ve listed some of those below:

  • Some of the powers the original version vested in the system president were rolled back.
  • The first amendment makes the election of the community college president subject to approval of the General Assembly, though this provision is not retroactive and will not impact Dr. Jeff Cox’s appointment as the new system president.
  • Provisions removed that would have given the system president authority to make a formal recommendation either approving or denying the local board’s choice for a local college president to the State Board of Community Colleges.
  • The bill’s previous intent to give the system president increased budget authority, authority to dismiss a local president, and the opportunity to provide reports to the General Assembly without approval of the State Board was also removed.

You can read the full article here, which also includes updates on HB601 and HB607.

Perspective | Workforce really is the name of the game. Let’s talk about how we should play it

In the world of community colleges — whether you’re here in North Carolina or at a college in Virginia — workforce is the name of the game.

And for all of us in higher education, we are currently experiencing this phrase on a visceral level, even though we’ve been focused on workforce for a long time. Only now, the expectations for how we support workforce in our communities are increasing.

Given this new and more profound emphasis, it raises an important question. While we have been diligently developing our workforce, are we playing “the game” the right way?

Blue Ridge’s President Dr. Laura Leatherwood shares her thoughts on strategies to maximize workforce development efforts including a regional approach to solution-finding, relationship-building, involving industry experts, and more.

Read more here. 

Brief | Hispanic student experiences with high-impact practices and transfer success

In recent years, high-impact practices (HIPs) have been proven as a critical component of student retention, engagement, and persistence for students across all backgrounds. More specifically, these engaging and hands-on educational practices have been found to lead to success markers for transfer students — including higher GPA, greater semester-to-semester enrollment, and increased graduation rates.

In this research brief, Dr. Steve Turner explores the use of HIPs — specifically service-learning and study abroad participation — and how they shaped the experiences of Hispanic transfer students.

Click here to read more.

Perspective | The importance of finding your ‘why’ in your workplace and community

Author Simon Sinek writes that “our WHY is our purpose, cause or belief — the driving force behind everything we do.” Have you found your “why” in your workplace and community?

My why keeps me moving, proudly working in a field that grants me the opportunity to change lives. My why is to decrease poverty and reduce the prison recidivism rate in North Carolina and across the country.

Greg Singleton writes about his “why” and the work he does with justice-involved individuals.

It is imperative that we include the justice-involved population in our conversations about workforce and education — as valued residents, students, and employees that have paid back their debt to society.

Singleton goes on to share about his own journey as someone who was once justice-involved and how that has, in part,  fueled his “why” at the college and in the community.

Read Singleton’s story here. 

Around NC

Sandhills Community College’s Board of Trustees will meet May 9 to elect and approve the new president of the college. View meeting information and finalists here.

The North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) and the North Carolina Department of Public Safety have partnered in a collaborative pilot project to provide online instruction to students in youth development centers. Read the NCCCS press release here.

EdNC’s Liz Bell shares survey information from child care providers who say that without additional funding, child care costs will likely rise.

Guilford Technical Community College students captured 20 first-place awards and eight second-place awards in the SkillsUSA North Carolina state competition.

Dr. Greg Minton was named associate vice president of workforce development and community education at Wilkes Community College.

myFutureNC highlights four years of progress: “In 2019, 1,356,343 North Carolinians aged 25-44 held a postsecondary degree/credential (2016 Census data). Today, we are at 1,555,543 according to 2021 Census data. That’s 199,200 additional North Carolinians aged 25-44 with a postsecondary degree or industry-valued credential.” You can read more updates from myFutureNC here. 

Schools That Lead is recruiting their fourth cohort for Network Improvement. From the organization: “Our network builds the capacity of schools to get their students with challenges around attendance, behavior, and course performance back on track.” For more information, visit The early bird application is open.

Coastal BUDS third annual iCAN Swim Camp will take place on Brunswick Community College’s campus this summer. The camp helps children three and older with disabilities work toward their individual aquatic goals.

In case you missed it, a recap of the webinar series on postsecondary pathways from the Belk Center and Hunt Institute. Find more here. 

The Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) continues its Talent First Tuesdays tomorrow. In this special virtual series, IEI is welcoming back each breakout session panel from the 2023 Emerging Issues Forum, Talent First Economics, to continue the important conversations that took place at the forum. Learn more here.

Other higher education reads

Understanding America’s Labor Shortage: The Most Impacted Industries

What industries have the highest number of job openings?

According to this piece from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, its health services, professional and business services, trade, and accommodation and food services.

“The pandemic caused a major disruption in America’s labor force—something many have referred to as The Great Resignation. In 2022, more than 50 million workers quit their jobs, many of whom were in search of an improved work-life balance and flexibility, increased compensation, and a strong company culture.

But a closer look at what has happened to the labor force can be better described as ‘The Great Reshuffle’ because hiring rates have outpaced quit rates since November of 2020. So, many workers are quitting their jobs—but many are getting re-hired elsewhere.

The U.S. Chamber is capturing the trends on job openings, labor force participation, quit rates, and more, for a quick understanding of the state of the workforce in our America Works Data Center.

Read on for an analysis of which industries have been impacted the most. An in-depth look at how the worker shortage is impacting the nation is here. An interactive map tracking the worker shortage across the states is here.”

Read more from the piece here.

Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas is a policy analyst for EducationNC.