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Getting more students to and through college — the story of developmental education reform in North Carolina

A note from us

Welcome to Awake58! If you received this email as a forward, please click here to subscribe to this newsletter.

Happy new year!

I’m Molly Osborne, EdNC’s policy director, and I’m taking over Awake58 this week from Nation. I hope all of you had a restful holiday season. At EdNC, we took time off to recharge and reflect, and I want to thank you all for your readership and support over the past year.

We are excited to leave 2020 behind and can’t wait to see what 2021 has in store. We are starting the year off with three new team members, two of whom will be focusing on community colleges. Michael Taffe is joining us as a community college reporter, and Emily Thomas, who has been working with us part-time for the past year, is joining us full-time as a policy analyst. You’ll see them out and about visiting your campuses, at the legislature, and on Twitter at @MichaelJTaffe and @emlybrthomas.

As we start the new year, we want to hear from you. What’s on your mind? What stories do we need to be telling this year? Feel free to respond directly to this email, or email me or Nation at [email protected] and [email protected]. We hope to hear from you.

I wanted to write Awake58 this week to talk about a series I’ve been working on with my colleague Emily Thomas on RISE and developmental education reform in North Carolina. Over the past five months, Emily and I have conducted over 70 interviews with community college students, faculty, staff, administrators, and presidents; state and national experts; and several system office folks. Thank you to everyone who generously gave us their time.

In this series, we look at RISE, what’s working, what’s not, and how we got here. We will be publishing one article each day this week, and we hope you follow along. You can find each article here as they publish. Learn more about the first two below.

All the best,

Molly Osborne

Policy Director,

EdNC reads

Getting more students to and through college — the story of developmental education reform in North Carolina

In 2011, 69% of recent North Carolina high school graduates coming into community colleges placed into at least one developmental course. Wake Tech president Scott Ralls calls this a “data bomb” that spurred the community college system to change their developmental education model when he was head of the system from 2008-2015.

In the first piece of the series, we look back at a decade of change — from semester-long remedial courses to modularization and multiple measures for placement to RISE.

Read more here

A corequisite model called RISE

55 of North Carolina’s 58 community colleges now use some form of RISE, which stands for Reinforced Instruction for Student Excellence. RISE is a corequisite remediation model, which allows students to start college-level classes immediately while they take a concurrent support class.

In the second part of the series, we look at the nuts and bolts of RISE and why it’s been a positive change so far at one college.

“The biggest win for me in RISE so far that we have witnessed is the access that it’s creating,” said Jonathan Loss, associate dean for general education at Catawba Valley Community College. “Since spring 2019, we’ve had several hundred students who have passed English 111 who never would have had the opportunity to even take English 111.”

“We’ve definitely increased the number of students that have moved on to the next level of study in their curriculum,” CVCC President Garrett Hinshaw said. “And that really helps them in terms of their confidence and also their progression.”

Read more here

Around NC

Botany, beverages, and A-B Tech

A-B Tech’s brewing, distillation, and fermentation program has taken off as the craft beer industry has exploded both across the country and in western North Carolina. In this article from EdNC’s Caroline Parker, meet department chair Jeff “Puff” Irvin, who talks about the two-year associate degree program that has produced some of the leading brewers in the region.

State Superintendent Catherine Truitt takes the lead of the Department of Public Instruction

From EdNC’s CEO Mebane Rash:

“How do we change things to put kids at the center of everything we do?” asked Catherine Truitt in her first remarks after being sworn in as State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

It’s the question that framed her campaign, and it’s the question that will frame her leadership.

Perspective | Leveraging online learning to narrow the technology skills gap

“In order to meet the demand for STEM skills, North Carolina must build up its career and technical education capacity starting in high school to help its students prepare for the jobs of the future.”

IBM’s Steven Pearson writes about P-TECH, an early college model designed to provide high school students with an associate degree, work experience, and skills training.

Davidson County Community College is now Davidson-Davie Community College

Congrats to Davidson-Davie Community College on the new name:

“We are changing our name to reflect what has always been true – we are a college that proudly serves Davidson and Davie counties, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds.” – Board of Trustees Chair Kevin Firquin


Other higher education reads

2021 College Admission Predictions

Brennan Barnard talks to both four-year and community college leaders about their predictions for the year ahead.

Shopping for a major? Detailed salary info shows which majors pay off

This Hechinger Report piece explores the question: “If [students] knew that one major results in higher salaries than others — or that graduates from one university earn more than those with the exact same degree from another — wouldn’t they make the higher-paying choice?” Not necessarily, it turns out.

Top EdSurge Higher Education Stories of 2020

Check out the most popular higher education stories from 2020.

Molly Osborne Urquhart

Molly Osborne is the vice president and director of operations for EducationNC.