A note from us
Nation here! Welcome to another edition of Awake58. If you missed last week’s newsletter, you may find it on our website. We included a look at a landmark investment in the health care workforce in New Hanover County by the New Hanover Community Endowment.
The State Board of Community Colleges is meeting this week… UNC Health Wayne and Wayne Community College have a unique partnership to provide a clinical instructor over the next five years… Blue Ridge Community College President Laura Leatherwood has a new perspective focused on how community colleges can help “pave the way” for female engineers…
The State Board of Community Colleges will hold their first board meeting of 2024 this Thursday and Friday. The agenda is on the system website. The full package for the board is also on the website, including a description of committees, notes, and more. The meetings will be livestreamed on the N.C.Community College System Office YouTube channel. We’ll have coverage on the meeting available next week.
We shared the news of a $20 million-plus investment into the health care workforce pipeline in New Hanover County last week. Now, we have a spotlight on a partnership between UNC Health Wayne and Wayne Community College:
Wayne Community College is getting a new clinical nursing instructor thanks to a partnership with UNC Health Wayne. The local hospital will be paying for the salary and benefits of one clinical nursing instructor for the college for a five year period. The college hopes this partnership will help address two challenges with one program — bolstering enrollment and addressing the nursing shortage.
Read the remainder of Alli’s article to better understand the partnership’s direction and goals. We would love to hear from you about other industry partnerships that are breaking new ground as we look ahead to 2024 and our continued coverage.
We heard a lot of great feedback from all of you last week on stories we ought to explore. I wanted to give a special shout out to Julie Wynne from Fayetteville Technical Community College for highlighting the new C.H.E.F. food truck from Fayetteville Tech. This is a very cool concept focused on entrepreneurship and the culinary program.
Have a great week – and I’ll see you out on the road!
Chief of Growth — EdNC.org
P.S. — A special shout out to my colleague Anna Pogarcic on becoming a Media Transformation Challenge (MTC) Fellow in 2024. She will be the youngest fellow in the history of the program. MTC is near and dear to my heart as I was a fellow in the 2019 class. I can’t wait to see what she accomplishes!
We discussed the UNC Health Wayne and Wayne Community College partnership above. That partnership includes a five-year contract for UNC Health Wayne to underwrite a clinical instructor in nursing to help ensure the college can provide more slots for aspiring nurses.
In addition to securing a new clinical nursing instructor, Wayne is also working on an apprenticeship program that they are hoping will have a profound impact on both their students and the greater community. The new program will allow licensed practical nurses (LPNs) to work towards their registered nursing (RN) license while working and in school. The hospital will then reimburse program participants for the coursework.
“The apprenticeship program will be a game changer for them,” said Dr. Pfeiffer.
The college started thinking about a nursing apprenticeship program five years ago. At the time, they had apprenticeship programs for other industries, but none in health care.
Wayne started their first health care apprenticeship program in 2022 with a one-year sterilization technician program. Since then, they have been working towards creating other apprenticeship programs with a focus on local industry needs.
Perspective | Paving the way for female engineers: How community colleges can help women pursue an engineering career
Blue Ridge Community College President Laura Leatherwood’s latest perspective focuses on the ways community colleges can help increase female participation in the engineering field. Here’s an excerpt from the piece:
Finally, let’s help our female students envision themselves as engineers.
How can we do this? Represent women in engineering program marketing materials. Educate female prospects about engineering pathways to help them see all the career possibilities they may not have considered previously due to societal gender stereotypes. Recruit female engineering professionals who can serve as faculty-mentors for students. At Blue Ridge Community College, we have excelled in hiring exceptional female faculty, with women leading and instructing in some of our most prominent technical areas. But we have much more work to do.
How will we ever address the great needs of the engineering sector in our state without creating pathways for all who could succeed? And with so much recent investment in infrastructure such as roads, housing, development, rails, broadband and more, demand for these engineering professionals will only increase.
Fortunately, the community college system is well-positioned to help close the gender gap in engineering. By shifting perceptions, boosting confidence, and helping our female students see themselves as future engineers, we can pave the way for women to contribute confidently in this ever-growing field.
FAFSA Day is coming up on Jan. 27. More details can be found on the College Foundation of North Carolina’s (CFNC) website.
The NC Community College Journal of Teaching Innovation’s (NCCCJTI) editorial board has opened another call for submissions. The journal is produced twice annually to share pedagogical practice or research trends related to N.C. community colleges. You can submit your manuscripts to [email protected] by May 10.
McDowell Technical Community College announced a significant grant award this week, along with their partners at Isothermal and Western Piedmont community colleges. Here’s an excerpt from the college’s announcement:
The U.S. Department of Education has awarded McDowell Technical Community College and regional partners Isothermal Community College and Western Piedmont Community College a grant in the amount of $2.3 million. The project, entitled Foothills FORWARD, aims to facilitate an occupation-ready workforce by addressing regional demands through efforts focused on increasing college retention, persistence and completion rates among students in areas served by the three colleges.
ACC followed precisely the model that we believe all public bodies should follow.
While the trustees have consistently maintained confidentiality for their initial candidate pool – which in this latest search for a new process included more than five dozen applicants – they have also customarily insisted upon holding public forums to introduce their top final contenders.
Advocates for secrecy always insist that providing transparency in the selection process will both limit the number of candidates applying for their top job and effectively screen out the very best candidates who would not want their superiors to know they’re applying for another job. But the large number of applicants, and the caliber of the finalists, puts that theory to shame.
The open process helps ensure that the public body is not sold a bill of goods, and inadvertently selecting a “lemon” whose flaws weren’t revealed because of the secrecy in such a selection.
I have long appreciated transparency in leadership searches and selections — and it has been great to see a number of colleges hold forums with community stakeholders during recent searches.
Central Carolina Community College announced an upcoming special event focused on supporting women in business: “The Women’s Business Summit will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 16, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic & Conference Center in Sanford. This dynamic event — hosted by the CCCC Small Business Center with financial support from NC IDEA — promises to be a transformative experience, bringing together aspiring female entrepreneurs and professionals to inspire, connect, and equip them with the tools and insights necessary to thrive in the competitive world of business.”
Edgecombe Community College is the first community college in the state to establish an articulation agreement with the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM), according to a release from the college.
Southeastern Community College recently broke ground on a new greeenhouse project. According to the college, the greenhouse “will help grow the existing farmer population and the technology needed to advance.”
Other higher education reads
We have often talked about workforce development as a focus for community colleges — but a new report suggests community colleges could also play a key role in economic development. Here’s a look at that report, from Community College Daily:
“Community colleges may view their work in a larger regional context and partake in collaborations that provide this larger perspective and more intentionally seek to meet economic development goals,” says the paper released this week. “They may approach their activities with greater levels of collaboration — to take on a leadership role in their community with regard to economic development.”
But with new massive federal investments ranging from infrastructure to advanced manufacturing, plus discussions nationally about a resurgence of interest in vocational and trade jobs, advocates and stakeholders are more intentionally considering two-year colleges’ position in economic development, especially regionally. The report observes their efforts produce key blocks for economic development, such as producing a skilled workforce, business supports and regional engagement through activities such as economic scans and economic planning, convening industry and stakeholder clusters, and assisting in crafting policies and regulations, to name a few.
Read the full report on Community College Daily’s website.