Skip to content

How small business centers at community colleges help after a disaster

A note from Nation

Welcome to the latest edition of Awake58. We appreciate you allowing us into your inbox. If you received this email without a subscription, please click here to subscribe to this newsletter. 

Haywood Community College helps small businesses navigate life after a natural disaster… Broward College president, Gregory Adam Haile, to deliver the 2021 Dallas Herring Lecture on Nov. 16…The Trailblazer Profiles of Dr. Pamela Senegal and Dr. Algie Gatewood…

Good morning all,

Emily here, policy analyst for EdNC. I’m filling in for Nation this week. As always, thank you for taking the time to read Awake58!

It’s been over two months since Tropical Storm Fred hit parts of Western North Carolina. EdNC reported on the storm’s impact on Haywood and Transylvania counties in August.

Last week I returned to Haywood County and met with Canton mayor, Zeb Smathers, to talk about how small businesses in downtown Canton are recovering after the August floods.

While in Haywood, I stopped to visit Ashley Swanger, director of Haywood Community College’s Small Business Center, and Dr. Shelley White, president of the college. White and I discussed fall enrollment. She estimates that enrollment is down 5%-8% this fall because of the flood. White also told me about the college’s plan for reengaging students they lost touch with during the first week of fall classes.

During my visit with Swanger, I saw firsthand how the college coordinates with businesses in the community after a natural disaster. And I found out that sometimes the work looks a lot like counseling because business owners are dealing with what Swanger said can be equated to grief.

As for businesses and residents of Haywood County, they are still recovering. The Small Business Administration (SBA) is on Haywood’s campus to help business owners, nonprofits, homeowners, and renters navigate federal loan applications.

Read the full article about my visit here.

The Dallas Herring Lecture, hosted by North Carolina State University’s College of Education and the Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research, is scheduled for Nov. 16 from 1-3 p.m. EST. Gregory Adam Haile, who serves as the president of Broward College in Florida, will deliver the 2021 Dallas Herring Lecture.

In this year’s lecture, titled “Redefining Access: The Power of Proximity,” Haile reimagines higher education access through a collaborative, replicable, and disruptive model.

You can read more about the lecture and Haile here. To register for the virtual event, click here. The event is open to the public and free to attend.

Last week we published a podcast with Dr. Audrey Jaeger, executive director of the Belk Center. In the episode, we introduced the Belk Center’s Trailblazer Profiles project. We also republished the first profile in the series with Dr. Lawrence Rouse, president of Pitt Community College. This week we are sharing the profiles of Dr. Pamela Senegal, president of Piedmont Community College, and Dr. Algie Gatewood, president of Alamance Community College. 

I’ll be on on college campuses this week and next. On Thursday, Nov. 5, I am visiting Isothermal Community College. On Monday, Nov. 8, I will be at Cleveland Community College. You can follow me on Twitter @emlybrthomas to keep up with my adventures from the road.

And lastly, we want to hear from you about fall enrollment. Did your college experience enrollment growth this fall? What areas at the college had the most significant enrollment changes? You can respond directly to this email or reach out to me at [email protected]

Thanks for reading,

Emily

Policy Analyst, EdNC.org


EdNC reads

Small town grit: Restoring businesses after a flood

There is a certain amount of grit among mountain folks. That’s how Zeb Smathers, mayor of Canton, described the residents of Canton and Haywood County:

“We pull ourselves up, not just on our own accord … but when someone extends a hand and wants to help, it’s sincere.”

Small businesses in downtown Canton are still recovering from Tropical Storm Fred that hit parts of Western North Carolina on Aug. 17. 

While some businesses were able to reopen quickly, others sustained significant damage that impeded their normal business operations.

The recovery process after a natural disaster is never quick. And the damage is not always just physical.

“People are dealing with what can be equated to grief,” said Ashley Swanger, director of Haywood Community College’s Small Business Center.

Haywood’s Small Business Center has been helping business owners navigate life after a natural disaster.

Sometimes the work looks like lending an ear, listening to the frustration of business owners as they figure out their next steps. Other times the work  includes helping owners apply for loans, creating a disaster plan, or even closing a business.

Read the full article here

Gregory Adam Haile, president of Broward College, to deliver the 2021 Dallas Herring Lecture

“As a postsecondary institution, I think it’s our job not just to be proud of the accolades…but to be conscious of ‘Who are we missing? Who wants a better life but can’t figure out how to get there?’”

– Gregory Adam Haile, president of Broward College

Gregory Adam Haile, who serves as the president of Broward College in Florida, will deliver the 2021 Dallas Herring Lecture. The event will be held virtually on Tuesday, Nov. 16 from 1-3 p.m. It is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

The annual lecture, hosted by North Carolina State University’s College of Education and the Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research, is an invitation for community college leaders from around the country to speak on issues impacting community colleges.

In this year’s lecture, titled “Redefining Access: The Power of Proximity,” Haile reimagines higher education access through a collaborative, replicable, and disruptive model.

“Broward College is one of the leading community colleges in the country, and I know that is in part due to the leadership of Gregory Haile. We are incredibly fortunate to learn from President Haile as he delivers this year’s Dallas Herring Lecture, which will touch on critical issues such as equity and access. His insight will be a valuable addition to conversations around student success taking place in community colleges across North Carolina.”

– Dr. Audrey Jaeger, executive director of the Belk Center

There will be a live panel discussion immediately following the lecture with thought leaders from community colleges around the country.

Read about Haile and register for the Dallas Herring Lecture

Perspective | Trailblazer Profiles: Dr. Pamela Senegal

In this Trailblazer Profile, first published by the Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research, you’ll read the story of Dr. Pamela Senegal, president of Piedmont Community College.

During her interview, Senegal said she knew she was a leader – even from a young age. As a child she didn’t have the same dream other girls had of having a big fancy wedding. Senegal said she dreamed of “running stuff.”

While Senegal knew leadership was her path, it took time to figure out what type of leader she wanted to be.

“I didn’t understand what it meant to have a career in community colleges, but the more I learned about it, the more I fell in love with what we do, the way we impact communities and it’s been a really good fit for who I am as a human being – who I am just from so many different levels.”

-Senegal

Senegal also discusses her role as community college president and how her race and gender deeply impact her work.

“There is such an intersectionality between my race, my gender, my class and my age. As I get older, the reactions about my age are no longer an issue, but my gender continues to be.”

– Senegal

Read the full profile by clicking below.

Trailblazer Profile of Dr. Pamela Senegal

Perspective |Trailblazer Profiles: Dr. Algie Gatewood

The third profile in the Belk Center’s Trailblazer Profiles project is that of Dr. Algie Gatewood, president of Alamance Community College.

Gatewood’s profile highlights his years of community college experience, and how he has supported community college students for more than 45 years. Gatewood is the first African American president of Alamance Community College.

While Gatewood has been very successful at Alamance Community College, the transition was not without its challenges.

“I’ve had to prove myself as being a worthy player. I cannot afford to, and have not, gone into any meetings here and not been prepared… I am always prepared.”

-Gatewood

Gatewood also shared about his time growing up in Anson County and described his experience picking cotton as being on par with legalized slavery.

“The bus would come to our neighborhood and pick up the cotton hands. That is how they referred to us, we were not people, we were hands. We would get on this bus before daylight and go to whichever cotton field our farm manager needed picked on that day, and we would work from sun up until sun down.”

– Gatewood

Read the full profile by clicking below.

 

Trailblazer Profile of Dr. Algie Gatewood

Around NC

Wayne Community College (WCC) is a finalist for the Bellwether Award. It’s a national award that recognizes best practices in community colleges. WCC is one of three North Carolina community colleges named finalists for the 2022 awards. Catawba Valley Community College and South Piedmont Community College will be competing in the same category as WCC.

Gaston College breaks ground on a new facility that will support the textile industry.

Blue Ridge Community College announces record enrollment this fall. President Laura Leatherwood attributed the enrollment increase to the college’s focus on recruiting adult learners. EdNC covered the adult learner work of Blue Ridge Community College and four other schools in this series.

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College will host a virtual Growth, Understanding, Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (G.U.I.D.E.) conference on Nov. 18-19. Learn more here. 

National college transfer week was Oct. 18-22. A policy brief published by the Belk Center focuses on transfer students’ pathways to bachelor’s degree completion and provides information about transfer student success at various points along the pathway.


Other higher education reads

The Community Colleges Students Need Now

A virtual event hosted by the Chronicle of Higher Education will discuss how community colleges will need to move forward in a time of upheaval.

“As they face enrollment declines, students’ greater needs, and pandemic-era learning loss, among other challenges, the mission of social mobility is more important than ever. How are community colleges remaking the paths to a postsecondary credential?”

You can register for the event, scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 4 at 2 p.m. ET, here.

Community colleges keep losing students. Can targeted programs change that?

An article by Open Campus talks about the challenges facing community colleges and features North Carolina.

“Community college enrollment nationwide appears to have dropped again this fall, compounding dramatic losses seen earlier in the pandemic. Taken together, enrollment at those colleges is on track to drop more than 14 percent in just two years, according to first-look estimates released this week by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.”

But some states, including North Carolina, are seeing enrollment increases because of targeted programs.

Read the full article here.

Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas is a policy analyst for EducationNC.