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What do you want to see in a new system president?

A note from us

Welcome to Awake58 – your weekly round-up of the latest community college news from across North Carolina and the country. If you’re not signed up for Awake58’s weekly newsletter, click here to do so. Our last edition covered community colleges’ response to health care worker shortages, presidential search updates, and a recap from the system conference. You may read it by clicking here.

NCCCS survey launched to gather input on its search for a new system president… A recap from the State Board of Community Colleges’ meeting… Impact 58 stories from across the state… UNC System preparing to move to a performance-based funding model…

Hello – and thank you for allowing us into your inboxes. We have several updates from across the state in this week’s edition.

The North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) launched a survey last week to gather stakeholder input on its search for a new system president. It’s an eight-question survey asking respondents to weigh in on what they want from candidates – including minimum academic qualifications and top-five skills. You can access the survey here through Nov. 4. Read more from EdNC on the presidential search process and timeline.

Hannah attended the State Board of Community Colleges’ meeting last week. The Board discussed a number of items, including the approval of the system’s 2022-26 strategic plan, a review of the legislative funding request, and more. You may read the full recap here.

The UNC System is preparing to move to a performance-based funding model. The model was approved in April and the Board is now discussing the details of the model.  This article from North Carolina Public Radio has more on the performance-based model discussions.

Forty-fivethat’s how many Impact 58 tours EdNC has completed so far. And we’re on the road again this week – making stops at Craven, Isothermal, and South Piedmont community colleges. Be sure to scroll to find our most recent Impact 58 stories.

You can follow Awake58 on Twitter to keep up with our Impact 58 travels and current community college news.

Until next time,

Emily Thomas

Policy Analyst – EdNC.org


EdNC reads

What do you want in a new N.C. Community College System president? Let NCCCS know in search survey

The North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) launched a survey last week to gather stakeholder input on its search for a new president following Thomas Stith’s resignation in July.

The eight-question survey asks about the respondent’s relationship to the NCCCS, desired minimum academic qualifications for the president, and top five wanted skills for the candidate, among other things. There is also space to share additional written comments.

You can access the survey here through Nov. 4. The system will work with the State Board of Community College’s presidential search committee to analyze survey results by Nov. 14. The search committee will then meet Nov. 16 to continue work on its presidential profile.

Hannah’s article also includes a timeline review of the presidential search process.

State Board of Community Colleges approves 2022-26 NCCCS strategic plan

The North Carolina Community College System’s (NCCCS) new four-year strategic plan is finally complete — 13 months after the system embarked on the work.

The State Board of Community Colleges unanimously approved the 2022-2026 strategic plan, “Leading Through Change,” at its meeting last week.

The new 40-page strategic plan includes objectives and strategies the Board will use to meet its five primary goals. The system will also use one-year action plans with specific action steps, timelines, and metrics to support implementation of those goals.

Strategic Planning Committee Chairperson Ann Whitford said the will start implementation of the new plan by communicating the goals to NCCCS stakeholders. The system will print approximately 500 copies, staff said, and share the digital file widely.

Then the Board must finalize the first one-year action plan. You can read more about the draft one-year plan presented in September here.

“While the plan is finished, our work has just begun,” Whitford told the Board.

Read our full recap here.

Updates from Impact 58

‘You got it, and I got you.’ A story of success from Western Piedmont Community College

A caregiver to an ailing father and a full-time mom – the story of Western Piedmont graduate Jenny Benton is one of resilience, hope, and service.

Benton said her degree from Western Piedmont has been her ticket to becoming a success coach and giving back to the college, the community, the state, and community college system.

Read Benton’s full story here. 

Southwestern Community College made small businesses a priority, and now they drive the local economy

Southwestern’s Small Business Center is making an impact in the community.

“Small businesses are the driving force of all of our local economies in this region,” said Thom Brooks, executive vice president for instruction and student services at SCC. “Here, to get 50 jobs, we may need to work with 25, 30, 40 businesses, one and two jobs at a time.”

Much of the work to support those small business happens through the Small Business Center at SCC.

An economic impact study of SCC found it has an annual economic impact of $104.1 million, including $18.4 million in operations spending, $6.6 million in student spending, and $76.3 million in alumni impact.

When the study looked at the impact of the Small Business Center, it found: SCC is also a vital asset to regional employers. Specifically, the college adds highly-trained human capital to the regional workforce and provides training for local businesses at the Small Business Center. SCC’s Small Business Center is designed to increase the success of the small businesses in the region. The Center provides quality assistance to businesses in the form of workshops, seminars, confidential counseling, information resources, and more. In turn, this helps strengthen the regional labor market through increased job creation and retention.

Ignite Davie: How Davidson-Davie Community College is firing up opportunities for high school graduates

In fall 2018, Darrin Hartness, then freshly named president of Davidson-Davie Community College (DDCC), was talking with a local businessman. They were both struck by a challenge in Davie County: A large number of students graduating from high school didn’t have plans for what to do next.

So, they started dreaming up a plan to answer one big question:

“What would it look like for us to have a program to ensure that every student that graduated from high school in this community — whether it’s public high school or home school — would not have to worry about tuition and fees and would have a book stipend to go to college?” Hartness said.

Read how a number of community partners and educational stakeholders came together to create a community-focused college promise program.

Carteret Community College prepares students to close workforce gaps exposed by COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed major gaps in North Carolina’s workforce. Carteret Community College is training students who will work to close those gaps in at least two fields — health science and transportation.

In a study completed late last year, Carteret Community College was found to have an annual economic impact of $56.8 million. For every dollar invested in the college, students gain $6.20 in lifetime earnings, taxpayers gain $1.40 in added tax revenue and public sector savings, and society gains $7.10 in added state revenue and social savings, the report says.

Additionally, one in every 27 jobs in Carteret County is supported by the activities of the community college and its students. Over the past few years, more and more of those jobs have been in nursing and trucking.

Check out the full story. 


Around NC

Mark your calendars. The annual Dallas Herring Lecture is scheduled for Nov. 8. Dr. Mike Flores, chancellor of the Alamo Colleges District, will deliver the lecture titled “Community Colleges in Action: Advancing Equity and Enhancing Economic Mobility Using Local Collective Impact Strategies.” Click here to register.

The Chronicle of Higher Education recently featured Lenoir Community College’s “Cars for College” program.

Halifax Community College is searching for their next president and will hold presidential candidate public forums Oct. 31, Nov. 1, and Nov. 2 from 2:30 – 4:00 pm. Find more info about their search here.

Wake Tech plans expansion of Health Sciences Eduction Programs by building a 120,000-square-foot facility.

Cleveland Community College was selected as a finalist for the 2022 NC TECH awards.

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College joined College Foundation of North Carolina for College Application Week to promote higher education access and helping students with enrollment-related tasks.

This article features Surry Community College’s Firefighter Career and College Promise program.

Western Piedmont will hold its Fall Speakers Forum Oct. 24 – Oct. 27. The theme is “Democracy and Dialogue: Educating Citizens in the Age of Social Media.”

Nash Community College announces nursing scholarship.


Other higher education reads

The college enrollment drop is finally letting up. That's the good news

Preliminary data released from National Student Clearinghouse last week shows undergraduate college enrollment is still declining, but at a much less drastic rate.

Community colleges saw the smallest declines – only a 0.4% enrollment loss compared to fall 2021 – thanks in part to increased enrollment among high school students who were dual-enrolled and freshmen. That’s really good news, as community colleges were the hardest hit during the pandemic, with enrollment drops in the double digits.

Read NPR’s full coverage here.

Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas is the Director of Postsecondary Attainment for EducationNC.