Skip to content

EdNC. Essential education news. Important stories. Your voice.

The 2023 legislative session has arrived

A note from us

Hello, Nation and Emily here. If you missed last week’s Awake58 edition, which focused on the system president job being posted and an array of Impact58 stories, you can read it by clicking here.

The State Board of Community Colleges met last week… You should check out Hannah’s legislative preview focused on the legislative agenda for the community college system… Presidents, trustees, and stakeholders will gather in Carteret County this week… We released our annual report and equity audit last week…Our colleagues Liz and Katie published a comprehensive piece about early care and education in the state…

The North Carolina General Assembly’s 2023 session has arrived. This session, commonly referred to as the long session, is expected to encompass many weighty topics, including Medicaid expansion and the state budget. Our team has worked over the last several months to connect with key stakeholders, advocates, legislators, and others to understand the lay of the land as the session convenes.

Hannah’s legislative preview for the community college legislative agenda sums up the big issue for the 58: N.C. Community College System asks legislators for salary, student funding increases.

The system’s updated 2022-2025 legislative agenda seeks an increase in state funding by $232 million over the next two years for increases in employee salaries and student investment. This amount comes to $86.8 million in funding for a 7% salary increase — with student investment making up the remaining $145.88 million of the system’s request.

The salary increase is important to many of our readers, and Wilkes Community College President Jeff Cox places it in context in the article:

“Faculty salaries have been our number one priority for years, and while we have made some progress, we still have a long way to go,” said Jeff Cox, president of Wilkes Community College and head of the N.C. Association of Community College Presidents. “If we are going to graduate outstanding nurses, for example, we must have outstanding nursing faculty. And we compete with all the health care community in hiring our nursing instructors.”

And it’s not just faculty salaries.

“We have the same issues related to many of our staff in terms of our need to be competitive in order to keep our staff employed at our colleges,” Cox said.

For the full details on the student investment portion, click here to read Hannah’s preview.

You can find our other previews across the educational continuum below. The early childhood preview includes plenty of content that is applicable to community colleges.

Early childhood legislative preview

K-12 education legislative preview

Educational equity legislative preview

The State Board of Community Colleges met last week, planning for the work ahead as the search for the next system president continues. Agenda items included the ongoing search and meeting the state’s workforce and education needs. The Board discussed implementation of the system’s 2022-2026 strategic plan and allocated $5 million to support the creation of new high-cost workforce programs at 14 of the system’s colleges. As for the presidential search process, the Board expects three to five weeks of candidate sourcing. The first round of interviews will start soon after. You can read Hannah’s Board meeting recap here.

EdNC’s Liz Bell and Katie Dukes provide a comprehensive overview of early childhood in the state, lifting up how communities are adopting innovative solutions to child care needs, the issues that still exist, and highlighting lessons learned from our Impact58 tour. You can read the full article here. 

We also released two articles about our work at EdNC that we would love for you to read. The first is our annual report. In the last year, we had over 1,200,000 readers visit Twenty-two percent of our readers said they changed their mind as a result of our work — and 15% contacted a policymaker after reading something on EdNC. As Mebane wrote in EdDaily last week, “Eight years ago, we started with an audience of zero. We knew even then that we couldn’t have the direct, widespread, or systemic impact we dreamed of without you. Now, EdNC has 50,000 impressions on social media a day, we send out 330,000 emails a week, and we had 1,241,530 users and 2,021,811 pageviews in 2022. It is our privilege to do this work. Thankful for your readership and leadership!”

The second piece is regarding our ongoing equity audit. We welcome your feedback!

Thank you for reading Awake58 again this week.

We’ll see you out on the road,

Nation & Emily

EdNC reads

N.C. Community College System asks legislators for salary, student funding increases

This week, the work of the General Assembly’s long session really begins. Lawmakers will work on a budget for the next two years, along with any changes to state policy and law —including education.

EdNC’s Hannah McClellan details the N.C. Community College System’s legislative asks in this piece. The system is requesting $232 million over the next two years and includes increases in employee salaries and student funding.

The updated agenda, presented by NCCCS Interim President Bill Carver in October, is asking for $86.8 million in funding for a 7% salary increase for faculty and staff over the next two years. The requested increase rate is the same as what the system requested in January 2022, with the investment amount increased to reflect the 1% raise received last year.

The system is also asking for $145.88 million in student investment.

NCCCS students are currently funded at 53% of UNC System first-year and sophomore students in comparable classes, the Board’s three-year request document says, “despite smaller average class sizes and faculty credentials that meet or exceed those in the UNC System.”

The January 2022 request asks for an increase in the system’s recurring student FTE value to 66% of equivalent UNC courses, the document says.

As the community college system — much like the rest of the state — works to recover from pandemic enrollment declines, Carver said the requested funding is crucial. Such funds would help the system stabilize while finding creative ways to continue attracting students back to campus.

Click here to read more.

State Board of Community Colleges continues search for new system president, allocates $5 million for workforce training

The State Board of Community Colleges met last week to discuss the implementation of its new strategic plan, the ongoing search for a new system president, and how to meet the state’s workforce and education needs.

The Board approved the system’s 2022-2026 strategic plan, “Leading Through Change,” at its October 2022 meeting. Last week, Dr. Patrick Crane, NCCCS vice president of strategic initiatives, presented tactics and tracking tools for the new plan, which staff plans to refine by March 1.

Ahead of the full Board meeting last week, the presidential search committee met on Jan. 18 to discuss the interview process for candidates. The Board expects three to five weeks of candidate sourcing, search committee co-chair Dr. Shirley Carraway said on Friday, until there is “a significant enough pool of candidates.” The first round of interviews will then start, held in person whenever possible.

Buffkin/Baker will vet both internal and external candidates before those interviews. The firm will provide a list of all applicants to committee members. The next committee meeting, which will kick off the vetting process, is tentatively scheduled for Feb. 1, depending on the number of applicants at that time.

The committee did not decide whether or not to publish semi-finalists at its public meeting. The search committee also did not discuss a salary range for the position.


The Board also approved the allocation of more than $5 million to support the creation of new high-cost workforce programs at 14 of the system’s colleges.

The funding, awarded based on full-time enrollment, will build capacity for workforce training in high-demand occupations that typically requires significant start-up funds.

The next presidential search committee meeting is slated for Feb. 1 and the full Board will meet Feb. 16-17.

Click here for Hannah’s Board meeting recap.


Experts make the urgent case: ‘Child care is a public good’

Liz Bell and Katie Dukes explore early care and education in North Carolina, highlighting innovative solutions from communities, the crisis that remains, proper investments, and 21st-century needs when it comes to child care. Their piece also lifts up information gathered from EdNC’s Impact58 tour where we covered key policy issues including early care and education.

Despite the best efforts of communities throughout the state, the early care and education system remains in crisis.

Without access to affordable child care, parents can’t run the businesses that provide the services upon which we all depend. Experts point to this as a cause of current worker shortages, the costs of which get passed to consumers in the form of longer lines and higher prices at the grocery store.

Without early childhood care and education being high quality, we risk the health and well-being of the children who will become the next generation of workers. The effects of this are already being felt in high costs of health care, public safety, and public assistance programs.

Experts across the state — from parents and educators to business leaders and policymakers — agree that nothing less than North Carolina’s economic future is at stake without investment in early care and education.

Read the full article here. 

Regional leaders discuss a new STEM education alliance for Eastern North Carolina

Nation recently attended a STEM education alliance meeting that convened regional leaders.

On Friday, Jan. 13, 29 school systems and 14 community colleges met for the first planning meeting to discuss a new alliance that will operate at the intersection of education, professional learning, workforce development, and economic development.

The goal is to reverse the decline of the region’s homegrown workforce, according to a press release.

The new “Industry in School Alliance” is a steering committee focused on the region’s 13,000+ teachers and community college faculty as a regional workforce and, importantly, influencers of students.

  • The steering committee will invent and implement a new educator training system to create a better understanding of nearby jobs and industry clusters.
  • Teachers will work with students to increase awareness of jobs in the region, how much postsecondary education is required for those jobs, and what the salary range is for those jobs.
  • The hope is that more of the region’s high school graduates choose to remain in the region for work and/or education.

Click here for Nation’s recap of the meeting.

Around NC

The NC Community College Journal of Teaching Innovation’s (NCCCJTI) editorial board has now opened the Call for Submissions for Volume 2 Issue 2. Here is more information. Submit your manuscripts to [email protected] by April 29.

Leadership opportunity: “The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities has announced applications are being accepted for the fifth cohort of its Leadership Academy/La Academia de Liderazgo. The Leadership program prepares senior higher education administrators at colleges and universities nationwide for top leadership roles at Hispanic-Serving Institutions, emerging HSIs and other institutions of higher learning. Applications will be accepted through March 31, 2023, with selected participants notified on April 28, 2023.”

“Fellows chosen for the 2023-24 cohort are selected through a competitive application process. Information on the program, cost, application process and frequently asked questions are available on the program website. A PDF of the program brochure can also be downloaded on the website. Applications and nominations can be made here.”

We visited Brunswick Community College with the John M. Belk Endowment (JMBE) and the NC Reconnect team last week. Check out their article on our visit!

We also visited Edgecombe Community College along with the JMBE and the NC Reconnect team. Here is their article on the visit.

Durham Technical Community College announced a $6 million dollar grant from Novo Nordisk to support the life sciences.

The Land of Sky Regional Council in Asheville received a nearly $4 million grant to support work with justice-involved individuals from the Department of Justice.

Johnston Community College’s new President Dr. Vern Lindquist has officially assumed the role according to a release from the college.

McDowell Technical Community College announced a nearly $1 million grant to support their early childhood education efforts — including the creation of a playbook for other community colleges.

Other higher education reads

Bachelor’s degree dreams of community college students get stymied by red tape — and it’s getting worse

Transferring from community colleges to a four-year university to achieve a bachelor’s degree is a common dream for many community college curriculum students across the state. The Hechinger Report recently published a report looking at the challenges to doing so, including persistent red tape. From that article:

Another major culprit is a system that’s extremely tough to navigate, and for which students get little help. Transfer students continue to “face an uphill battle as they contend with unclear information and insufficient guidance on this complex process,” a new report by the higher education consulting firm HCM Strategists says. “Such dismal outcomes and rife inefficiency should be a wake-up call to us all.”

Even when a four-year university accepts community college credits, those credits may not apply to the student’s intended major.

“I’ll be honest: The process is difficult,” Jean-Louis, a 26-year-old Navy veteran, said. “It is confusing. If I didn’t have this goal, it would be very hard.”

For this deep dive on the transfer process, click here.

Researchers hope to boost community college transfer and make it more equitable

While on the topic of transfers, check out this Q&A from Higher Ed Drive about a new collaborative project in North Carolina that launched last week.

The project is a partnership between the Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research, the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program, and Community College Research Center and includes representatives from North Carolina’s universities and community colleges. The group will “focus on identifying and elevating evidence-based strategies that can pave the way for stronger and more equitable transfer outcomes across institutions, states, and the nation.”

“Transfer is a state-wide issue, with growth in jobs occurring in every county all across our state,” said Dr. Audrey J. Jaeger, executive director of the Belk Center. “We have seen transfer, when it works as intended, represent one pathway to workforce success and economic prosperity for North Carolina students.”

The Belk Center’s Deputy Director Monica Clark said the Center is proud to partner with these organizations and leaders to identify and elevate promising transfer practices in North Carolina.

“We are committed to helping more North Carolinians transfer successfully and attain credentials that will support their families, communities and the state as a whole. With leadership from our presidents and system representatives, we intend to contribute to a stronger talent pipeline that reflects North Carolina’s rich potential.”

Expect more coverage in the coming months.

Click here to read the Q&A.

Nation Hahn

Nation Hahn is the chief of growth for EducationNC.

Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas is a policy analyst for EducationNC.