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The State Board determines their presidential search process

A note from us

Welcome to Awake58 – your weekly round-up of the latest community college news from across North Carolina and the country. Last week, we looked at the Chamber conference, featured Thomas Stith’s closing thoughts as system president, and more. You may read that edition by clicking here.

The State Board of Community Colleges met last week… Dogwood Health announced an RFP for early childhood workforce… The Hunt Institute announced their latest ElevateNC cohort…

The State Board of Community Colleges met last week to take up a series of substantive business items. My colleague Hannah McClellan has the details in her just-published story. The search process for the next system president was one of the top business items for the group:

At the first North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) State Board meeting since Thomas Stith’s resignation as president, the system discussed details concerning a search for a permanent system leader.

In a closed-session meeting, the Board appointed a bipartisan presidential search committee consisting of 10 board members and four other individuals. The Board unanimously voted to hire a firm experienced in higher education leadership searches, the system said in a release.

“The search committee will interview prospective search firms in the coming weeks and will go through the procurement approval process required by the state of North Carolina for such a selection,” the release said. “The search committee will keep the board and the public up to date throughout the process.”

For the full details on the State Board meeting, click here.

We also want to congratulate State Board Vice Chairperson Bill McBrayer for receiving the Order of the Longleaf Pine.

Last week, we had the chance to visit Ashe, Alleghany, Watauga, and Wilkes counties. Wilkes Community College served as our host for much of the visit — and we appreciate them spending so much time with us over the course of two days. Community — and county-wide — collaboration was a big focus of our time together as we heard from community leaders and organizations who are working together to tackle complex challenges around early childhood education, food insecurity, and workforce development.

Another critical topic raised again and again was both the affordability and availability of workforce housing. Appalachian State University leaders even told us they are building faculty housing due to the lack of housing stock in Watauga County. One common misconception is that affordable housing is an urban issue — but it is clear that this is an issue impacting every community in our state.

Several members of our team will be on the road this week as our Impact58 tour kicks off this week. My colleague Emily Thomas shared some details of the tour with you last week. If you missed her note, you may click here. Caroline Parker will visit Surry Community College, Mebane Rash and Derick Lee will visit Blue Ridge Community College, Emily will visit Catawba Valley Community College, and Hannah will spend time on the campus of Central Carolina Community College. You may follow our travel via Twitter by clicking here. I will be visiting Shaw University and St. Augustine’s University in Raleigh as well.

I look forward to hearing more about their travel — and I greatly appreciate all of the colleges who are opening up their doors for us this week and throughout the fall.

I’ll see you out on the road,

Nation Hahn

Head of Growth —

EdNC reads

State Board of Community Colleges discusses presidential search and governance

The State Board of Community Colleges met last week in Raleigh, and Hannah has the full story.

The Board took action on a series of items including:

  • Establishing a search process for the next system head, including establishing a bipartisan search committee and approving the hiring of a search firm for the role.
  • Reviewing their own development and engagement plan — and the ongoing process of developing a strategic plan for the system.
  • Approving its seven 2022 performance measures for student success.

Hannah’s piece also updates folks on the search underway at Fayetteville Technical Community College and a new interim for Randolph Community College:

On Friday, the Board approved two finalists for the position: Pamela Senegal and Mark Sorrells. Senegal, president of Piedmont Community College since 2017, recently completed the Aspen New President’s Leadership Fellowship program for 2020-21. Sorrells is the senior vice president of academic and student services at Fayetteville Tech. He has held the position since January 2019.

The Board also approved a new interim president at Randolph Community College. Longtime Randolph President Bob Shackleford retired at the end of June, and William Aiken briefly served as the interim president. The college named Elbert Lassiter as the new interim president on July 25, but needed formal approval from the Board. Lassiter was the vice president of workforce development and continuing education.

For the rest of the news from the state board meeting, click here.

‘A multifaceted win’: Sanford faith leaders host back-to-school event with Central Carolina Community College

Black faith leaders in Sanford and Lee County reached out to Central Carolina Community College to deepen their understanding of the economic opportunities coming to their region. As the conversations unfolded, the faith leaders and Central Carolina saw an opportunity to work together to promote the opportunities for their friends, neighbors, and congregants:

Mellette and Buckels continued brainstorming with CCCC regarding how to reach more Black students. That’s when the back-to-school event was born.

“We identified back to school as being a launching pad,” Mellette said, “that we can work together to bring the community and academics, the faith base, and our business community together.”

The event was a fun way to prepare for school together, he said. The Pelican’s SnoBalls station and CCCC Culinary Program’s food truck offered cold treats while the DJ played dance music, including the Electric Slide, Wobble, and – of course – Beyoncé. CCCC’s mascot, Charlee Cougar, braved the heat to man a photo booth. The college’s basketball team even showed up to play basketball on Horton Park’s court.

And, of course, the event also featured information on CCCC’s short-term training programs.

“We have some great jobs and careers coming in this region,” President Lisa Chapman said. “We want to make sure you know about those careers and jobs. You’ve got the talent, but if there’s some skills you need, or connections with the employers you need, your college is here to help you with that — we don’t want you to have any barriers.”

Education navigators will follow up directly with people who signed up for more information about CCCC’s programs, Brown said.

For additional background on the collaboration — and information on what’s to come as CCCC works to reach more adult learners — click here.

Dogwood Health Trust issues RFP around early childhood

The Dogwood Health Trust “opened a request for proposals from organizations with ideas on how to improve working conditions, attract new people to the field, and increase access to workforce education,” according to a piece from Liz Bell:

Grantees will receive multiyear grants of $250,000 to $1 million each, according the webinar. The amount will depend on the scope and strength of the initiative and the grantee’s capacity. The foundation is looking for proposals that approach challenges through an equitable lens — when it comes to the types of providers included, the demographics of those who get supports, and the outcomes and curricula used.

“It’s needed because the cliff (when federal stabilization funding ends) is coming at us quicker and it’s steeper than we thought it was gonna be,” Williams said. “[We’re] hoping to extend some of those innovative things that our colleagues were able to try and do, through the stabilization grants, through some of those monies … I’m hoping that we’ll continue that momentum for our partners in the region.”

For more details on the grant opportunity, click here.

Around NC

Liz Bell published a great resource guide outlining what the revised CDC guidance for COVID-19 means for child care centers, colleges, and schools across the state.

ICYMI, here is our latest guide on the Longleaf Commitment. Please pass it along to interested students and families.

The Hunt Institute announced the latest ElevateNC cohort last week. You’ll see some familiar names.

Halifax Community College announced their presidential search process — including a survey for the community.

Haywood Community College is using federal pandemic relief funds for its workforce development program.

Cape Fear Community College received a military-friendly designation again this year. Cape Fear also provided college President Jim Morton with a raise recently.

Fayetteville Tech Community College’s presidential search process continues. Current Piedmont Community College president Pamela Senegal is one of two finalists – and she visited campus as part of the hiring process for the next FTCC president recently.

Nash Community College provided a series of updates on the college to the local community in a recent article for their local paper.

Rockingham Community College made a series of personnel moves as the school year begins.

Other higher education reads

How higher education lost its shine

Enrollment is down across postsecondary institutions — and Hechinger Report dug in on the numbers and the “why” in a piece you ought to read:

There has been a significant and steady drop nationwide in the proportion of high school graduates enrolling in college in the fall after they finish high school — from a high of 70 percent in 2016 to 63 percent in 2020, the most recent year for which the figure is available, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

But while the pandemic made things worse, the enrollment downturn took hold well before it started; there were already two and a half million fewer students at colleges and universities by the time that Covid set in than there were in 2012. Another million and a half have disappeared since then.

Demographics alone cannot explain the scale of this drop. And statistics belie the claim that recent high school graduates are getting jobs instead of going to college; workforce participation for 16- to 24-year-olds is actually lower than it was before Covid hit, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, reports.

You can find the full piece here.

The Hechinger Report’s email newsletter is also worth subscribing to if you are not already a subscriber. You may find the latest edition by clicking here.

‘Summer melt’ was bad during the pandemic, and experts fear it could get even worse

‘Summer melt’ is one significant challenge for enrollment as students who once said they intended to enroll in postsecondary education opt out. Hechinger has an article out on the issue that examines the issue throughout the pandemic:

“Summer melt is nothing more than a data point telling you that we have huge barriers for so many students,” Owen said. “We are losing students from the pipeline that we need to engage back into a system that really was never designed for them to succeed.”

For the full piece, click here.

Nation Hahn

Nation Hahn is the chief of growth for EducationNC.