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Surry-Yadkin Works offers lessons for communities across NC

A note from us

Nation here with another edition of Awake58. If you missed the last edition featuring our recap of the recent statewide summit on Opportunity Youth, you may find it on our website.

The State Board of Community Colleges will meet this Friday… the Belk Center released a playbook on Surry-Yadkin Works… Alamance CC has three finalists for their presidency…

Good morning! As we prepare for the final weeks of 2023, I am filled with gratitude for all of you. Writing this newsletter for the last five-plus years has been an absolute honor. I was particularly grateful this year to cross the finish line of visiting all of our 58 community colleges. It was the third time our team has collectively traveled to all 58, but traveling with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina for the Extra Miles Tour this year was the first time I had visited several counties across our state. I am proud that we engaged with 53 of our 58 community colleges along the way! I will be writing up some of my lessons from the road in the weeks ahead. Stay tuned.

The State Board meets virtually this Friday at 10 a.m. to take up a few items. As always, we will be listening and will publish an article documenting the meeting. If you wish to receive the article first, I suggest signing up for our Awake58 texting line or by sending TEXTAWAKE58 to 73224.

Alamance Community College recently announced three finalists for their next college president: Dr. John Boyd, president of Mayland Community College; Dr. Pamela Senegal, president of Piedmont Community College; and Dr. Ken Ingle, chief officer of information services at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.

As we prepare to pause Awake58 for a two-week holiday break, I have had the chance to review our content from this year. Over the past several months, we sat with system president Dr. Jeff Cox to understand his agenda and vision, continued our ongoing coverage of the State Board, reported on upcoming FAFSA changes and the expansion of Pell Grants, highlighted innovative approaches to colleges providing drop-in child care, and explored the impacts of the state budget on community colleges.

The system office also released their year-in-review video if you have a moment to give it a watch.

I’ll see you in 2024,

Nation Hahn

Chief of Growth —

EdNC reads

A new playbook analyzes Surry-Yadkin Works

What happens when education, government, and workforce leaders come together to build the next generation of talent in an effort to support their local economy? The answer, according to a new report from the Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research, is a partnership like Surry-Yadkin Works.

Developed by the Belk Center in partnership with myFutureNC, the new Surry-Yadkin Works playbook features insights and best practices they collected over the course of a lengthy research process. The authors argue the model is transforming the lives of students, employers, and communities in northwestern North Carolina. They also indicate other communities can learn from the approach that contributed to Surry-Yadkin Works’ success and the specific steps taken by leaders to launch and grow the program.

You may find the report by visiting both our website and the Belk Center’s site. We have produced articles on the apprenticeship model in the past, and you can find them on our Surry Community College page.

Attorney General Josh Stein visits Central Piedmont Community College

On Dec. 6, Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) welcomed Attorney General Josh Stein to their central campus in Charlotte, and EdNC’s Derick Lee was there to cover the visit.

On the visit, the college showcased their state-of-the-art Ruth G. Shaw Advanced Technology Center, namesake of the college’s second president. The $25.5 million facility enables students to acquire hands-on training through the use of the various specialized labs. According to Rodney Owens, chair of the Computer-Integrated Machining Technology program, many students enrolled are currently employed, continuing their education to advance their careers. Overall, Owens said with the quality training that CPCC provides in such a high demand field, it is common for students to receive multiple job offers upon graduating. 

The second leg of the tour exposed Stein to the many opportunities housed in the Leon Levin Health Sciences Center. In what Karen Summers, Dean of Health Sciences, describes as a “win-win for everyone,” the Atrium Health Community-Based Virtual Clinic allows students in the Medical Assisting program to gain valuable training. Meanwhile students, employees, their families, and other partners of the college are provided access to medical services from a tele-presenter. The college’s health care services include dental and vision and will be expanding to behavioral health in the near future.

Also situated within the Health Sciences Center was one of CPCC’s Anatomage Tables. As Stein explored the interactive 3D anatomical visualization of a real cadaver, CPCC leaders said access to such advanced devices is part of creating equity through technology to deepen learning opportunities for students.

Stein said that with “so many great jobs out there in Mecklenburg County and beyond,” CPCC is “training our young people to take advantage of those opportunities.” 

“We want to make sure that folks get the skills that they need to succeed so that if they don’t want to go get a four-year degree… they can start their career at a place where they’re making good money with a growth path to be able to support a family,” Stein said. 

Around NC

The State Board of Community Colleges will meet virtually on Dec. 15 at 10:00 a.m. You may view the agenda on the SBCC portal. As always, the meetings are open to the public, but some portions may be conducted in closed session, pursuant to state law. The meeting will be live streamed on the N.C. Community College System Office YouTube channel this Friday.

JOB ALERT | The NC Community College System is looking for a Director of Grants.

St. Augustine’s University announced Dr. Leslie Rodriguez-McClellon will serve as acting president.

Alamance Community College announced the finalists for their next president a few weeks ago. We expect a new president to be announced in the near future.

Central Piedmont Community College will hold their winter commencement this week.

Central Carolina Community College dedicated the Sustainable Technologies Building in honor of Dr. George Lucier, according to a release from the college.

Guilford Technical Community College’s Rainbow Six Siege team claimed the National Junior College Athletic Association Esports (NJCAAE) national championship.

Pitt Community College students will have a new way to get to and from campus for their classes, according to a release from the school. Thanks to an agreement between the college and Pitt County, the Pitt Area Transit System (PATS) will begin transporting students from their homes to PCC facilities in January.

Other higher education reads

UNCG is working with a consulting group to cut academic programs. What lessons can be learned from other schools?

Triad City Beat is out with a report looking at UNC-Greensboro’s efforts to review academic programs:

In interviews with faculty from other universities, professors mentioned how aggressive tactics like the ones being employed at UNCG have ultimately changed the fabric of their institutions and, in some cases, created drastic enrollment drops. Current and former faculty noted how the consulting groups and university administrators began treating the schools like businesses run for profits, rather than educational institutions concerned with the public good.

“It still feels like a bad nightmare to all of us,” said Ela Celikbas, an assistant professor of mathematics at West Virginia University. “Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and think, Did they really do this? Did they really cancel our math graduate program?”

Now, UNCG professors and students are fighting back to ensure they don’t meet the same fate as West Virginia University and Emporia State University in Kansas. …

The university administration also noted a concern about a future in which fewer high school graduates seek college degrees because of falling birth rates, rising tuition and the economic impact of the pandemic.

The full report is available on Triad City Beat’s website.

New FAFSA may launch with outdated inflation figures. ‘Millions of students could receive less aid,' expert says

Ahead of the new FAFSA launch, media outlets are sounding the alarm:

A simplified Free Application for Federal Student Aid is set to roll out by the end of the month.

However, the new FAFSA may launch with outdated inflation figures, which could mean many students “will get less financial aid than they deserve,” according to higher education expert Mark Kantrowitz.

“It is a pretty big deal,” he said. “We are talking about thousands of additional dollars that families will have to pay for college.”

While it’s hard to quantify exactly how many will be affected, “millions of students could receive less aid,” according to Kalman Chany, a financial aid consultant and author of The Princeton Review’s “Paying for College.”

Nation Hahn

Nation Hahn is the chief of growth for EducationNC.