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How will the budget impact your wallet?

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. 

The budget is done — now find out how much more you might earn… Five new colleges are joining the N.C. Reconnect pilot for adult learners… Longleaf Commitment eligibility expands… Rockingham Community College president Mark Kinlaw won the I.E. Ready Award… The Institute for Emerging Issues Forum will focus on attainment and registration is now open… 

Welcome back to Awake58, and thank you to everyone who participated in our impact survey last week. If you haven’t taken our survey yet, please consider doing so today. You can participate in the survey by clicking here — and it won’t take more than a few minutes of your time.

We have a lot of news for you this week.

We will have a full analysis on the impacts of the new state budget on the community college system next week. Our first piece explores the pay raises and bonuses featured in the budget. Will you see a raise? Check out Alex Granados’ article for details.

N.C. Reconnect, a pilot initiative focused on adult learners that launched at five community colleges this fall, will expand to five more colleges this spring. MC Belk Pilon, president and board chair of the John M Belk Endowment, announced during the most recent State Board of Community Colleges meeting that Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute, Central Carolina Community College, Forsyth Technical Community College, Lenoir Community College, and Wilkes Community College will join the adult learner initiative.

Class of 2020 North Carolina high school graduates are now eligible for the Longleaf Commitment. As the press release notes, “Longleaf Commitment Grants provide between $700– $2,800 to recent high school graduates to cover the cost of tuition and fees for up to two years… The grants were previously only open to 2021 high school graduates.”

“Education translates into opportunity, and with this grant expansion, we are excited to provide more opportunity to our diverse student populations across the state,” noted N.C. Community College System president Thomas Stith in the release.

The Longleaf Commitment aims to bolster enrollment in our community college system — and ultimately increase our degree and credential attainment rate. Our state’s attainment goal will be a focus of the conversation at the 2022 Institute for Emerging Issues Forum in February. Registration is now open for the Forum. We will see you there.

At the Dallas Herring Lecture, Rockingham Community College president Mark Kinlaw was named the recipient of the 2021 I.E. Ready Distinguished Leader Award. Kinlaw told my colleague Emily Thomas, “I think [the pandemic] has really reemphasized how important it is to have your pulse on what’s happening to your students. You’ve got to be in tune with what is happening with your students. That’s one of the lessons that I think we’ve been taught.”

We mentioned the new Durham Tech strategic plan in our last edition of Awake58. You may now find the full plan here.

Thank you for reading Awake58 this week. I appreciate your support. If you have story ideas, tips, or thoughts you wish to share, just reply directly to this email.

I’ll see you out on the road,

Nation Hahn

Head of Growth — EdNC.org


EdNC reads

Are you getting more money?

With the biennium budget passed and signed, Alex Granados explores the impact on K-12 teachers and community college faculty and staff. Granados reports:

One of the community college system’s budget priorities for a while now has been getting pay increases for faculty and staff at community colleges. The budget provides funding for a 2.5% pay increase in both years of the biennium for a total increase of 5% over two years.

There is also funding to raise the minimum wage for any state-funded employee to $13 an hour in the first year and $15 an hour in the second year of the biennium.

Any community college personnel making less than $75,000 will get that $1,500 bonus, and any making more will get $1,000.

For the full article, click here.

We will have a more in-depth analysis of the state budget out soon. Stay tuned!

Who are we missing? Gregory Adam Haile challenges leaders to think about who their colleges are not serving

The 2021 Dallas Herring Lecture was delivered by Broward College president Gregory Haile. Haile’s lecture was titled, “Redefining Access: The Power of Proximity.”

Haile’s message focused, first, on what he defines as three significant challenges that have combined to disrupt community colleges: economic disruption, racial reckoning, and the pandemic.

He went on to discuss the three proximities that he believed colleges must focus on to better serve their communities and respond to these challenges: physical proximity, social proximity, and financial proximity.

Haile’s message in many ways could be boiled down to this powerful statement: “I challenge you to not only think about those that you are serving, but to think about those you are missing.”

Broward College’s approach to solving these challenges includes an innovative program called BrowardUP. For details on BrowardUP, check out our article on Haile’s lecture.

Haile concluded his remarks with advice that all of us would do well to remember:

“When I accepted the presidency of Broward College, I promised that I would spend my time focusing more on doing my job than simply keeping my job. This can feel uncomfortable. But our jobs were never just to keep the train on the tracks. Our job includes making sure that everyone is on the train.”

Dr. Mark Kinlaw, president of Rockingham Community College, receives 2021 I.E. Ready Distinguished Leader Award

Dr. Mark Kinlaw, president of Rockingham Community College, received the I.E. Ready Distinguished Leader Award during the Herring Lecture. Kinlaw has served as president of Rockingham Community College since 2015. Prior to coming to Rockingham CC, Kinlaw worked at Robeson Community College for 27 years.

Kinlaw sat down with Emily Thomas to discuss the award and his career.

“I learned pretty quickly that you have to listen a lot …You have to hire the best people that you possibly can hire, and then you let them do their jobs and you listen to them,” Kinlaw said. “I think I’m participatory in leadership style, collaborative … If you’ve got a diversified campus … and you listen to those folks, and we allow them to participate in making those decisions, you’re much more likely to make a good decision when it’s all said and done.”…

At the end of the day, Kinlaw says students are at the heart and soul of what community colleges do. And to better serve students, Kinlaw says it has been important to remember that the team concept is critical.

“Everybody has a role. Everybody has something important to do,” Kinlaw said.

You may read the full article examining Kinlaw’s career and sharing his thoughts on leadership by clicking here.

Two community college presidents respond to the Herring Lecture

We invited Piedmont Community College president Pamela Senegal and Wilkes Community College president Jeff Cox to provide responses to Gregory Haile’s Herring Lecture. Both guest perspectives are worth your time.

Senegal opened her essay by sharing the results of a zip code analysis performed by Piedmont CC that showed the lowest enrollments were actually from the zip codes that were most proximate to the college itself. She and her team then went door to door.

Here is some of what they heard:

“Thought you all just did GEDs.”

“Went over once and told me I had to take a bunch of tests and do a bunch of financial paperwork. I took all the papers they gave me, but never did go back.”

“Told me that the class I wanted wouldn’t start until January, but it was September when I went by there.”

“Don’t have that kind of money.”

“Not one person was friendly to me.”

“Didn’t like school all that much when I had to go. College will probably be more of the same.”

“I already have a job.”

“College is for other people, not me. I’m too old.”

Senegal went on to write:

On and on it went. Our neighbors. Students who could literally walk to our campus were not interested in attending our college.

They had not seen our social media success stories. They had not visited our website that touted our scholarships. They were not impressed with our shiny new labs and newly named buildings. They did not believe we cared or that they would benefit from attending our institution.

We were stunned by that feedback. And then we had to accept the truth of it. It is impossible to get potential students to walk through an open door they do not believe exists.

Our very physical proximity to so many who would benefit considerably from our offerings too often finds us taking their enrollment for granted, with field of dreams magical thinking — if we build it, they will come. And yet this group was solidly among those who were not interested.

For her full guest perspective, click here.

Wilkes Community College president Jeff Cox’s perspective poses an interesting question: How can N.C. make postsecondary attainment the new standard?

Cox discusses the challenges and opportunities for postsecondary attainment becoming the standard in the opening paragraphs of his guest perspective:

We also know that the folks in our community who need that credential the most are the very ones who are least likely to feel empowered to attend any kind of postsecondary institution. They are living in poverty. Often, they are students of color or students who speak English as their second language. In my part of the world in northwest North Carolina, they are mostly the generationally poor white students of rural Appalachia. What all these groups have in common is that most of their parents did not attend college and the students simply do not see themselves going to college either.

Most of our colleges, if not all of them, are simply not doing a good enough job creating consistently clear connections between educational pathways and career opportunities for students. We need to make our value proposition much clearer to students. If you go through this 15-week information technology program, for example, you will earn the credential you need to enter this specific job at this specific company that pays this beginning annual salary. Our students need a stronger assurance that if they complete one of our programs, there will be tangible economic opportunities for them in the local labor market when they graduate. Can we give that assurance? For all of our programs? I will go out on a limb and say most of us cannot give that kind of assurance for all of our programs. What are we going to do about it?

For more on the strategies that the Wilkes Community College team is implementing to try to spark a difference in their area, click here for the full perspective.


Around NC

The 2022 Emerging Issues Forum will focus on our state’s attainment goal. Registration is open now. The Institute for Emerging Issues defines the challenge as follows:

“As our economy grows the vast majority of new jobs will require more than a high school diploma. Today, less than half of North Carolinians ages 25-44 are ready for this work. As set by myFutureNC, with the strong support of the North Carolina General Assembly, the Governor, and the education and business communities, the current goal is 2 million North Carolinians with a high-quality credential or postsecondary degree by 2030. But absent intentional action, we face a significant gap between the skills and experience that employers will need and what the state’s labor force will be able to provide. Even more worrisome, economically disadvantaged and workers of color, the segments of the workforce growing fastest, are particularly less equipped for this future. And this was before the pandemic.”

Visit IEI’s website for more details.

MyFutureNC is hosting a webinar on Tuesday, Dec. 14th at 1 p.m. “to discuss Supporting Students in Navigating Trauma, Grief, and Stress and the Impact on the College-Going Process.” To RSVP, click here.

Our colleagues at The Assembly continue to report on the potential UNC system office move to Raleigh. Check out their recent reporting on the move and dialogue among members of the UNC Board of Governors.

Cape Fear Community College will deploy federal funds to provide a one-time bonus to employees this month.

Catawba Valley Community College received a significant allotment in the state budget to build a regional hub for workforce development. Check out this story for more details.

The newly-branded McDowell Apprenticeship Pipeline “is dedicated to ensuring the region has an innovative, relevant, effective and efficient workforce development system. The goal is to develop adaptable, work-ready, skilled talent to meet the current and future needs of workers and businesses to achieve and sustain economic prosperity, according to a news release.”

Nash Community College has a new Chief Academic Officer — and they also recently hosted their state legislative delegation.

A $1 million dollar grant to Wayne Community College from a local family is the largest unrestricted gift in college history.

A new “learn to earn” apprenticeship program is now being offered by Western Piedmont Community College.


Other higher education reads

From associate to B.A.: More people can finish a four-year degree at community colleges

More states are beginning to allow community colleges to offer at least some four-year degrees:

“New research from the think tank New America shows that 24 states have approved at least some community colleges’ plans to launch bachelor’s degree programs; at least seven have been approved in the past five years.”

“State legislators have established different bounds these programs can operate within, but New America found that many of them are designed to meet the needs of the local workforce and avoid duplicating programs offered at nearby state colleges. The most common degrees being granted are in business, the health professions and education, and most are bachelor’s of applied science degrees, rather than bachelor’s of arts or sciences, which are more commonly offered at four-year colleges.”

Pilot program at 4 community colleges seeks to design supports for single mothers on campus

The Education Design Lab is working with four community colleges to build pilot programs that would help support single mothers on campus:

“The report recommends that colleges have support models that help connect single mothers to services such as child care and help them know which career opportunities will be available on their academic paths. Central New Mexico Community College, for instance, is delivering career coaching, case management and academic advising through the same dedicated advisor.

It’s also key that colleges help single mothers feel a sense of belonging on campus. To do so, Monroe Community College is adding content about this group’s experiences into student and employee training.

All four colleges are taking steps to add flexibility to classes and other support services. This is vital for single mothers, the report says, as they’re often balancing school with work and family.”

For more information on the pilot, click here. Please let us know if your local college is experimenting with supporting single mothers. We would love to hear more.

Nation Hahn

Nation Hahn is the director of growth for EducationNC.