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.
Just before the holidays, the State Board of Community Colleges met… Wayne Community College has a new president… Kimberly Gold is the new Chief of Staff at the system office… Levy Brown is the new Chief Academic Officer… myFutureNC released their year in review… Gov. Jeb Bush and Sec. Janet Napolitano will speak on the future of higher education at UNC Charlotte next week…
Welcome to 2022! I hope all of you had a restful and relaxing holiday break — and that you remain in good health. Much of North Carolina saw heavy rain, wind, lightning, and snow yesterday — so it has been quite the start to the new year.
Just before the holiday break, the State Board of Community Colleges met to tackle a range of business items.
On the state level, Kim Gold was named the new Chief of Staff for the system office. Levy Brown will fill Gold’s role as Chief Academic Officer. Brown comes to the system office from Vance-Granville Community College.
The State Board also approved Dr. Patty Pfeiffer as the new president for Wayne Community College. As Emily Thomas reported, “Pfeiffer has served as the college’s interim president since Dr. Thomas Walker’s departure in July 2021. Pfeiffer has been an employee of Wayne Community College since 1994, first as a faculty member and later as the vice president for academic and student services.”
A lot of Awake58 readers have emailed us regarding the pay increases in the state budget. Here are a few details from the Board meeting:
The new state budget includes a 5% salary increase for community college personnel over the next two years. Salaries will increase 2.5% in the first year of the biennium, with an effective date of July 1, 2021, and another 2.5% starting July 1, 2022.
The budget also provides funds to raise the minimum wage of state-funded employees to $13 an hour in the first year of the biennium and $15 an hour in the second year.
The state budget directs that the increases be paid effective Jan. 1, 2022 (beginning in the January 2022 payroll). According to Board documents, “the amount of the legislative salary increase from July 1, 2021 to Dec. 31, 2021 will be paid in the form of a bonus equal to the authorized legislative salary increase for one-half of the fiscal year.”…
The Board approved community colleges to implement the legislative mandate for salary increases and to follow the guidance issued by the system office.
The Board also voted to give Stith the ability to allocate funds for bonuses that were included in the state budget.
Full-time state and local education employees will receive a one-time bonus to be paid by Jan. 31, 2022. Full-time employees making less than $75,000 a year will receive a $1,500 bonus. Those who earn more than $75,000 annually will receive a $1,000 bonus.
As we look ahead to 2022, we know the omicron COVID-19 variant is likely already wreaking havoc with your local college and community. We would love to know more about your college’s approach to rapidly increasing case counts as we enter the spring semester. Feel free to respond directly to this email.
Thank you for welcoming us back to your inboxes. We are looking forward to another year of covering your stories, providing research and data analysis, and visiting your college.
I’ll see out on the road,
Head of Growth — EdNC.org
State Board of Community Colleges recap: What will community college enrollment look like in the future? Plus, a new president for Wayne Community College
The State Board of Community Colleges met on December 16-17, 2021. As mentioned above, a number of significant appointments were announced for the system office, including Dr. Kim Gold moving into the role of Chief of Staff for the system office and Dr. Levy Brown stepping into Gold’s former role as Chief Academic Officer. The State Board also welcomed Terry van Duyn and Dr. Ray Russell as new Board members.
We recommend spending time with the presentation on enrollment that Emily captured in her piece:
Since 2010, North Carolina community colleges have experienced declining enrollments — although there have been some exceptions, including a 6% enrollment bump in 2019. But by fall 2020, enrollment across the system had fallen 11%, with the pandemic largely to blame.
Almost 15 years of data shows that population shifts could be a major factor contributing to enrollment decline.
Bill Schneider, associate vice president of research and performance management at the system office, said that enrollment shifts at North Carolina community colleges have largely aligned with population shifts. …
Counties with declining populations generally experience enrollment declines while counties with population growth tend to see enrollment growth.
According to Schneider’s report, 46 of the 58 colleges had FTE shifts that aligned with population shifts. FTE, or full-time equivalent students, is one way community colleges measure enrollment. Community colleges are also largely funded based on FTE.
At least part of the response to declining enrollments will likely need to come from adult learners, according to Schneider. Check out his slides by clicking here.
The State Board also heard more details on the North Carolina Association of Community College Presidents’ recently approved 2022-2025 legislative plan. Additional items discussed during the Board meeting include the state budget’s funding to hire nine regional IT security and compliance manager positions, an overview of audits from State Auditor Beth Wood, and an update on the strategic plan.
myFutureNC recently released their 2021 year in review. They open the report by declaring, “This year marks a critical year in myFutureNC’s journey. The urgent need to increase educational attainment across North Carolina is both an economic development concern and an educational equity opportunity for our great state.”
The UNC Charlotte Chancellor’s Speaker Series will host Jeb Bush and Janet Napolitano on Jan. 13 to discuss the future of higher education. You will find more details here.
EdNC has joined Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina on their “Extra Miles” listening tour in recent months. Blue Cross NC is traveling to visit education and health care systems along with other anchor institutions across the state to better understand the barriers to better health communities are facing and meet the people working to address them. We joined them on three recent visits that are now documented on their website: Durham, Robeson, and Scotland counties.
Beaufort County Community College is considering launching a brewery education program as new breweries emerge in their service area.
Blue Ridge Community College president Laura Leatherwood shared her 2021 year in review with the local press. In addition to reflecting on the past year, Leatherwood looked ahead to 2022: “Blue Ridge will focus on creating new learning structures that more readily meet the life patterns of our students. We will also open new possibilities to potential learners who are not currently involved in higher education… We’ll emphasize late-start, weekend and evening courses, accelerated programs, and flexible course delivery to support students as they juggle school, work, and family responsibilities.”
Fayetteville Tech’s Cumberland County Regional Fire and Rescue Training Center is closer to opening.
Guilford Tech has paid out nearly $2 million in vaccine incentives to staff and students, and they have decided to continue the program until Jan. 31, 2022.
Kelley Deal, the dean of marketing and strategic engagement at Nash Community College, provided an update on the college’s accomplishments in 2021.
Robeson Community College will offer additional firefighter courses in the face of firefighter shortages.
Richmond Community College has officially secured land for the college’s truck-driving program.
Southwestern Community College president Dr. Don Tomas, alongside his wife Allison, have endowed a new scholarship at the college. It is the first time a sitting president has endowed a scholarship for the school.
Wayne Community College announced a continuance of their mask requirement for the start of the spring semester as COVID-19 case counts rise.
Western Piedmont Community College has launched a new food pantry on campus in partnership with a local organization.
Other higher education reads
The Hechinger Report recently published an op-ed highlighting the very real challenges of declining college enrollment for the current generation. The authors issue the following challenge for policymakers as the new year begins:
It is far past time for our nation to make major investments in evidence-based strategies to increase college completion. Our current system is outdated and ineffective. The disconnect between high school and higher education perpetuates the disconnect between employer demands and the ability of our students to meet those demands.
In the long run, we need federal leadership to rethink the relationship between high school and higher education. That includes making high school students eligible for Pell Grants, along with free community college.
For their full perspective, click here.
The Hechinger Report takes a look at the growing rate of education credentials being offered to students and job seekers. The challenge is real for employers and job seekers alike:
There is, in fact, a “maze” of 967,734 unique education credentials in the United States, the nonprofit Credential Engine reports, including not only degrees but also badges, certificates, licenses, apprenticeships and industry certifications. The figure is expected to have only grown during the pandemic as more people seek education and training.
This is causing growing confusion among employers scrambling for workers — and increasing concern among university registrars and others about whether unsavory players may be taking advantage of the situation to sell fraudulent credentials.
For the full read, click here.