Skip to content

The compromise budget is out. What's in it for community colleges?

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 out…Broward College president, Gregory Adam Haile, delivers the 2021 Dallas Herring Lecture today… The State Board of Community Colleges will meet this week… We provide an update on Isothermal Community College… Fayetteville State will join the NC Promise program… the North Carolina Community College Journal of Teaching Innovation is now accepting submissions…

Legislative Republicans released a compromise budget yesterday, which they said in a press release “reflects considerable concessions to Democrats” and which they say they are “optimistic … will become law.”

The budget has across-the-board salary increases of 2.5% in the first year and another 2.5% in the second year for community college personnel. The budget also gives a little more than $8.6 million in the first year and more than $12 million in the second year to create a fund that can be used to get and keep faculty in high-needs areas.

The budget also includes almost $80 million in non-recurring funds to stabilize the budgets of community colleges that have seen a loss of enrollment thanks to COVID-19. Read what else is in the budget here.

Gregory Adam Haile, who serves as the president of Broward College in Florida, will deliver the 2021 Dallas Herring Lecture this afternoon. We will be there to cover the lecture live beginning at 1 p.m. this afternoon. You may follow along on Twitter @Awake58NC, @NationHahn, and @emlybrthomas. Our coverage of the lecture will publish throughout the week, including guest perspectives from Piedmont Community College president Pamela Senegal and Wilkes Community College president Jeff Cox.

The State Board of Community Colleges will meet Thursday and Friday this week. You will find the agenda here. You will find the board materials here. Our own Emily Thomas will be there to cover the meeting.

Emily recently visited Isothermal Community College to spend time with Isothermal president Margaret Annunziata and her team, and I would encourage you to give her article a read. Annunziata told Emily, “I think that my concern for the people we serve, and whether or not we are doing that in a way that best meets their needs, keeps me up at night … I think about those we are not serving … and how do we engage with them because it makes a difference for them. That’s why we’re here … There is so much riding on how we serve each of the individuals within our community to make their lives better.”

The same questions Annunziata raised came up during my visit to Durham Tech Community College last Friday. DTCC president JB Buxton, along with several DTCC faculty and staff, walked us through their new strategic plan, including their emphasis on bolstering social mobility as a key factor as they both launch and retire programs, their work with community partners including their mobile health clinics, and more.

Our visit was part of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina’s Extra Miles Tour. 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 health communities are facing and meet the people working to address them.

Blue Cross NC Foundation president John Lumpkin was among the guests on Friday. He wrote a perspective making the case for investing in community colleges. Lumpkin wrote, “Leaders in the health care industry should explore the value of the community college in slightly different terms. These institutions aren’t just priming local economies – as engines for the health care workforce growth, they’re enhancing access to care. Community colleges bring education close to home and offer coursework that is considerably more affordable than most four-year universities. By making educational opportunities more attainable to all aspiring students, community colleges are vital to any effort to strengthen provider capacity.”

You may read the full piece here.

EducationNC is turning 7 in January, and we are thinking about our work and our impact in North Carolina. How are we doing? What changes or improvements would you like to see? Let us know what you think in this short survey. Your responses will inform our work moving forward. And, if you leave your name and email in the final question, you’ll have a chance to receive one of 5 $10 Amazon gift cards. Thank you!

Thank you for reading Awake58 this week. We appreciate you letting us into your inbox each week. We will not send Awake58 next week due to Thanksgiving. Please know how grateful we are for all of you as we spend time with our friends and family.

I’ll see you out on the road,

Nation Hahn

Director of Growth — EdNC.org


EdNC reads

Average 5% pay raise for community college personnel over two years

The net appropriation for the community college system is more than $1.3 billion in both years of the biennium.

The budget has across-the-board salary increases of 2.5% in the first year and another 2.5% in the second year for community college personnel. The budget also gives a little more than $8.6 million in the first year and more than $12 million in the second year to create a fund that can be used to get and keep faculty in high-needs areas.

The budget also includes almost $80 million in non-recurring funds to stabilize the budgets of community colleges that have seen a loss of enrollment thanks to COVID-19.

Other highlights of the community college budget include:

  • Funds for nine IT experts to help community colleges prevent and deal with cybersecurity attacks
  • Funding for a pilot program aimed at expanding career options for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities
  • Additional funding for needs-based assistance program
  • $15 million in non-recurring funds to increase broadband access at 25 rural community colleges
Read the full article here

A new president and a new program that gives students a global experience

As I mentioned above, Emily visited Isothermal Community College recently to hear what Margaret Annunziata and her team have been up to at ICC. Annunziata reflected on a challenging year for her campus — noting that she has attended more than a dozen funerals in her first year as a president.

Part of Annunziata’s vision for the college includes a continued focus on the community they serve and their broader region:

But despite the challenging year, Annunziata is hopeful.

“When I moved here, one of the things that I noticed was the sign coming into the area that says ‘Small Town Friendly.’ And I thought, this is where I belong because that is what I experienced growing up in Western Kentucky,” Annunziata said.

But the president also experienced something in Western Kentucky that she hopes to prevent in Rutherford and Polk counties – and that is young people moving away.

“When you export your greatest resource, which happens to be your young people, then the community goes away. It dries up. So I feel a commitment and responsibility to engage as a college in this community to prevent that from being the case,” she continued.

Emily’s piece goes on to highlight a unique global partnership with a Swedish company, the Walter H. Dalton Engineering Technology and Workforce Development building, their public radio station, and the future of the college. Give her piece a read by clicking below!

Click here for more

Trailblazer Profiles: Dr. Stelfanie Williams

The latest Trailblazers profile from the Belk Center features Stelfanie Williams — the former president of Vance-Granville Community College. As the Belk Center describes it: “The purpose of the NCCCS Trailblazer Profiles is to highlight and celebrate the work of Asian, Black, Indigenous, and Latin leaders in the North Carolina Community College System, specifically focusing on current and former community college presidents.”

The profile shares more of Williams’ life story, including her early stint as a reading instructor at Central Carolina Community College. Williams would go on to serve in a range of faculty and administration roles before being named president of Vance-Granville. She described her perception on what is required to serve as a college president: “The role comes with responsibility to think long term, to be future oriented, to make decisions with students at the forefront but also to make decisions that, hopefully, will lay the groundwork for future opportunities for others.”

Williams also touches on the need for diversity, equity, and belonging work within the community college sphere.

“Every system and institution is best served by diversity and must ask itself questions about equity,” said Williams. “I hope as the North Carolina Community College System continues to grow, that we will think about issues of students of color, underrepresented students, what their experiences and outcomes are, and how we can continue to work on the disparities in achievement and on future outcomes for those students.”

The entire profile is worth your time. Click here to give it a read.

Higher ed leaders discuss college readiness in the wake of COVID-19

Alessandra Quattrocchi is one of our two John M Belk Impact Fellows this year. We are lucky to have Alessandra on the team. She recently documented a panel the Hunt Institute hosted on college readiness.

The panel touched on the challenges presented by COVID-19 for high school seniors exploring college, including not being able to visit campuses, the lack of in-person recruitment events, and more.

The difficulties extended to convincing students to take advantage of funding that is available to them for this fall and remediation, as Pitt Community College president Lawrence Rouse discussed:

Rouse explained that in 2021 there were $10 million in unclaimed state grant funds provided by the Longleaf Commitment, the governor’s initiative that offers full tuition and fees for eligible students enrolling in one of the state’s 58 community colleges.

For a variety of reasons, students were not seizing the financial opportunities available to them, and in the wake of COVID-19, students were deterred by the prospect of accepting loans and racking up debt to attend college.

“We think that it’s really critical because we know that the debt impacts students of color and first generation college-going students and students from low income households the most,” said Payne.

For those incoming freshmen who decided to attend college in the midst of the pandemic, it soon became clear that virtual learning had not adequately prepared them for the rigor of a college education.

“We found that because of the learning loss, many of our freshmen students were not ready for the math courses that they would face,” said Rouse.

This lack of college readiness caused an increase in failing grades or withdrawals from entry-level courses, particularly math and English.

For the full piece, click here.


Around NC

EdNC.org is launching a column written by students from across North Carolina. The column serves as a platform for students to share their experiences in education and their thoughts about how to make school a better place for all. Perspectives will be accepted on a rolling basis. Do you know a student interested in participating? Email [email protected].

Six North Carolina community colleges are eligible for the Aspen Prize. According to Aspen, “The $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, awarded every two years, is the nation’s signature recognition for America’s community colleges—as President Obama called it, ‘basically the Oscars for great community colleges.’ The Aspen Prize honors colleges with outstanding achievement in five critical areas: teaching and learning, certificate and degree completion, transfer and bachelor’s attainment, workforce success, and equity for students of color and students from low-income backgrounds… By focusing on student success and lifting up models that work, the Aspen Prize aims to celebrate excellence, advance a focus on equitable student success, and stimulate replication of effective culture and practice.”

Catawba Valley Community College, College of the Albemarle, Edgecombe Community College, Montgomery Community College, Southwestern Community College, and Wayne Community College are the six NC community colleges that are eligible.

The North Carolina Community College Faculty Association has issued a call for submissions for the new North Carolina Community College Journal of Teaching Innovationg. They shared the following: “The North Carolina Community College Journal of Teaching Innovation (NCCCJTI) publishes research centering issues of Pedagogical Practice or Research related to North Carolina Community Colleges… The journal accepts a variety of manuscripts including empirical research papers, review articles, opinion pieces, and graduate student research in-progress. The journal’s audiences include academics, institutional leaders, policymakers and the public.”

For more details, including submission guidelines, click here.

Two recent community college graduates were awarded the NCWorks Awards of Distinction for outstanding accomplishments and contributions.

The Assembly reported this weekend that Fayetteville State will be included in the NC Promise program moving forward.

Carolina Demography recently published a deep dive on the Hispanic community in North Carolina as the latest Census data shows the Hispanic population of North Carolina now exceeding 1 million residents.

Alamance Community College recently broke ground on a new Student Services Center.

Blue Ridge Community College has seen record enrollment this fall according to BRCC president Laura Leatherwood and the local media: “Enrollment increased across the board by 9% to 2,607 students compared to fall 2020, according to Lee Anna Haney, BRCC marketing and communications director, which is the highest enrollment has jumped from fall to fall in the last 10 years. BRCC has seen a 22% increase in enrollment since 2017.”

Caldwell Community College is in the news: “The U.S. Department of Education has announced that CCC&TI has received a federal Talent Search grant of $1,386,875 to help more low-income students who would be the first members of their families to earn college degrees…”

Cape Fear Community College has seen an uptick in interest in their truck driver training program over the last year.

Gaston College’s work with textiles (and a partnership with NCSU) was featured in their local paper.

James Sprunt Community College president Jay Carraway reflects on the college’s growth in an op-ed for the local paper.

Nash Community College president Lew Hunnicutt made the case for adult learners in front of the Rocky Mount City Council recently.

Pitt Community College is seeing a surge in interest in their construction trades programs.

Richmond Community College is continuing to expand their work around adult learners: “Our ultimate goal is to enrich people’s lives so they can take the next step, whether it’s improving their English skills, gaining U.S. citizenship, earning a high school diploma or preparing for college,” said John Kester, Dean of Adult Education.

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College recently named a new Chief Financial Officer.

Robeson CC is promoting the recently expanded eligibility of the Longleaf Commitment.

Robeson is also the latest community college to embrace chatbots as part of their approach to enhance customer service for the college.

South Piedmont CC is a top 10 finalist for two prestigious Bellwether awards.

Western Piedmont Community College recently unveiled a new five year strategic plan, “including equitable access and success, completion and transfer, learning outcomes and post-graduate outcomes.”


Other higher education reads

Fewer People Going to College Is Good News

This headline raises a provocative question around declining college enrollment: Is it good news for students who might otherwise tack on high levels of student debt? The authors of the piece go on to raise an interesting idea:

This time around, though, lots of companies are offering to help pay for college as an enticement for would-be workers, which should make it easier for young adults to keep their options open. College tuition is also rising at a rate lower than overall inflation for the first time since the early 1980s, reducing the costs of delay. And if today’s worker shortages help more employers figure out that being biased against hiring non-college-graduates is costing them money, the economic cost of forgoing college could fall.

For the full piece, click here.

A surprise for America’s many career switchers: They need to go back to school

We’ve heard a lot of conversation around job switching as the world adapts to the realities of COVID-19. Hechinger just released a piece exploring the career switchers who discovered that even in their existing career field they might need additional education:

For years, economists have been warning that more and more people hoping to switch careers would need to get additional education to go from one workplace to another — even in industries such as manufacturing that have not always previously required it. Now that prophecy is coming true, to the surprise of many of the record number of Americans quitting their jobs.

There was a time when people could walk into a manufacturing facility like a shipyard and start work the same day. Automation, computer-aided design, 3D printing, modular construction and precision machining have changed that. Today, Moody’s three-week course is among the shortest postsecondary training some advanced manufacturers require.

For the full piece, click here.

Nation Hahn

Nation Hahn is the director of growth for EducationNC.