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Back to campus goes (mostly) virtual this fall

Welcome to Awake58!  If you missed the previous newsletter requesting your story ideas for our coverage this fall, click here. If you were forwarded this newsletter, please click here to subscribe.

The NCCCS presidential search committee launched their presidential profile and opened up the process for nominations and applications… As colleges prepare to begin the fall semester, we’ve developed a new database tracking the different models and plans… myFutureNC released their county-by-county attainment data and profiles… An alum from A-B Tech beat Bobby Flay in some fun news…

Back in June, I had the opportunity to sit down with Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute president Mark Poarch who shared details on the specific challenges of planning for the fall semester during a pandemic. Since then, the picture has become clearer for colleges as the fall semester rapidly approaches.

Lawrence Rouse, president of Pitt Community College, told me recently: “We planned to offer traditional in-person on our campus this fall semester. However, after reviewing the rates of COVID-19 infection in our service area, I along with my leadership team made a decision to shift our plans.”

Pitt CC divided its plans for fall into student-dependent tracks. The categories included new students, continuing students, students in courses that require in-person instruction, and students who will access their courses remotely.

Several college leaders raised concerns around enrollment trends. Tim Brewer, the president of Mitchell Community College, told me in an email, “Our biggest concern has been with students that were enrolled last year not returning. Is this because of the loss of jobs and no income? As you know typically we see increases when the economy is not doing well. Totally different scenario now. We have extended our deregistration period and believe that will help with more students returning.  We are also planning on using Foundation funds to help with those who cannot pay for their tuition balances.”

For more information on how Pitt CC, CCC&TI, James Sprunt CC, and others have adapted for fall as we continue to battle COVID-19, click on the story below.

I caught up with other leaders for the story as well. 

Dale McInnis, president of Richmond CC, made a salient point regarding his mid- and long-term concerns when he told me, “We are less concerned about this fall’s increased costs than next fall’s decreased revenues. Without a ‘hold harmless provision’ or increased funding per student in the long session of the General Assembly, our instructional allocations for 2021-22 and even beyond are likely to be deeply reduced.”

A hold harmless provision would, as the name implies, hold the college’s funding streams harmless for any declines in enrollment due to COVID-19.

Robert Shackleford, president of Randolph Community College, struck an optimistic note when pressed on what the future might hold. Shackleford declared, “In the long term, many of these changes will be permanent. Many people see the coronavirus as disrupting our way of doing business, but in a way, it has only accelerated our way of doing business. Many of these changes were coming eventually anyway, but we have now had to move out of our comfortable spaces and adjust to new norms more rapidly than we had anticipated. What we are learning now will only help us better fulfill our mission in the ‘new normal’ that is ahead.”

What are your thoughts on college this fall? Let us know by texting COLLEGE to 73224, reply directly to this email, or tweet us @Awake58NC if you have other thoughts or ideas.



Director of Growth,

PS – As we mentioned last week, we are looking for your story ideas and tips for the fall. Click here to share your thoughts!

So, you want to lead the NC Community College system?

The North Carolina Community College system presidential search committee met on Monday to finalize a position profile for the system presidency. On Wednesday, the profile went live. The application process will remain open until September 15, 2020.

The committee designed the profile after receiving input from the North Carolina Association of Community College Presidents and the North Carolina Association of Community College Trustees. 

“Our committee has an important responsibility to find the next great president,” said Bob Stephens, chairman of the presidential search committee, in a release from the system. “We hope for a deep and diverse slate of candidates, and we look forward to selecting a talented and dedicated leader for the community college system.”

The position description states: “The candidate of choice should be a creative, visionary, experienced leader of high energy, exemplary personal integrity, and professional ethics and should possess the ability to work with and respect a constituency of diverse needs and interests.”

For more details on the profile, check out my article. And then let us know what you think of the profile and the characteristics the committee is looking for in the next system head. What do you add to the list? What is less important in your view? Let us know by replying directly to this email.

A News & Observer + EdNC Virtual Town Hall: School during a pandemic

August is typically a time for buying back-to-school supplies, thinking about bus schedules and carpools, college visits for rising seniors, and the first practices for high school football. This August is radically different due to COVID-19. Parents are enrolling their students in virtual academies, wrestling with their own work schedules, and wondering about the safety of their children.

We know you have questions, and we’d like to help you find some answers. Leave your questions at the following link.
Join us on Aug. 12 at 7 p.m. for a virtual conversation around the coming school year. Local experts will answer your most pressing questions. RSVP by clicking here!

RESOURCE | Tracking NC community college fall reopening plans

Community colleges across the state are gearing up for the fall semester; however, it will be a very different fall than they are used to.

Many colleges are offering the majority of their classes online. For those that require in-person instruction, colleges have set up health screening protocols and social distancing requirements for students and faculty.

Building on our work documenting how community colleges responded to COVID-19 this spring, EdNC created a database to track how all 58 community colleges are providing instruction and reopening their campuses this fall.
For the full database, click here. If we missed something, or if you have ideas for something we ought to add, please let us know by emailing us! For additional information on how we built the database, check out our article on the process by clicking here.

myFutureNC and Carolina Demography roll out county-by-county attainment data

myFutureNC partnered with Carolina Demography to launch an attainment dashboard to track North Carolina’s progress towards the 2030 statewide attainment goal established by the myFutureNC Commission. On Monday, they rolled out county-by-county data profiles. 

According to the myFutureNC FAQ, “County leaders can use these profiles to help facilitate conversations and decision-making on local priorities aimed at increasing education levels. Each County Attainment Profile contains specific ‘opportunities for growth’ uniquely identified for your county… The County Attainment Profiles contain 57 indicators from 13 different state and federal data providers. Some indicators are direct downloads from data providers; some indicators were provided by special request; and other indicators were derived by Carolina Demography.”

You can find your county by clicking here. We would love to hear your thoughts on your county data. Just reply directly to this email!

myFutureNC also released a brief for the entire state.

Around NC

An A-B Tech alum and former culinary instructor “beat Bobby Flay” on Sunday evening’s episode of the show on Food Network. According to a release from the college, Reza Setayesh made Jian Bing, a Chinese savory crepe that is often a breakfast street food. Congrats to Reza!

Diverse Education covered the new Impartial Policing initiative from NC Community Colleges. My colleague Molly Osborne also covered the program for EdNC!

The NC Community College system office is working with partners across the state to promote Career and College Promise (CCP) as an option for students and parents in the final weeks before school resumes. My colleague Alex Granados has an article up on CCP as well.

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Nation Hahn

Nation Hahn is the chief of growth for EducationNC.