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Community college system hopes to name next president by end of 2020

Welcome to Awake58!  If you missed the previous newsletter on one college’s planning for COVID-19, click here. If you were forwarded this newsletter, please click here to subscribe.

Former Nash CC president Bill Carver named interim president of the NC Community College System… The search for a full-time president is underway… A new System Advisory Council Initiative on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion was announced at the State Board meeting… We are looking at Latinx achievement at community colleges…

On Friday, the State Board of Community Colleges named former Nash Community College president Bill Carver interim president of the system beginning August 1. Current system president Peter Hans will become president of the UNC system on the same day.

Carver retired as president of Nash Community College, where he spent more than three decades, in 2019. He started working at the college in 1987 as the small business center director, according to a press release from Nash Community College. He went on to serve as director of business and industry services, dean of continuing education, and vice president for instruction. He served as the college’s fourth president from 2005 until his retirement in 2019.

I first met Carver during a visit to Nash Community College in 2012 with the Research Triangle Park Foundation. Carver began his career at Nash in the small business office and throughout his tenure at the college focused on the needs of industry, as he shared with us during our first EdNC visit back in 2018.

Under Carver’s tenure, Nash saw consistent enrollment increases per the press release from the system office. For more from the State Board meeting click here.

The presidential search committee met yesterday for the first time to discuss the characteristics they are looking for in the next president, as well as the timeline for the selection. The committee laid out an aggressive schedule; they hope to have applications open by late August, interviews in October, and finalists narrowed down by late November. If they can keep to that schedule, they would name a new system president by the end of the year. 

Part of the reasoning for the speed of the process per Chairman Blackwell was the need for the next president to hit the ground running ahead of the 2021 legislative session. It is expected that the 2021 session will be a critical one as the impact of COVID-19 on the state’s revenue picture will be clear as the legislature prepares the state’s budget. 

According to the News & Observer, the UNC system Board of Governors told chancellors of all 17 campuses to submit plans for cutting their budgets by up to 50% as COVID-19 threatens the fall semester. Clearly, all of our institutions are grappling with the continued economic crisis brought on by the pandemic.

Please feel free to reply directly to this email or text COLLEGE to 73224 to share your perspective on the characteristics you would like to see in the next system president. And, as always, remember to follow us on Twitter via @Awake58NC for the latest news, research, and information.



Director of Growth,

New racial equity initiative announced, along with other news from the State Board

The State Board of Community Colleges heard about a new System Advisory Council Initiative on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion during the meeting last week. Peter Hans appointed Thomas Walker, president of Wayne Community College, and Don Tomas, president of Southwestern Community College, as co-leaders of the initiative.

In the memo announcing their appointment, Hans wrote:

“In many ways, community colleges are an exemplar of the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. With open doors and open hearts, we aim to welcome all students and provide affordable access, quality education, and opportunity for economic mobility. We have also implemented good programs, such as the Minority Male Success Initiative, to strengthen those pillars so that students’ outcomes match our aspirations.

“However, recent events have underlined that we have more work to do. We must ensure that colleges not only have diversity but celebrate it, that we tear down any existing systemic barriers, and that we create an environment where every member of our community is treated equally, with respect. To that end, I am appointing you as co-leaders of a new System Advisory Council Initiative on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

“The initiative will focus on identifying institutional or policy-related inequities limiting opportunities for students, faculty, and staff, and making recommendations to address them. I’d specifically like you to review the State Board Code and sample college policies for elements that may negatively impact students of color. Finally, you will develop guidelines for colleges to use to examine their own policies. System Office staff and other professional experts will be made available to assist you in this work. In consultation with the System president, you may also seek additional expertise from the colleges.”

We will report on the council and their findings as the process unfolds.

I recently conducted an interview with Peter Hans where he discussed the importance of racial equity for community colleges moving forward, as well as the historical arc of social change in our country. Click here for part one and here for part two.

Other news from the State Board meeting:

→ The State Board approved $9 million in federal COVID-19 recovery funds to use in developing broadband for rural areas of the state.

→ The State Board of Community Colleges voted to install Deborah Lamm as interim president of Roanoke-Chowan Community College effective Monday, July 20. She is a former president of Edgecombe Community College

Spotlight: Latinx attainment series

We are running a series on Latinx student attainment right now on This is an issue of critical importance as our state’s Latinx population continues to grow. 

We published a piece from Carolina Demography last week where they highlighted the data: “North Carolina’s Hispanic population is nearing 1 million, with 997,000 residents in 2018. The state’s Hispanic/Latino population grew from just over 75,000 in 1990 to 800,000 in 2010. Between 2010 and 2018, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that North Carolina’s Hispanic population grew by 197,000 new residents, an increase of 24.6%, faster than the growth of this population nationwide (18.6%).”

We partnered with Andy MacCracken on the series. One piece looked at the Levante Leadership Institute in Johnston and Sampson counties. Levante works with 10 students and their families every year, providing a range of services, educational opportunities, and financial resources. The tangible benefits include an annual $1,000 stipend, a tablet and hot spot to stay connected, and an account with the Latino Community Credit Union. The Institute also takes the students on campus visits to four-year and community colleges alike.

Another piece in the series takes a look at James Sprunt Community College, which is on the cusp of gaining a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) designation. The designation itself is no guarantee of new financial resources, but it would make JSCC eligible to apply for grant programs that would help them better serve Latinx students. 

MacCracken points out that, “Any accredited public or private nonprofit institution with an undergraduate full-time equivalent enrollment of at least 25% Latinx students is eligible for federal recognition as an HSI.”

One interesting part of the piece is the analysis of the emerging nine HSIs across North Carolina, which also include Sampson Community College, Central Carolina Community College, and Durham Technical Community College.

The third piece in the series evaluates Latinx achievement in view of the myFutureNC efforts and North Carolina’s attainment goal. MacCracken notes that in order to achieve the goal, it will, “…require a boost in student success among Latinx students, a generally underserved population. North Carolina actually beats national attainment rates across every demographic category except for among Latinx adults. Nationally, 24.5% of Latinx adults have a postsecondary degree, compared to 21.4% in North Carolina.”

MacCracken also analyzes enrollment data, progress towards completion, and more. For the full piece, click here. 

The final piece in the series looks at one student’s journey from a GPA of 0.67 in high school to becoming Wake Tech’s first Latinx student body president. Read that article here, and find the full series here.

Around NC

A-B Tech announced their fall plans yesterday. More than 75% of academic classes will be online or virtual, while 25% will have an in-person component for hands-on training, clinical settings, and labs, according to a release from the college.

“We are following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the state of North Carolina, and Buncombe and Madison counties, as well as our local school districts,” Dr. Gossett said in the release. “We also surveyed our employees and students and heard overwhelmingly that they are concerned about COVID-19 and want us to have as few people as possible on campus this fall.”

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Nation Hahn

Nation Hahn is the chief of growth for EducationNC.