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Listen | CPCC president Kandi Deitemeyer focuses on ‘the long game’ during COVID-19

Across the state, our 58 community colleges are welcoming students back for instruction during a fall semester like no other. We recently caught up with Kandi Deitemeyer to discuss how all of the challenges of college during COVID-19 will unfold as she continues her leadership of Central Piedmont Community College and as she steps into her new role as president of the North Carolina Association of Community College Presidents.

Addressing what challenges might come this fall, Deitemeyer told us, “I’m always an eternal optimist. We’re going to stay focused on being student centered, on our student agenda around completion, and really not chase just enrollment for enrollment’s sake. Because we know historically that does not work. If students enroll late, they aren’t successful.”

Deitemeyer went on to say that both CPCC and the broader system must focus on the long game. She pointed to “short courses” where four- and eight-week sessions are replacing full semester classes as one example of how innovation in the face of the pandemic might help the entire system reach more students.

The North Carolina Community College System office is also seeking a new president. Deitemeyer weighed in on some of the characteristics she hopes we will see in the next leader: “It would be great for somebody who understands us, knows us, loves us, and can tell our story. But also … go over [and] make the narrative turn to a return on investment.”

Deitemeyer is optimistic about the future of the institution she serves, the broader community college system, and our state. As she told us, “We understand at the end of the day, the economy of North Carolina is going to need to rebound, and we were in a strong position before this happened to our great state. And we understand who’s going to put those folks back to work and re-skill them. And that’s the community college system of North Carolina. So we know our work is ahead of us, and we’re ready.”

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Nation Hahn

Nation Hahn is the chief of growth for EducationNC.

Alli Lindenberg

Alli Lindenberg is an executive fellow for EducationNC.