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The future of higher education, COVID-19, and attainment. A conversation with Peter Hans.

Welcome to Awake58!  If you missed the previous newsletter regarding the announcement of an interim NC Community College System president, click here. If you were forwarded this newsletter, please click here to subscribe.

We chatted with Peter Hans on a range of important topics, including common course numbering and compensation for community college faculty and staff… Jennifer Haygood is departing the system office to serve as CFO for the UNC system… Tips for bolstering Latinx achievement from the first Latinx head of the Wake Tech SGA… the John M. Belk Impact Fellowship has launched with the deadline for student applications coming this week… Durham Tech announces fall plans…

Peter Hans will depart as head of the NC Community College System and take over as president of the UNC System on August 1. 

During a wide-ranging conversation a few weeks ago, Hans and I discussed the potential of common course numbering and a common course catalogue for UNC and community colleges, what the remainder of higher education can learn from the business model and cost-containment approaches of community colleges, and the continued impact of COVID-19 as classes resume this fall across higher education.

I think you will find the entire interview fascinating, but I wanted to draw attention to a few highlights:

→ During his tenure, the system saw growth in enrollment, funding for career coaches, IT upgrades, and more. The key, per Hans, is the “unified system response” on all of these issues, and he hopes to see that remain true.

→ Hans pointed to faculty pay as one critical, unfinished component of the legislative agenda for the system. As he told me, “Our compensation for community college faculty and staff lags the nation.”

→ On the fall: “It’s imperative we move forward in the fall. Do so safely, emphasizing the health of all concerned. But do not lose focus on the fact that our students cannot afford more downtime.”

→ Hans discusses the potential for common course numbering and a common course catalogue as part of what he hopes will be an even closer working relationship between community colleges and the UNC system moving forward.

For the full conversation, click here.

One bit of news those of you who have worked with the NC Community College System office might find interesting — Jennifer Haygood, current chief of staff and executive vice president of the system, will be heading to the UNC system to serve as Chief Financial Officer (CFO). 

As a point of personal privilege, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to her for her friendship and support of as we began to cover the community college system back in 2018. Her guidance and wisdom were invaluable. We look forward to seeing her continue to lead on behalf of our students at UNC.

If you have any thoughts on our interview with Peter Hans, we would love to hear them. Text COLLEGE to 73224, reply directly to this email, or tweet us @Awake58NC!



Director of Growth,

NC community colleges offer ‘impartial policing’ training for law enforcement

In the aftermath of George Floyd’s death at the hands of police, the national conversation around policing and police training accelerated. 

My colleague Molly Osborne has a story out on the community college system’s expanded law enforcement training on “impartial policing,” a first step in the system’s efforts.

“With the recent conversations about social justice, social inequities, and concerns about policing and policing inequities, because we as a system train the majority of the police officers that are out in the workforce in North Carolina, we felt we had a real opportunity to come to the table and be part of that solution,” said Kim Gold, senior vice president and chief academic officer at NCCCS, during a recent conversation with Molly.

At their June 5 meeting, the State Board of Community Colleges approved up to $100,000 for additional training for police officers in de-escalation, relationship-based policing, and community interaction. 

One output is a set of four regional trainings. Molly’s piece takes a look at the first of the four meetings, the broader approach on behalf of the system, and the history of police training in North Carolina. Give it a read by clicking here!

One student’s journey from near dropout to Wake Tech’s first Latinx student body president

José Fabre, Jr. almost dropped out of high school, but he did actually graduate, albeit with a 0.67 GPA. He was born in the Bronx, lived in the Dominican Republic until he was nine before moving back to New Jersey, and finally made his way to Raleigh right after graduating high school.

Fabre looked into attending Wake Tech, and he even took the placement exam. But he still didn’t step foot on campus: “I spent two years just working, working, working. I was just doing deliveries of refrigerators and stoves and microwaves. And it was a really heavy job. It was good. I was getting paid, but I just didn’t want to do that for the rest of my life, you know. And then I started looking into Wake Tech [again].” 

Andy MacCracken, the researcher who led this project, documents the strategies that Fabre is now helping to institute at Wake Tech where he was hired to help with Latinx outreach.

What are some tips for helping Latinx students to and through college?

💵 Support parents + develop financial support systems

👨‍🎓 Make success feel possible

🚵‍♀️ Build pathways through community college

For Fabre’s story, and more ideas for helping to combat the ‘leaky pipeline,’ check out the full piece by clicking here.

‘They couldn’t even see the hand in front of their face’ — Durham Tech’s new mobile health lab provides fundamental services

A $1 million grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina to Durham Technical Community College (DTCC) is bringing a whole new set of services to the community with its mobile health lab. The gift from Blue Cross NC happens to be the largest in the college’s history, and my colleague Alli Lindenberg has the story.

According to a press release by the college, the mobile lab will provide:

→ Fittings and free glasses for children

→ Free dental pre-screenings and education

→ Health fairs at public elementary schools, featuring basic vital sign, cholesterol, and glucose checks, and health and nutrition education to combat childhood obesity 
For the full piece, including a powerful story about a child who was served by the lab, click here.

Around NC

The John M. Belk Endowment just announced the launch of the John M. Belk Impact Fellowship. The Endowment writes, “The John M. Belk Impact Fellowship is a ten-month (August-May), paid program that provides hands-on experience for students currently enrolled in community college, undergraduate or graduate programs in North Carolina. Building on the success of the John M. Belk Scholarship program, and the belief that talent is universal but opportunity is not, the Fellowship will serve as a training ground for future generations of social impact leaders. To gain exposure to the inner workings of organizations playing a variety of critical roles across North Carolina’s education landscape, Fellows could be placed at organizations such as nonprofits, education systems and institutions, and/or philanthropy.”

Applications are due on July 31. Interested applicants should submit their materials by clicking here.

In case you missed it during last week’s newsletter, the proposed timeline for Peter Hans’ successor is as follows: 

→ Late August: Application period opens

→ September 30: Application period closes

→ October: Interviews

→ Late October: 2nd round of interviews

→ Late November/December: Semi-finalists selected, selection finalized

If they succeed at meeting this timeline, you will likely see the new president announced before the end of 2020.

Durham Tech formalized their fall plans: “For the upcoming fall semester, more than 80 percent of all credit courses will be available completely online (remote). The College also will offer some hybrid (a mix of remote and some time on campus) and seated (mostly on campus with social distancing and safety precautions)… To ensure a safe environment for in-person instruction, Durham Tech will require face coverings for students, employees, and visitors who visit a Durham Tech campus location. The College also plans to allow space for social distancing, including lab and student workspaces, at least six feet apart.”

This news courtesy of Sandhills CC shows the importance of philanthropy filling gaps: “Due to the current economic conditions, donors to Sandhills Community College have paid the registration fees for a good number of Continuing Education courses that can help individuals train for a new career in a matter of months instead of years. The courses are in health care, construction, computers, manufacturing, industry, and more. Many classes begin in August with some in September and later. The number of allowable students is limited, and seats are already filling fast.”

Check out this perspective from the Belk Center’s Michelle Bartlett: “Whether you adopt UDL principles, create PBL projects, or incorporate other personalized learning techniques, when you design to the edges, you are designing for the growth and success for all learners.”

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Nation Hahn

Nation Hahn is the chief of growth for EducationNC.