N.C. State Board of Community Colleges Approves Legislative Priorities for 2022-25

N.C. State Board of Community Colleges Approves Legislative Priorities for 2022-25

Friday, January 21, 2022 - 3:37pm

RALEIGH – The N.C. State Board of Community Colleges (NCSBCC) today at its monthly meeting approved a three-year plan that outlines the legislative priorities for the N.C. Community College System (NCCCS). These priorities build on the foundation of the strong investment by State leaders in the recently enacted budget for North Carolina’s 58 community colleges. A strong investment in the value of our community college students and employees will ensure that community colleges have the resources and capacity needed to meet student and business needs of today and to continue fueling North Carolina’s job engine of tomorrow.

Following are a few other highlights from the meeting.

The Board received information presentations from the following stakeholders in an effort to keep informed of matters relevant to the business and operations of community colleges and to ensure that community colleges continue to fuel the state’s economic engine, particularly during this time of recovery from the pandemic.

  • A panel of subject matter experts presented challenges and opportunities facing rural community colleges. Dr. David Loope, president of Beaufort County Community College, identified some of the unique challenges that rural community colleges face, as well as the critical role the community colleges play in rural communities and economies.
  • Patrick Fleming, NCCCS senior vice president and chief information officer, and Ray Zeisz, director of the Technology Infrastructure Lab at N.C. State University’s Friday Institute provided an update on critical investments in rural broadband infrastructure and innovative solutions to expand internet access in rural areas.
  • Dr. AJ Jaeger and Dr. Mary Rittling of N.C. State University’s Belk Center for Community College Leadership provided an overview of the Belk Center’s Rural College Leaders Program, which is designed to equip presidents of rural community colleges in North Carolina with the knowledge and skills needed to lead transformation that improves student outcomes and advances equity in educational systems.
  • Andrew Berger-Gross, senior economist at the N.C. Department of Commerce, provided the Board’s Strategic Planning Committee with an update on the business and economic conditions in North Carolina for 2022.

The Board considered a new instructional delivery definition for “Hyflex” course delivery. This course delivery type has been developed in part as a response during the pandemic to provide flexibility for students to ensure access to the learning environment. Hyflex provides a blend of both in-person and virtual course delivery options for synchronous and asynchronous learners.

As a follow-up to the recently enacted budget, the state fiscal year (FY) 2021-22 State Aid Allocations and Budget Policies was approved. This document incorporates additional funding approved in Session Law 2021-180 that is allocated to all colleges on a formula basis or a direct categorical allocation basis.

The Board approved the following System Office personnel actions:

  • Brandy Andrews was promoted to the position of chief financial officer with the N.C. Community College System (NCCCS). She will start on April 1 to fill the role that will be vacated by Elizabeth Grovenstein, who will retire on May 1. Andrews’ previous work includes associate vice president of college finance and operations at NCCCS. Prior to that, she served as an accountant at Pitt Community College. She also worked in the State Auditor’s Office.
  • Stephanie Fisher is a new hire to the position of associate vice president of college finance and operations with the NCCCS. She will fill the position to be vacated by Brandy Andrews. Fisher’s prior work includes N.C. Department of Administration. Prior to that, she served as vice president and chief financial officer at Edgecombe Community College and Stanly Community College.
  • Michelle Lair was promoted to the position of director of Academic Programs at the NCCCS. Lair vacates the role of Career and College Promise Coordinator. Prior to that, she served in several roles including admissions, recruitment and outreach at Wake Technical Community College.
  • Brett Altman is a new hire to the position of director of State Board Relations and Compliance. Altman’s previous work includes the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. Prior to that, he served at the N.C. Office of State Budget and Management, and the N.C. General Assembly as a fiscal research analyst focused on post-secondary education.

Approval was provided to begin expanding broadband access to 25 rural community colleges. State appropriations of $15M in the newly enacted budget will be used to support the project and will build upon the broadband expansion provided to the original 20 community colleges of the state’s 58 community colleges in State fiscal year 2020-21. The project will deliver improved broadband design, technology infrastructure and network security improvements for the 25 colleges.

  • The 25 community colleges that were allocated funds are: Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, Beaufort County Community College, Blue Ridge Community College, Brunswick Community College, Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute, Carteret Community College, Central Carolina Community College, Cleveland Community College, Coastal Carolina Community College, Craven Community College, Davidson-Davie Community College, Halifax Community College, Haywood Community College, Isothermal Community College, Johnston Community College, Mayland Community College, Nash Community College, Randolph Community College, Richmond Community College, Sandhills Community College, Southwestern Community College, Surry Community College, Wayne Community College, Wilkes Community College and Wilson Community College. 
  • The original 20 community colleges that were allocated funds last fiscal year were Bladen Community College, College of the Albemarle, Edgecombe Community College, James Sprunt Community College, Lenoir Community College, Martin Community College, McDowell Technical Community College, Montgomery Community College, Pamlico Community College, Piedmont Community College, Roanoke-Chowan Community College, Robeson Community College, Rockingham Community College, Sampson Community College, South Piedmont Community College, Southeastern Community College, Stanly Community College, Tri-County Community College, Vance-Granville Community College and Western Piedmont Community College.

Approval was given for the allocation of $2 million in State funds to support the expansion of Adult Learner Pilot Programs. This investment builds off an initial pilot conducted with five community colleges and supported by the John M. Belk Endowment. This public-private partnership expands the program to include 29 community colleges that will focus on increasing enrollment of adult learners. All participating colleges will receive mini grants to support recruitment and retention efforts, as well as student recruitment and coaching support from the non-profit organization, InsideTrack.

An investment of $100,000 was approved to critical industries in North Carolina, in particular biotechnology. These funds, allocated from the strategic State Board Reserve, will be utilized to align community college program offerings with industry needs. The State Board also approved $75,000 to expand college participation in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Employment & Training, a program that reimburses community colleges for education and training provided to qualifying North Carolinians and $75,000 to support agency diversity, equity and inclusion efforts designed to reduce educational attainment gaps and develop talent in all of our communities.

The Board approved the allocation of $1 million recurring and $2 million non-recurring provided from the newly enacted State budget for financial assistance to help students in short-term workforce training programs that lead to industry credentials.

About the North Carolina State Board of Community Colleges (SBCC)

The SBCC is organized and operates in accordance with N.C. General Statute 115D-2.1, as amended by Session Law 2021-90. The Board has 22 members, 18 who are appointed to six-year terms, and four ex officio members (State treasurer, lieutenant governor, commissioner of Labor and N.C. Student Government Association president). Meetings occur the third Thursday and Friday of each month, with the exception of June and December. Read more.