In the fall of 2018, Dr. Karen Stout, President and CEO of Achieving the Dream, delivered the Belk Center’s Dallas Herring lecture. Stout’s lecture, entitled “The Urgent Case: Centering Teaching and Learning in the Next Generation of Community College Redesign,” presented a call-to-action for community colleges to develop a culture of teaching and learning excellence. In the spring of 2019, the Belk Center identified 5 campuses for a comprehensive evaluative case study that explored existing institutional teaching and learning initiatives and their impact on student success. Conversations with 214 individuals, including 130 faculty, were held over 15 days. The 130 faculty included full-time and part-time/adjunct faculty representing curriculum and CTE. The key findings included a need for a teaching and learning network in NC; increased support for part-time/ adjunct faculty; expertise to connect student success initiatives to equitable teaching and learning practices; and additional support for faculty to connect their work to student success and the strategic plan of the college.
To address the issues identified, the Belk Center, NC Student Success Center, and Achieving the Dream (ATD) are leveraging our trusted relationship with community college presidents, extensive statewide networks, and considerable technical expertise to create structures to support scalable and sustainable professional learning activities for full-time and adjunct faculty in service of student success across the state. We began this work in the fall with an assessment exercise for the 15,000 full-time and adjunct faculty in the System, inquiring about the professional development opportunities they have access to, as well as the opportunities they recommend to further support work happening at their community college. Later in February, we will review the data collected from the faculty survey responses to surface strengths and opportunities for a Teaching and Learning hub accessible to the 58 community colleges.
The Belk Center, through the Presidents’ Academy and in partnership with the North Carolina Association of Community College Presidents, will offer professional learning opportunities for presidents that focus on the execution of a comprehensive strategy for enhancing teaching and learning excellence. The first of these sessions began February 4th in collaboration with the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program. The Student Success Center continues to offer strategic professional development, support online learning, and enhance student success through career advising and attention to equity. ATD, through its national teaching and learning expertise, is leading the incorporation of service delivery support to support teaching and learning hubs for faculty innovation. These efforts will complement existing professional learning opportunities that are occurring across North Carolina’s 58 community colleges.