“If NC is to truly invest in our early childhood workforce, and reach the goal of 2 million North Carolinians holding high-quality credentials or postsecondary degrees by 2030, we must continue to invest in our bright spots while also creating a high-quality North Carolina Early Childhood Credential (NCECC).” In their new policy brief, authors Kenzie Bell, Jemilia Davis, and Callie Edwards summarize the potential for community college impact on the earliest part of the education pipeline.
While any effort to significantly increase attainment must begin at the state level, community colleges can also work to improve the outcomes for the early childhood education workforce through the following actions:
- Grow and develop programs that support students: By creating or enhancing existing programs that provide advising and academic tutoring for students in ECE programs, community colleges can increase retention and better support the needs of non-traditional students in ECE programs (Gardner,Malnick, Melnoy, & Barajas, 2019).
- Provide professional development programming for ECE faculty: By making investments in ongoing support and professional development for higher education faculty, especially focusing on training faculty to use evidence-based practices, community colleges can support their faculty in developing their teaching practices (Hyson, Horm, & Winton, 2012).
- Work with practitioners in their local communities to implement improvement-based strategies, such as building networked improvement communities: By implementing improvement-based strategies such as networked improvement communities, local communities can work towards systemic change in local early childhood ecosystems and facilitate cross-institutional relationships that bolster the quality, availability, and accessibility of ECE.
About the Authors:
Kenzie Bell is a John M. Belk Fellow at the Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research.
Jemilia S. Davis, Ph.D., is the Director of Strategic Initiatives and External Relations at the Belk Center.
Callie Edwards, Ph.D., is the Associate Director of the Program Evaluation and Education Research (PEER) group at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation.