As part of our mission of supporting community college presidents statewide, the Belk Center engages in a variety of services designed to assist individual colleges in their work to develop new strategic plans, increase equity in student access and success, and invest in professional learning for faculty and staff.
Equity Case Studies and Policy Analysis
As part of our commitment to equity, the Belk Center engages colleges in evaluative case studies to explore promising practices that improve student success outcomes. Supported by the center’s Ascendium grant, the goal of the case studies is to learn more from colleges’ students, faculty, staff and administrators about the programs, policies and practices that may lead to higher and more equitable success outcomes for American Indian, Black and Latinx students.
The Belk Center also engages with colleges in a policy audit process, where a team of researchers review college policies through an equity lens. The NCCCS Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force Final Report (2021) serves as a guide for researchers in identifying the following elements:
- Exemplary equity policy language
- Absence of explicit equity language and aims
- Lack of focus on diversity and inclusivity in personnel and governance policies
- Residency and citizen-based restrictions on admission, course enrollment and access to financial aid and in-state tuition
- Barriers to access and persistence due to approach to assessment, placement and remediation
- Barriers to access due to approach to career and college promise
- Barriers to persistence and completion due to unpaid balances policy
- Additional elements that may present challenges for students of color, low-income, religious minorities, etc.
As with case studies, the goal of policy audits is to learn more from college communities about policies and procedures that may lead to higher success outcomes for historically underserved populations. Both services are available to all colleges and are part of the slate of services offered through the Rural College Leaders Program.
North Carolina Association of Community College Presidents
The Belk Center supports programming for the North Carolina Association of Community College Presidents (NCACCP) through individualized learning sessions that are collaboratively designed with presidents to focus on specific interest areas, like strategic finance, transfer and trustee engagement. In 2022, the Belk Center, in partnership with NCACCP, offered a New Presidents Orientation for 14 first-time NC Community College presidents that provided opportunities to learn about the legislative process, leading organizational change, strategic finance, board relationships and fundraising in the context of student success.
Strategic Planning Support
The Belk Center collaborates with North Carolina community colleges in their strategic planning efforts through an individualized approach. Tailored to each college’s individual needs, the Belk Center team supports presidents and executive leadership teams with facilitated discussions to help them create strategic planning roadmaps, and recommendations for tools, resources, promising practices and evidence-based strategies.
Customized Faculty & Staff Professional Learning
The Belk Center offers customized professional learning programs for individual college faculty and staff upon request from the president. Programs are designed to advance the college’s student success agenda throughout the institution and include support for leadership development, strategic planning and goal-setting, and internal and external communication.
The North Carolina Community College Leadership Program (NCCLP)
For many years, the North Carolina Community College Leadership Program (NCCCLP) has been part of the NC Community College Leadership Association, a non-profit organization founded by Dr. Pat Akers to provide learning opportunities for leaders across the state. Since its launch in 1989, the program has equipped more than 1,210 graduates with skills to become exceptional leaders and navigate the educational arena as presidents, vice presidents, directors, deans and department chairs of community colleges in North Carolina and beyond. After more than thirty years of Akers’ extraordinary service to community college leaders, the Belk Center became the new home for the NCCLP programs. Kim Sepich, Belk Center director of executive leadership programs, serves as the NCCCLP lead facilitator – continuing the great legacy of Dr. Akers and the leadership programs into the future.