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Dallas Herring Lecture

Mike Flores delivering the 2022 Dallas Herring Lecture in front of members of the audience

Held in honor of W. Dallas Herring – whose transformative vision and tireless work culminated in the inception of North Carolina’s community colleges – the annual lecture invites community college leaders from across the country to speak on urgent and emerging topics, framing how to address the issues and proposing a path forward. 

Since 2015, the Belk Center  has welcomed college presidents, educational researchers, nonprofit leaders and philanthropists to engage in critical conversations about educational equity, proximity, economic equality, student success and more.

2022 Dallas Herring Lecture

On Tuesday, November 8th, Mike Flores, Ph.D., chancellor of the Alamo Colleges District, delivered the 2022 Dallas Herring Lecture under the title of Community Colleges in Action: Advancing Equity and Enhancing Economic Mobility Using Local Collective Impact Strategies

Since taking office as chancellor in 2018, Flores’ vision for the Alamo Colleges District has been clear – eliminate poverty through education. Based on his personal experience as a child of migrant farmworkers who pursued education to gain economic and social mobility, Flores has dedicated his career to ensuring educational equity and access for all students in the greater San Antonio region. 

Under his exceptional leadership, the Alamo Colleges District launched AlamoPROMISE, a tuition-free college program for graduating high school students in Bexar County – one of the most significant initiatives implemented in the region. Flores is an advocate for student success through high-impact teaching and learning practices, and aligned with the vision for eliminating poverty, he has also recently supported the launch of Student Advocacy Centers at each of the district’s five colleges and reduced tuition for students enrolled fully online.

In his presentation, Flores provided a framework for implementing local collective impact strategies to advance equity and enhance economic mobility – sharing personal insights into how one district used this framework to drive real change in their community.

Past Dallas Herring Lectures

2022 – Mike Flores: “Community Colleges in Action: Advancing Equity and Enhancing Economic Mobility Using Local Collective Impact Strategies

Mike Flores at a podium delivering the 2022 Dallas Herring Lecture

Chancellor Flores’s lecture focused on the notion that community colleges can advance equity and enhance economic mobility by becoming critical actors in local collective impact strategies that utilize a framework focused on student success and ensure the elevation of our diverse communities. His remarks highlighted the collective impact work undertaken by the Alamo Colleges District and regional residents aimed at ending generational poverty. This topic is worthy of further reflection and discussion by community colleges and their allies as they seek to expand access to higher education, increase student success, and build more equitable institutions and communities.

2021 – Gregory Haile, J.D.: “Redefining Access: The Power of Proximity”

“Now is the time for us to do all we can, in our own unique ways, to become more proximate to the people our institutions are designed to serve,” said Gregory Haile, J.D., president of Broward College (FL), in his 2021 lecture. What steps can community colleges take to be geographically, socially, and financially proximate to local communities and break the history of poverty?

2020 – Dr. Pam Eddinger: “Insights from the Pandemic: The Reckoning and the Hope at Our Nation’s Community Colleges”

As Dr. Pam Eddinger, President of Bunker Hill Community College, pointed out in her 2020 lecture, “Our students are not broken. They are navigating a broken system.” Her lecture explored the pandemic as a simultaneous moment of reckoning and hope for our nation’s community colleges. Dr. Eddinger emboldens us to ensure a just
and equitable recovery and strengthen the community college’s identity as a hub.

2019 – Dr. Sanford “Sandy” Shugart: “Ecosystem Thinking in Higher Education: The Future of Transfer”

Valencia College President, Dr. Sandy Shugart, emphasized, “As the needs of society have changed and program mixes across higher education systems evolved to meet these changing demands, transfer as a feature of the systems and of American college students’ experience has grown remarkably in scale and importance, as have community colleges generally in the higher education ecosystem.”

2018 – Dr. Karen Stout: “The Urgent Case: Centering Teaching and Learning in the Next Generation of Community College Redesign”

“Excellent teaching and support for quality instruction must be at the core of our reform work” as community college leaders, said Achieving the Dream President and CEO Karen Stout. “College leaders need to empower faculty to lead changes in pedagogy, rethink and align course and program student learning outcomes, build coherent and clear course and program sequences, and engage in advising in new ways. Teaching must be made more dynamic, relevant, culturally responsive, and engage and cultivate students’ ownership of what they learn.”

2017 – Dr. Eduardo Padrón: “Growing Inequality and Declining Economic Mobility, the Twin Challenges of our Time: What Leaders of Higher Education Can Do”

“Will we be an engine of inequality or the best hope of people trying to build lives in this new America?” said Miami Dade College President Eduardo Padrón in his 2017 Dallas Herring Lecture. As Dr. Padrón argues, we can move away from current college ranking systems, re-embrace vocational education, build channels between education and entrepreneurialism, advocate more effectively for higher education to legislators, and expand student support.

2016 – Josh Wyner: “Community College 3.0: What’s Next for the Student Success Agenda?”

“Here is the challenge for community colleges over the coming decade and beyond: Can they deliver more degrees of higher quality to a more diverse population without greater public investment?” said Josh Wyner during the 2016 Dallas Herring Lecture. He is the vice president and executive director of the College Excellence Program at the Aspen Institute.

2015 – Dr. Ken Ender: “Leadership for the 21st Century Community College”

“The 21st century community college leaders must conceptually view and extend their definition of ‘community’ as extending beyond the community college campus to K-12, university, and non-profit community-based service partners,” said Harper College President Ken Ender in his 2015 Dallas Herring Lecture. Some of the challenges facing the 21st century community college leader include the context of the 21st century, the future of community colleges in the United States, and the skill sets and mind set required of community college leaders.