Community Colleges in North Carolina Term Paper

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(North Carolina Community College, system 2004, critical success factors)

However, it must be mentioned that North Carolina is for the main part a public sector state, and it has a strong and a very well respected group of private Four-year colleges, and Community Colleges. While the four-year colleges in the state serve about 39% of all the undergraduates, the public Community Colleges serve about 43% of all students of the state. An important factor in North Carolina's Community Colleges is that the rate of tuition is very low, and at the same time, the state has been quite slow in building need-based state grant programs, because of their basic presumption that the needs of the economically backward students were being met by the Community Colleges. However, when the rats of tuition were hiked up during the 1990's, North Carolina was able to create a grant program for the students of these colleges, and it was instituted at the very same time, so that all the numerous Community Colleges of the state would be able to take full advantage of the new federal tuition tax credits. (North Carolina)

The State Board of Community Colleges is the primary governing Board for these colleges, and of the fifty eight Community Colleges, a few are public junior colleges, while some others are industrial education centers, with an emphasis on technical and vocational education. All the junior colleges have associate degree, diploma, and also state transfer programs. Statistics reveal that there will soon be a rapid population growth in the state in the near future, and the resultant growth in the school age population is estimated at a rate of 20%. Today, North Carolina has showed that it wants more enrollments into its Community Colleges, and in order to meet this demand sufficiently, the state has been busy with planning certain initiatives that include, among others, strengthening the Community College Transfers.

Therefore, in 1995, the Board of Governors of the State of North Carolina and the State Board of the Community Colleges together have developed a statewide articulation policy that would effectively lend more strength to the state's Community Colleges, and their transfer functions. A general education transfer core curriculum was established as a result, and this would be applicable to all the associate degree programs in all the state's public institutions. What this means is that those students who enter the Community College Programs without having completed their high school courses, which they would require for admission into the University of North Carolina, must finish at the very least two courses in a foreign language, in addition to their general education transfer core, and those transfer students who have completed their core course must still compete for admission into a four-year college. (North Carolina)

North Carolina Community Colleges believe in the GED testing system, wherein after attaining the minimum standard scores of 410 on each of the total number of five tests, a high school diploma equivalent would be awarded to the student. The five tests are based on language arts writing, science, language arts reading, social studies, and mathematics. (General Educational Development) The Basic Skills Program, on the other hand, is to offer educational opportunities to students, sixteen years and older, who are out of school, so that they may be able to function better in the society. (Basic Skills) There is also a lot of emphasis on community education, whereby formal and informal adult learning is taken care of by the Community Colleges. The Department of Adult and Community College Education, or in other words, the ACCE, is a rather unique department because it lays great emphasis on taking care of a wide spectrum of informal and formal learners. (Adult and Community College Education Competencies for Community College Leaders)

In order to take care of the financial aspect of the educational program, the State Board of Community Colleges of North Carolina contracted with the NCSEAA, or in other words, the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority, to avail of financial aid and grants, thus making sure that not many students would be left behind as a result of paucity of funds. In order to avail of the program, the students must meet certain specified criterion, some of which are: he must have been admitted into a curriculum program for at least six credit hours per semester, he must be a resident of the state of North Carolina, and he must be able to meet all the other requirement under the North Carolina Community College system. (Policies for the North Carolina Community College Grant, Loan program and targeted Financial Assistance) In order to help students to become more aware of global happening, the Community Colleges of North Carolina developed Global Action Plans in conjunction with the Global Educational Conference. (Global Education Action Plans)

In North Carolina, the emphasis is on the creation of a learning centered environment for the students of Community Colleges, and this also means that there is an emphasis on pro-active leadership training, and a practical competency framework has been created to facilitate this, and what it means is that emerging leaders would be able to chart their personal development, while at the same time, program leaders would be provided with guidelines for their curriculum. Since it is today widely acknowledged that Community Colleges are experiencing a leadership gap, while at the same time, the leadership skills required have widened due to increasing globalization, the American Association of Community Colleges has created a set of comprehensive competencies, with which the students of Community Colleges would be able to learn better, and become veritable leaders. (American Association of community Colleges)

Since a Community College must also serve the needs of the community in which it is based, many colleges in North Carolina have in fact developed orientation programs that would deal with the local communities, like for example, since there was evidence to show that the Hispanic population in the state had increased by a 394% from 1990, it was decided by the faculty and the staff of the Community Colleges that they would work towards meeting the requirements of this particular community. As a matter of fact, Patrick Pittman, the coordinator of Adult/Basic Education/English as a second language, has stated that this system has ensured that there are more number of participants in the ESL classes, and what is more important is that most of these students are from the Asian or from the Hispanic communities. However, this may present a challenge for the faculty, in handling the varied cultures, like for example; Hispanic children are taught to look down when talking to adults, while American children are taught to look into the other person's eyes while talking to him. A series of workshops are today being held to make the faculty and the students aware of these cultural differences, so that they may all work together in the better manner for the betterment of the community. (Serving growing Hispanic population)

Today, in light of the increasing globalization, there is an increased emphasis on the workforce preparation for the young people, especially in certain important areas like mid level and higher skill development, and this means that there must be better preparation at the level of higher secondary education itself. This in turn means that the role that Community Colleges play must increase tremendously in order to handle the preparation of today's young people for the workforce of the nation, more effectively, as regarding school reform, and school to work transition system building. Several local, state and federal reform initiatives have started to, both directly and indirectly, press Community Colleges and Secondary Schools to be better coordinated with each other. The three important federal polices: Tech Prep of the Vocational Education Act, the School to Work Education Opportunities Act, and the Goals 2000, the Educate America Act hold certain priorities. (Orr, 2004)

One of them is that Community Colleges must foster high academic standards and also concentrate on occupational skill development, and they must also prepare their students well enough so that they may be able to further their own education, and also give the required importance to occupational skill development. The Colleges must also support more integration and cooperate better with K12 schools, and post secondary institutions and finally, be willing to bring in general reforms to the public educational system, and particularly in the Community College system. In a study of several Community Colleges all over the United States of America, one example can be taken, that of a college in New Jersey. This College was in fact serving a large and disparate array of both urban and rural communities. This College started the Tech Prep initiative in 1991, but it has found that it was not able to engage more than 9 out of 20 school districts in its plan. In another…[continue]

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