Hello Forsyth Tech faculty and staff,
As I write my message today, I am reminded of the significance of today’s date — September 11. I vividly remember where I was nineteen years ago, on September 11, 2001, a day when our nation was changed forever. I am taking a moment to remember those we lost that day, a day we will never forget.
As I mentioned last week, I want to share some important information that we recently received from myFutureNC. MyFutureNC is a statewide nonprofit organization, created as the result of cross-sector collaboration between North Carolina leaders in education, business, and government, and focused on educational attainment. Last year, the NC General Assembly passed HB 664 which included a section that supports a statewide educational attainment goal of 2 million 25-44 year-old North Carolinians with a high-quality credential or postsecondary degree by 2030.
I have included more information about this data in the following section of this message. The data does not represent where we want to be, and that’s okay. I am sharing the data with you to spur dialogue and to serve as an impetus for action planning and work within your teams, departments, and divisions to identify tactical plans aimed at continuous innovation and improvement. Again, if we do not know where we are, we will not know how to build the plans to get us to where we want to be and move us forward towards achieving our Vision 2025 strategic goals and outcomes.
To reach our shared vision, we will have to work together to make the changes needed to increase our student completion numbers, which are too low, and decrease, (or eliminate), our achievement gaps, which are too high. To increase our students’ success and completion rates, we have to be willing to see with clear eyes. We have to use data to guide transformation where needed, and not be afraid to try different strategies and tactics, and do things differently to achieve different results — we have to elevate to improve.
Data Profiles from myFutureNC
Recently, myFutureNC shared data profiles for all 100 counties with college Presidents in advance of presenting the information to the NC General Assembly and sharing it publicly in a Dashboard format on their website. The profile indicators span the education continuum in North Carolina, capturing key transition points for students from NC Pre-K through college completion and into the labor market.
One of the data points on each county’s report is the eight-year “graduate or transfer out” rate for all colleges and universities within the county and for other nearby colleges (from IPEDS representing the share of students who either graduate with a degree or credential or transfer to another institution within 8 years). I have linked the Forsyth and Stokes profiles to this message.
When you review this data, I think you will clearly see we are not where we want to be and we are not where we should be. Our eight-year graduate or transfer out rate is 30 percent. By comparison for those colleges closest in proximity to us as shown on the attached reports, Davidson County and Surry Community Colleges’ rates are 61 percent and 58 percent respectively. I looked at Guilford County’s profile and found that Guilford Tech’s rate is 57 percent while Alamance CC is 53 percent, Randolph CC is 55 percent, and Rockingham CC is 57 percent. I also checked other colleges close in size to us and found Pitt CC’s rate is 65 percent, Cape Fear CC’s rate is 62 percent and Central Carolina CC’s rate is 58 percent We are 23 percent to 35 percent lower than all of these community colleges.
We know there are many ways to gauge student success, and completion is only one of them, but completion is an important metric of success for our students. Moreover, in today’s increasingly competitive higher education environment, we have to pay attention to how well we show up in comparison to other colleges, especially when this kind of data is widely shared. In the age of COVID, this is even more important as the number of online options for students continues to grow, increasing the need for us to stand out and set ourselves apart from other institutions.
We set a strategic goal to increase completion and reduce achievement gaps, and this is just another data point that validates our goal. Together, we will improve student success and equity of success for all students. Please keep this conversation going in your departments and divisions, and within our other college teams, (our Collaboratives, Faculty and Staff Senates, the Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Council, etc.). Let’s keep our destination — achieving the strategic goals and outcomes of Vision 2025 and reaching our shared vision — in focus and work together to identify ways we can impact these results now and, in the future, to change the trajectory.
Vice President for Student Academic Success and Chief Academic Officer
It is my pleasure to officially announce the five finalists for our new Vice President for Student Academic Success and Chief Academic Officer.
As I indicated last week, we had an incredibly competitive pool of applicants and I am confident our cross-divisional search committee has identified the top five candidates. Each candidate will have an entire day on campus to meet with various groups, and participate in a virtual forum with all of you. You can access the cover letters and CV’s for each of the candidates on Techlink. I strongly encourage you to review these and attend each forum if at all possible. This will be your opportunity to hear opening statements from each candidate, to ask questions, and to participate in this important selection process, so please take advantage of the opportunity. Your input is important and you will have 48 business hours after each virtual forum to provide your individual constructive feedback via an evaluation survey.
Please note: you are asked to indicate if you would recommend the candidate for the Vice President/CAO and you may check “Yes” for multiple candidates. The Search Committee will review the feedback following the candidate forums and your feedback will be considered in the decision process.
The interview schedule (with links to each Virtual Forums with the Candidates) is as follows:
- September 10, 2:30-3:30 p.m.: Dolly Horton
- September 11, 2:30-3:30 p.m.: Anu Williams
- September 14, 2:30-3:30 p.m.: Jacob Surratt
- September 15, 2:30-3:30 p.m.: Bruce Johnson
- September 18, 2:30-3:30 p.m.: David Naze
Thank you again for your positive and constructive participation in this process.
Have You Responded to the 2020 Census?
There is still time to respond to the 2020 Census! The deadline to respond to the 2020 Census is September 30, 2020. Not only does the Census determine our representation in Congress, but it also ensures that North Carolina and Forsyth County get our share in billions of dollars of federal funding for local programs like road construction, emergency services, Medicaid, school lunch programs, and housing programs. Nearly 40 percent of Forsyth County residents have not responded to the Census and this will have a significant impact on our local community. Again, the deadline to respond is September 30, 2020. You can go online to My 2020 Census or call 1-844-330-2020 and follow the prompts. Please answer the Census, because you count in Forsyth County!
Facebook Live with me – Wednesday, at 1 p.m.
Next Wednesday, September 16, at 1 p.m., I’ll be hosting Facebook Live on our college’s Facebook page to talk with all of you, as well as Forsyth Tech students. Note the new day and time for next week to accommodate the forum for our Vice President for Student Academic Success and Chief Academic Officer. It’s a great time for us to be together to talk about the fall semester and for you to ask any questions you may have. Hope to see you then!
Places worth going
“The struggles along the way are only meant to shape you for your purpose.”
Chadwick Boseman, In Memoriam.
Chadwick Boseman, the actor who grew to fame starring in several movies, Civil War, Black Panther, 42, Marshall, Infinity War, Endgame and 21 Bridges, lost his battle with cancer. He had suffered with that horrible disease for many years, yet he never publicly shared his struggles. He kept moving forward, leaving a legacy of strength and courage not only in the characters he portrayed, but also in reality. He lived life to the fullest.
We all have our own struggles, some even more so over the past months of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we never know what another might be going through. Thank you for continuing to give each other support and grace.
Take care and stay safe!
Dr. Janet Spriggs