COLLEGE’S STRATEGIC PLANNING PROCESS REVEALS COMMUNITY LEADERS’ DESIRE FOR THE COLLEGE TO PLAY A BIGGER ROLE IN THE REGION’S FUTURE
SALISBURY, N.C. — While Rowan-Cabarrus Community College’s current strategic plan doesn’t end until the end of 2014, college leaders are already planning for the future and working on the next strategic plan. In a recent meeting with local community leaders, the college received some unexpected feedback and direction.
“We believe education is the best investment someone can make. The investment isn’t just one made for oneself, but one that is made for the entire family and in our community. A more educated region will result in a stronger, more vibrant region,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus.
The community leaders’ main message to the college was to “plan bravely.”
“It was gratifying to hear from community leaders that the college not only has solid support, but also has the ability to help lead the Rowan and Cabarrus region to greater economic security through education,” said Spalding.
Recent planning sessions included in-depth conversations on advanced manufacturing and technology, healthcare, information technology, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).
“That little dash between Rowan and Cabarrus in the name Rowan-Cabarrus Community College is not arbitrary. It’s a connector between the two counties,” said Bill Cannon, president of the Cannon Foundation. “It represents the regional vision that Rowan-Cabarrus must have for our area.”
The community members, ranging from business leaders to foundation directors, also discussed the important economic, cultural, environmental, and social challenges that impact our region’s educational future.
“We’re doing a lot of listening and what we’ve heard from our community leaders is that they want Rowan-Cabarrus to see itself as a vital economic and cultural resource in the region,” said Carl M. Short, chair of the Rowan-Cabarrus Board of Trustees.
Important goals of the group included the desire to have a more vibrant and contributing community college with an elevated image and role in the region. Additionally, there was an overwhelming desire to increase the educational levels in Rowan and Cabarrus counties.
“The reality is that we are not immune to the tough economic times,” said Spalding. “Our resources from the state have continued to decline year after year. Like many public organizations, we are looking elsewhere and developing a case for support to seek private and philanthropic resources.”
Strengthening the “fundraising muscle” of the foundation is not only important for the immediate future, but also for the long term vitality of the college, and the tens of thousands of students it serves each year.
“I believe Rowan-Cabarrus Community College is part of the solution to our economic recovery,” said Ed Norvell, longtime supporter of the college. “We just need to make sure the college secures the resources needed to make it happen.”
The college is committed to making strategic investments in our community. At times, decisions that might appear simple on the surface reflect challenging organizational priorities.
“For instance, last year we reunited our two nursing programs under one roof at our North Carolina Research Campus facility,” said Spalding. “This move was a cost-saver for the college because we could share space, equipment and instructors. It was also a strategic move to bring more energy and traffic to the North Carolina Research Campus.”
For more information about Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, please visit www.rccc.edu or call 704-216-RCCC (7222).