Rowan-Cabarrus Community College News

Dr. Darise D. Caldwell Reappointed as Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Board of Trustees Member

President of Novant Health Rowan Medical Center continues to bring extensive knowledge to Rowan-Cabarrus Board of Trustees


SALISBURY, N.C. – The Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Board of Trustees has announced the reappointment of Dr. Darise D. Caldwell of Salisbury to the College’s board.

Caldwell was recently reappointed by the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education to serve on the board through 2019.

“I am so pleased to get to continue to work with Rowan-Cabarrus Community College. It’s been a real honor to be reappointed to sit on the board and I appreciate the opportunity to continue giving back to the community and challenging myself in new areas,” said Caldwell.

Caldwell has served as a Rowan-Cabarrus trustee since February 2012 and her new term will expire in June 2019. She serves on the institutional advancement & legislat1230-caldwell-810-color-2-240x300ive committee.

Rowan-Cabarrus Board of Trustees’ members are responsible for attending all board meetings and key Rowan-Cabarrus events. As a board, they are responsible for College policies.

“I am thrilled to have Dari staying on our board. She has been a wealth of expertise and has provided enormous insight to the work of the College,’” said Carl M. Short, chair of the Rowan-Cabarrus Board of Trustees.

Today Caldwell, a Concord native, serves as president of Novant Health Rowan Medical Center. Caldwell earned a Doctor of Philosophy in health care administration from Columbia Pacific University, obtained a Master of Science in nursing from Duke University and completed a Bachelor of Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has worked in health care for more than 36 years, holding clinical and leadership positions at facilities around the nation, including Seton Medical Center, Duke University Medical Center, Cabarrus Memorial Hospital (NorthEast Medical Center) and White Plains Hospital Center.

“Dari’s experience in the healthcare world makes her an excellent reappointment to the Rowan-Cabarrus Board,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of the College. “She knows the demands and needs of this growing field that will greatly help the College train the workforce. We believe her extensive experience will continue to be a tremendous asset to the College.”

Caldwell said she wants to continue to serve as a trustee because the board takes an active role in the life of the community college.

“We need more jobs in Rowan County, and having a ready workforce through the community college is a very key element to that,” said Caldwell. “Because Rowan-Cabarrus is affordable, it is easily accessible for students.”

Caldwell recently gave an inspiring commencement speech to Rowan-Cabarrus Community College’s largest graduating class.

Her speech centered on three important pieces of advice: do the right thing, make a difference to someone each day and know you are more capable than you think.

Board of Trustees members are liaisons to the College’s entire service area and not just to the appointing entity. Once appointed, trustees are to carry out their duties as established by the General Statutes of North Carolina and the board’s bylaws and policies independent of concern for any group, organization, appointing board or political entity other than the students, citizens of the service area and the College.

For more information about Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, please visit www.rccc.edu or call 704-216-RCCC (7222).


Posted in Board of Trustees | Tagged

Rowan-Cabarrus Student Breaks Family Cycle and Soars

North Carolina Community College System Board Member Clyde Higgs presents award for outstanding academic achievement


KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — Amber Blackwelder has had her share of challenges in life, but has taken advantage of opportunities and is excelling forward.

“I quite literally took my first steps in the restaurant industry – I grew up there and worked in restaurants the majority of my life. But I wanted more,” said Blackwelder.318

When a family member recommended Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, she knew a path filled with new possibilities had just presented itself in the most unsuspecting way. Growing up in small mill town where college was not emphasized, Blackwelder realized that college was the only way for her to change the course of not only her future but for her two children as well.

Blackwelder arrived at Rowan-Cabarrus with hopes of joining the competitive Radiography Program. She was not admitted the first time, but did not give up. She studied even harder, meanwhile taking a full course load, caring for a family of four and staying active in the community with groups like the youth ministry. When it came time to test again, she passed with flying colors. Blackwelder is now finishing her last semester in the program and has plans to get her bachelor’s degree.

Now, she has been honored by Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and the North Carolina Community College System Board of Trustees as the College’s 2015 Academic Excellence Award winner.

“Amber is very involved on campus. She is a member of the radiology club and is always participating in student life events like blood drives, relay for life and collecting books for charity,” said Natasha Lipscomb, director of student life and leadership development at Rowan-Cabarrus.

This spring, Blackwelder sat for her registry – and passed! – and then graduated all within the same week.

“Amber absolutely deserves this honor. What’s amazing is that she was able to do all of this while maintaining an excellent academic record,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus.

The award recognizes the academic achievement, leadership and community service of one student from each of the 58 institutions in the North Carolina Community College System. Recipients must be currently enrolled in curriculum courses, completing at least 12 credit hours in an associate degree program and maintaining a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.25.

“On behalf of the North Carolina Community College System Board of Trustees, I am honored to award Amber Blackwelder with the Academic Excellence Award for Rowan-Cabarrus Community College,” said Clyde Higgs, executive vice president of operations and business development for Castle & Cooke North Carolina, LLC for the North Carolina Research Campus. Higgs is also a member of the North Carolina Community College System Board and a former trustee of the Rowan-Cabarrus Board of Trustees.

The NC Association of Community College Presidents has sponsored the Academic Excellence Awards since 1998.

“We couldn’t be more proud of Amber and all she has accomplished,” said Carl M. Short, chair of the Rowan-Cabarrus Board of Trustees. “She is truly an inspiration and I hope she will stay in touch with us as she continues her successful journey.”

For additional information about Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, please visit www.rccc.edu or call 704-216-RCCC (7222). The College is currently accepting applications for the fall term.


Posted in Student Life and Leadership |

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College’s Successful Cosmetology Program Now Open in Downtown Kannapolis

Salon and spa services performed by students now available; part of the revitalization of downtown


KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — Rowan-Cabarrus Community College cosmetology, manicuring and esthetic services are now available at a newly renovated center in downtown Kannapolis located at 120 West Avenue.

“We are so thrilled to open the new West Avenue Center! The center is now ready for clients,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.

A haircut, shampoo and blow dry will only set you back twelve dollars, while a manicure is only six dollars (a gel polish manicure is fifteen).

“Want to add some highlights to your hair for the summer? In need of a mani/pedi at a great price? Our student stylists can help the professional and contemporary services taught throughout their training while earning hours to their state board licensing!” said Wanda Pressley-Altman, chair of the program, including instruction on all things hair, skin and nails. “We offer top notch services at attractive pricing and are very excited to bring you these options from our new facility.”

A full list of the current services offered, along with pricing information can be found at www.rccc.edu/cos.

A ten percent discount on services is provided to senior citizens, as well as Rowan-Cabarrus Community College students and employees.

For first-time visitors, walk-in appointments are the best option. After your initial visits, individual students will work with clients to book appointments. Currently, the cosmetology center is open for clients Tuesday-Friday from 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. and again Tuesday-Thursday from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

The College’s cosmetology program is one of the largest and most successful in the state, and the College began looking for a larger space in response to its growth and success. In addition to the cosmetology classes located at the new center, other courses such as nurse aide and resume and interview support services are also offered.

“We have one goal in mind, and that’s to make our community better. The secret of reinvigorating downtown is having more people downtown,” said Kannapolis Mayor Darrell Hinnant. “We’re excited about this. We are working hard on economic development.”

The new location, which was previously a Belk and a towel store, provides 28,000 square feet for the new facility.

“I fully support Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, and I believe that the relocation of the cosmetology program will afford training opportunities that will stimulate the economy in Cabarrus County,” said Stephen Morris, Cabarrus County commissioner and trustee on the Rowan-Cabarrus board. “It’s a win-win-win for everyone.”

The Rowan-Cabarrus cosmetology program offers associate degrees, diplomas and certificates.

“We teach everything there is to teach about beauty,” said Pressley-Altman. “We also teach introduction to small business management and sociology to round out the degree.”

During the summer months, services are a bit more limited to hair and more basic manicures and pedicures, but beginning in October, clients will have access to high-end facials and microdermabrasion treatments. European facials begin at fifteen dollars; a facial at a salon can top one hundred dollars.

“Our cosmetology program is not only widely successful, but it’s a wonderful example of our strong partnership with local high schools,” said Spalding. “The Career & College Promise program allows approximately 70 high school students to simultaneously enroll in high school and college so that they can receive both high school and college credit for courses taken as part of the program.”

This tuition-free program for high school juniors and seniors gives them the opportunity to get a “jump start” on a two-year or four-year degree while still in high school.

In addition to cosmetology, Rowan-Cabarrus offers options for students to get a head start in careers like fire protection, criminal justice, machining, web technologies, welding and more.

“Many students in the cosmetology program are high school juniors and seniors taking advantage of the Career & College Promise program,” said Spalding.

Further, many of the college transfer classes are weighted just like honors classes, making them a great alternative to Advanced Placement courses.

For additional information about cosmetology, manicuring and esthetic services, please call 704-792-9788.

For more information about Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, please visit www.rccc.edu or call 704-216-RCCC (7222). The College is currently accepting applications for the fall term.

Posted in Uncategorized |

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Business Students Recognized With Top Honors at State Conference, Many to Compete at National

College students receive recognition competing against four-year colleges and universities


KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Phi Beta Lambda students returned from their state conference in Charlotte with numerous awards, continuing the tradition of making the community and the College proud.

Phi Beta Lambda, and its sister organizations under the Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda umbrella, include a quarter million students preparing for careers in business and business-related fields. Competitions at the 61st Annual Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) State Leadership Conference include human resource management, accounting and economics, as well as team events in business ethics, desktop publishing, parliamentary procedure and a host of other similar business-related topics. The students also attended leadership seminars at the conference and received individual Certificates in Leadership Development.

Several students from Rowan-Cabarrus Community College attended the conference to compete with hundreds of North Carolina’s best and brightest college students and brought home multiple state-level awards, including six first place awards. Students competed among many two-year community colleges as well as UNC Chapel Hill, East Carolina, Pfeiffer, University of Mount Olive, Barton College, Western Carolina University, Appalachian State, Campbell University and Lenior-Rhyne among many others.

Award winners included:

• Pam Grubb – first place in Accounting Principles

• Katelyn Collier – first place in Accounting for Professionals

• David Lore – first place in Computer Concepts, second place in Microeconomics

• Tricia Douglas – first place in Entrepreneur Concepts, third place in Retail Management

• Letitia Dennis-Boger – first place in Management Concepts, second place in Organizational Behavior

• Angela Lore – first place in Financial Concepts, second place in Computer Applications

• Anthony Rossi – second place in Future Business Executive

• Jennifer Suhocky – fourth place in Business Communications, fourth place in Personal Finance

• Katelyn Collier – fourth place in Management Concepts

• Brandon Brock – seventh place in Accounting Principles

This was the eighth consecutive year that Rowan-Cabarrus students received high honors at the North Carolina PBL State Leadership Conference. First, second and some third Place winners automatically qualify to compete in the 2015 PBL National Conference in Chicago this June.

“I am so proud of all of our students who competed at the conference,” said Martha Cranford, Rowan-Cabarrus instructor and chapter advisor. “I encourage all Rowan-Cabarrus students to consider being part of the PBL organization and compete in state and national competitive events.”

More than 250 delegates, advisors and professional division members from 38 member universities and colleges in North Carolina attended the annual state conference. The Rowan-Cabarrus chapter is among the largest in the state and encourages students to join and take advantage of the PBL leadership opportunities.

“We have great students at Rowan-Cabarrus and we look forward to bringing home many awards in the future,” said Robin Turner, chair of the accounting program at Rowan-Cabarrus.

For more information about Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, please visit www.rccc.edu or call 704-216-RCCC (7222).

Posted in Student Life and Leadership | Tagged ,

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Students Receive Numerous Awards and Recognition

Students show dedication to community, College, and fellow students recognized at the May board meeting


KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — At the College’s annual Student Leadership Awards banquet, several Rowan-Cabarrus Community College students were recognized for their outstanding achievements and later introduced to the College’s Board of Trustees at their monthly board meeting.

“I am quite proud of these students for their dedication to the College and their fellow students,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, President of Rowan-Cabarrus.

Becky Campbell received the Outstanding Community Service Award. The Outstanding Community Service Award is given to an individual who has performed exemplary community service, made significant contributions to enhance the quality of life in the community, and demonstrated an understanding of his or her responsibility to one’s community through involvement with campus clubs and activities.

“Becky is a very dedicated student and active community volunteer,” said Gaye McConnell, vice president of enrollment management and the student experience. “Becky is driven by her kind and giving heart. She has served as a humanitarian both state-side and abroad and is very active in our local community, volunteering for many youth based events.”

Kaylee Linthicum, an officer in the Rowan-Cabarrus Rotaract Club, was awarded the Silver Leadership Award. The Silver Leadership Award is given to an individual who has shown commitment to academic excellence by maintaining a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. The student must be a first-year student with less than 30 credit hours completed. The individual should be an active member of a campus club/organization and show great promise in helping to build and strengthen the club.

“Kaylee is one of the most enthusiastic students I’ve come across in a while,” said Natasha Lipscomb, director of student life and leadership development. “We are so grateful that we were able to have her with us this past year, as she is dedicated to sustaining the club’s reputation and using her talents to further the cause.”

Jordan Kiser, a member of the Rowan-Cabarrus Radiography Club, received the Golden Leadership Award. The Golden Leadership Award is given to an individual who has shown commitment to academic excellence by maintaining a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. In the spirit of commitment, the individual must be an active member of a club/organization for more than two semesters. The student should be a second-year student with more than 30 credit hours completed. The individual recognized has assisted the club advisor and other club members in providing meaningful opportunities for the student body through campus activities. The individual that receives this award shows great character by helping the club make decisions that will sustain the reputation of the organization.

“Jordan displays exemplary character within our college, the Radiography program and in the community,” said McConnell. Her hard work is demonstrated in the classroom and within the student organization.”

Letitia Dennis-Boger, an officer for Phi Theta Kappa, was awarded the Eddie H. Myers Leadership Award.

Eddie H. Myers, past Vice-President of Student Services and Advisor to the Student Government Association played a significant role in the success of student body initiatives at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College. During his time as a college administrator, he assisted in organizing student clubs on both state and local levels. This award is given in his honor to a student who demonstrates the leadership qualities of self-discipline, good citizenship, commitment to lifelong learning, and the ability to overcome adversity. The student must have

a 3.0 GPA or higher and contribute to the success of a club/organization on campus. The student must be on track to complete graduation requirements no later than the end of summer term.

“Letitia Dennis-Boger is well-deserving of this prestigious leadership award,” said Natasha Lipscomb, director of student life and leadership development at Rowan-Cabarrus. “As an officer for Phi Theta Kappa and among all the many clubs Letitia has helped lead, she has demonstrated the level of commitment necessary in every way. Somehow with the many hats she wears, Letitia is always at the frontline of service to help others. Rowan-Cabarrus Community College is proud to have her among our graduates this year.”

Angela Lore was awarded the Student Life Award. The Student Life Award is given to an individual who participates in Student Life and demonstrates enthusiasm and a willingness to work hard.

“Rowan-Cabarrus staff and faculty across the college speak highly of Angela,” said Lipscomb. “Angela is accountable to herself and to her family. She listens with the intent to help and does everything in the spirit of excellence. I personally am thankful to have had the privilege of working with her.”

“We believe that our ever-expanding set of extracurricular activities and communications creates a holistic student experience, developing well-rounded graduates,” said Spalding. “It’s all about developing leaders and helping them engage in their community.”

For additional information about Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, please visit www.rccc.edu or call 704-216-RCCC (7222).

Posted in Uncategorized |

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Board Approves New Academic Vice President

Dr. Michael Quillen, leader from the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, will lead the College’s academic programs


KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — The Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Board of Trustees approved the selection of the new vice president of academic programs Monday afternoon.

Dr. Michael Duane Quillen, Ed.D. comes to the College from the Kentucky Community and Technical College System where he led all academic affairs for the state’s system.

“We are truly thrilled to bring Dr. Quillen on board at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus. “He will be a valuable addition to the amazing faculty and leadership we have at the College.”

Over the past several months, the College has engaged in a rigorous search process to fill the position of vice president of academic programs. The College’s hiring committee, comprised of individuals from across Rowan-Cabarrus, met with a number of talented candidates from across the country.

Faculty and staff had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Quillen last week during a forum held on campus.

Prior to his accomplishments and tenure at the Kentucky system level, Dr. Quillen taught at Maysville Community and Technical College, and was division chair for math, science and agriculture.

“His life’s work has been in education, and he started out as a faculty member, working his way through roles as assistant dean, dean, vice president, to his most recent position as the vice chancellor of academic affairs for the Kentucky Community and Technical College System,” said Spalding.

Dr. Quillen holds a Doctor of Education from the University of Kentucky, and both Bachelor of Science in biology and a Master of Science in biology from Morehead State University.

“I am delighted that we are able to move forward with this important position,” said Carl M. Short, chair of the College’s Board of Trustees. “I am confident that Dr. Michael Quillen is the leader that will help the College navigate our Academic Programs Division forward.”

For more information on Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, please visit www.rccc.edu or call 704-216-RCCC (7222).


Posted in Academic Programs, Office of the President |

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Board Opts Out of Federal Loan Program to Preserve Millions in Free Financial Aid to Local Students

KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — The Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Board of Trustees approved the College opting out of the federal student loan program in an attempt to preserve access to Pell Grants, federally subsidized campus jobs and other forms of financial aid.

The decision came following a recent report from the U.S. Department of Education revealing an estimated high federal loan default rate of 29.8 percent. Colleges that go above a 30 percent default rate risk having other federal financial aid penalized, as well as losing accreditation.

“The loss of federal financial aid would have severe negative impact to our students. Since so many of our students are reliant on federal Pell grants that do not have to be repaid, we don’t want to risk losing these funds,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus. “When we first opted into the loan program in 2011, we were nervous about this exact situation. The cost of attending Rowan-Cabarrus is low – tuition is only $216 for a three-hour credit class. Many students choose to pursue additional education at a four-year college. If they take out loans while they’re with us, they can already be tens of thousands of dollars in debt by the time they’ve gotten to a four-year school.”

The Board’s action affects all types of federal student loans under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, previously known as Stafford Loans, effective August 2015.

“We originally voted to keep participating in the loan program for the benefit of students who used the loans as a last resort to secure financial aid. Now, it’s to the point that we can’t risk jeopardizing other federal financial aid and support programs for the majority of other students,” said Carl M. Short, chair of the Rowan-Cabarrus Board of Trustees.

Once the Board voted to opt out of the federal direct student loan program, notices to students went out that same week.

While the action affects federal loans, it will not affect the federal Pell Grants, grants for low-income students, and other grants and scholarships that don’t require payback. Each year, the college distributes more than $17 million of this kind of financial aid to local students. Most of it is in the form of federal Pell Grants, community college grants, lottery proceeds and scholarships.

In 2011, the N.C. General Assembly passed legislation that required all state community colleges to participate in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, unless a college’s board of trustees adopted a resolution declining to participate in the program.

As part of the federal student loan program, loan recipients may defer repayment for up to six months after they either complete the course of study or withdraw completely. If the loan recipients do not begin repayment, then they are in default, and the default is carried against the college or university they were attending when they borrowed the funds.

“Federal student loans are not forgivable in most cases, and continue as personal debt until paid. Also, students will not be able to receive financial aid at other institutions until their loan is out of default,” said Janet Spriggs, chief financial officer for the College.

Under federal guidelines, postsecondary institutions with a student loan default rate of more than 30 percent risk losing access to other types of federal financial aid. And, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission, which accredits colleges, requires institutions to maintain a manageable student loan default rate or possibly face increased monitoring and other negative consequences.

The trend of increasing student loan default rates is being seen across the state and nation, driving other colleges to also pull out of the program. Rowan-Cabarrus joins the ranks of Central Piedmont Community College, Stanly Community College, and Mitchell Community College, which have also opted out. In fact, only 17 of the state’s 58 community colleges currently offer student loans.

The first year the College offered student loans, $5.9 million were disbursed. That number increased to $9.5 million in 2012-2013, and climbed to $16.1 million in 2013-2014.

“The sharp increases in the amount of loans being taken is scary,” said Spalding. “There are other financial aid options for students to consider rather than direct student loans. We work closely with students to identify all available sources of financial aid, whether it be from grants or one of our private scholarships through the Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Foundation sponsored by generous individuals and organizations.”

The Federal Pell Grant Program (Pell), promotes access to postsecondary education for low-income undergraduate students. Pell provides need-based grants, that unlike a loan, do not have to be repaid. The amount of the grant depends on a student’s financial need, the cost of attendance at their college, whether they’re taking classes full-time or part-time and how long they plan to attend school (full academic year versus less).

For Rowan-Cabarrus Community College students, the maximum Pell award in 2013-2014 was $5,645 for a full-time student for a full academic year. That means that an in-state student taking 16 credit hours would receive a personal refund of at least $1,157, after tuition, fees, books and supplies. Fifty-seven percent of students at the College qualified for Pell in the 2013-2014 academic year.

Part of the problem for colleges is they have no say in who applies for loans because it’s federally mandated.

“This is a case where the college has little or no flexibility in denying these loans because it is a federally regulated program that is very specific and does not allow for local interpretation on who should and should not qualify for a loan. It’s not in the best interest of students to run up large loans, especially at an affordable community college like Rowan-Cabarrus. It’s not right to saddle students with more debt than they can expect to earn with their degree in a reasonable amount of time,” said Short.

The College also plans to offer the students the ability to take alternative loans from other lending agencies.

The College has employed several strategies to encourage students to repay their loans and to reduce the default rate. Loan counseling is provided either online or in-person by the College when they are awarded the loan and upon leaving the College. Similarly, all loan recipients are required to take an online financial literacy course. The College also began working with a new program called SALT that offers a free default prevention and financial literacy service for all students and alumni. The service provide loan repayment options, credit counseling and financial management.

For more information on Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, please visit www.rccc.edu or call 704-216-RCCC (7222).

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged

Rowan-Cabarrus Students Travel to Raleigh to Advocate for Community Colleges

Students and Board of Trustees call on N.C. General Assembly to reinvest funds generated from efficiencies


SALISBURY, N.C. — Students from community colleges across North Carolina have been visiting the General Assembly over the last few months to voice their support for raising instructor pay, funding community colleges for year-round instruction and maintaining affordable tuition rates. Rowan-Cabarrus students will join the group next week.

“It is so important for our students to have the opportunity to voice their concerns with their legislators. Exercising your right to vote and speaking up about what you care about is a critical part of our role as good citizens. We work hard to instill that here at Rowan-Cabarrus,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus.

During the visit, students have the opportunity to meet with their district’s legislators, attend a meeting of the N.C. House’s Education – Community Colleges Committee and be formally recognized by both chambers. In addition, student advocates have been emailing their legislators and using hashtags to show their support on Twitter.

In advance of their visit to Raleigh, 2014-2015 Student Government Association President Anthony Rossi presented an update to the College’s Board of Trustees.

“This year has been “eye opening” for me… I would not have learned any of these great skills if I didn’t take on this role as student body president or if I was afraid to fail,” said Anthony Rossi, president of the College’s Student Government Association. The student government team this year has accomplished many of our goals… but I feel that our greatest accomplishment this year is evident in the relationships we have formed and the opportunities to learn from each other, leaders here at the college, and leaders in the community.”

One such issue discussed was the concept of an interest gap. Employers have long talked about a skills gap between the skills they need and the skills that job-seekers have. Another recent identified gap is in interest – an interest gap.

“People get nervous when they hear about jobs in manufacturing. But manufacturing isn’t dead – it’s different. It’s high-tech and clean,” continued Spalding. “We need our parents and young people to know that this is a viable and promising career field.”

As a result, students are calling on the North Carolina General Assembly to support initiatives that would bridge the “interest” gap between the jobs that exist and the interest of students in exploring those fields. Advocating students are also calling for an infusion of funding to support high-tech equipment and community college instructors and staff.

“I appreciate the support the N.C. General Assembly has given community colleges. Investing in community colleges should be a priority. My community college, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College is the most affordable, high-quality, educational choice for me and it deserves the financial support so that it can continue to be just that for others,” said Rossi.

The Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Board of Trustees also passed a resolution of support for a similar statewide campaign for community colleges earlier this year.

“The affordability, the quality and the accessibility offered to me during my community college experience paved the way for my success,” said La’Quon Rogers, a student at Pitt Community College in Greenville and President of the North Carolina Community College Comprehensive Student Government Association (N4CSGA). “Instructors go above and beyond to ensure that their students have everything they need to enter the workforce or transfer to a university.”

Providing the region with exemplary public higher education that anticipates and supports economic and workforce development while increasing, improving and automating services and curriculum programming is a top priority for the College.

For more information about Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, please visit www.rccc.edu or call 704-216-RCCC (7222).

Posted in Student Life and Leadership |

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Holds Successful Stem Open House for 750+

College welcomed the community for an interactive event showcasing the College’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs


KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — Rowan-Cabarrus Community College was proud to host its fourth annual STEM Open House at the North Carolina Research Campus (NCRC) earlier this spring.

“The STEM Open House was a true celebration of science, technology, engineering and math,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus. “One of my goals since coming to Rowan-Cabarrus is to increase the breadth and depth of our STEM education. I fully believe that everyone should be interested in STEM – and that it’s critical that we embrace these subjects. America used to be the leader in technology and innovation. It’s time for us to reclaim that role.”

Over 750 members of the community visited the STEM Open House. The STEM Open House was a fun, interactive event for the community showcasing the College’s science, technology, engineering and math programs.

The College hosted dozens of interactive exhibits for kids and adults of all ages to spark the senses and stir curiosity for all things STEM. Attendees were able to make their own rocket, talk with a real SWAT team, climb aboard a real fire truck, play games and even engage in activities involving sculpture and crime scene forensics that created fun products by applying scientific and engineering principles in collaboration with technology and mathematics.

“Our exhibits show that science is friendly, approachable and fun,” said Dr. Carol A. Scherczinger, dean of the College’s science, biotechnology, mathematics and information technologies. “Research has shown that opinions toward STEM subjects are formed early. Our purpose is two-fold: to recruit students to the College and also to offer a public service by providing opportunities to make STEM enjoyable and approachable.”

The exhibits were extremely diverse – visitors made and launched their own rockets, tested their skin for germs and learned about the science of investigating a crime scene. Visitors learned about DNA extraction, the complexity of balancing pH in dying hair and the science of firefighting.

The College’s nursing programs also host an annual health fair that was incorporated into the STEM Open House. Faculty utilized displays to educate the community about the dangers of smoking and the importance of nutrition.

“Holding this event at the College’s North Carolina Research Campus (NCRC) facility makes a lot of sense. Our NCRC building is the home of our biotechnology and nursing programs – two of our most STEM intensive curricula,” said Spalding. “If you haven’t had a chance to visit the facility before, I encourage you to do so!”

The target audience for this open house was broader than traditional open houses hosted by the College. In addition to recruiting traditional-aged prospective students, the College aspired to host younger children from local K-12 public schools, homeschool students and families.

The STEM Open House was held in conjunction with the statewide NC Science Festival focused on engaging the younger generation in science. Events across the state were designed to bring science to life for students and their parents.

For more information about next year’s event, please contact Dusty Saine (704-216-7105, dusty.saine@rccc.edu). For more information about Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, please visit www.rccc.edu or call 704-216-RCCC (7222).


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Rowan-Cabarrus Named One of the Top Ten Digital Community Colleges

 College receives high honors for digital efforts, named among the 2014-2015 Digital Community Colleges Survey Top Ten-Ranking Winners


SALISBURY, N.C. — Rowan-Cabarrus Community College was named as one of the 2014-2015 Top Ten Digital Community Colleges by the Center for Digital Education for its use of digital technologies to improve services for students, faculty, staff and the community at large.

“We are honored and proud to have made the prestigious list of honorees,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus. “Through the generous support of the Cannon Foundation, Inc., the Charles A. Cannon Charitable Trusts, and the Mariam and Robert Hayes Charitable Trust, the College was able to substantially improve the College’s information technology systems beginning in 2009.”

“We were happy to help the College rebuild its information technology infrastructure,” said William Cannon, president of The Cannon Foundation. “We are always looking to invest in initiatives that can support lasting changes and it is rewarding to see the significant difference it has made in the College’s ability to serve students.”

For instance, recently the College rolled out a new feature on the student’s registration system that allows students to plan their entire path to graduation online. This planning helps improve their ability to forecast which classes they need to take which terms and how close they are to achieving their degree, diploma, or certificate. Additionally, students’ itemized tuition bills are now easily accessible through the same platform.

“We would not be where we are today as a college without the Cannon Foundation gift bringing our information technology infrastructure up to date. I am so grateful for the support and what it has done to make education more accessible to our students,” said Carla Howell, chief officer of governance, foundation, and public relations.

Online tutoring for students is available in many subjects 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, as is the College’s IT help desk, through a partnership with Blackboard. The College also supports a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) approach to technology on campus. Rowan-Cabarrus has created a stable, secured wireless network which allows students, faculty, and staff to be able to connect to network resources using not only college-owned devices, but personal devices like smartphones, tablets or laptops. Other digital initiatives include introducing online textbooks to many of the College’s core and elective classes, online job preparation and searching resources, social media and electronic emergency notifications systems.

“We not only support enhanced websites, new online planning systems, mobile technology, campus wide wireless access, as well as many other tools, but we tie all of these items together to create a cohesive personalized and contextual experience for our students,” said Ken Ingle, chief information officer for the College. “This experience simplifies technology for our users allowing students to focus on their educational goals. We believe this is really what set us apart from others who entered.”

In addition, Rowan-Cabarrus has made great advances for students, most recently, with the launch of the Rowan-Cabarrus mobile app. The mobile app highlights key features that allow students to register for classes and view course schedules.

“Students can now view their entire course load along with detailed descriptions of each class, check their final grades on the go, access Blackboard and even get personalized notifications regarding any holds on their student account,” said Ingle.

The College is also continuing their efforts in the ever-expanding courses offered via distance education.

“A recent study indicated that distance education enrollments account for nearly all recent student growth at two-year institutions and we want to be sure we are offering courses in the methods our students want. But from the information technology side of things, we also want to make sure those offerings are supported with the right kinds of technology and customer service resources,” said Ron Kelley, director of data analytics and service assurance.

In 2014, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College set a new record of 5,700 online registrations and over 300 class sections available each semester. Over 46 percent of all curriculum classes at Rowan-Cabarrus are offered via distance education.

“Technology is being used on campuses and in lecture halls to lower costs and improve student outcomes,” said Alan Cox, senior vice president for the Center for Digital Education. “This year’s survey indicates that community colleges are making great strides in using data to improve decisions, providing professional development to assist faculty in the use of technology, and creating robust online and mobile environments for their students.”

Overall findings among the colleges from the survey include: 58 percent support student job placement through online resume-building tools, 43 percent have strategies in place for the use of mobile devices and 81 percent of colleges surveyed use cloud computing services resulting in cost savings.

“The College understands the importance of digital offerings. We will continue to listen to our students and provide the technological options they are seeking for their education,” said Kelley. “Although we have come a long way, we continue to work and enhance the services and system we provide to students.”

For more information on Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, including mobile app and distance education information, visit www.rccc.edu or call 704-216-RCCC (7222).


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