Broyhill Family Foundation Scholarships Awarded

Students at four private colleges and universities in North Carolina have each received $2,500 scholarships from the Broyhill Family Foundation for the current academic year.

The scholarships are given to full-time students pursuing a STEM major with preference given to a student with a desire to teach science, technology, engineering, or math, and they were distributed by The Independent College Fund of North Carolina (ICFNC), a division of North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU).

Recipients are:
Anuchar Ngamhuy of Sherrills Ford, NC, a senior at Mars Hill University majoring in Music Education
Annastasia Shell of Hudson, NC, a senior at Mars Hill University, majoring in Biology
Samantha Jarrett of Claremont, NC, a senior at Lenoir-Rhyne University, majoring in Biology
Donald Luu of Hickory, NC, a senior at Lenoir-Rhyne University, majoring in Computer Science
Bailey Coleman of Granite Falls, NC, a senior at Lees-McRae College, majoring in Psychology
Zachary Clay of Lenoir, NC, a senior at Lees-McRae College majoring in Psychology
Darby Yates of Hickory, NC, a senior at Gardner-Webb University majoring in Biology
Molly Joplin of Granite Falls, NC, a senior at Gardner-Webb University, majoring in Biology

The Broyhill Family Foundation has supported North Carolina college students through NCICU for 52 years, with gifts totaling more than $800,000.

“We are so grateful for our continuing partnership with the Broyhill Family Foundation which has resulted in critical scholarships being distributed to independent college and university students for more than 50 years,” said Colleen Kinser, director of ICFNC.

About the Independent College Fund of North Carolina

The Independent College Fund of North Carolina, or ICFNC, is the division of North Carolina Independent Colleges & Universities (NCICU) that provides student scholarship aid and enrichment programs.  NCICU is a 501(c) 3 non-profit corporation that supports, represents, and advocates for North Carolina’s 36 independent colleges and universities.  NCICU represents independent higher education in the areas of state and federal public policy and on education issues with the other sectors of education in the state. They also provide research and information to and about private colleges and universities, conduct staff development opportunities and coordinate collaborative programs.  For more information about NCICU, visit


Queens University of Charlotte Repeat Ethics Bowl Champion

For the second consecutive year, Queens University of Charlotte is champion of the statewide Ethics Bowl, an annual event organized by North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU). The event was held Feb. 9-10 at the North Carolina Legislative Complex in Raleigh.

Eighteen teams from NCICU campuses participated in the competition. The 2024 theme was, “Ethics in Artificial Intelligence and Cybersecurity.” Students had to consider several complicated cases involving both artificial intelligence and cybersecurity, then make their arguments about their position on the case.

Final scores were tallied, semi-finalists were announced, and the two matches set: Queens University and High Point University were paired, as were St. Augustine’s University and Montreat College. Queens and Montreat met in the finals, where Queens University prevailed.

Queens University of Charlotte President Daniel Lugo with the university's winning 2024 NCICU Ethics Bowl team
Queens University of Charlotte President Daniel Lugo with the university’s winning 2024 NCICU Ethics . (c) Robert Witchger

“This year’s teams were exceptional,” said NCICU President Hope Williams. “It was clear they had done extensive research on the complex topics and developed well-organized, cohesive arguments to present to the judges. I was very impressed with all the teams.”

This was NCICU’s 13th Ethics Bowl. Williams believes it provides unique, important opportunities for the students. “By participating in the Ethics Bowl, students learn research and presentation skills that will serve them well in their careers,” Williams said.

But the most valuable opportunity, she noted, may have been interacting with the more than 70 professionals who volunteered their time as judges or moderators and who represent many networking opportunities and careers, from law, architecture, engineering and cybersecurity to banking, nonprofits, and state agencies.

Thanks to sponsorships, the event is self-funded. That means there is no cost to students or campuses. “We are very grateful to our sponsors,” Williams said. “Several new sponsors this year also had representatives attend the event and serve as judges. They really enjoyed the experience.”

Clark Dudek, a Triangle entrepreneur and AI expert, was keynote speaker at the dinner on Friday night at the North Carolina Museum of History. He discussed how society has adapted to emerging technologies. “AI is new and may be scary [to some],” he said. “But we are working on how to connect with this new tool and learn how it can complement the rest of our tools.”

The 2024 participating colleges and universities were: Barton College, Campbell University, Catawba College, Gardner-Webb University, High Point University, Johnson C. Smith University, Livingstone College, Mars Hill University, Methodist University, Montreat College, North Carolina Wesleyan University, Pfeiffer University, Queens University of Charlotte, St. Andrews University, Saint Augustine’s University, University of Mount Olive, William Peace University, and Wingate University.


NCICU Announces Recipients of NC Sheriffs’ Association Scholarships

RALEIGH, NC – North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities is pleased to announce recipients of this year’s North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association (NCSA) Criminal Justice Scholarship. Students at 14 private colleges and universities in North Carolina received the $2,000 awards.

NCSA provides scholarships per academic school year for criminal justice students attending a North Carolina independent college or university. Applications are sponsored by local sheriffs and recipients must be North Carolina residents. The association is the statewide organization of the state’s 100 sheriffs. Through their association, the sheriffs work to strengthen the professional law enforcement services their offices provide to the people of North Carolina.

NCICU President Hope Williams thanked the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association for supporting students pursuing a criminal justice curriculum. “We deeply appreciate this partnership with NCSA to assist students who are pursuing a career in law enforcement.” NCICU administers the program for independent college and university students.


NCICU, NC Community Colleges sign Early Childhood Education transfer agreement

Early Childhood educators with associate degrees from North Carolina community colleges will now have seamless transfer opportunities to many private North Carolina four-year colleges. The opportunities result from Friday’s [August 18] signing of a joint agreement by the State Board of Community Colleges and North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU).

The State Board of Community Colleges approved the proposal for a Uniform Articulation Agreement between North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU) and the North Carolina Community College System at the August 18 board meeting – expanding transfer opportunities for students pursuing careers in early childhood education.

The agreement promotes educational advancement for students enrolled in the Associate in Applied Science in Early Childhood Education (ECE) program at community colleges that want to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Birth-Kindergarten (BK) teaching licensure program or a Bachelor’s Degree in a related Early Childhood Education Field from select independent colleges and universities in the state.

Picture of Dr. Jeff Cox, NC Community Colleges, and Dr. Hope Williams, NC Independent Colleges & Universities
Dr. Jeff Cox, left, president of North Carolina Community Colleges System, and Dr. Hope Williams, president of North Carolina Independent Colleges & Universities, at the signing of the Early Childhood Education transfer articulation agreement.
“Early Childhood and Birth to Kindergarten are critical stages in children’s development. We want to ensure our North Carolina teachers in these vital areas receive the best education to be able to help children learn and grow,” said Dr. A. Hope Williams, president, North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities. “NCICU is pleased to approve this articulation agreement with the North Carolina Community College System to enrich and streamline support and increase transfer options for these teachers.”

The agreement will increase opportunities for applied associate degree early childhood educators who wish to earn baccalaureate degrees and create a more seamless – and guaranteed – transfer process for community college early childhood education students.

“This is a milestone day for our system and for our state,” said Dr. Lisa Eads, Associate Vice President of Programs at the North Carolina Community College System. “There is a critical need for early childhood professionals in North Carolina. With the signing of this agreement between NCCCS and NCICU, we are demonstrating our commitment to early childhood professionals serving children and families in our state.”

This coordinated approach should increase ECE to BK student retention and persistence and reduce time-to-degree completion. The agreement will increase the number of teachers with four-year degrees with a BK licensure and support non-teaching positions that may not require licensure, including Smart Start, Head Start, Department of Health and Human Services, and other public, private or non-profit organizations.

Students are required to meet applicable admissions criteria for the institution of their choice, including but not limited to minimum GPA and Praxis scores (only required for teacher license track).

“The North Carolina Community College System is dedicated to building talent pipelines for critical professions and industries in our state and early childhood is certainly a vital need for our state and our economy,” said System President Jeff Cox. “Our mission is to make it as easy as possible to get high-quality education and preparation for these careers.”

For many years, NCICU and the System have been working together to increase opportunities for transfer students, and this agreement is a product of that collaborative work. All 58 community colleges are approved to offer this program and are included in this agreement.


31 NC Educator Prep Programs Implement the Science of Reading

In 2022, North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU) established a taskforce to begin work on a groundbreaking initiative to revamp reading instruction in Educator Prep Programs (EPPs) at NCICU institutions based on the science of reading.

The science of reading is a research-backed approach, focusing on fundamental reading skills such as phonics and explicit teaching methods which offer significant benefits to young students, particularly for struggling readers. By diving deep into the mechanics of how we learn to read, from the intricacies of brain science to effective teaching strategies, the science of reading promises to bring about a transformative shift in literacy rates.

To help research, develop, and implement support systems that assist faculty to fully align their college courses with the science of reading, the Goodnight Educational Foundation provided a two-year grant to NCICU. With those funds, subgrants were distributed to all 31 EPPs on NCICU campuses to redesign literacy courses and internships. Through their work over the past year and a half, all 31 EPPs have revised their courses and most of them have added new courses and learning experiences. Deans and faculty members came together this summer to report on their progress and share initiatives that have been implemented to date.

For example, one college used some of the subgrant funds to connect with local elementary schools, building a mobile tutoring lab that they took to those schools to aid struggling readers. Another created a series of intensive workshops with its local elementary schools to aid first grade students in phonological awareness, and to demonstrate how best to intervene with struggling readers. Another institution partnered with a local K-12 school which specializes in teaching kids with learning disabilities. Together, they developed a 10-hour asynchronous course that engages future teachers in a deep dive into content that will enable them to support readers with the challenge of breaking the alphabetic code.

“We recognize that reading and comprehension are keys to student achievement at all levels of education,” said NCICU president, Hope Williams, “and we are so impressed with the collaboration among EPPs and the innovative ideas they have developed and implemented for the Science of Reading curriculum at the 31 NCICU Educator Prep Programs.”

The NCICU Task Force has been developing a Faculty Teaching Toolkit, an online database that includes handouts, videos, and readings to help faculty across the state learn and teach the science of reading.

Through this new initiative, NCICU seeks to pave the way for a future where every student, regardless of their background or learning challenges, can become a confident, proficient reader. It is a bold move in education and a significant step towards enhanced literacy in North Carolina.


Williams Receives Trailblazer Award

NCICU president, Hope Williams, has been awarded the Trailblazer Award from the North Carolina chapter of the American Council on Education (ACE) Women’s Network.

“The North Carolina ACE Women’s Network is delighted to recognize Dr. Hope Williams with our Trailblazer Award for her sustained and outstanding contributions to advancing women in higher education,” stated Amy A. Overman, assistant provost and professor at Elon University, and state chair of the Network. “Hope’s record of advocating for equity has shaped our state’s higher education landscape in important ways.”

“I am honored to receive this award from such outstanding women leaders across our state’s higher education continuum, including NCICU, the UNC System and the NC Community College System, said Williams. “North Carolina’s ACE Women’s Network is integral to providing a support system to develop and encourage women’s leadership in higher education to the benefit of students, colleges and universities, and the entire state.”

The North Carolina ACE Network of Women Leaders, Inc. is a non-profit, volunteer organization that is a part of, and shares the purpose of the American Council on Education’s (ACE) leadership programs. As such, the NC ACE Network seeks to develop programs that identify, develop, encourage, advance, link, and support women in higher education careers in North Carolina.


NCICU Spring 2023 Newsletter

Click image for full content


$2 Million Contributed to Independent College Fund

The Independent College Fund of North Carolina (ICFNC), the fundraising arm of North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU) received $2 million in cash and in-kind donations during its annual campaign which ended April 30, 2023.

The iBELONG MALE MENTORING PROGRAMSM received additional funding this year from Wells Fargo which has allowed the program to include four additional campuses and for expansion beyond two years. Sponsorships also allowed NCICU to provide an iBELONG Student Conference and Career Workshop hosted at Livingstone College.  The iBELONG program is designed to increase the persistence, retention, and graduation rates of male students of color.

Program funds also support NCICU’s annual Ethics Bowl and numerous administrative group workshops provided each year for the 36 colleges and universities under the NCICU umbrella. This year, in addition to event sponsors, all  Ethics Bowl campus teams were sponsored.

“This year we are seeing a greater connection between students and the corporate community through programmatic funding,” said ICFNC director, Colleen Kinser.  “We are excited to see where these relationships will lead in terms of internships and careers. Thanks to the support of generous donors, NCICU will continue to administer student enrichment programs that address the significant challenges employers are facing in recruiting and retaining a diverse domestic and global workforce.”

A continued focus on raising scholarship funds will help students pursue their educational goals during the 2023-24 academic year.  The donors have contributed to the following scholarships during this campaign:

These include:

  • Albemarle Foundation
  • Bridgestone Firestone Trust Fund Scholarship
  • Broyhill Family Foundation Scholarship
  • CIC/UPS Education Endowment Scholarship
  • Clancy & Theys Scholarship
  • Dominion NC Power Scholarship
  • ICFNC Advisory Board Corporate Scholarship
  • Jeff and Jan Stoddard Scholarship for Hope
  • North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association Criminal Justice Scholarship
  • Thomas & Ashley Varnadore Scholarship of Optimism in Future Generations

The $2 million raised also includes funds for the newly established STAR Scholarship. The Student Teacher Assistance for Retention (STAR) Scholarship will help fill the shrinking teacher pipeline as students are developed into professional educators. The funds will provide financial support to college seniors who are enrolled in an educator preparation program (EPP) with priority given to students of color to increase diversity in the classroom.

In-kind support was received from Google Ad Grants and from SAS.


Governor Cooper’s Budget Provides Funds for NCICU

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced his proposed budget this week which includes strong support for education, including $31 million for NCICU campuses and students. The Governor’s budget is a recommendation to the General Assembly from the Executive Branch and has been presented to the House and Senate Appropriations committees.

The Governor’s recommendations to the General Assembly include:

  • $5m in additional recurring funding for the North Carolina Need Based Scholarship (NCNBS.)  If enacted, this would increase the NCNBS from $91.1m to $96.1m in recurring funding.
  • $10m in non-recurring funds for assistance to NCICU institutions for Growing the Healthcare Workforce.
  • $16m in non-recurring funds from the State Capital Infrastructure Fund (SCIF) to assist NCICU HBCUs and MSIs with their critical infrastructure needs.

“On behalf of our 36 independent colleges and universities, I want to thank the Governor for his support of our colleges and universities and, especially, our students,” said NCICU president Hope Williams. “North Carolina families are still recovering from the pandemic and the additional financial aid will be critical in making college possible for many students. In addition, we are committed to responding to the state’s significant need for more healthcare professionals which these funds would support. We also deeply appreciate the recommendation of funds to address infrastructure needs at our minority-serving institutions to support their historic missions.”

The budget also includes an average 18% teacher raise over the biennium, a $1 billion plan to support mental health, and major funding for childcare, job training, and economic development.

The General Assembly’s budget is being crafted first in the House of Representatives and is expected to be passed by April 6 before being sent to the Senate, which will also pass a budget before the two chambers meet jointly in conference committee to determine the final budget plan.


Queens University of Charlotte Wins NCICU Ethics Bowl

Queens University of Charlotte is the champion of North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities’ (NCICU) 12th Annual Ethics Bowl. The Queens team faced Wingate University in the final round. The theme this year was Ethics in Contemporary Society, and the topic debated in the finals concerned voting rights.

Queens had faced Campbell University in the semifinals, as Wingate met Montreat College. The case for that round considered the ethics of removing Russia from the Security Council of the United Nations. Additional topics covered during the initial four-rounds of competition included Germline Editing, Food and Energy Shortages, Artificial Intelligence and Our Changing World, and Mental Health.

“All the participants demonstrated a high level of understanding of and insight about the complex issues presented,” said NCICU President Hope Williams. “It was apparent that they had done significant research in preparation for the Ethics Bowl. Judges and moderators of the event said the students’ commitment to the
integrity of the event and the issues in the case studies presented instills them with great faith in these future leaders.”

Sixteen of North Carolina’s private colleges competed in the event which was held at the North Carolina Legislative Complex in Raleigh. More than 60 corporate, nonprofit, legislative and community leaders served as judges and moderators for the two-day event.

At a banquet held Friday evening at the NC Museum of History, Leslie Garvin, executive director of North Carolina Campus Engagement, told participants that to be a citizen of the United States is to choose to live ethically.

Participating colleges and universities were: Barton College, Campbell University, Catawba College, Chowan University, Gardner-Webb University, High Point University, Johnson C. Smith University, Livingstone College, Mars Hill University, Methodist University, Montreat College, NC Wesleyan University, Queens University of Charlotte, University of Mount Olive, William Peace University, and Wingate University.

The NCICU Ethics Bowl is supported by sponsorships allowing students to participate at no cost to themselves or their institutions.


16 Colleges to Explore Ethics in Contemporary Society

Artificial intelligence, mental health, and non-fungible tokens (NFT’s) in the art world are a few of the topics that may be debated under the umbrella of Ethics in Contemporary Society as part of North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities’ (NCICU) annual Ethics Bowl. Students from 16 private college and university campuses across North Carolina will participate in the event on February 10 and 11 at the North Carolina Legislative Complex in Raleigh.

 “This is NCICU’s 12th annual Ethics Bowl, and the first in-person event since 2020.

The broad theme of Ethics in Contemporary Society presents timely and important topics for discussion,” said NCICU president Hope Williams.

 “The Ethics Bowl is both academically challenging and an individually rewarding experience for our students,” she continued. “Determining ethical responses to complex situations leads to personal awareness and valuable discussion among team members and participating business and community leaders.”

 Each Ethics Bowl team has four-to-six student members. A campus coordinator works with the students to help them prepare for the competition which consists of four rounds over the two days, plus semi-final and final rounds. In each round, a specially developed case study outlining a complex ethical situation related to the theme will be presented to the teams for debate. Each match is awarded to the team that makes the most sound, persuasive presentation.

 Three judges and one moderator participate in each match. Approximately 60 business, non-profit and government professionals have volunteered to fill those roles.

 A banquet for campus participants, judges, moderators, and sponsors will be held Friday evening at the North Carolina Museum of History. Leslie Garvin, Executive Director of NC Campus Engagement, will be the keynote speaker at the banquet. NC Campus Engagement is a collaborative network of colleges and universities that champions civic and community engagement in higher education. 

Garvin has worked with the organization for 18 years and was named executive director in 2015. She holds a Master of Social Work with a concentration in social and economic development and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and African and African American Studies from Washington University in St. Louis. Garvin is a former White-Riley-Peterson Policy Fellow, and an AmeriCorps alum. She is currently a Fellow with the University of California Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement. Garvin also serves on the Board of Directors of the National Issues Forum and co-chairs the State Summits & Networks Subcommittee of the Students Learn Students Vote Coalition.  

The NCICU Ethics Bowl is made possible by sponsorships that allow students to participate at no cost to themselves or their institutions.  

“Students consistently cite the NCICU Ethics Bowl as a highlight of their college experience,” Williams said. “We deeply appreciate the corporate and civic leaders who make this event possible through financial contributions and by volunteering their time as judges and moderators.”


Barton College – Sponsored by Duke Energy
Campbell University
– Sponsored by SageView
Catawba College – 
Sponsored by Catawba College Alumni Association
Chowan University – 
Sponsored by Southern Bank Foundation
Gardner-Webb University
– Sponsored by Cherry Bekaert
High Point University
– Sponsored by the Wren Foundation
Johnson C. Smith University
– Sponsored by Duke Energy
Livingstone College – Sponsored by Duke Energy
Mars Hill University – Sponsored by NC Electric Cooperatives
Methodist University – Sponsored by Piedmont Natural Gas
Montreat College
– Sponsored by Coca-Cola Consolidated 
NC Wesleyan University  Sponsored by Mindstream
Queens University of Charlotte – Sponsored by BHDP
University of Mount Olive – Sponsored by Mount Olive Pickle Company
William Peace University
 Sponsored by Fidelity Investments
Wingate University
– Sponsored by Centrica Business Solutions