Louisburg College Pilots Innovative Wake Tech Program

Lumina Foundation Grant Supports Expanded Use of Finish First NC

Eighty-one percent of institutions in the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) are using Wake Tech’s Finish First NC (FFNC) data tool to increase student completions, and now the innovative program is being piloted at Louisburg College. Thanks to a $31,000 grant from Lumina Foundation, Wake Tech has been testing its Finish First NC data tool—a robust program that rapidly identifies credentials that can be awarded to students—for the first time in a non-community college setting at the independent, two-year college in Louisburg, N.C.

The ongoing, three-month pilot involves Wake Tech and Louisburg collaborating to configure the Finish First NC data tool to Louisburg College’s credential requirements, testing its performance and functionality at the college and training staff on using and implementing the tool. During the 2018-2019 academic year, Louisburg College graduated 90 students, according to IPEDS data. The FFNC tool has identified 42 credentials so far that students at Louisburg could obtain within one semester upon completing the requisite credits.

“Louisburg College is so pleased to participate in this project, which promises to help many more students understand the additional credits they need to take to leave here with a credential,” said Dr. Steve Brooks, chair of the Louisburg College Board of Trustees.  “We hope the success of the project here will open doors for many more independent colleges and universities in North Carolina to utilize this excellent software tool.”

Since November of 2017, Finish First NC has helped 47 of North Carolina’s 58 community colleges identify more than 70,000 unawarded credentials for which students have completed the requisite credits and more than 253,000 credentials for which students are within one semester of completing. While not all identified credentials are awarded, usually for policy reasons, Finish First NC boosts the number of degrees, diplomas and certificates attained, evaluates students’ shortest paths to successful credential attainment, and highlights opportunities for institutional improvement. The NCCCS and Wake Tech have offered the tool at no charge to community colleges in North Carolina.

“In addition to illuminating clear pathways for credential attainment for students and advisors at Louisburg College, this support from Lumina is ensuring we gain valuable insights into the technological and human resources needed to successfully deliver Finish First NC beyond the public community college system in our state,” says Bryan Ryan, Senior Vice President of Effectiveness and Innovation at Wake Tech. “It’s helping us identify possibilities and constraints associated with customizing and using the Finish First NC tool in anticipation of expanding its use.”

“As president of NCICU, I want to thank Wake Tech President, Dr. Scott Ralls, and the college’s leaders who created this software, for their continuing partnership with our state’s private colleges and universities,” said Hope Williams. This pilot project with Louisburg College has already shown results in helping identify pathways for students to graduate in a more timely manner and we look forward to seeking opportunities to expand this program to our four-year colleges and universities.”

Wake Tech created the innovative and powerful data tool in 2015 to boost completion rates. With the use of the data tool, Wake Tech seeks to increase completion of credentials for students’ successful transition to careers or further education which directly contributes to Lumina’s Equity Imperative. The Lumina grant is the third award for Wake Tech’s Finish First NC initiative. The first grant, also from Lumina, enabled the state to implement the tool at 15 pilot community colleges in North Carolina. A second grant from the John M. Belk Endowment allowed the tool to be delivered to the rest of the state’s community colleges. The Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research is conducting an independent evaluation of the Louisburg College pilot through the end of February 2021. Those interested in learning more about Finish First NC can visit www.WakeTech.edu/FFNC.

About Lumina

Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation in Indianapolis that is committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all. We envision a system that is easy to navigate, delivers fair results, and meets the nation’s need for talent through a broad range of credentials. Our goal is to prepare people for informed citizenship and for success in a global economy.

About Wake Technical Community College: Wake Tech is North Carolina’s largest community college, serving more than 74,000 adults annually, with six campuses, three training centers, multiple community sites, and a comprehensive array of online learning options. Wake Tech is accredited and offers more than 240 associate’s degrees, diplomas, and certificates that prepare students for university transfer or immediate employment. The college offers non-credit continuing education programs that include customized workforce training, small business support, public safety officer training, basic skills courses such as English as a Second Language and high school equivalency preparation, and other courses for personal enrichment. Wake Tech also serves high school students at the Wake Early College of Health and Sciences, Vernon Malone College and Career Academy, and North Wake College and Career Academy, in partnership with Wake County Public Schools.


NCICU receives $75,000 grant from Truist

The Independent College Fund of North Carolina (ICFNC), a division of North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU), announced it received a $75,000 donation from Truist Financial Corporation through its Truist Charitable Fund, a donor-advised fund at the Winston-Salem Foundation, for student scholarships.

“We are so grateful to Truist for their support and for making this important investment in students,” said Colleen Kinser, director of ICFNC. “The Truist scholarship has a direct impact on helping students achieve a college degree and improve their quality of life.”

The funds provided scholarships to 25 students at 25 private, nonprofit colleges and universities in North Carolina for the current academic year. The criteria for the scholarships included full-time undergraduate student status, minimum grade-point-average of 2.5, demonstrated financial need, and first-generation or of an under-represented population college student.

The recipients are:

Ms. Jhaydan Davis, Barton College, from Fayetteville, NC, majoring in Business Administration
Ms. Destinee Allen, a senior at Greensboro College, from Marshville, NC, majoring in Art
Ms. Amina Osman, a senior at Guilford College, from Charlotte, NC, majoring in Health Science & Psychology
Ms. Maranda Wallace, a senior at Lenoir-Rhyne University, from Gastonia, NC, majoring in Psychology
Ms. Ciara Moorman, a senior at University of Mount Olive, from Essex, MD, majoring in Exercise Science
Ms. Kiara Hemphill, a sophomore at Wingate University, from Blythewood, SC, majoring in Biology
Mr. Sambujang Conteh, a junior Belmont Abbey College, from Gastonia, NC, majoring in Psychology
Mr. Job Williamson, a senior at Chowan University, from Burlington, NC, majoring in History
Mr. Shauntrel Hendrix, a freshman at Louisburg College, from Batesburg, SC, majoring in Business
Mr. Camden Sanderson, a freshman at Pfeiffer University, from Kernersville, NC, majoring in Business Administration
Mr. Saiquan Bell, a sophomore at Warren Wilson College, from New Bern, NC, majoring in History
Ms. Anna Wei Peters, a junior at Lees-McRae College, from Charlotte, NC, majoring in Wildlife Biology
Ms. Rachel Gunnis, a senior at Brevard College, from Goose Creek, SC, majoring in Health Science
Ms. Catherine Smith, a senior at Methodist University, from Clinton, NC, majoring in Elementary Education
Ms. Lillie Siniard, a junior at Montreat College, from Brevard, NC, majoring in Communications
Ms. Kristin Cirone , a junior at Queens University of Charlotte, from Charlotte, NC, majoring in Elementary Education
Ms. Anyssa Lanier, a senior at Salem College, from Clemmons, NC, majoring in Education
Ms. Kandon Luquer, a senior at St. Andrews University, from Laurinburg, NC, majoring in Communication Studies
Ms. Danny Grace Jones, a senior at Meredith College, from Mount Olive, NC, majoring in Political Science
Ms. Regina Alexandra Mendoza Martinez , a sophomore at Campbell University, from Fayetteville, NC, majoring in Biology
Ms. Jenifer Castillo Pacas, a junior at Catawba College, from Salisbury, NC. majoring in Spanish
Ms. Christina Kennedy, a senior at Gardner-Webb University, from Lawndale. NC, majoring in Nursing
Ms. Jazmin Valdovinos, a junior at N.C. Wesleyan College, from Rocky Mount, NC, majoring in Psychology
Mr. Daniel Loredo, a freshman at Mars Hill University, from Marshall, NC, majoring in Computer Science
Mr. Chason Royal, a freshman at William Peace University, from Bailey, NC, major Undeclared

“Helping provide access to education is at the heart of Truist’s purpose to inspire and build better lives and communities,” said Chris Bell, Triangle regional president for Truist. “This grant will support new opportunities for higher education across North Carolina and is an investment in the futures of these students, their families, and our state.”

About Truist Charitable Fund
The Truist Charitable Fund is a donor-advised fund created by Truist and administered by The Winston-Salem Foundation.

 About Truist
Truist Financial Corporation is a purpose-driven financial services company committed to inspiring and building better lives and communities. Truist has leading market share in many high-growth markets in the country. The company offers a wide range of services including retail, small business and commercial banking; asset management; capital markets; commercial real estate; corporate and institutional banking; insurance; mortgage; payments; specialized lending; and wealth management. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Truist is a top 10 U.S. commercial bank. Truist Bank, Member FDIC. Learn more at Truist.com.

NCICU Spring 2022 Newsletter

NCICU Spring 2022 Newsletter

Dominion Energy donates $25,000 to NC Independent College students, STEM mentoring program

The Dominion Energy Foundation has donated $25,000 to The Independent College Fund of North Carolina (ICFNC) for scholarships and program support. Twenty-one thousand of the gift is designated for student scholarships and four thousand will fund a career workshop for North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities’ (NCICU) Faculty-Student STEM Mentoring Program. ICFNC is part of NCICU, the statewide office for North Carolina’s 36 private colleges and universities.

Scholarship recipients must be full-time students majoring in Business, Engineering Technology, Liberal Arts, Construction Management or Environmental Sciences and hold a minimum grade point average of 2.5, that reside in Dominion Energy’s service territory.

Winnie Wade, External Affairs Manager for Dominion Energy, serves on the ICFNC Advisory Board. “We know these scholarships will lend the extra support to help make students’ educational goals a reality and create the pipeline of talent we need for our growing state,” said Wade. “Dominion Energy is proud to support these students that will become our next generation of leaders and problem solvers.”

Dominion Energy has supported North Carolina’s private, nonprofit colleges and universities for 60 years. The company has also started a scholarship fund for underrepresented minority students called the Dominion Energy Equity Scholarship.

Colleen Kinser, director of ICFNC, expressing appreciation for this support said “ICFNC is honored to partner with Dominion Energy to provide opportunities that have the potential to develop the capacity of the future workforce, especially in STEM and energy fields.”

PHOTO: (pictured l to r) ICFNC Assistant Director Lexie Daniels, , Winnie Wade, NCICU President Hope Williams, Colleen Kinser, and STEM Mentoring Project Director Marilyn Sutton-Haywood.

NCICU partners with UNC and NCCCS on Virtual Convening on Mental Health

North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities in partnership with the University of North Carolina System, and the North Carolina Community College System, will host its Virtual 2022 Behavioral Health Convening on March 30-31.

Sessions will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Registration is free and open to faculty and staff from all college campuses in North Carolina. Media are welcome to observe. Click here to register.

The 2022 Virtual Behavioral Health Convening is an opportunity for representatives from campuses across the state to develop ideas, share best practices, and learn about programs that help nurture healthy campus communities and resilient students.

North Carolina Secretary of Health and Human Services Kody Kinsley will join the 2022 convening as a special guest speaker. Kinsley, the former chief deputy secretary for health at DHHS, served as the operations lead for North Carolina’s pandemic response. His experience spans the public and private sectors, including positions at the White House, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and leadership operations for a behavioral health care service provider in western North Carolina. He also serves as an adjunct professor at the School of Government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The convening’s virtual sessions will examine COVID-19’s effects on mental health, promote mental health first aid, study the importance of on-campus collaboration and much more.

“Everyone deserves to work and learn in a place where they feel welcomed, supported, and hopeful about the future,” said UNC System President Peter Hans. “I’m enormously grateful to the thousands of people across our state who are working to create that environment for students and those in crisis. I’m glad we can come together to share what we’ve learned and how we can improve.”

“The increased stress on the mental health of students, faculty, and staff has been of growing concern over the past two years with the changes in traditional campus life — quarantines, isolation and social distancing — resulting from the pandemic,” said Hope Williams, president of NCICU. “The Behavioral Health Convening will provide insights, support, and resources for faculty and staff who are helping students every day who need assistance in managing these ongoing challenges. It is another example of our strong higher education partnerships in North Carolina that NCICU, UNC and the NC Community College System are working together to address these concerns for all our students.”

“Supporting the mental health of our students is paramount to their success,” said NC Community College System President Thomas Stith. “A recent report from the Mayo Clinic shows alarming statistics, such as up to 44% of college students reported having symptoms of depression and anxiety. The report showed that suicide is the third leading cause of death for college students. This indeed is a critical time for this convening and partnership to keep the health and wellbeing of students at the forefront of our efforts as we serve them.”

NCICU Holds Annual Ethics Bowl

NCICU will hold its annual Ethics Bowl virtually Friday, February 11. The theme of this year’s competition is Ethics in Democracy and Citizenship. Thirteen colleges will be participating in the Ethics Bowl.

Due to the virtual format, the event will be streamlined from the usual two-day schedule to three rounds of competition on Friday afternoon. Each Ethics Bowl team consists of four-to-six students. A campus coordinator works with the students to prepare them for the competition. A number of business and government leaders have volunteered to serve as judges and moderators for the matches. Because of the truncated competition, unlike the in-person event, an overall winner will not be declared this year.

“We are honored to partner with these campuses to present the Ethics Bowl for the 11th year,” said Rebecca Leggett, director of Programs for NCICU and coordinator of the Ethics Bowl. “The exploration of democracy and citizenship is as relevant today as any time in our history, and important to our students’ educational foundation.”

The NCICU Ethics Bowl is made possible by sponsorships that allow students to participate at no cost to themselves or their institutions. These sponsors have continued to support the Ethics Bowl despite the change in format. The Presenting Sponsor is Truist; Benefactors are Sarah West and Tom Dominick; Associate Sponsors are Duke Energy, McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture, Mount Olive Pickle Co., TIAA, Wren Foundation, A. Hope Williams; and Friends are Cherry Bekaert, Coca-Cola Consolidated, CORT, Fidelity Investments, Gregory Poole, Piedmont Natural Gass, Southern Bank, Wegmans, Melanie Chrisp-Thorpe, Colleen Kinser, and Liz and Stephen Riley.

“Students consistently cite the NCICU Ethics Bowl as a highlight of their college experience,” said Hope Williams, president of NCICU. “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.”

NC Sheriffs’ Association Scholarship Recipients Announced

The North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association (NCSA) and North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU) have announced the recipients of a $2,000 scholarship provided by the Association who attend private colleges in North Carolina.

The recipients are:
Andrew Leggett, Barton College
Nathaniel Mahoney, Brevard College
Kaitlyn Damon, Campbell University
Daniel Harris, Catawba College
Calee Lance, Gardner-Webb University
Anna Wike, Lenoir-Rhyne University
Nicola Shelton, Mars Hill University
Isaiah Olive, University of Mount Olive
Zachary Scott, NC Wesleyan College
Alyssa Campbell, Pfeiffer, University

The NCSA created the Criminal Justice Scholarship Program to assist students who are dependents of law enforcement officials or who are studying in the criminal justice field and express an interest in pursuing a career in law enforcement. The scholarship is provided for the current academic year with the potential to be renewed.

“The North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association, on behalf of North Carolina’s 100 constitutionally elected sheriffs, is proud to partner with the North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities to provide an annual college scholarship to one student in the criminal justice program at each of the independent colleges and universities that have such a program,” said NCSA president, Sheriff Ed McMahon of New Hanover County.

“NCICU is deeply appreciative of this outstanding support by the North Carolina Sheriffs Association to establish annual scholarships which will benefit students majoring in criminal justice,” said NCICU president, Hope Williams. “NCICU has worked closely with the Sheriffs Association on a number of law enforcement issues over the years and these scholarships expand and strengthen that important partnership.”

“Helping our future law-enforcement professionals with their education will benefit not only those students but it will also benefit the entire law enforcement profession as well as the citizens of our great state,” said McMahon.

“We have many students who look to their local Sheriff’s Office for employment upon graduation and these scholarships will encourage even more students to consider this service for their county and State,” Williams added.

NCICU Fall 2021 Newsletter

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Goodnight Foundation Supports NCICU’s Science of Reading Initiative

The Goodnight Educational Foundation has awarded North Carolina Independent College and Universities (NCICU) $1 million over two years to support the implementation of the Science of Reading initiative into the curriculum for teacher education students.

Last April, the General Assembly enacted legislation requiring Educator Preparation Programs (EPPs) to begin providing coursework in the Science of Reading which focuses on multiple aspects of phonics, spelling, and oral language/comprehension. With this grant, NCICU will establish a task force to assist the 31 private colleges and universities which have EPPs with implementation strategies.

“We recognize that reading and comprehension are keys to student achievement at all levels of education,” said NCICU president, Hope Williams, “and we are deeply appreciative of this critical support from the Goodnight Educational Foundation to support development and implementation of the Science of Reading curriculum at the 31 NCICU Educator Prep Programs.”

The NCICU task force will provide training in the “Science of Reading” for EPP faculty at each of the NCICU EPPs as well as for pre-service teacher candidates and recent graduates who are teaching in school districts served by our EPPs. The grant to NCICU will also fund summer workshops which will include local superintendents and principals along with EPP faculty. Individual EPPs will develop self-studies in the Science of Reading assisted by subgrants for curriculum re-design which will be available through the project.

Dr. Monica Campbell, professor of Education and coordinator of the Elementary Education Program at Lenoir-Rhyne University, and Dr. Mary Knight-McKenna, professor of Education and director of Master of Education at Elon University, will co-chair the Task Force. Dr. Patsy Pierce, EPP former faculty member at Meredith College, and Denise Adams, director of NCICU’s Digital Learning Initiative will manage the work of the task force on behalf of NCICU.

NCICU Receives Grant from the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation

North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU) has received a three-year grant totaling $240,000 from the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation to establish a Faculty-Student STEM Mentoring Program. The program will seek to improve student retention and graduation rates among first generation college students, women, and students of color  majoring in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM).

“Employer demand for STEM graduates has experienced a steady increase in the past 20 years,” said NCICU president, Hope Williams. “While North Carolina has a strong STEM workforce, it has been a challenge nationally to attract a diverse population in these fields. NCICU wants to help increase racial and gender diversity and believes this faculty-student mentor program can produce positive results.”

Twelve of North Carolina’s private, nonprofit colleges and universities will be invited to participate in the program, including the five historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), with at least 20 participants per campus.  Components of the program will include mentor support, student scholarships, career workshops, guest speakers, and faculty and peer connections. Students will work in small groups with a peer mentor who is a junior or a senior, as well as with a faculty member. Professionals in STEM fields will be invited to share their experiences with participants and to become part of a network of mentors.

“NCICU’s 36 institutions are continuing to increase and expand offerings in STEM programs,” Williams said.  “The smaller class sizes at private institutions can provide the additional support and mentoring to help students from underrepresented populations to thrive.”

“Providing mentors to students helps them build their confidence and enhances their learning” stated Marilyn Foote-Hudson executive director of the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation.

While this program is focused on North Carolina’s independent colleges, it will have a statewide impact and will support myFutureNC’s goal to ensure that by 2030, two million North Carolinians will have a high-quality credential or postsecondary degree.

About The North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation
The North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation is an independent self-funding 501(c)3 nonprofit organization supporting activities that help meet the educational and health needs of today’s society and future generations. Since its creation in 1986, the foundation has granted over $80 million to support North Carolina projects and programs that emphasize the understanding and application of science, health and education at all academic and professional levels. Visit us at NCGSKFoundation.org.

NCICU Distributes $115,200 in UPS Scholarships

NCICU has received $115,200 and distributed UPS Scholarships to assist 36 students, one student attending each of the private colleges and universities in North Carolina. The scholarships were made possible by a grant through the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) from the UPS Educational Endowment which UPS directed in 1953 to private college students attending colleges in North Carolina.

“The Council of Independent Colleges has managed the UPS Endowment since 2010, continuing the role of providing a scholarship to each college in what are now all State Councils,” said NCICU president, Hope Williams. “The UPS scholarships provide crucial funds for students, assuring their access to a transformative college education.”

Nationally, CIC distributed more than $1.4 million in student scholarships through the UPS Endowment to make private colleges and universities more affordable and accessible to underserved students.

“The Council of Independent Colleges is proud to support nearly 450 low-income, first-generation, minority, and new American students in 26 states through the CIC/UPS Scholarships,” said Marjorie Hass, president of the Council of Independent Colleges. “Through our partnership with NCICU, these scholarships help individual students pursue their education at one of North Carolina’s superb independent colleges and universities.”

The UPS Scholarships Program has made a private college education possible for more than 21,000 low-income, first generation, and minority students and has had a transformative impact on individuals, families, and communities across the country.

About The UPS Foundation

Since its founding in 1907, UPS has built a legacy as a caring and responsible corporate citizen, supporting programs that provide long-term solutions to community needs. Founded in 1951, the UPS Foundation leads its global citizenship programs and is responsible for facilitating community involvement to local, national, and global communities. The foundation’s philanthropic approach centers on four focus areas: health & humanitarian relief, equity and economic empowerment, local engagement, and planet protection. To UPS, giving means combining employees’ skills, passion and time with the company’s logistics expertise, transportation assets, and charitable donations to make a measurable difference in society.

About the Council of Independent Colleges

The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) is an association of 758 nonprofit independent colleges and universities, state-based councils of independent colleges, and other higher education affiliates, that works to support college and university leadership, advance institutional excellence, and enhance public understanding of independent higher education’s contributions to society. CIC is the major national organization that focuses on services to leaders of independent colleges and universities and state-based councils. CIC offers conferences, seminars, publications, and other programs and services that help institutions improve educational quality, administrative and financial performance, student outcomes, and institutional visibility. CIC also conducts the largest annual conferences of college and university presidents and of chief academic officers in the United States. Founded in 1956, CIC is headquartered at One Dupont Circle in Washington, DC. For more information, visit www.cic.edu.