ASHEBORO (August 10, 2017)
Over 200 Randolph Community College faculty and staff members gathered for the school’s fall convocation on Aug. 10 in the R. Alton Cox Learning Resources Center auditorium. The college opens its 55th year when classes begin Monday, Aug. 14.
RCC Board of Trustees Vice Chair Fred Meredith welcomed the group on behalf of the Board, which had nine members in attendance.
Traditionally during the fall convocation, new faculty and staff are introduced, and President Robert S. Shackleford introduces his initiatives for the year. Since this is the first year of a three-year planning cycle for the College, the new initiatives will cover three years with focus area strategies for each year.
Shackleford explained that the initiatives, a tradition he started when he became president of the College in January 2007, fall into five areas identified as core values of the College: Community, Employees, Quality Education, Radical Hospitality, and Student Success. The 2017-2020 initiatives have already been presented to and endorsed by the RCC Board of Trustees.
The Community initiative is to “advance Randolph County’s Strategic Plan,” said Shackleford, noting that the county has recently gone through an extensive planning process and had adopted some strategies that fit with the college’s purpose. The year one strategy for this initiative is to “expand post-licensing for professionals.” Shackleford explained that since many career fields require periodic Continuing Education Units (CEUs) to maintain licensing, RCC should strive to become the “preferred resource for post-licensing training.”
For the Employees initiative, Shackleford wants the College to “improve enrollment management” with the first-year strategy to evaluate the current and past approaches the College has taken in this area. Shackleford said this would include an in-depth assessment of program enrollments and strategies for reaching target audiences. He noted that this initiative was placed under the core value of Employees because “enrollment and retention are not just the job of a retention or enrollment specialist; it is the job of every employee at the College.” He said every level of employee from groundskeepers to instructors to management has a role.
The third initiative, for Quality Education, focuses on the 10th anniversary of “Good to Great,” a philosophy Dr. Shackleford introduced to the College in 2007 based on Jim Collins’ book and its concepts. Since these principles have helped create the unique RCC culture, and many of RCC’s employees have joined the College since 2007, Shackleford said the year one strategy would be to “restate, reemphasize and recommit to the principles of ‘Good to Great.’”
Under core value #4, Radical Hospitality, Shackleford said the College would focus on recreating the advising and student success systems at the College. Year one will be spent evaluating student success policies and procedures. Dr. Shackleford said of the 58 community colleges in North Carolina, there are almost as many approaches to advising students. RCC has tried many – an advising center, faculty advising, and counselor advisees. “But we’re not there yet,” he said. “How do we help students rather than just answer questions and cite rules,” he said. Year two and three will be spent developing new policies and procedures and implementing them.
Under the core value of Student Success, Shackleford said the initiative will be to “better match skills taught with the workforce.” An evaluation of how what RCC is teaching matches with the job market will answer questions such as “To what extent are our graduates succeeding in the workplace?” and “To what extent are employers satisfied with RCC graduates they hire?”
In closing the convocation, Shackleford told the assembled faculty and staff that he had recently read by book by Viktor Frankl titled “Man’s Search for Meaning.” He said Frankl wrote that there is no greater way to find meaning in life than to help others find meaning in their lives. “I thought about that in terms of what we do here at RCC,” said Shackleford. “You are blessed today as this new year starts, because what you do has meaning.”