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Study shows positive local impact of Roanoke-Chowan Community College

(AHOSKIE) – A study by NC State University College of Education Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research of R-CCC concludes that Roanoke-Chowan Community College (R-CCC) is ‘an educational institution positively changing the lives of families and communities in northeastern North Carolina’.

Researchers conducted individual interviews and five focus group interviews, including a total of 23 faculty, staff, students, board of trustees, alumni, and community partners. Most of the interviews took place on the institution’s campus during a site visit to R-CCC.

“We are pleased the Belk Center selected our college to conduct an ‘equity study’ on our campus,” states Dr. Murray J. Williams, president of R-CCC. “The purpose of the Belk Center’s equity case studies is to learn from community college students, faculty and administrators about the programs, policies, and practices that lead to successful outcomes for historically underserved populations including American Indian, Black, and Latin student in a rural area.”

R-CCC was selected as an equity case study site due to its relatively high enrollment rates of historically and systemically underserved groups, particularly students identifying as Black and Pell-eligible within a rural region of the state.

The study found that the relatively ‘small size and community environment’ creates a ‘culture of care’.

“I feel like everyone’s family here,” said one student interviewed in the study.

Another student commended the registration process saying, “Everybody in student services was so helpful. And with me, I had a lot of financial aid stuff going on with my kids, so I had parent loans and personal loans. They literally walked me through the process, the hard part of it.”

“I went to one community college and then was going to this one at the same time because they didn’t offer a class here,” said one student interviewed. “The atmosphere here is so much more welcoming, and it’s so much more family oriented and they are so giving here.”

College employees interviewed said they want to provide premier services. One staff member shared her commitment: “I want to feel I’ve given them courteous customer service. I want to let them feel that they are my important priority.”

Interviews revealed there are sociocultural challenges that impact the area such as the cycle of poverty. There has been a drop in enrollment particularly among Black men. Enrollment for this population declined from 2018- 2021 from 23% in 2018 to 16% in 2021.

“I think a lot of Black males may have to take a job to support a family and going out to get a job may be the most important thing, explained one interviewee. “About college they say, ‘I’ll get there when I can, but right now, I need to work’.”

Campus stakeholders were clear about the lack of resources in the area and the challenges faced at R-CCC. They noted that more programs are needed to engage Black men as students including increased support and encouragement for local male students to attend community college.

In the study, President Williams also pointed out the need to partner with local business and industry to train potential employees to take jobs.

“Community partnerships must be strengthened to ensure students are able to access internships and long-term jobs that will boost individuals, R-CCC and the region,” said Dr. Williams.

The study concluded that campus stakeholders want to continue to build a familial learning and working environment to assist in meeting the complex needs of the area.

For more information about enrolling at R-CCC, visit www.roanokechowan.edu or call the Office of Admissions at 252.862.1248. #DiscoverRCCC.

Roanoke-Chowan Community College, a member of the North Carolina Community College System and located in Hertford County, is a public, two-year institution of higher education offering associate degrees, diplomas, certificates, college and career readiness, and customized business and industry training in a variety of delivery modes promoting public service, transfer, and workforce development for a diverse student body, leading them to contribute to the vitality of an increasingly global community. Learn more at http://www.roanokechowan.edu #DiscoverRCCC.

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