RALEIGH, North Carolina — Longtime community college leader Randy Parker ’11 EDD was presented with the NC State College of Education’s 2017 Higher Education Distinguished Alumni Award Thursday, May 25, in recognition of his outstanding contributions to higher education and his impact on North Carolina. Parker has been the president of Guilford Technical Community College since 2011, and has served as an associate professor of practice in educational research and policy analysis in College of Education since 2015.
“Dr. Parker exemplifies what we hope for our alumni: He has committed his career and life to advancing the college’s mission to ensure the educational success of all North Carolinians and reduce achievement gaps,” College of Education Dean Mary Ann Danowitz said. “Specifically, Dr. Parker is doing everything he can to ensure the student success in North Carolina for four-year degree completion and the workforce and to improve communities in North Carolina. The impact of his work and efforts has been remarkable and extraordinary and will touch generations to come.”
In his six years as GTCC’s president, Parker has brought financial stability to the college, implemented strategies to increase financial literacy, centralized academic programs, and created cross-sector partnerships that have become statewide models. One such partnership is a co-admission program between GTCC and North Carolina A&T State University’s engineering school in which students are admitted to both schools simultaneously. The students study their first two years at GTCC before moving seamlessly to the upper-level coursework at N.C. A&T State. The program is the first of its kind in the state.
Other cross-sector partnerships are also driving economic growth, including the Union Square Campus, Inc. — a collaboration among Guilford Technical Community College, N.C. A&T State University, UNC-Greensboro and Cone Health to train and educate health care professionals, particularly in the field of nursing — and the Center for Advanced Manufacturing. When it opens next year, CAM will house expanded programs in transportation, machining, and welding.
“Dr. Parker’s emphatic drive for students to succeed in the classroom and in the real world is infectious,” said Susan Alt, chair of GTCC’s Board of Trustees. “His business model ensures that the faculty has the tools — and the data — to maintain or develop programs to meet regional economic challenges in North Carolina.”
Before joining GTCC as president, Parker was the president of Vance-Granville Community College for seven years and worked for 23 years at Lenoir Community College, where he held a variety of positions before becoming its vice president of instruction and student services. He began his career as an engineer.
In addition to completing his doctorate in higher education administration from the NC State College of Education, Parker earned his associate’s in mechanical drafting and design technology from Lenoir Community College, bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from UNC-Charlotte, and master’s in mechanical engineering from NC State.