Doctoral Students Represent NC State College of Education at National Conferences through Belk Center’s 2020 Fellows Program

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Doctoral students in the NC State College of Education’s Community College Leadership doctoral program will expand their knowledge and represent the college’s Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research* at three prestigious national conferences this spring.

Twenty-two doctoral students were accepted into the Belk Center’s 2020 Fellows Program, which provides students with a deeper look into the mission, values and practices that scholars and practitioners are using to guide their work around community colleges and student success.

The Fellows Program, coordinated by Jemilia Davis, Ph.D., began in the 2017-18 academic year, through a partnership with Achieving the Dream — a non-government reform movement focused on helping community college students have better economic opportunities — and the creation of a cohort of DREAM Fellows.

Since that time, the program has grown to include partnerships with the League for Innovation in the Community College — an international nonprofit organization dedicated to cultivating innovation in the community college environment — and the American Association of Community Colleges –an advocacy association that represents more than 1,000 two-year institutions nationwide.

Through the Fellows Program, the 22 accepted students are divided into three groups, each of which will attend a national conference hosted by one of the three partner organizations.

“It’s really important to attend these conventions in our field, so you’re not just learning in class but through experiencing first-hand the cutting edge research in the field and talking to research practitioners,” said Katie Loovis, a Belk Center fellow and vice president for external affairs at the Chamber for a Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro.

Loovis will be attending the League for Innovation in Community College’s Innovations Conference in March in Seattle, Wa. In addition, she has been invited to present at a round table discussion, where she will share a prototype for a faculty leadership development program that she helped create through a group project in one of her doctoral courses last fall.

The presentation, entitled “Build Your Faculty Leadership Pipeline with a Professional Development Certificate Program,” was co-authored by fellow Belk Center Fellows Rebecca Berry and Robin Warfield.

Berry will be attending the Dream 2020 conference, hosted by Achieving the Dream, in February and Warfield will attend an annual convention hosted by the American Association of Community Colleges in late March.

Also attending the American Association of Community Colleges’ Annual Convention will be Jairo McMican, dean of student learning at Central Carolina Community College in Sanford, NC.

McMican will serve as a lead fellow at the conference, facilitating discussions with other Belk Center Fellows through formal and informal meetings for the duration of the event.

“I’m looking forward to soaking in as much of the collective wisdom and knowledge that will be present at the conference. At the same time, I am excited to absorb what the other fellows share from their experiences,” he said.

Serving as a lead fellow at the Dream 2020 conference will be Kara Battle, dean of the Science, Engineering and Math Department at Durham Technical Community College.

She said her time as a Belk Center fellow has granted her the opportunity to experience professional development in unique ways, allowing her to receive access to training modules and converse with leaders who determine how money is spent on community college efforts.

“My experience with the program so far has been amazing. I feel like I am able to contribute to the conversations that are being held on campus and nationally, and I feel more informed,” she said.

Both McMican and Loovis agree that their work so far in the Fellows Program has enabled them to progress both academically and professionally.

McMican said his positive experiences in the program have helped him to see himself as a future community college president. Loovis said she hopes the experience from her courses and the conference can be used to develop a greater understanding of the pressing issues in the field to inform the focus of her future research.

“I feel really fortunate to be a doctoral student at NC State and have the opportunity to be affiliated with the Belk Center. I don’t know of any other doctoral program that is as well supported and as influential and integrated with leaders in the field as this program,” she said. “The Belk Center Fellowship opportunity is a really special thing to be a part of and I’m honored to have been selected.”

2020 Dream Fellows

Below is a full list of doctoral students accepted into the Belk Center’s 2020 Fellows Program, along with the conference they will attend this spring.

American Association of Community Colleges Annual Convention

  • Erica Andrews
  • Jairo McMican
  • Jeffrey Allen
  • Kelly Schoolcraft
  • Kerry F. Cantwell
  • Kimberly Mack
  • Kristy Rogers Craig
  • Robin Warfield

Achieving the Dream’s Dream 2020 Conference

  • Abraham Dones
  • Gabby McCutchen
  • Gregory F. Smith
  • Rebecca Berry
  • Steve Turner
  • Kara Battle

League for Innovation in the Community College Innovations Conference

  • Carmen Nunalee
  • Elizabeth Davis
  • J. Scott Keen
  • Karmen Cooper
  • Katie Bowman Culler
  • Katie Loovis
  • Keegan Anderson
  • Scott Yates

*In planning