Skip to main content

Belk Center Executive Director Audrey Jaeger Receives W. Dallas Herring Professorship in Community College Education

Belk Center Executive Director and NC State College of Education Alumni Distinguished Graduate Professor Audrey Jaeger

Audrey Jaeger, Ph.D., Alumni Distinguished Graduate Professor in the NC State College of Education and executive director of the Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research, has been awarded the W. Dallas Herring Professorship in Community College Education.

The professorship was established in recognition of William Dallas Herring’s distinguished and lasting contributions to lifelong learning and recognizes a distinguished faculty member focusing on adult and higher education at NC State University.

Herring was instrumental in widening access to higher education for thousands of North Carolina residents. He believed that community colleges and those teaching at the institutions could and should cultivate students as individuals and citizens and he conceived a community college system that would prepare all students to achieve a fulfilling life and livelihood. In his two decades as chairman of the State Board of Education, Herring had a tremendous influence on education, including creating the system of Community Colleges and Technical Institutes and planning and implementing public school kindergarten.

Jaeger’s honorific appointment will be publicly recognized during the annual Dallas Herring Lecture, which will be held virtually on Nov. 10, 2020. In addition, she will give the inaugural lecture for the College of Education Dean’s Distinguished Lecture series, which is expected to be held in spring 2021.

“It is an honor to be asked to serve in a distinguished professorship named after W. Dallas Herring, the visionary who was instrumental in creating the community college system in North Carolina,” Jaeger said. “I can think of no better way to embody NC State’s land-grant mission than to support the 58 community colleges and their leaders as they serve as cornerstones in their communities across our state.”

Jaeger is the principal investigator on a $10.8 million grant from the John M. Belk Endowment that established the Belk Center, which celebrated its grand opening last year. As executive director, she leads initiatives and outreach efforts that have impacted all 58 community colleges in North Carolina, including providing support, resources and guidance during the recent transition to online learning.

Her work through the Belk Center focuses on understanding how community college presidents make decisions related to completion and transfer, equity, labor market outcomes and teaching and learning to impact student success. She is part of a team that works closely with community college leaders to provide them with professional development opportunities as well as data, information and resources to support them in their efforts to improve institutional effectivenesses at their community colleges.

Jaeger also currently serves as an associate editor for Research in Higher Education and sits on the editorial boards of the Journal of Higher Education and the Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement.

Her research examines relationships and experiences among faculty and students that illuminate issues of transition, access, climate, agency, language and community engagement, as well as the ways in which various aspects of the higher education environment affect faculty and students.

In her nearly two decades with the College of Education, Jaeger has received numerous awards, including several in the past few years.

She was recently awarded NC State’s 2020 Alumni Association Outstanding Research Award and inducted into the Research Leadership Academy, a group comprised of NC State’s most outstanding researchers and mentors across various fields. Additionally, she has been recognized with NC State’s 2019 Equity for Women Award and the SMT Champion Award from the North Carolina Science, Mathematics and Technology Education Center. She has also been inducted into the Academy of Community Engagement Scholarship, which recognizes exceptional leaders and scholars in the field of community engagement scholarship.

“Dr. Jaeger is a highly accomplished scholar whose work has impacted countless students in higher education as well as community college leaders across North Carolina and beyond,” said College of Education Dean Mary Ann Danowitz, D.Ed. “Receiving the W. Dallas Professorship is a well-deserved honor and I look forward to her continuing leadership and research to further enhance the performance of community colleges and student success, and programs towards equity.”