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Achieving the Dream President and CEO Karen A. Stout Named Chair of Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research Advisory Board

Achieving the Dream President and CEO Karen Stout
Achieving the Dream President and CEO Karen Stout. (Photo by Kenneth Martin.)

Karen A. Stout, Ed.D., president and CEO of Achieving the Dream, has been appointed as the chair of the Advisory Board for the NC State College of Education’s Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research.

Achieving the Dream, a national nonprofit organization that works with more than 277 higher education institutions in 44 states to champion student success in higher education, has previously partnered with the Belk Center to create the Presidents’ Academy to provide ongoing support to community college leaders to increase performance and student completion outcomes. Additionally, they have hosted the DREAM Fellows program for doctoral students in the Community College Leadership program for the past three years.

Stout also delivered the 2018 Dallas Herring Lecture, entitled “The Urgent Case: Centering Teaching and Learning in the Next Generation of Community College Redesign.”

“I have always thought of myself as a student of community colleges. Our campuses and our classrooms are learning laboratories. So being appointed as chair of this Advisory Board is an honor that fuels my inner student as well as my passion for working to build the capacity of our field, especially to work with graduate students who are our current and future community college leaders,” Stout said. “I am also honored to work with such an accomplished team at the Belk Center as well as an Advisory Board with such national knowledge and prominence.”

“I am thrilled and honored that Dr. Karen Stout has agreed to serve as the next Belk Center Advisory Board chair,” added Belk Center Executive Director and W. Dallas Herring Professor Audrey J. Jaeger, Ph.D. “Karen has engaged with me and the Belk Center for the past several years. I have benefited from her wise counsel and I am looking forward to her guidance and leadership of the board. She is the perfect leader at this time when our focus on equity aligns with Achieving The Dream’s commitment to equity in institutional redesign.”

Through her role as Advisory Board chair, Stout said she is looking forward to continuing to support the Belk Center in building its role as a thought leader and in connecting research to emerging issues in community colleges and higher education.

She noted that the Belk Center will play a crucial role in helping community colleges address issues of racial injustice and challenges related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the year ahead in addition to their role in helping community colleges become high mobility institutions that enable more North Carolinians to earn a livable wage.

Stout said that the partnership between Achieving the Dream and the Belk Center will enable deeper support for community colleges and facilitate the sharing of research about institutional transformation at the national level with North Carolina’s 58 community colleges, all of which have been served by the Belk Center.

“Achieving the Dream and the Belk Center share important goals for building and strengthening the capacity of community colleges and their leaders at all levels to transform our colleges into engines of mobility that support equitable opportunity and success for all learners,” Stout said. “Our complimentary approaches to this challenge and the synergy we gain from leveraging our unique strengths in partnership with one another make this appointment exciting to me.”

Stout takes over the role of Advisory Board chair from Robert Templin, Ph.D., a professor of the practice in the NC State College of Education and senior fellow at the Aspen Institute, who has served in the role for the past several years.

“Dr. Templin has been integral to our work at NC State,” Jaeger said. “His vision, inspiration and deep commitment helped launch our work six years ago and kept us laser focused on leadership for student success.”