Higher Ed Leaders Visit, Promote Partnerships
By Erica Plouffe Lazure
The leaders of the state’s public higher education institutions met at East Carolina University Oct. 23 to discuss partnerships between community colleges and state universities.
Erskine Bowles, president of the University of North Carolina System, and H. Martin Lancaster, president of the North Carolina Community College System said it was imperative that partnerships among the state’s educational institutions should be fostered.
“In today’s world, the taxpayers of North Carolina should have a seamless educational system; someone should be able to move easily from high school to community college to the university,” Bowles said.
Bowles noted that the global economy demands a more knowledgeable and educated workforce, and that educational systems must work together to address that need for North Carolinians.
Both Lancaster and Bowles cited examples of existing community college and UNC partnerships, particularly in the fields of nursing, teacher training and biotechnology. “In the past few years we’ve been working to remove barriers,” Lancaster said. “With the kind of leadership Erskine has brought to the university system, those barriers will fall quickly.”
Their comments were part of a daylong leadership forum, “Connecting Community Colleges and the Four-Year Institutions of North Carolina,” sponsored by the ECU Chapter of Phi Kappa Phi.
ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard welcomed the speakers and the more than 200 attendees to Bowles and Lancaster’s discussion. “We have a fundamental and moral responsibility to address these and other issues facing North Carolina,” Ballard said.
“Today’s conference is right on target; it’s fundamental we work together.”
Chancellors from UNC-Wilmington, Elizabeth City State University, Appalachian State, and N.C. State University; and college presidents from Pitt Community College, Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute, Craven Community College, Edgecombe Community College, and Central Piedmont Community College were among those who spoke and attended the daylong event.