NCC Shares Innovative Practices with Community College System


Michael Coleman, NCC Director of Counseling

Nash Community College is once again sharing proven methods of innovation — this time at the North Carolina Community College System Conference being held in Raleigh October 12-14, 2014.
The spotlight is on the college’s implementation of technology in its Student and Enrollment Services office, to streamline the workflow process and minimize student wait time. Michael Coleman, Director of Counseling at Nash Community College, will present “In House Electronic Sign-In System for Practically No Cost” at the system conference. The office houses admissions, financial aid, the registrar, and provides assistance to students registering for classes, and seeking counseling.

The college’s former process for seeing students in the Student and Enrollment Services office required individuals to sign in using a paper sign-in sheet at the front desk. A front desk staff member would then notify other staff members individually by phone until an available employee was located. The system caused delays, increased room for error, and allowed no process for tracking the number of individuals signed in or anticipate their needs.

After reviewing several companies that would charge as much as $30,000 for an electronic solution to improve the process, NCC decided to create an in-house solution. Using Google Docs, iPads, and the college’s website, NCC staff created an electronic sign-in system that has increased efficiency, record keeping, and customer service — all for less than $1,000 in equipment costs.

Since implementation in February 2013, the electronic sign-in system has significantly increased the efficiency and speed at which Student and Enrollment Services employees have been able to assist students, decreasing student overall wait times. Staff members now have the ability to monitor students signing in from their office, which means they can research students’ needs immediately and many times, staff members are able to provide answers and resolve issues in their initial contact with the student.

Even more impressive, is the ability of staff members to access the sign-in sheet on their smart phone or tablet. This means staff members can be away from their desk and still observe how many students are signing-in in real time. If a department director is off campus and observes a sudden influx in student traffic, they can quickly make a few calls and pull staff members to assist.

Additionally, with the electronic sign-in system, the department is now able to keep electronic records which can be used to make staffing decisions during peak times. Such reporting can also provide analytics including information about peak traffic and wait times, the types of questions students have, and the departments that are seeing the most traffic. Searches within the system can also find specific student information such as what days, times, and needs a particular student had each time they signed in. The system has been so effective, Student and Enrollment Services plans on adding more iPad devices in the future to further enhance students’ ability to quickly get the answers they need.

At the conference, Coleman will walk attendees through setting up their own electronic sign-in system. As an alumnus of the college holding an Associate in Applied Science in Architectural Technology, Coleman speaks from experience, knowing firsthand how improved processes and increased efficiency can benefit students. After graduating from Nash, Michael Coleman attended Liberty University where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Religion and Master’s degrees in both Religion and Business Administration. He is currently pursuing his Doctorate of Business Administration at Liberty University. Coleman has been employed at the college since 2007.

Retired NCC Professor and Scotland County Native to Present Civil War Program

MaryWayneWatson_02Scotland County native Dr. Mary Wayne Watson, retired Nash Community College Professor and Road Scholar with the NC Humanities Council, will present a program on Sandhills women’s perspectives of the American Civil War. The event, co-sponsored by the Richmond Historical Society, is set for 7:00 p.m. on September 15, 2014, at Rockingham City Hall in Rockingham, NC. Watson’s presentation is titled “Women’s Attitudes towards Secession and the Civil War.”

Research on the work of her great uncle, North Carolina Poet Laureate John Charles McNeill, as well as her cousin, Gerald White Johnson, noted historian and journalist, both from Scotland County, motivated Watson to look further into her family’s history. In so doing she discovered a series of letters written during the Civil War by her great-grandmother in Scotland County to a family in Moore County.

The program presents a fascinating look at women’s views during the beginning, middle, and end of the Civil War period in North Carolina.

An initially uplifting, idealistic support of the Union as a great experiment in democracy and self-rule ultimately fades into prayers for return of the surviving men as well as hopes for peace, followed by ultimate acceptance of the bitter realities of war on a land and a people crushed in the aftermath. Poignant descriptions of the impact of Sherman’s “scorched earth policy” on a once proud and surprisingly literary Sandhills community remind us once again that war is hell–even when it is brother against sister.

Watson received her Ph.D. from the University of Virginia and her Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has taught at middle schools, high schools, community colleges, and universities in North Carolina and Virginia.

A Sweet Pursuit of Lifelong Learning


NCC alumna Winde Jackson (right) with cake designer Wayne Steinkopf

Nash Community College alumna Winde Jackson has made a commitment to lifelong learning. She earned Associate in Applied Science degrees from Nash Community College in Networking Technology and Computer Information Systems Technology. Later she graduated from East Carolina University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Hospitality Management with a concentration in Food and Beverage, and a minor in Business Administration. Jackson is currently enrolled in Nash Community College’s Culinary Arts degree program.


Cake design by NCC alumna Winde Jackson featuring two cake lace mats developed by Claire Bowman

She recently attended a class taught by Wayne Steinkopf, owner of Swank Cake Design in Cary, NC, to advance her skills in cake design. “The cake I made features one of the newest design trends using two cake lace mats developed by Claire Bowman,” Jackson said. Steinkopf teaches classes throughout the United States at cake shows, conventions and other locations, sharing best practices and teaching bakers the latest techniques and trends. “I just don’t feel like in this field you can ever stop learning,” she said.

When she is not in the classroom, Winde Jackson is the baker at Lou Reda’s: an American Table. She also creates delicious treats for local weddings, parties and other celebrations through her baking business, and assists with baking at Rose Hill Plantation in Nashville, NC during banquets. “I am blessed and very fortunate that Nash has such great chefs and instructors. They are really great at answering and explaining and being there outside of class time when you have questions and problems.” Jackson is currently seeking an investor as she hopes to own a full bakery in Rocky Mount one day.


NCC Employees Publish Best Practices in Higher Ed

Deana Guido, Dean of Transfer and Learning, Nash Community College

Articles written by two Nash Community College (NCC) employees have been published in national trade publications. The goal of both pieces was to provide lessons learned at Nash Community College that can be shared and adapted by other colleges.

In the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development’s (NISOD) Innovation Abstracts, Nash Community College’s Dean of Transfer and Learning Resources shared the college’s professional development experiences and instructional strategies. The article titled “If You Feed Them, They Will Come: Ten Commandments of Successful Professional Enrichment” explains NCC’s professional development experiences, Blue Love, the 10 Commandments instructional strategy and an AVID snack-and-share.

“Two years ago Nash Community College embarked on a campuswide, strategic professional development plan via AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination),” Guido wrote. “This comprehensive professional development included instructional activities that helped change the culture of the entire campus.” She described being part of this paradigm shift as one of the most significant and rewarding endeavors in her career. “Bringing faculty together from across the campus on a regular basis to identify barriers and build toward student success altered the trajectory of this campus, and the best is yet to come,” Guido continued.

NISOD was established in 1978 with grants from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Fund for the Improvement of Post-secondary Education. The organization is a consortium of two-year colleges sharing a philosophical commitment to excellence in teaching, learning, and leadership.

Guido holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in music history and theory from State University of New York at Geneseo, a Master of Science in library science from The Catholic University of America and a graduate certificate in counselor education from North Carolina State University. She is currently pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy degree in educational evaluation and research from North Carolina State University and has been employed at NCC since 2010.


Kelley Deal, Senior Director of Marketing and Communication, Nash Community College

Kelley Deal’s article, “Tried-and-True Strategies for Single-Handedly Managing Social Media,” ran in the National Council of Marketing and Public Relations’ July 2014 40th Anniversary edition of Counsel magazine and provides best practices for college social media managers. She recommends colleges use social media for customer service, and that they not try to have a presence on every channel, but to master where they are. “Social media should be used for more than one-way communication,” she wrote. “Sure, it serves as a medium by which we post announcements and share updates, but it is far more than that. Students should be engaged and feel informed because of the way you talk with them, not at them.” Deal serves as Nash Community College’s Senior Director of Marketing and Communication. “Being seen with only one follower and a couple of year-old posts can hurt your online clout as prospective students and donors may see this as an indication of your passivity in other areas,” she wrote. Deal joined the college in 2007 and holds a Bachelor of Art’s degree in communication from East Carolina University. She plans to complete her Master’s degree in communication at ECU this fall.

Both articles address the rapidly changing nature of higher education as an opportunity for community college leaders to be change agents. “Our prospective students’ world is instant and spontaneous. Today’s students are going to choose a college that aligns with their way of thinking, like it or not,” Deal said. “Millennials bring a different expectation of learning to campus,” Guido wrote. “Bringing faculty together from across the campus on a regular basis to identify barriers and build toward student success altered the trajectory of this campus, and the best is yet to come.”

New NCC Trustees Bring Extensive Public Safety Leadership Experience

Nash Community College’s leadership is poised to steer continued growth in public safety training. Two new recent Board of Trustees appointments bring decades of experience in first responder and emergency management leadership to the College’s governing body. Both community college alumni, James A. Mercer of Nashville and Chief J. Keith Harris of Rocky Mount, will serve four-year terms. Mercer was appointed by the Nash County Board of Commissioners and Chief Harris was appointed by Governor Pat McCrory. With the addition of the new Continuing Education and Public Services Building slated to open on the south end of campus next spring, the new NCC leaders will enhance the College’s ability to meet the needs of the public services sector, and the local and regional communities.

James Mercer_01

James A. Mercer

Mercer completed his Associate in Applied Science degree in Criminal Justice at Nash Community College, and transferred to Shaw University to earn his Bachelor of Science degree in Behavioral Sciences. He has 25 years’ experience in fire service and emergency management, including North Carolina certifications as Emergency Management Coordinator Type I, Certified Hazardous Material Responder, Certified First Aid Instructor, Level II Fire Service Instructor, Fire Service Methodology Instructor, Level II Fire Inspector and has had extensive Incident Command and Hazardous Material (HazMat) training.

Mercer is a 30-year veteran of the United States Army, North Carolina National Guard and the United States Army Reserves having served in the United States Army during combat in Iraq. He is the Senior Army Instructor for the JROTC at Wallace-Rose Hill High School in Teachey, North Carolina. His professional experience also includes service as a police officer and firefighter in Rocky Mount and Director of Emergency Services for Edgecombe County. He led Edgecombe County’s emergency response and disaster recovery during Hurricane Floyd in 1999 and has held the positions of Director of Emergency Management for the City of Raleigh, and Director of Public Services for Nash Community College during his career. In 1999, he received the Emergency Manager of the Year ‘Edward Griffin Award’ from the North Carolina State Emergency Management Association and was named Nash Community College’s Outstanding Alumnus in 2003.

Keith Harris

Chief J. Keith Harris

Chief J. Keith Harris worked in the fire, rescue, and emergency medical fields for over 31 years and retired as the Rocky Mount Fire Chief in April 2010. From 1999 until 2003 he served as Rocky Mount’s Hurricane Floyd Flood Recovery Manager. He has assisted in many other areas of North Carolina as well as other states aiding in recovery from disasters, including the Gulf Region following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Throughout his career Chief Harris was involved with local and state-level emergency management and homeland security programs, federal disaster response, and recovery, mitigation, and preparedness programs. He has lectured nationally and provided training on emergency preparedness, severe weather and flooding at many venues across the United States. Chief Harris assisted the National Weather Service in the development of nationwide hurricane drills, and served on numerous local and state committees associated with emergency management and homeland security. In 2011 and 2012, Chief Harris served as the North Carolina Long Term Recovery Manager for the American Red Cross, helping communities throughout North Carolina recover from the 2011 tornado outbreak and damages sustained down east from Hurricane Irene.

He is a strong proponent of regionalized approaches whenever possible, and he is most proud of working relationships forged between city, county, and state agencies following 9/11 and during his tenure as Rocky Mount Fire Chief. Harris earned an Associate in Applied Science degree in Fire Protection Technology from Wilson Community College and completed the Municipal Administration Program through the University of North Carolina School of Government.

For more information, please call 252-451-8235.