At the April 16 Triangle South Workforce Development Board meeting, Dr. Marcie Dishman, associate vice president of marketing and external relations for Central Carolina Community College, provided a report on various programs and projects the college is doing for their students during this challenging time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through their Academic Assistance Center, CCCC has supported students in the transition to distance education through tutoring offered online, Writing and Reading Center assistance through the CCCC Online Writing Lab, and virtual STEM Lab tutoring via the CCCC STEM Lab website. They are also providing advising through video chat.

Additionally, in a short period of time, the college has successfully transitioned an additional 600 courses to an online format (there were approximately 350 already online at the start of the spring semester). Hands-on skills classes have adapted to new online lab experiences, and over 7,000 synchronous Blackboard Collaborate sessions (similar to Zoom) launched in March. CCCC has also added 30 virtual success coaches. These are full-time employees who have taken on additional duties, and part-time employees who transitioned into a coaching role to ensure students achieve their goals.

In the event that students do not have internet access, the college has added internet/WiFi access (and security available) at seven CCCC instructional site parking lots throughout the three-county service area (Lee, Harnett and Chatham counties).

And if that wasn’t enough, under the leadership if Dr. Emily Hare, the CCCC Foundation has supported students during the COVID-19 crisis. The Foundation purchased over $7,000 in Food Lion e-gift cards for food insecure students. Many of these funds came from faculty and staff donations.

The Foundation was able to purchase 50 laptops for check-out to students who do not have access to a computer at this time. And then there is the Dream Keeper Fund, through which the foundation is helping students with time-limited, documented emergency expenses (mainly due to individual or parent job loss) to assist with items they are unable to pay including rent, utility bills or tuition for the spring semester.

Hare states, “Now more than ever our students have been turning to us for relief during this crisis, and through the amazing generosity and kind hearts of our donors, we have been able to support our students with the e-gift cards for food insecurities, rental laptops and emergency bills. State funds cannot be used for these types of items so it is wonderful that we, as the Foundation, are able to step up to help our students. Our students are incredible and beyond grateful for our support. We love seeing them succeed and are glad we can assist them through this crisis.”

And more good news on the CCCC front.

An April 27 press release from Central Carolina Community College stated that the college has been ranked among the Top 50 community colleges in the nation by College Consensus, a unique college ratings website that aggregates publisher rankings and student reviews. CCCC is the only North Carolina community college listed in the rankings.