Keynote Address:Dr. James C. Williamson – Building Relationships

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9:45am Conference Hall, Raleigh Convention Center. Raleigh, NC. Presented by Dr. James C. Williamson

Keynote Address:Dr. James C. Williamson – Building Relationships

The beginning of this keynote address was an extended introduction – autobiographical – of the keynote speaker and his history within the system.

Building Relationships

You cannot meet one time and count it as a relationship. In THE TIPPING POINT, Malcom Gladwell shows the connectors and the Mavens. The maven know everyone and relate, the connector brings those people together into groups. Further, the Maven finds the connector to be a wonderful resource.

Finding Resources

Teachers are the resources of the school, and the teachers need the resources to complete the best education. Everything we do and create must be value-added. Without the support of the upper echelon, relationships should be re-established and revisited.

Engage Businesses

WHo’s going to be the beneficiary of what we produce? HOw can we connect to those groups? how can we show that they will benefit from our training and get them to invest in us? How can we connect the needs of the community and businesses to the training that we can offer?

Often, they need what we have, but just much more of it. Also, it must be a value-added proposition.

The third part of this great system is build, fund, engage.

Faculty and schools are the customers of the community college System office. They must lead, provide guidance, fund and assist with funding and resources. THey do well with Marketing. In the public, people know and recognize our institution.

While we do not have a cohesive brand, it is something we are working on. Community college is not a second banana. By educating guidance counselors and parents about the schools.

How do we fund this branding? How do we create this? how can we be unified in telling this story? How can we do this without hiring new staff?

Exploring bundled education, purchasing and statewide materials are a real need. There is a real need to fill gaps within the institutions. Keeping our individuals current, growing our knowledge base and talent.


We have some opportunities to restructure our business approach. The sustem has evolved. It is highly complex and needs streamlining. We are looking at this internally, but are required to create and RFP for students and business applications. These are important and key in creating a value-added atmosphere.

THe home office can provide SACCs support. A study in the reaffirmation process can be helpful. We can assist with the 30,000ft view with legal assistance.

College Presidents

Finally, we can assist the presidents. We are creating a comprehensive set of resources for new presidents

Looking Ahead

What legislative pathway can be created for a successful future? Ongoing instructions cover the following basis

  1. Stabilizing Budgets: 48 colleges experienced student body reductions. We need some way to create a stopgap to ramp up for enrollment gaps. Students will come back. Hiring adjuncts in short term is a poor solution.
  2. Salaries: K-12 salaries are taking increases. We are fighting with colleges and universities. We cannot lose powerful employees
  3. Support Workforce Development: Meet the needs of our programs and institutional flexibility.
    • Increase Stackable Credentials: Show employers what we can do and include 3rd party credentials into workforce training
    • Improving Career Awareness and Pathways: Helping students and employers know that education can raise up to working positions within the community. We use the student success center to increase persistence and keep students able and engaged.
    • Strengthening the Value in the System: retain and attract strong candidates, revise strategic plans moving forward, and carrying out the principals to make our colleges stronger.

To do the best we can, take an active part as a faculty member. Meet businesses in your area. Have them tell our stories and the stories of our hired students. Find advocates in the system and help them to help us. In the end, it all comes down to the people. We are the people who make the college system what it is today.