• 37°

Dunn ready to lead RCCC into future

By Sarah Nagem
Salisbury Post
Henry “Hank” Dunn knows community colleges.
And it’s not just because he has served as an administrator at them for years. It’s also because he attended one.
After he graduated from high school, Dunn earned an associate’s degree from Indian River Community College in Florida. It was his hometown school, and it seemed like a natural next step.
“I just wanted a smaller school experience,” Dunn said.
Dunn, who is one of five candidates to take over the president’s post at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, has been passionate about education ever since.
He went on to a four-year university, eventually earning a doctoral degree in higher education administration from the University of Florida.
Dunn met with RCCC faculty and staff Tuesday to share his ideas of what the school would be like under his leadership.
Since 2006, Dunn has served as the chancellor at the Central Indiana Region of Ivy Tech Community College in Indianapolis.
Before that, he spent four years as the vice president of student affairs at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio.
Dunn has also served as the dean of students and as the director of admissions and registration at two community colleges in Florida.
Dunn wants his next career move to be in North Carolina for several reasons, he said.
For one, he and his wife, who is an attorney, own a home in the mountains here.
“We love North Carolina,” Dunn said.
Besides that, RCCC is a quality school connected to a good community college state system, he said. And the research center in Kannapolis will likely bring welcomed changes.
“You look like you’re poised for more great stuff coming,” Dunn said.
But the role of community colleges should come into play long before they are preparing students for the workforce, Dunn said. Community colleges should also have strong partnerships with high schools to help prepare those students for college, he said.
Too often, students graduate from high school without the necessary skills to succeed in a college setting, Dunn said. He wanted to help fix that.
In Ohio and in Indiana, Dunn said, he helped create programs for juniors and seniors in high school to increase their skills. The self-paced program allowed students to work on what they needed to.
Dunn is proud of the results. A program at Sinclair Community College resulted in 65 percent of the students testing well enough to show they were ready for college, he said.
“I think the same is needed at every community college,” Dunn said.
While RCCC could do great things for local youngsters, the school also needs to continue to accommodate non-traditional students, Dunn said. A program he has worked with takes a case management-style approach.
Counselors determine students’ risk factors ó sometimes life circumstances ó to help them succeed and ultimately graduate, Dunn said. The approach benefits students, sometimes without them realizing extra care was given, he said.
But the trick of successful schools is being in tune with the local marketplace. “What does the community need?” Dunn asked. “Really, that’s the secret of a community college. Go out and do it well.”
As president of RCCC, Dunn would spend about half of his regular 12-hour workdays off campus, he said. He would be out talking to business leaders about what RCCC really needs to offer.
And through it all, Dunn said, he would never really feel like he was working.
“I love what I do,” he said. “This is almost as much a mission for me as a job.”
Contact Sarah Nagem at 704-797-7683 or snagem@salisburypost.com.

Comments

Comments closed.

Nation/World

Senate Democrats strike deal on jobless aid, move relief bill closer to approval

News

Duke Life Flight pilot may have shut down wrong engine in fatal crash

News

Two NC counties get to participate in satellite internet pilot for students

Local

PETA protesters gather in front of police department

Coronavirus

Seven new COVID-19 deaths, 166 positives reported in county this week

Crime

Sheriff’s office: Two charged after suitcase of marijuana found in Jeep

Crime

Thomasville officer hospitalized after chase that started in Rowan County

Local

Board of elections discusses upgrading voting machines, making precinct changes

News

Lawmakers finalize how state will spend COVID-19 funds

Local

Salisbury Station one of several ‘hot spots’ included in NCDOT rail safety study

Education

Essie Mae Kiser Foxx appeal denied, school considering options

News

Iredell County votes to move Confederate memorial to cemetery

Nation/World

Lara Trump may have eyes on running for a Senate seat

Local

Rowan among counties in Biden’s disaster declaration from November floods

Local

PETA plans protest at Salisbury Police Department on Friday

Education

Essie Mae Kiser Foxx appeal denied, charter revoked

Coronavirus

29 new positives, no new COVID-19 deaths reported

Crime

Blotter: Woman charged with drug crimes

News

Nesting no more: Eagles appear to have moved on from Duke’s Buck Station

Business

The Smoke Pit leaving downtown Salisbury for standalone building on Faith Road

Education

Shoutouts

High School

High school football: Hornets’ Gaither set the tone against West

Local

Salisbury to show off new fire station

Education

Livingstone College to host virtual Big Read events this month