Carol Spalding: Preparing the work force

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Dr. Carol Spalding has seen what the economic downturn has done to local people, sending many looking for a fresh start to the doors of Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.
But as president of the college, she’s seen some of that enthusiasm for new beginnings starting to wane, fueling a decline in enrollment this year.
But she wants to change that in 2012.
“We want to make sure that people don’t lose hope and they continue to invest in themselves so that when things turn around they can be prepared for the jobs of the future,” she said.
Spalding said she’s “more worried than usual” about people giving up.
“We’ve really got to turn around our high school graduation rate and improve our college graduation rate so that individuals, families and communities can become more prosperous,” she said.
“It’s everybody looking at their potential and trying to maximize their potential.”
As a community college administrator, Spalding said she knows what it’s like to get resourceful in both recruiting and retaining students.
“We’ll be fully engaged in the completion agenda, helping people complete their degrees, certificates and diplomas to make them stronger competitors in the work force,” she said.
Spalding said she’s also looking forward to the start of construction on the North Campus, which will be funded by a $12 million bond referendum passed by Rowan County voters.
Chip Short, chairman of the college’s board of trustees, said the face of the North Campus will change as the facility is modernized and improved.
“I believe the (North Carolina) Research Campus is going to see new growth because of developments there in the coming year,” he said.
The nursing program will be moving to the college’s Research Campus building, and the college will begin its security overhaul.
“There is a lot going on at the college in the coming year, and she is the spark plug behind it,” Short said.
— By Sarah Campbell

Carol Spalding
Age: 61
Occupation: President of Rowan-Cabarrus Community College
Most surprising song or artist in your music collection: I have a large collection of Rondo Veneziano, an Italian chamber orchestra specializing in Baroque music in rock style. Think Mannheim Steamroller with Italian accents.
Who will you watch in 2012 and why: I will be watching Governor Bev Perdue. Gov. Perdue understands and appreciates community colleges’ work better than any governor in the country. She has a master’s in community college administration and a doctorate in education administration from University of Florida.  
Why she is one to watch in 2012: Spalding has led changes at the college including the passage of the $12 million bond referendum, the switch of the nursing program to the North Carolina Research Campus and a security overhaul that will begin in January. 
Reaction to making the list: “Surprised and flattered, though watching Rowan-Cabarrus head into the future will be very engaging. I think it is a better use of people’s time to participate with the college rather than just watch.”