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NCC Employees Extend Learning with International Travel

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Nash Community College faculty and staff travel at times internationally. This is not sightseeing. They are integrating their experiences into curriculum programs and the fulfillment of the College’s mission.

Humanities Professor Marbeth Holmes was accepted for study and research in “Transformations Within the New South Africa,” a course she attended in South Africa in May. The competitive enrollment selection included 20 students from seven universities across the United States.

Students examined social issues, development strategies, and health programs in South Africa. Holmes explored how the country is redesigning organizations and interventions to respond to the needs of all South Africans. Stays in Johannesburg and Cape Town included visits to townships, local and national governmental and non-governmental agencies, health and medical facilities, cultural and tourist landmarks and universities.

Lectures and discussions on social development, the HIV/AIDS pandemic, political transitions, and racial and cultural issues in South Africa accompanied the experience, including study at the Nelson Mandela Center and the University of Johannesburg. Holmes engaged with people working in townships such as Soweto, visited a medical facility treating patients with HIV/AIDS and visited cultural centers and museums. She also met with South African students and with UNC School of Social Work graduates teaching and practicing social work in South Africa. She attended a presentation by the National Department of Social Development and toured the Supreme Court and Robben Island where Mandela was imprisoned and met some of those incarcerated with him.

Recent statewide data confirms Edgecombe County has the highest population of HIV/AIDS diagnosed in North Carolina with Wilson and Nash Counties also included in the top ten.

In June, NCC Associate Vice President for Community and Governmental Affairs Dr. Keith Smith traveled to Dakar, Senegal with World View, an international program for educators coordinated through the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Designed for school and college administrators, World View helps schools and colleges prepare students to succeed in an interconnected, diverse, and multicultural world. The visit focused on promoting a greater understanding of world regions, cultures, and global issues through professional learning opportunities.

Dr. Smith learned about Senegal ‘s culture and education system by visiting schools, historical sites, and mosques, and exploring urban and village life. He and other North Carolina educators visited Toubacouta, Sippo Island, Kaalach, the Gambia border and Goree Island which is known as the epicenter for the transatlantic slave trade. The purpose of the trip was to explore three different aspects of contemporary life in West Africa – religion, politics and education.

In addition to overseeing the College’s Community and Governmental Affairs, Dr. Smith also teaches HUM 120 Cultural Studies, and leads the Men Achieving Leadership and Excellence (M.A.L.E.) program promoting academic, personal and professional success of minority male students.

In July, NCC’s Vice President for Instruction and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Trent Mohrbutter attended the 25th Annual International Conference on First Year Experience in Vancouver, BC, Canada.  First Year Experience programs are designed to help students transition into the demands and expectations of college and empower them to achieve greater success.

During the poster presentations at the conference, Dr. Mohrbutter presented his white paper documenting NCC’s new first year experience program called FOCUS which stands for Fostering Opportunity, Cultivating Unparalleled Success.

NCC is addressing challenges common among colleges and universities around the world through a campus-wide implementation of FOCUS and a systemic approach to improving classroom instruction and professional development.  The program began during the College’s re-accreditation process and resulted in a Quality Enhancement Plan to improve student success, retention and the first year experience.

For more information about Nash Community College’s global engagement, call 451-8264.

Pictured from left: NCC Humanities Professor Marbeth Holmes, NCC Vice President for Instruction and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Trent Mohrbutter and Associate Vice President for Community and Governmental Affairs Dr. Keith Smith recently returned from international travel. The three will integrate their experiences into curriculum programs and the fulfillment of the College’s mission.