Albemarle, NC – Stanly Community College is among 10 North Carolina community colleges selected to participate in the Rural College Leaders Program (RCLP) – a capacity-building program designed to close equity gaps and improve student outcomes for community colleges serving rural communities in the state. The program is led by the Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research, in partnership with Achieving the Dream.

“The Rural College Leaders Program was designed with both the unique challenges and unique opportunities of our rural-serving institutions in mind,” says Audrey Jaeger, Ph.D., W. Dallas Herring Professor with the NC State College of Education and executive director of the Belk Center. “Through this program, we are eager to improve equitable student success that leads to greater social and economic mobility in our state’s regions. To that end, we aim to not only advance the work of our participating institutions – but to share the lessons learned with other rural-serving community colleges in North Carolina as well.”

The three-year program, supported by Ascendium Education Group, will immerse community college presidents, boards of trustees and senior leadership teams in a professional learning community aimed at removing systematic barriers, improving pathways for learners and increasing completion rates for low-income students and students of color. As part of the program, participating colleges will engage in a series of six professional learning events focused on driving transformational change through collaboration and data-driven, equity-minded decision-making. Additionally, colleges will partner with coaches from Achieving the Dream for coaching tailored to their specific community college contexts and needs.

“Student success is the foundation of all our values at Stanly Community College and we’re fortunate to join this cohort, work together to close equity gaps in our communities and see our students thrive,” said Dr. John Enamait, President of SCC. “From there, we’ll be able to share best practices with other North Carolina community colleges as well.”

In addition to SCC, the RCLP cohort includes Carteret Community College, Catawba Valley Community College, College of the Albemarle, Davidson-Davie Community College, Isothermal Community College, McDowell Technical College, Roanoke-Chowan Community College, Vance-Granville Community College and Western Piedmont Community College.


About the Belk Center

The Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research, at North Carolina State University, develops and sustains exceptional community college leaders who are committed to advancing equitable college access and student success, the social and economic mobility of their colleges’ students, and the economic competitiveness of their regions. The Center provides professional development and research related to current and emerging student success opportunities and challenges facing community college leaders and policymakers in North Carolina and the nation. For more information, please visit


About Achieving the Dream

Achieving the Dream (ATD) leads a growing network of more than 300 community colleges committed to helping their students, particularly low-income students and students of color, achieve their goals for academic success, personal growth, and economic opportunity. ATD is making progress in closing equity gaps and accelerating student success through a unique change process that builds each college’s institutional capacities in seven essential areas. ATD, along with nearly 75 experienced coaches and advisors, works closely with Network colleges in 45 states and the District of Columbia to reach more than 4 million community college students.


About Ascendium Education Group

Ascendium Education Group is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to helping people reach the education and career goals that matter to them. Ascendium invests in initiatives designed to increase the number of students from low-income backgrounds who complete postsecondary degrees, certificates and workforce training programs, with an emphasis on first-generation students, incarcerated adults, rural community members, students of color and veterans. Ascendium's work identifies, validates and expands best practices to promote large-scale change at the institutional, system and state levels, with the intention of elevating opportunity for all. For more information, visit