National panel featuring Harper president highlights role community colleges will play in recovery

Harper College President Dr. Avis Proctor on November 10 joined fellow community college presidents in a discussion on the issues facing community colleges and the role they'll play in the pandemic recovery.

The panel was part of the Dallas Herring lecture, a national forum hosted by the Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research at N.C. State University.

The virtual discussion featured Dr. Pam Eddinger, president of Bunker Hill Community College in Massachusetts, who gave a lecture, "Insights from the Pandemic: The Reckoning and the Hope at Our Nation’s Community Colleges." Dr. Proctor then joined Dr. William Serrata, president of El Paso County Community College in Texas and Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, president of Central Piedmont Community College in North Carolina for the panel discussion to respond to the lecture.

The event highlighted topics including funding, the need for an equitable post-pandemic recovery, and the return on investment that community colleges provide. Dr. Proctor also stressed the toll that the pandemic is taking on people's well-being.

“Typically we would see an indirect relationship with an economic downturn in increased enrollments,” Dr. Proctor said. “We’re not seeing that because there are a lot of things that our students in our communities are facing and lots of loss. There's a psychological impact of this that we must pay attention to, as well, and find ways to support our community."

Watch the 2020 Dallas Herring Lecture here.

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