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HCC
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 22, 2014
HCC's Griffin, Bennett honored as AACC Awards of Excellence Finalists
 
WELDON, N.C. – The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) recently put the extraordinary—often visionary—work of two-year colleges in the national spotlight with its second annual Awards of Excellence Gala at the AACC Convention in Washington, D.C. on April 7. Awardees were judged by a select committee of the AACC Board of Directors.

Twenty-four community colleges were named finalists in the program designed to recognize innovation and promising practices among two-year colleges. Halifax Community College (HCC) had finalists in two categories including HCC President/CEO Dr. Ervin V. Griffin Sr. for exemplary CEO/board and HCC Mathematics Instructor John Bennett for faculty innovation.

Exemplary CEO/Board
Griffin is the fourth president and the first African-American president at HCC, and one of only four African-American presidents in North Carolina’s community college system. He is a veteran college educator with more than 30 years of experience and training in higher education management.

HCC serves two of the most destitute counties in North Carolina. Despite this, in 2013, HCC was ranked 12th among the 50 best community colleges in the nation by Washington Monthly.

This is due to the College’s leadership. In 2006, the HCC Board of Trustees selected Griffin as president. Only a few months later, he began a high-visibility campaign to highlight the campus and its services. The following year, the College’s information technology infrastructure was upgraded, allowing the entire campus access to wireless Internet.

Aggressive enrollment management, resource development, and institutional effectiveness and planning programs were also implemented. This resulted in significantly increased enrollment.

A key initiative of Griffin’s is improving success for black males. Griffin secured a $1.2-million grant from the U.S. Department of Education for a program to help black males enroll, graduate and transfer to four-year institutions. In 2009, the Community College Survey of Student Engagement named the male mentoring project one of the top programs in the nation for cultivating connections with male students.

"The HCC Board of Trustees and HCC family have witnessed firsthand the many positive impacts Griffin has had on our students, enhanced college efficiency and effectiveness, the community, and various other constituents throughout the College’s service region," said HCC Board Chair Bernella W. DeLaMora.

Faculty Innovation
Bennett has a way of making mathematics relevant and understandable to each of his students. As a math instructor at HCC, Bennett has raised student outcomes in developmental mathematics and has employed technological initiatives that enable him to connect with students both inside and outside the classroom.

"Students are at the top of his priority list. His door is always open to them, whether they are enrolled in his course or that of another instructor," said Margaret Hairston, fellow math instructor.

When Bennett began teaching at HCC, the College’s developmental math success rates did not meet the North Carolina Community College System’s proficiency standards of 75 percent of students passing the courses with a "C" of better. Bennett helped the College incorporate new learning management systems and, by 2012, the College had exceeded the proficiency standard.

Bennett also established a personal Web-based model that students can use to schedule appointments with him and interact with him online.

He helps other instructors to integrate learning management system tools and has provided professional development opportunities on campus to increase student access and success outcomes.

"Bennett’s unique approach to teaching and learning in the developmental math arena could close achievement gaps in developmental math and beyond," said Griffin.

The awards program is tied to the key recommendations of AACC’s 21st-Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges, a national, blue-ribbon group of education experts. The Awards of Excellence finalists have put those recommendations into action and have made differences in the lives of the students on campus and the members of their community.

Awards were given in six categories: emerging leadership, student success, faculty innovation, exemplary CEO/board, advancing diversity and outstanding college/corporate partnership.

Visit http://www.aacc.nche.edu/Pages/default.aspx for more details on the AACC.

AACC
Pictured are, from left, AACC President/CEO Dr. Walter G. Bumphus, HCC Board of Trustees Chair Bernella W. DeLaMora, HCC President/CEO Dr. Ervin V. Griffin Sr. and AACC Board of Directors Chair Dr. Jane Karas

AACC
Pictured are, from left, AACC President/CEO Dr. Walter G. Bumphus, HCC Mathematics Instructor John Bennett and AACC Board of Directors Chair Dr. Jane Karas
 
 
Halifax Community College’s Mission
Halifax Community College strives to meet the diverse needs of our community by providing high-quality, accessible and affordable education and services for a rapidly changing and globally competitive marketplace.
 
Primary Media Contact: Melanie Temple, Director of Public Relations and Marketing, mtemple295@halifaxcc.edu, 252-538-4319

Secondary Media Contact: Dr. Dianne Rhoades, Vice President of Institutional Advancement, Halifax Community College and Executive Director of the Halifax Community College Foundation Inc., dbarnes-rhoades128@halifaxcc.edu, 252-536-7239