November 19, 2020
Martin Community College's President, Wesley Beddard, has been selected to serve as a member of the newly created Rural Community College Leader Learning Community. This team of 26 rural Community College representatives, from 25 states, was assembled by the National Center for Inquiry and Improvement (NCII) to work toward identifying issues, trends, resources, and procedures that affect the delivery of education to rural students. Beddard will be the sole representative from North Carolina on the 26-member panel. The year-long project got underway on October 28.
The panel's work is supported through a grant from Ascendium to NCII. Gretchen Schmidt, a Senior Fellow at NCII, stated, "We are both excited and hopeful about the collective learning for the field that will come from this group of esteemed leaders."
Beddard, MCC's ninth president, will join representatives from across the nation to build a cross-state and cross-functional learning community focused on equitable outcomes for students in rural areas. The team's collective voice will also identify ways to streamline support for rural colleges from both the public and private sectors as well as develop strategic recommendations for future funding of rural colleges. The panel will also strive to assist rural colleges in navigating channels toward student success as they emerge from the pandemic.
Although MCC is Beddard's first appointment as a College President, he brings vast experience from North Carolina's Community College system. He has worked at the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) office as the Associate Vice President of Programs. He also has experience at several North Carolina Community Colleges. He was a dean at Beaufort County Community College, Fayetteville Technical Community College, and Wilkes Community College. Beddard began his Community College career as an instructor at Craven Community College.
At the statewide level, Beddard has worked on the Reengineering / Semester Conversion effort as well as the development of the new Comprehensive Articulation Agreement (CAA) with UNC (University of North Carolina) system and the Independent Comprehensive Articulation Agreement (ICAA) with the NC Independent Colleges and Universities. Most recently, he has worked on developing a new Teacher Preparation Degree program for the NCCCS.
During Beddard's report to the MCC Board of Trustees during their November 17 meeting, he noted that the $2,000 stipend for his participation would be donated to the MCC Foundation for the designated use of faculty and staff professional development. Helen Davis, the chair of MCC's Board of Trustees stated, "It is certainly exciting to see Martin Community College recognized at the national level. The entire Board of Trustees is proud to know that our President's expertise and knowledge are valued so highly."