Monthly Archives: June 2017

Higher Education, Part V: Community Colleges

Bill_Ingram-2-e1498231313825Article by Will Arrington, WCHL  

The future of higher education: it’s going to be a major issue for the General Assembly this year, as well as a major issue at the national level with a new presidential administration. Colleges and universities are planning for their own futures as well, at a time of great uncertainty and significant transition.

What should tomorrow’s colleges and universities look like? How should we be devoting our resources? What should our priorities be? What should be changed, and what should remain the same?

WCHL’s Will Arrington is looking into the future of higher education this year, with perspectives from all sides of the political spectrum. In Part 5 of a series, he sits down with one local higher education leader who understands the value of community college better than just about anyone.

If there’s one thing that Democrats and Republicans seem to agree on when it comes to higher education, it’s that community colleges are going to play a much larger role for tomorrow’s students.

Dr. Bill Ingram, President of Durham Tech, says that any changes made to the community college system have to be made with the understanding that they serve a different set than regular colleges.

“[Students at community colleges] come with a wide variety of backgrounds, experiences and world views, unlike a university campus where the student body is fairly homogenous,” he says.

He also says that students arrive at community colleges with the same ambition as those in four-year universities, though they may not necessarily have the same preparation. That being the case, he says access to tutoring and career services are much more important on community college campuses.

Ingram says professors are often much more challenged at a community college campus than a university campus. “Having the capacity to work in an environment that’s a very heterogeneous environment, being able to serve students with a wide variety of learning styles, with a wide variety of interests, and being able to connect with those students in meaningful ways is the faculty’s biggest challenge,” he says.

Ingram admits there’s not a magic solution to ensure colleges provide proper services or guarantee professors are able to connect with every student. He does say that while more money from the state is always helpful, he thinks that there needs to be a recognition that higher education in general has to be flexible in how it goes about its mission.

Ingram also wants to change the perception of Durham Tech in the larger community. About half the student body is there for job training or a trade diploma, but Ingram says the staff and faculty of Durham Tech are aiming to portray it more and more as an institute for higher learning too.

“We do provide a very high quality, affordable alternative to the first two years on a university campus,” he says.

But Ingram says he’s not in favor of free community college. Citing the Tennessee Promise, a Tennessee program that helps cover the total cost of community college, he says “free college” programs often end up channeling their benefits to middle class families, instead of lower income Americans as they’re intended. (The Tennessee Promise covers whatever federal funding does not – so it’s more likely to benefit middle-income students, who don’t get as much need-based federal funding.)

Ingram says that, in addition to stronger articulation agreements between community colleges and state universities, one of the keys to higher education reform is changing the viewpoint that studying at college is the only way to get a meaningful job. “The University of North Carolina wasn’t founded with the intent to get [people] a job once they got their degree,” he says. “It’s there to prepare people to be meaningful and contributing members to the State.”

And to those who say getting an education is not worth the expense put into it?

“If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.”

Full Article


Durham Tech adds new pathway to success

On Monday, Dr. Bill Ingram signed an articulation agreement with the president of Guilford College in Greensboro, NC to create a new pathway to success for Durham Tech students. The agreement provides a pathway for students to transfer to 16 baccalaureate degree programs at Guilford by ensuring acceptance of Durham Tech students, waiving the transfer fee and guaranteeing junior status to graduates of the Durham Tech Associate in Arts program.

“The ‘T’ [in our logo] represents pathways to success, and today, we’ve added one more pathway to success: Guilford College,” Dr. Ingram said.

This partnership represents Durham Tech’s continued efforts to ensure accessibility and affordability of higher education. Students transferring to Guilford will have met all but one of their general education requirements and up to half of the requirements for a major.

Jane Fernandes, president of Guilford College, and Dr. Bill Ingram, president of Durham Tech sign articulation agreement

Jane Fernandes, president of Guilford College, and Dr. Ingram sign articulation agreement

Durham Tech Community Circle raises funds for scholarship

During Employee Appreciation Day on May 12 the Durham Tech Community Circle raised $209 at the Book/Plant Swap and Sale. Half of the funds were donated to the MLK Scholarship and the other half was allocated for Community Circle operating funds.

Thank you to all who came to the sale!

Dr. Ingram recognized for support of Durham Tech Phi Beta Lambda

At the Student Senate Banquet on May 4, Durham Tech Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) presented Dr. Ingram with a certificate recognizing him for his support of PBL. Their contribution to the NC PBL Professional Division-Foundation Scholarship Fund was made in his name to honor his continued support.

Christopher McDuff, student senate representative and treasurer of PBL, was one of three recipients of the scholarship for 2016-17. He was also awarded for Outstanding Student Leadership. PBL won the award for the most community service hours for a small club and Kim Green won second place for the most individual student hours.

Phi Beta Lambda is a national organization for business students at the college level. The organization’s purpose is to provide opportunities for students to develop competencies for business occupations through an extension of the classroom. 

(Left to right) Emilia Arrington, Christopher McDuff, Kim Green, Betina Huntwork, Dr. Ingram and Dr. LaTonya Steele

(Left to right) Emilia Arrington, Christopher McDuff, Kim Green, Betina Huntwork, Dr. Ingram and Dr. LaTonya Steele

Durham Tech club teaches self-defense and communication

Kalif Ruebin learns one of 17 techniques of self-defense during Aikido practice

Kalif Ruebin learns one of 17 self-defense techniques during Aikido practice

When the Basic Law Enforcement Training program at Durham Tech no longer needed its large exercise mats, Erik Townsend had an idea.

Townsend, the college’s VoIP and email administrator, used the opportunity to build the Durham Tech Aikido Club from the mat up. Townsend established the club in March 2016 as head instructor and now uses the mats every Monday and Wednesday to teach the Japanese martial art of Aikido in the Newton building.

Using self-defense techniques, Aikido makes a connection between mind and body that transitions into the classroom and helps students focus, Townsend said.

“It allows students to work with another person and learn how to communicate better with others,” Townsend said. “They have to communicate and understand that someone is learning a technique they’ve never done before.”

The club currently has six members, consisting of students, faculty, and staff and teaches 17 techniques of self-defense. In addition to self-confidence, the Aikido club enhances students’ educational experience, Townsend said.

“It teaches people physics of the body,” Townsend said. “You’re moving someone’s body and keeping them off balance.”

DeMario White, the club’s president, worked alongside Townsend to start the club at Durham Tech and was thrilled when it was officially established.

“My reaction was definitely heartfelt,” White said. “It was a proud sense of accomplishment as one of the club’s founders and president. I am grateful to have been able to offer a means of self-defense and exercise to Durham Tech.”

Under the umbrella of Tomiki Aikido of the Americas, the Durham Tech Aikido Club teaches self-defense, flexibility and exercise all while improving interpersonal skills like communication.

“My involvement in the club has provided a remarkable opportunity to build upon self-growth as I train with a diverse group of students, faculty, and staff,” White said.

The Durham Tech Aikido Club also provides opportunities for students to visit other parts of country, as members have attended multiple seminars and tournaments in Ohio, Baltimore and UNC of Chapel Hill.

Those interested in joining the club may contact Erik Townsend at 919-536-7261 x6108 or

Aikido club members washing the mats donated from the Basic Law Enforcement Training program

Aikido club members wash mats donated by the Basic Law Enforcement Training program

Let’s celebrate June anniversaries and birthdays!

June Anniversaries (Years)

Dorothy Holman (16); Ingrid Charles (14); Alfreda Gregory (10); Cortissia Johnson (10); Andrei George (10); Timiya McCormick (9); Kevin Hinton (9); Edwin Smith (7); Tiffany Collins (3); John Mathewson (1); Nadine Ford (1); Derek Epps (1)

June Birthdays (Day)

Lyndsay Al-Shibli (1); Ryan Newnam (1); Tisha Phillips (2); Cynthia Hardin (3); Betty Lyons (5); Hyacinth Ingram (8); Kathy Zarilla (8); Melissa Chappell (9); Alicia Freeman (9); Donna Littleton (13); Michelle Casey (13); Robert Wilson (14); Rhea Deroian (17); Jacquelyn McKeithan-Foster (17); Angela Perry (19); Jaclyn A. Krohn (20); Denise Walz (22); Tracy Johnson (22); Becky Roehrs (23); Judy Hunter (24); William J. Creech, JR (25); Linda Vaught (28); Suzi Jaikaran (30)