SEPTEMBER 3, 2015 

Washington, DC — Guilford Technical Community College is one of eight community colleges in North Carolina that has been selected to be part of the “North Carolina Roadmap to Excellence Project,” to advance student success for North Carolina students.

The Aspen Institute a national educational and policy studies organization will bring expertise from its rigorous evaluation for the prestigious Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence to help selected N.C. colleges increase student success, including completion rates. Charlotte-based John M. Belk Endowment is providing the funding for the project.

“GTCC is honored to be one of the eight North Carolina colleges participating in the Aspen Institute’s Roadmap to Excellence,” said GTCC President Dr. Randy Parker.  “The evaluation process that the Institute has developed to award its biennial Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence uniquely qualifies them to identify areas of excellence and opportunities for improvement at our college. Through our work with Completion by Design, GTCC has implemented systemic changes to our programs of study, academic advising and student supports. The Roadmap to Excellence is a perfect way to assess how effective those changes have been.”

The North Carolina Roadmap to Excellence Project is another example of GTCC’s continuous effort to improve pathways for students and help them succeed.


“We’ve chosen North Carolina community colleges that have already demonstrated great promise and capacity for trying new things to help students succeed,” said Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. “We’ll work together with these colleges to advance strategies that help students stay the course and earn credentials that confer the high-level skills needed for the jobs of today’s workforce.”

The “North Carolina Roadmap to Excellence project’’ seeks to improve outcomes in five areas – student learning, certificate and degree completion, transfer and bachelor’s degree completion, employment and earnings, and access and success for minority and low-income students. Community colleges selected are Brunswick, Central Carolina, Cleveland, Coastal Carolina, Davidson County, Guilford Technical, Halifax and Pitt.

“We are investing in the Roadmap to Excellence project because it is an innovative approach to help community colleges continue finding creative ways to boost completion rates and deliver relevant, high-quality education to more students,” said Kristy Teskey, executive director of John M. Belk Endowment.

The private family foundation recently awarded $370,000 in grant funding to the Roadmap to Excellence project, which aims to illuminate best practices that can be replicated across North Carolina’s community college system, whose 800,000 students make it among the nation’s largest.

The Roadmap to Excellence project will engage experts to review the selected colleges’ plans, interview leaders and conduct intensive site visits to gather data and understand unique circumstances and challenges each college faces. The Institute will deliver to each institution a report with tailored recommendations to increase student success.

The Aspen Institute’s site visit is planned for Oct. 27-28 at GTCC.

To inform their work, the review team will have access to analyses of the progression and outcomes of North Carolina community college students by college. These analyses will be conducted by the Community College Research Center (CCRC) at Teachers College Columbia University using data that the North Carolina Community College System has shared with the Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment, which is housed at and run by CCRC.

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The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program aims to advance higher education practices, policies, and leadership that significantly improve student outcomes. Through the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the New College Leadership Project, and other initiatives, the College Excellence Program works to improve colleges’ understanding and capacity to teach and graduate students, especially the growing population of low-income and minority students on American campuses. For more information, visit

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit

John M. Belk Endowment is a private family foundation based in Charlotte, N.C. whose mission is to transform postsecondary education to meet North Carolina’s evolving workforce needs. The Endowment supports programs and institutions aligned with this mission, which is based on the vision of its founder, the late John M. Belk. Mr. Belk served as the mayor of Charlotte and CEO of Belk Inc., the nation’s largest family-owned and- operated department store company. He created the John M. Belk Endowment in 1995 to fund a national merit scholarship program for his beloved alma mater, Davidson College. For more information, please visit

Guilford Technical Community College is the third largest of 58 institutions in the NC Community College System. GTCC serves more than 40,000 students annually from five campuses and a Small Business Center. Learn more at