The Staff of the Year Award, established in 2001, recognizes excellent performance and commitment to the community college mission by the non-teaching staff of the 58 institutions of the North Carolina Community College System and the System Office. The Staff Award recipient receives $8,000 and a plaque. The foundation of the institution where the recipient is employed receives a donation of $2,000. This award is sponsored by the State Board of Community Colleges and endowed by BB&T.
This year's recipient is Dr. Donald Herring of Coastal Carolina Community College.
As the Division Chair for Student Services, Dr. Herring provides leadership for admissions and counseling services, registration and enrollment management, financial aid, veteran's affairs, disability services, and student activities. Through his leadership, Dr. Herring transformed the Student Services Division at Coastal, delivering student services in a seamless, meaningful manner, integrated with the academic programs of the institution.
Dr. Herring's commitment to student access is evident in several highly successful initiatives he designed and implemented. For example, the annual "Career Expo," a program designed to introduce high school juniors to technical programs at Coastal, attracted more than 2,400 high school students to Coastal's campus to visit classrooms, meet faculty, and receive early career guidance. He also coordinated with the technical program division chairs to modularize their program offerings, providing students with opportunities to achieve incremental success by earning certificates or diplomas. This modularized approach resulted in increased graduation rates and additional employment opportunities for Coastal graduates.
As the lead student affairs officer, Dr. Herring works collaboratively with multiple campus departments and community agencies to offer supplemental academic and support services for Coastal students. After recognizing the need to address both the declining campus population of minority male students and the rising campus population of military veteran students, Dr. Herring led the implementation of a Minority Male Mentoring Program and a Wounded Warrior Support Program at Coastal. These cooperative efforts allow the college to serve emerging, targeted populations.
Dr. Herring is an advocate for student-centered customer service. When it became apparent that scheduling did not provide timely opportunities for early high school graduates to enroll in
classes, Dr. Herring collaborated with Onslow County Schools and created an alternate 12-week schedule, which also improved accessibility for military dependents relocating to the area.
Dr. Herring, a leader who understands the mission of the community college system, continues to design and implement innovative transition and workforce programs to ensure student access; identifies avenues of opportunity for diverse groups of students; utilizes assessment tools to achieve program excellence; demonstrates a shared vision for student success; and supports students in achieving their goals.