HENDERSON – One of the principal administrators of Vance-Granville Community College is leaving school to take a leadership position with community colleges in North Carolina.
On January 18, VGCC vice president of learning, student engagement and achievement Levy Brown will become senior vice president and academic director of the state’s 58 college system.
The NC community college board members approved the hiring just before the vacation.
Brown has “really prepared himself for this next level of leadership,” System Chairman Thomas Stith said, adding that he had distinguished himself in his previous jobs at VGCC and other colleges in the system.
In addition to overseeing community college academic programs, Brown’s duties will include helping the system counter a drop in enrollment associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, Stith said.
A briefing presented in November to the system board’s planning committee indicated that North Carolina community college enrollments fell about 11% in 2020, to a level lower than in any year since less 2006.
Enrolling in community colleges generally goes against the business cycle as people look to upgrade their skills and credentials when times are tight in order to better compete for available jobs. In North Carolina, the system’s recent enrollment spike came in 2010, when the economy was still recovering from the Wall Street crash two years earlier.
Brown – who holds degrees from East Carolina University and NC Central University – will replace Kimberly Gold, who in November was appointed chief of staff to Stith.
In seeking a new director of studies, officials “were looking for someone who not only had a good understanding of the community college system, but who could be an innovator,” Stith said. “We believe Dr. Brown has the experience and the expertise to provide this leadership across our 58 college system to do just that.”
He has worked at Vance-Granville Community College since 2017, assuming a portfolio initially focused on student services, but which soon expanded to include the Vice President of Academic Affairs, a position that oversees the work of the college faculty. .
Prior to coming to Henderson, he was Dean of Arts and Science at Lenoir Community College, Associate Vice President of Student Services and Enrollment at Brunswick Community College, and Dean of Student Services at Lenoir.
The preparation Stith mentioned has also included working with community and national groups.
He is on a student success committee for the American Association of Community Colleges. And over the summer, he became one of 40 people selected for the 2021-2022 class of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program’s Rising Presidents Fellowship, an honor indicating that his peers believed he was destined for a senior level position in their company.
“I am grateful for having had the opportunity to lead and serve alongside these people during my time at Vance-Granville,” said Brown, quoted in a statement released by the college. “Looking ahead, I am honored to have the opportunity to partner with my colleagues to make a difference at the system level. We have a myriad of opportunities to have a huge impact on students, faculty and staff at Grand 58. ”
VGCC officials have said Cecilia Wheeler, the college’s dean of arts and science, will replace the vice president of learning, student engagement and achievement in 2022 while they conduct national research of Brown’s replacement.
Wheeler is delaying his retirement because the school is working on his reaccreditation for 10 years. Officials want Brown’s permanent replacement on board by January 2023.
“Dr. Brown’s focus on building student supports and investing in faculty development has set our college on a path of transformation for student success,” said VGCC President, Rachel Desmarais. “I look forward to working with Dr. Brown in a new role as he leads academics at North Carolina Community Colleges.”