Progress continues in planning for NCSSM’s western campus. At their December 9 meeting, our Board of Trustees approved hiring a Director of Western Campus Planning and Project Management. This position was funded by the General Assembly in the last legislative session. The person hired for this position will help lead the planning and implementation of the western campus.
We received great interest for this role from several outstanding candidates. Mr. Kevin Baxter was the consensus choice of the selection committee. Mr. Baxter will officially begin in his new role on January 9. He currently serves as the Associate Dean of the Honors College at East Carolina University. I believe that we are extremely fortunate to have Kevin join the NCSSM team in this role. He has significant experience and skills that will be very valuable in this position. Kevin was responsible for planning and implementing the Honors College at ECU. The College has been a top priority for ECU and it has been extremely successful. Kevin also has extensive experience in fundraising for the Honors College and also in his previous position at the University of Maryland, College Park.
Mr. Baxter is very excited about the opportunity to join NCSSM and help lead the planning for the western campus. He is also excited about relocating and living in Morganton, which is a requirement of this position, saying, “Having visited Morganton several times and met many stakeholders in the region, I am excited about this opportunity for NCSSM to reach more of our state’s students.”
We have also selected the lead educational planning consultant that will be working with us to help facilitate the advanced planning process for the western campus. The William & Ida Friday Institute for Educational Innovation was selected to facilitate this effort. The Friday Institute is associated with NC State University and has a great deal of experience in helping lead a number of planning processes in our state. They have a talented team and outstanding connections with K-12 schools, institutions of higher education, businesses, and governmental agencies, all of which will be important in the planning process.
In January, we will be convening the core planning team, which will include members of the NCSSM community, along with members from K-12, higher education, governmental, and business communities located in the western region and from across the state. The core planning team will work with the project director, the Friday Institute, and Duda|Paine, the architectural firm recently selected as part of the western campus planning team, over the next 10 months to develop an educational program plan consistent with our overall strategic vision and to select the specific site for the western campus.
The planning team will be soliciting feedback from the NCSSM community and other stakeholders throughout the planning process to help inform their work. We will also continue providing you updates through the Catalyst newsletter and through our Western Campus Planning web page.