Scale model of new campus opening in 2021
The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM) has launched two new steering teams to shape coursework and student life at its new campus that will open in Morganton in 2021, expanding the institution to make the transformative NCSSM experience available to hundreds more academically-talented young North Carolinians each year.
The Academic Program Steering Team and the Student Experience Steering Team are each comprised of representatives both internal and external to NCSSM, including faculty and alumni of the school and experts representing six additional institutions across the UNC System. The steering teams also reflect a diverse group of businesspeople, economic development leaders, and K-16 educators from across the region. Both teams met for the first time on January 11 in Hickory for on-boarding to the NCSSM-Morganton project, and they will meet regularly throughout the year as they develop recommendations for the campus that will be considered by NCSSM’s Chancellor and Board of Trustees.
“As an alumna of NCSSM, I am so honored to serve as a member of the academic program steering committee planning for the future of the school,” said Michelle Benigno, Director and STEM Specialist at The Mountain Office of The Science House of North Carolina State University. “I work with 18 different school systems in Western North Carolina, and serving on the committee allows me to have a voice for those rural and underserved youth so we can make sure everyone’s need are met as we define this new program.”
The steering teams, which are facilitated by educational experts at the William and Ida Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, will gather and evaluate information, define features for the second campus, and make recommendations to inform future phases of the NCSSM-Morganton implementation timeline.
“Connecting NCSSM-Morganton with the regional business community will be important both for the students and the community at-large,” said Lindsay Keisler, President & CEO of the Catawba County Chamber of Commerce and member of the Student Experience Steering Team. “I am honored to have a seat at the table during this critical discussion on crafting the student experience, particularly as it relates to workforce development.”
The volunteers participating on each steering team are in addition to those who are already engaged in phase two planning through the Campus Operations and the External Engagement steering teams for NCSSM-Morganton.
“The institution is incredibly grateful to the partners and champions who have stepped forward to continue the critical work associated with expanding NCSSM to a new physical site in western North Carolina,” said Kevin Baxter, Director of Western Campus Planning for NCSSM. “The work is becoming far more detailed as we begin designing elements ranging from the course catalog to athletics programs to community connections, and the outcomes are more rich and collaborative because of the expertise that has been assembled through these steering teams.”