February 25, 2009


State of the College - Northeast Alabama Community College

Interest in educational opportunities is at an all-time high at Northeast Alabama Community College. Below, NACC President, Dr. David Campbell, discusses the importance of education in today’s economy and gives a broad overview of what’s new and exciting at the College.

Dr. David Campbell, NACC President“In the challenging economic times that our country, state, and area are now in, we at Northeast Alabama Community College (NACC) consider our educational services to the community more important than ever. Northeast, like other colleges in the Alabama Community College System (ACCS), has a three-fold mission—providing academic transfer courses and programs, adult education, and workforce training and development. On all three fronts, we want Northeast to be an institution that those in our area can use to better their opportunities in these challenging times.

“In regard to our academic transfer programs, NACC continues to provide strong educational programs that build the foundation for any four-year or professional degree. Our core courses automatically transfer to any public institution of higher education in Alabama as a part of an articulation contract. So many of our students transfer from Northeast and go on to achieve outstanding academic records at four-year institutions. Indeed, our students are at the top within the ACCS in their grades when they transfer. Consistently, four-year colleges find that our transfer students do better than those who started at their institutions. This is accomplished at a very reasonable financial cost to students as well. Tuition at NACC is approximately half that at four-year colleges, and of course by staying at home or in their communities living expenses for students are much less as well. For more information about our outstanding academic programs, please contact Dr. Joe Burke, Vice President/Dean of Instruction, or Mrs. Tonie Niblett, Dean of Student Services.

“Students may also obtain their four-year degrees in certain majors without leaving Northeast through the Athens University Center that is located on campus. Northeast recently signed an agreement with Troy University through which our students can receive baccalaureate degrees in nine majors through this university online. The dual enrollment programs and courses that we have established with the Fort Payne, Scottsboro, Jackson County, and the DeKalb County School Systems also, we believe, help give area high school students a solid foundation along with their high school curriculum prepares them for college careers. Providing high-quality academic transfer courses and a tradition of excellence in these programs remains at the center of what we do at Northeast.

“Our adult education program, Northeast Alabama Adult Education, continues to play a vital role in the area. Indeed the program, led by Director Randall White, was selected the best program in Alabama this past year. Mr. White and his staff serve some 1,600 students yearly at locations in three counties – DeKalb, Jackson, and Marshall. Our personnel with Northeast Alabama Adult Education operate the largest English as a Second Language (ESL) program in the state. As the economy has worsened in our area, more and more people are turning to the adult education program as a pathway to new jobs and careers. The work of the Northeast Alabama Adult Education program is vitally important to so many in our area. Moreover, acquiring education and certification through adult education is extremely important to building a workforce that can attract and sustain industry that might expand or locate here.

“We also are putting great emphasis on another very important component of our mission – workforce development. Area residents are using Northeast programs and training to transition into new jobs and careers. We are pleased that we will soon begin renovations on a building to house our new Industrial Systems Technology (IST) program. The IST program will offer options in instrumentation, machine technology, welding technology, and industrial maintenance. We already have begun our IST program at the DeKalb County Technology Center and the Pruett Center of Technology in Jackson County. Mr. Mike Kennamer, Director of our Division of Workforce Development and Job Skills Training, and his staff have done excellent work in setting up job training and retraining programs. Our staff, in particular, has worked diligently to provide educational opportunities to those who have lost their jobs due to factory closings.

“We are fortunate in our area that there are real possibilities for economic growth and development. The construction of the nearby Volkswagen Plant in Tennessee, the possible construction and opening of the Bellefonte Nuclear Plant in Jackson County, and the relocation of BRAC workers to the Redstone Arsenal all hold great economic and job potential for our area. To be ready for the future, Economic Development Agency directors Jimmy Durham in DeKalb County and Dus Rogers in Jackson County recently negotiated an option on some seven hundred acres of property adjoining Northeast as an industrial park site. The college is working closely with economic development officials on this project. Although this is only in the beginning stages, our plan is to attract a high-tech type company to the park for which Northeast can provide initial worker training and education. The college also recently obtained a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission to begin a Career Center on campus. This Center will be used to prepare students for jobs of the future, hopefully resulting from the previously mentioned projects and the proposed industrial site. The Career Center will also be able to utilize career coaches for technology careers through a grant provided through the Alabama Region 2 Workforce Development Council. I might also add that through a program initiated with the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development and the Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education, Northeast is now providing tuition scholarships to students taking dual enrollment in technical programs.

“As always, the Northeast campus is an exciting place. Please visit us when you can for one of our outstanding Theatre productions, or for concerts by our Choral Music, Jazz Band, or performance group Encore. Our Theatre Department’s production of Miss Saigon this spring is sure to be a hit and the college is honored that Northeast was selected as a site for this performance. We appreciate so much the support the college gets for our theatre and fine arts programs from our community and businesses.

“As a part of our goal to provide cultural events for our area, we also continually hold special events on campus, such as the annual Alabama Band’s Songwriter’s Showcase, the Music on the Mountain Bluegrass Festival, the Latino Festival, the very popular Christmas Pageant, our Humanities Speakers’ Forum, and our Health Care Lecture Series. For more information about these activities, contact our Event Planner, Ms. Susan Barron, or visit our Web site at We do consider it an honor to be able to work with and serve the residents and leaders of DeKalb and Jackson Counties and the surrounding area. We look forward to seeing each of you in the future.”