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Postsecondary Pathways | Engines for Equity: The Role of Community Colleges in Access to Higher Education
Community colleges have had a long history as open access institutions, allowing learners from varying backgrounds to earn credentials and degrees. They have often been seen as engines for economic mobility and intergenerational wealth, especially since they disproportionately serve first-generation, low-income, and students of color. This session will feature a variety of resource experts to share best practices to ensure students are able to access higher education.

Oct 13, 2022 02:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Dr. William Serrata
President @El Paso County Community College District
Dr. William Serrata was named the President of the El Paso County Community College District effective August 1, 2012. Dr. Serrata holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Texas A&M University – College Station, a Master’s Degree from the University of Texas at Brownsville, and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Educational Human Resource Development from Texas A&M University – College Station. Dr. Serrata serves; as Chair for the Texas Association of Community Colleges, as the Past-Chair of the Board of Directors of Excelencia in Education, as an Advisory Board Member of the Higher Education Research and Development Institute (HERDI), and was Chair (2021) for Board of Directors for the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) after being elected in 2017. Dr. Serrata was a member of the 2015 class of the Aspen Institute Ascend Fellows.
Iris Palmer
Deputy Director for Community Colleges @New America
Iris Palmer is deputy director for community colleges with the Education Policy program at New America. She is a member of the teams on the higher education program and the Center on Education & Labor. She provides research and analysis on community colleges, adults enrolled in higher education, apprenticeship, and the ethical use of predictive analytics in higher education.
MC Belk Pilon
President & Board Chair @John M. Belk Endowment
MC Belk Pilon is President and Board Chair of the John M. Belk Endowment, where she and her team are committed to increasing access to and completion of postsecondary education in order to give all North Carolinians the chance at long-term, family-sustaining careers. Guided by the vision she shared with her father, the late John Belk, MC leads the Endowment on its mission to create a stronger North Carolina. Like her father, MC serves her community in many ways. She has participated on several boards that champion education access and success for all children, including Good Friends, Greater Enrichment, the Fletcher School and The Charlotte Country Day School Board of Trustees. She is currently Chair of The John M. Belk Scholarship Advisory Board at Davidson College and active on the boards of myFutureNC, Inc., The Belk Foundation, College Advising Corps., New Republic Partners, The Winer Family Foundation Advisory Board and The Belk Center Advisory Board.
Dr. Pamela Gibson Senegal
President @Piedmont Community College
Dr. Pamela Gibson Senegal has served as president of Piedmont Community College since 2017. She recently completed the Aspen New President’s Leadership Fellowship program for 2020-21. She is a lifelong educator who is committed to ensuring that educational opportunities are available to all communities. With more than 22 years of experience in both industry and education, she brings strengths in economic development and partnership creation. Her dedication to public service is seen in her volunteer work on various boards, membership in Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Boy Scouts of America and in her church. Senegal earned degrees in Political Science and Spanish (Bachelor’s), Public Administration (Master’s) and Adult and Community College Education (Doctorate of Education) from North Carolina State University.