Local campus brings home the Gold!

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Pamlico Community College President Dr. Jim Ross, third from left, accepts a $30,000 grant for the College’s new Dental Laboratory Technology program from Don Brinkley, fourth from left, Chairman of the Harold H. Bate Foundation’s Board of Directors. Also pictured, from left, are: Michelle Willis, PCC Vice President of Instructional Services; Kathy Nicodemus, PCC Dental Laboratory Technology instructor; Ross; Brinkley; Benny Mullinix, Bate board member; Joyce Hendricks, director of the Bate Foundation; and Bob Mattocks, Bate board member.

GRANTSBORO – Ranked the Number One Community College in the USA, Pamlico Community College has received a huge amount of national recognition over the past month. The award came in early August from SmartAsset.com – a website devoted to helping citizens make smart financial decisions.


In fact, SmartAsset’s home page blares in big font: INSTANT ANSWERS TO YOUR FINANCIAL QUESTIONS. On another of the site’s hundreds of pages, its Mission Statement also offers insight:


Transparency through Technology! We use our software and data to provide simple, easy to understand answers to complex financial questions.

Those guiding principles came through loud and clear from A.J. Smith, the Vice President of Financial Education at SmartAsset, during an e-mail ‘interview’ with this newspaper.

1. Can you give me some insight into your methodology?
In order to create our rankings of the best community colleges in America in 2017, we analyzed data on 808 two-year public institutions. We compared these schools across three metrics: 1) Graduation and transfer rate; 2) Student-to-faculty ratio; and, 3) The cost of tuition and fees. We weighted each metric equally and gave each community college a score in each of the metrics based on how far above or below the mean they were.
We used the sum of these numbers to create our final ranking. The community college with the highest cumulative score received a 100 while the community college with the lowest score received a 0.

2. Any trends you might have noticed?
According to our research, community colleges in North Carolina tend to be affordable while doing a good job graduating their students. Pamlico is one of five North Carolina schools to rank in our top 10 community colleges nationwide.

3. Any notions by SmartAsset researchers that were either confirmed, or dispelled?
Here at SmartAsset we aim to provide objective advice to help folks make big financial decisions with confidence. Deciding whether or not to go to college and how you’ll pay for it has long term effects on one’s personal finances, so we focused on crunching the numbers to find community colleges that provide an affordable and high quality education. We hope our studies get people thinking about their own financial goals and planning for how to reach them.
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Needless to say, Dr. Jim Ross, president of Pamlico Community College – in his new post for just over a year – is ecstatic about the award, and used a recent press release to express appreciation to his faculty and administrators.

“This listing reflects the extraordinary faculty and staff we have here at PCC,” said Ross. “Our instructors and staff members are heroes in what they do, consistently going well above and beyond the call of duty, to help students succeed.”

The school’s higher profile is greatly helpful as Ross and others at PCC scour the universe to supplement state and county funding. This week, Pamlico Community College announced a generous grant from the New Bern-based Harold H. Bate Foundation – a whopping $30,000 earmarked to launch a new Dental Laboratory Technology program.

The program’s first classes begin this semester, leading to a two-year Associate Degree. Students learn to create dental appliances such as dentures, partials, bridges, crowns, and other prostheses – demand for which is growing as Baby Boomers age! Program graduates will be qualified to work in denture clinics, dental labs and similar settings.

“We are extremely appreciative for the Bate Foundation’s support, which will help us to create a first-class program,” said Ross. “Like PCC, the Bate Foundation is committed to seeing area residents improve their lives and circumstances. We thank them for their support of this program and our students. Our entire region is much better because Mr. Bate was such a caring and generous man and has left this magnanimous legacy through his foundation to making our communities better.”

The new Dental Laboratory Technology program — which received state approval earlier this summer — is unique in this area. In fact, PCC is the only N.C. community college east of Interstate 95 to offer the degree program.

The program is led by Kathy Nicodemus, who has more than 30 years of combined experience teaching Dental Laboratory Technology and working in the dental prostheses industry. The program consists of classroom teaching and hands-on work in the lab. There also is online instruction.

“We are very excited to offer a new career option for students,” Ross said. “We believe this program will create wonderful opportunities for students to have great careers and improve their lives.”

For more information about the program, contact Nicodemus at knicodemus@pamlicocc.edu or 252-249-1851, ext. 3017.

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