Accolades pour in, while PCC Prez tackles homework

Jim Ross

PAMLICO COMMUNITY COLLEGE – Ranked 2 in the nation, by SmartAsset. First in USA for ‘student outcomes’ by WalletHub. List of 150 Elite, by Aspen Institute. And, the list goes on.

President Jim Ross, in a recent press release, said he is “humbled and pleased” by the national recognition, while quickly crediting “our dedicated and caring employees who are selflessly committed to the noble goal of making lives better.”  On the job for five years, Ross also gets high marks – from elected officials, students, and even this newspaper.

Here is a ‘for instance.’ On Tuesday afternoon of this week, we asked Dr. Ross to respond to a couple of tough questions. By 11 pm that night, we had our responses. 

You be the judge!

Q: Dr. Ross: I  believe Pamlico Community College is the smallest of the 58 community colleges in the state system. What are the advantages, and what are the disadvantages of being the smallest?

A: The main advantage of being a small community college in size is that we are better able to maintain a friendly, family-like, and teamwork-focused culture. This has allowed us to create a shared vision among our employees to pursue the noble goal to change lives for the better. 

When we earn prestigious awards like the SmartAsset second-ranked community college in the nation and the WalletHub number 1 ranking in the nation for student educational outcomes, these are the end results of our employees working as an extraordinary team to make lives better every day. I am so proud of what they accomplish because they truly care about people.

The main disadvantage of being a small community college is the state funding formula is based on size. I am proud that our employees have worked hard to overcome this disadvantage with a positive, professional, productive, can-do attitude to achieve excellence. They also have displayed excellent fiscal management and innovation to create numerous new in-demand vocational and technical programs despite the funding gap.

Because of this, we have created numerous new continuing education programs, which are training Pamlico County residents for good careers. I am extremely optimistic about the future of our college to continue to change lives for the better as a national leader among community colleges despite funding and other challenges we will face.

Q:  Dr. Ross: During your five years here, you have focused on changes to the school’s overall mission. I know that things are constantly evolving, but can you give our readers a sense of where Pamlico Community College is heading over the next few years?

A: We will continue to strive to serve Pamlico County with a community-minded focus and with excellence. A top goal going forward is to raise enough funds to establish an extraordinary number of new vocational and technical training programs so our community’s citizens can gain good-paying careers in demand by regional employers. We have been working hard to add these programs with considerable success and will dramatically expand this in the future. We intend to do even more to get the word out to our community that careers where our citizens are trained to work with their hands in vocational and technical fields are just as honorable as having careers in fields where employees work primarily with their mind. Both are honorable and our society needs both to prosper. 

Another top goal is to work even closer with our public safety partners. They are absolutely essential to the well-being of our community or any community. We are poised to serve our public safety community even better. We have intently listened to our public safety partners’ needs for the future. As a result, we have made it a priority to increase fiscal support for our community partnership and have invested in amazing, state-of-the-art equipment that will provide dramatic advances in public safety training to make our community even better.