Cape Fear Community College

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Cape Fear Community College
Cape Fear Community College logo.jpg
TypePublic community college
Established1958
PresidentJim Morton
Academic staff
293 Full-time
Students12,172 Curriculum, 13,818 Continuing Education
Location, ,
United States
CampusUrban
ColorsBlue and white
NicknameSea Devils
MascotRay the Sea Devil
Websitecfcc.edu

Cape Fear Community College (CFCC) is a public community college in Wilmington, North Carolina. It is the sixth[1] largest community college in the state with nearly 23,000 students taking classes each year. The service area of Cape Fear Community College includes New Hanover and Pender counties with a main campus located in downtown Wilmington and satellite campuses in Castle Hayne, Burgaw, and Surf City.

Campuses[edit]

Downtown Wilmington Campus[edit]

It was decided that the institute’s new facilities would be located in downtown Wilmington as part of a $58.8 million project to bring new life to the riverfront. The first buildings downtown opened in 1967. The new facilities allowed Cape Fear Tech to expand its offerings to include new programs and enroll more students in the programs with high demand.

In the general election of 1972, the citizens of New Hanover County approved another bond issue for $3,675,000 for the expansion of the College’s facilities. This resulted in a seven-story building that provided additional classrooms, shop, and office space, with one floor devoted to the library.

In 1982 the New Hanover County Commissioners responded favorably to a request made by the Board of Trustees to purchase and renovate a facility to house second year electronic and instrumentation technologies curricula. The building, located three blocks from the main campus, was renovated to meet the needs of the two curricula at a total cost to the County of $300,000. Computer Engineering Technology was later offered in the same building.

In 2013, the college opened the doors of Union Station.

North Campus[edit]

In 1998, the college purchased land (145 acres) in the northern part of New Hanover County. The first building on the North Campus, the McKeithan Center, opened in the fall of 2002 and the second building, Applied Technologies, opened in the fall of 2005.

In 2008, a partnership between New Hanover County, the City of Wilmington, and Cape Fear Community College resulted in the construction of a $10,500,000 Safety Training Center on a 14-acre site at the North Campus for in-service training of fire, rescue, and law enforcement personnel. The facility includes a seven-story drill tower, a residential burn building, a commercial burn building, a tear gas building, a classroom building, drafting pits for testing pumpers, an open burn pad, and a truck driver training off-road range.

In 2009, a 30,000 square-foot building was added at the North Campus with the ground floor of the two-story structure designated for the Wilmington Early College program and the remaining space allotted for Cosmetology, Nail Technology, and Esthetics.

In 2017, a multi-building Advanced and Emerging Technologies Center opened at the North Campus.

Alston W. Burke Surf City[edit]

In 2009, Mr. Alston Burke, a retired educator, and longtime Pender County resident, donated 25 acres for a campus for the College in Surf City. The appraisal value of the gift exceeded $1.8 million, and CFCC named the campus in honor of Mr. Burke.

In 2011, a $2.3 million building was approved by the Board of Trustees for the Alston Burke Campus in Surf City, NC, the first such facilities to be constructed on this new location. The first building at the Alston W. Burke Campus was named after Surf City Mayor A.D. “Zander” Guy.

Burgaw Center[edit]

In 1990, Cape Fear Community College opened a satellite center in Burgaw offering curriculum and continuing education courses.

History[edit]

Founded in 1958 as one of the Industrial Education Centers around the state, The Wilmington Industrial Education Center (WEIC) offered courses for high school students during the day and classes for adults at night. The 32,000-square-foot facility included shop areas, classrooms, chemistry labs, physics labs, a library, and a small administrative office.

Following the 1963 Community College Act,[2] the WIEC officially transformed into Cape Fear Technical Institute (CFTI). With the strong support of the local industry as well as the Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100 and the Merchant’s Association, a $575,000 bond issue was proposed to match federal funds for building new facilities to be used exclusively by the Industrial Center. The first buildings downtown opened in 1967. The new facilities allowed Cape Fear Tech to expand its offerings to include new programs and enroll more students in the programs with high demand.

To more clearly reflect its expanded role and mission, the Board of Trustees later recommended that the school again change its name. The New Hanover County Commissioners concurred with the Board, and on January 1, 1988, the institution officially became Cape Fear Community College (CFCC).

Throughout the 1990s and into the 21st century, CFCC has doubled its academic offerings and its facilities to keep pace with the dramatic growth of the area and the increasing job training needs of employers and new industries moving to the area.

With the support of local taxpayers, CFCC opened a new campus in northern New Hanover County in 2002 and is currently expanding in both New Hanover and Pender counties to serve the needs of its citizens and businesses.

Accreditation[edit]

In 1969 the College was granted status as a Special Purpose Institute by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The following year the Commission on Colleges granted membership to the College contingent upon successfully completing a self-study within the next five years. This was accomplished and at the Association’s meeting in 1975, the College was granted membership status. In December 1986, in 1996, and again in June of 2007, the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools reaffirmed its accreditation of Cape Fear Community College.

Scandals[edit]

In recent years, in spite of accolades recognizing exceptional faculty, staff, and degree programs,[3] the college has dealt with multiple scandals associated with the Board of Trustees, past college president Ted Spring, and current president Jim Morton. In recent years, nearly all of the scandals are associated with Jim Morton, including the issues surrounding his lack of credentials and allegations that he has created a toxic work environment.[1]

Ted Spring was hired in November, 2012. He was asked by the Board of Trustees to resign in 2015 after coming under fire for misuse of public funds.[4] He reportedly attempted to get free housing, free airline upgrades, to get public funds to pay for his wife's travel, engaged in nepotism, and blackmailed subordinates,[5] in spite of making a salary of $268,356 a year.[6]

Although there was evidence uncovered by the NC State Auditor of Spring engaging in inappropriate behavior, he was successful in a lawsuit against the CFCC Board of Trustees due to their process in asking him to resign, which Spring successfully argued violated his "due process rights".[7]

Shortly after Spring's resignation, the Board of Trustees hired interim president Amanda Lee, PhD, as college president. She was forced to resign shortly afterwards. Following her resignation, and without an exhaustive search, the Board of Trustees installed interim president Jim Morton as college president. Jim Morton was given the top job in spite of the fact that he had no higher-education experience prior to his hiring to CFCC in 2015. The Board voted in 2018 not to conduct a search for a new college president, with all members of the Board of Trustees voting for Mr. Morton with the exception of Jonathan Barfield, William Turner, and John Melia.[8]

In spite of his lack of higher-education experience, and the fact that he is the only community college president in North Carolina who only holds a Bachelor's degree, Morton was given a raise over his predecessor and was given control of the college. Immediately after his appointment in 2018, and in the years since, Morton's installment has been contested by faculty, staff, and members of the community.[9]

After Mr. Morton took control of the college, he has been criticized for ignoring transfer programs in favor of vocational programs,[10] creating a toxic work environment,[11][12] engaging in retaliation against employees,[13] having an inappropriate relationship with his executive assistant,[14] paying his executive assistant significantly more than average, hiring friends and loyalists,[15] and engaging in gross mismanagement.[16]

Morton was quoted by a high-level employee as saying that "Faculty are like line workers in a factory. When one drops dead, you just easily replace them with another.".[17] Under Morton's leadership, there has been exceptionally high turnover for experienced faculty and staff.[18] In his response to WECT, President Morton claimed that he had "positive relationships with staff and faculty". However, two days after the WECT expose about Mr. Morton's mismanagement aired on January 13, reporter Ann McAdams announced on the 6:00 p.m. news that she had been contacted by no less than 26 current and former employees of CFCC, all of whom corroborated events listed in her first report. The chair of the Board of Directors gave WECT a statement, suggesting that employees follow the employee handbook policies to report mismanagement by President Morton. However, the original report revealed that earlier complaints went directly to Mr. Morton, after which he attempted to do handwriting analysis to find the anonymous culprit.[19]

In early 2020, the issues at CFCC relating to President Jim Morton were covered by national news outlets.[20] National Review Reporter, George Leef, argued that Morton's administration of CFCC was an example of an“abuse of power”, and that “...[T]he root of the problem seems to be that the Board of Trustees, rather than exerting independent oversight of the president, is in league with him."[20]

Investigative Reporter Ann McAdams uncovered a dramatic increase in the fees paid by CFCC to their law firm. When requested by WECT, they repeatedly refused to explain the increase, provide requested itemized bills, or explain why they have started paying their law firm nearly 10 times more than they did before local reporters began investigating multiple allegations agains Jim Morton and the Board of Trustees.[21] This lack of transparency has led to speculation that Morton may be using state funds for public relations purposes, which has been found to be an inappropriate use of funds in past court decisions.[21]

In response to the scandals, then President of the North Carolina Community Colleges System, Peter Hans, released a statement about CFCC stating the following: "I have advised the college to undertake a climate survey of faculty and staff confidentially administered by an independent third-party."[22] In spite of additional concerns, CFCC administration has confirmed that they will not be following the state requests, and will not complete the faculty climate survey recommended by the state in order to identify problems relating to the toxic work environment.[21]

Awards and achievements[edit]

  • Duke Energy named CFCC a Power Partner for partnership during their Hurricane Florence recovery effort and for the development of the electrical lineworker program (2019)[23]
  • Named Cameron Management Ally of the Year by Wilmington Business Development (2018)[24]

Athletics[edit]

The CFCC athletic teams for both men and women are known as the Sea Devils. The school is a member of the Carolinas Junior College Conference for athletics under the aegis of the National Junior College Athletic Association. The college offers men's basketball, men's soccer, women's basketball, women's soccer, and women's volleyball. CFCC also has a cheerleading squad and a variety of intramural activities.

Their basketball/volleyball arena is the Joe and Barbara Schwartz Center, which is also home to the Wilmington Sea Dawgs of the Tobacco Road Basketball League

Notable alumni[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ cfcc.edu
  2. ^ "Mission & History". Retrieved 3 February 2020.
  3. ^ WWAY News. "CFCC ranked #1 in NC for associate nursing degrees". WWAY.
  4. ^ Roberts, Miranda (22 January 2015). "CFCC President Ted Spring Resigns". Star News Online. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  5. ^ McAdams, Ann (1 August 2016). "New Details Emerge as CFCC Trustees respond to Ted Spring Lawsuit". WECT News. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  6. ^ Roberts, Miranda (22 January 2015). "CFCC President Ted Spring Resigns". Star News Online. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  7. ^ McAdams, Ann (8 December 2017). "CFCC Explains Legal Expenses Connected to Spring Lawsuit". WECT. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  8. ^ Nunn, Cece (23 March 2018). "CFCC Officials Forgo Search For President, Vote for Job To Go To Interim Jim Morton". Wilmington Biz. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  9. ^ McAdams, Ann (13 January 2020). "WECT Investigates: Top Executives at CFCC say President Morton has created toxic culture". WECT. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  10. ^ Lewis Hilburn, Keith, Rachel (14 November 2018). "Coastline: Community Colleges On the Coast Focus on Vocational Options". WHQR.
  11. ^ McAdams, Ann (13 January 2020). "WECT Investigates: Top Executives at CFCC say President Morton has created toxic culture". WECT. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  12. ^ McAdams, Ann (13 January 2020). "WECT Investigates: Top Executives at CFCC say President Morton has created toxic culture". WECT. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  13. ^ McAdams, Ann (13 January 2020). "WECT Investigates: Top Executives at CFCC say President Morton has created toxic culture". WECT. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  14. ^ McAdams, Ann (13 January 2020). "WECT Investigates: Top Executives at CFCC say President Morton has created toxic culture". WECT. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  15. ^ McAdams, Ann (13 January 2020). "WECT Investigates: Top Executives at CFCC say President Morton has created toxic culture". WECT. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  16. ^ McAdams, Ann (13 January 2020). "WECT Investigates: Top Executives at CFCC say President Morton has created toxic culture". WECT. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  17. ^ McAdams, Ann (13 January 2020). "WECT Investigates: Top Executives at CFCC say President Morton has created toxic culture". WECT. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  18. ^ McAdams, Ann (13 January 2020). "WECT Investigates: Top Executives at CFCC say President Morton has created toxic culture". WECT. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  19. ^ McAdams, Ann (13 January 2020). "WECT Investigates: Top Executives at CFCC say President Morton has created toxic culture". WECT. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  20. ^ a b Leef, George (9 March 2020). "What's going on at Cape Fear?". National Review. Retrieved 25 June 2020.
  21. ^ a b c McAdams, Ann (May 26, 2020). "CFCC refusing to disclose itemized bills or reason for recent spike in attorney's fees". WECT News.
  22. ^ McAdams, Ann (March 10, 2020). "CFCC leadership concerns make state, national headlines". WECT News.
  23. ^ "Duke Energy honors six companies with 2019 Power Partner award".
  24. ^ "CAPE FEAR COMMUNITY COLLEGE WINS RECOGNITION AS CAMERON MANAGEMENT ALLY OF THE YEAR". October 24, 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2020.

Coordinates: 34°13′33″N 77°56′41″W / 34.2257255°N 77.9447102°W / 34.2257255; -77.9447102