Wake Tech Receives National Honor
February 4th, 2014
Bellwether Award is Highest Honor for Community Colleges
RALEIGH, N.C. (February 4, 2014) - Wake Technical Community College has won the prestigious 2014 Bellwether Award from the Community Colleges Futures Assembly, an independent policy summit held annually at the University of Florida. Bellwether is one of the highest honors a community college can receive, with hundreds of institutions submitting their most innovative programs and projects for consideration.
Wake Tech won the Bellwether for Applied Benchmarking – Exploring and Implementing Best Practices, an initiative that asks employees to identify issues related to their job function that need addressing, find other institutions that have addressed those issues effectively, and adapt their methods at Wake Tech. First launched in 2010, Applied Benchmarking has already resulted in real improvements and cost savings at the college – as well as inspiring innovative thinking.
Wake Tech President Dr. Stephen C. Scott developed the initiative. “It is truly exciting to be honored for our Applied Benchmarking,” Scott says. “We’ve put our heart and soul into these efforts to find excellence and incorporate it into every aspect of our operations – and every member of the Wake Tech community is involved. That engagement in itself has made us stronger than ever.”
The annual Bellwether Award honors leading-edge programs in community colleges worthy of replication at other institutions. Every year, the Community Colleges Futures Assembly receives hundreds of applications for the award. Since the award was first launched 20 years ago, there have been more than 5,000 applications, but only 53 awards. Judging is conducted by committees of community college peers and is overseen by the Association of Community College Trustees.
Wake Tech was among 30 finalists invited to showcase their programs at the annual Assembly in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, on January 27. Wake Tech’s presentation included examples of the many Applied Benchmarking projects that have been successfully implemented throughout the college, from paperless financial aid transactions to microbiology lab simulations, accessibility resources for instructors, and the nation’s first community college MOOC, or Massive Open Online Course, among others. Applied Benchmarking is now an annual requirement for all Wake Tech employees, and projects are catalogued to encourage further expansion of ideas and collaboration among college departments.
Wake Tech was one of three colleges to receive the award this year, winning in the Planning, Governance and Finance category. Community College of Baltimore County (Maryland) won in the Instructional Programming and Services category, and Gateway Community and Technical College (Kentucky) won in Workforce Development.