First in Future: Isothermal Community College President Walter Dalton

Summary: Per educator Karl Fisch, the challenge of educators is to “prepare students for jobs that don’t exist yet, where they’ll be using technology that hasn’t been invented yet, in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet.” Education needs to become much more about teaching people not just a body of facts but how to learn, ensuring learning becomes a lifelong process. Community colleges are critical to equipping students of all ages with the necessary skills to meet the challenge of change in our state, and with nearly 800,000 people enrolled in one of North Carolina’s 58 community colleges each year, the community college system’s role in addressing the FutureWork challenge continues to grow. This week, we talk with former NC Lieutenant Governor Walter Dalton, now president of Isothermal Community College in Columbus, to talk about how community colleges are thinking about their work going forward, and what that means for all of us.

Excerpt: “We hear that we’re training people for jobs that have not yet been created, and that is true, but we need to give our students the analytical skills, the reasoning skills, the STEM skills that will be necessary to fulfill those jobs of the future. I think one of North Carolina’s greatest assets is the community college system; we’re the interface with the public schools, we’re the interface with the four-year schools, and we’re the interface directly with the economy.”

Book recommendations: Without Hesitation: The Odyssey of an American Warrior, Hugh Shelton; John Adams, David McCullough

Where in NC to spend his last day: On Lake Lure, at Sunset Cove, watching the sun go down for the final time.

What does North Carolina’s Homegrown Superhero, The Versatillion, look like? What characteristics, skills and abilities must they possess to be the hero North Carolina needs? Submit your vision for this superhero of the future to our First in Future contest for your first chance at a 2018 Emerging Issues Forum ticket!

Listen to the podcast:

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