Northeast Program Chosen as Bellwether Finalist
January 5, 2015
Southern Torch (3399 articles)

Northeast Program Chosen as Bellwether Finalist

An innovative program at Northeast Alabama Community College has been selected as a finalist for a prestigious national award, college officials recently announced. The program, Trailblazing Math: The Path to My Success, was nominated for the Bellwether Award, as chosen by The Community College Futures Assembly at the University of Florida.

“We are honored to be Bellwether finalists for this program,” stated NACC President Dr. David Campbell. “The nomination demonstrates the hard work and effort that college personnel make in maintaining educational programs of high quality.” Campbell added that the program focuses on student retention and success in mathematics.

Each year, the Institute of Higher Education at the University of Florida requests nominations and applications from community colleges nationwide to be submitted for Bellwether Awards in three program categories: Instructional Programs and Services; Planning, Governance and Finance; and Workforce Development. The applications are reviewed by a selection committee comprised of members of the national organizations; the Council for Resource Development, the National Council for Instructional Administrators, and the National Council for Continuing Education and Training. Ten Bellwether applicant finalists are competitively selected from each category. Northeast is pleased that one of its programs was selected as a finalist among thirty nationwide.

Northeast personnel will make a presentation at the Community College Futures Assembly, to be held January 24-27, 2015 at the Hilton Walt Disney World, in Orlando, Florida. The presentation will be on January 26 and one winner will then be selected from each category by a panel of national experts within each category. The winners will be announced on January 27. The Assembly will focus on solutions of the critical issues that were raised in the 2014 Community College Futures Assembly. The theme for 2015 will be “Pathways Unbound” and will emphasize the diverse solutions community colleges utilize when facing critical issues.

The Northeast program was selected as a finalist in the Planning, Governance, and Finance Category. Trailblazing Math: The Path to My Success focuses on student retention and success in mathematics. Northeast’s developmental math department went from traditional delivered classes to a Flipped Classroom/Emporium Model in 1997. However, after its first implementation, this trailblazing program went through a metamorphosis during the next seventeen years by incorporating components of the growth in the college at large, including student support programs, updated technology, and superb facilities.

The original Trailblazing Math program was able to expand by incorporating components of new developments and growth at the college:

  • The Center for College Success is an important component that was added to the math program. It arose from the college’s 2005 SACSCOC Quality Enhancement Plan on Developmental Studies. Funding for the program is provided by the college and has been exceptional. Countless students have been assisted by the program. The tutors provides tutorial services in most every discipline including English, biology, chemistry, physics, economics, office administration, psychology, sociology, history, medical assistant, business, computer science, nursing, and mathematics.

  • The college added retention specialists, who are instrumental in contacting students who are in need of student support services.

  • Math instruction is delivered in high tech computer labs located in the new Mathematics, Science, and Engineering Technology Center. Math instructors teach students in an individualized learning environment. Tutors assist in this one-to-one platform as each student travels the path of math knowledge at his or her own rate. Students may finish more than one course per semester or move back to a previous course if needed. This new state-of-the-art, eleven million dollar facility was added by the college to upgrade its facilities for students. The Trailblazing Math project was one of the beneficiaries of this college growth.

  • Funding of the Center for College Success is a key ingredient in the success of the program. Retention and success rates are exemplary.

  • Math instructors teach four different courses concurrently in this flipped classroom/emporium model.

“It is our goal to be the best that we can be in providing educational opportunities to students and in serving the community,” Campbell stated. “It is gratifying to see the efforts of our faculty and staff recognized nationally for their work.”

The Bellwether Awards are an integral part of the Assembly, which was established in 1995. The Assembly is sponsored by the Institute of Higher Education at the University of Florida. The Bellwether Awards focus on cutting-edge, trendsetting programs that other colleges might find worthy of replicating. They are given annually in three categories to college with outstanding and innovative programs or practices. The Bellwether Award has been compared to football’s Heisman Award because it is competitively judged and is an award given by your peer in community Colleges, with no cash award. It has also been called “the award of awards” because many institutions with programs that have won other awards apply for the Bellwether Award.

The Community College Futures Assembly, celebrating its 21st anniversary this year, convenes annually as an independent national policy forum for key opinion leaders to serve as a think tank in identifying critical issues facing the future of community colleges, and to recognize Bellwether Finalist colleges as trendsetting institutions. For more information, consult the Community College Futures Assembly website or email

For more information about Northeast, including the Admissions process, visit the college’s web page at or download our free App from the Apple App Store or by going to

Courtesy of Northeast Alabama Community College

Southern Torch

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