Last updated: September 27. 2013 1:59PM -

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RED SPRINGS — Officials with Robeson Community College will visit five Robeson County towns during the next two months in an effort to design programs to better serve residents.


The listening tour, which has already stopped in Rowland and Red Springs, will also makes stops in St. Pauls, Maxton, Fairmont, Pembroke and Lumberton.


“The goal as we to go around to each community is to get feedback we can use,” RCC President Pamela Hilbert said. “We felt we might see some common themes about what people want to see the college doing.”


Hilbert said information will be used in the college’s strategic planning.


During the forums, participants gather in small groups lead by a facilitator from RCC. Attendees are asked a series of questions to get the discussion started.


Some of the topics include: what people like about RCC and its services; changes or improvements needed at the college; how RCC can best help recruit business and prepare people for work; and how can the community can partner with the college.


“So far we’ve had some very good discussions and gotten some good ideas that we will take back and begin compiling,” Hilbert said.


Surime Azua, a student in a RCC adult education class in Red Springs, said she found the event helpful. The GED student told the group that she liked RCC’s small classes and the individual attention that students receive from the instructor. She said the class was “like a family.”


“I think it is cool that the college is asking us what we think and how we feel about our classes,” Azua said. “They want the positive and the negative and that is how you make things better.”


The Red Springs forum was attended by a sparse group of residents, RCC trustees, faculty and students.


Hilbert said she hopes more people will attend upcoming forums.


“Maybe by then we will have gotten the hang of it,” she said. “Of course, we understand that people have busy lives and it is hard to find the right time and place. We will take whoever wants to come and give us ideas.”


The meetings are scheduled as follows: St. Pauls forum will be held for Oct. 15 at the Dr. R. E. Hooks building; Maxton forum will be held Oct. 22 at the Maxton Community Center; Fairmont forum to be held Nov. 12 at the Heritage Center; and the Lumberton forum will be held Nov. 19 at the Osterneck Auditorium.


Hilbert said there are plans to hold a similar forum on campus for students and another one targeted at those interested in the public safety field.


“We do a lot of public safety training so we also want to make sure that area is covered,” she said.


For information, contact Dennis Watts at 910-272-3369 or at dwatts@robeson.edu.

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