The Fourteenth Connecting in North Carolina Tour (CINC)
This fourteenth modified development tour was successfully implemented May 24, 2016, with 21 participants. This one day and a half trek was designed to expose selected faculty and staff to a specific county of North Carolina – its people, its geography, its culture, its economy – allowing them to witness the tangible contributions made by NC State University as part of our land grant mission. The tour was an opportunity to increase an awareness of the diversity at NC State as well as to gain a greater appreciation for the rural culture that produces our students and employs our graduates.
The 2016 tour included participants from the College of Humanities & Social Sciences, College of Education, College of Engineering, College of Textiles, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, College of Design, College of Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, the Science House, NCSU Libraries, PowerAmerica, Shelton Leadership Center & the Alumni Association. As a result of this experience, faculty and staff commitment to and support of the institution’s mission and goals were strengthened. They forged friendships with University colleagues outside their own disciplines which should stimulate joint research and extension initiatives leading to enhanced economic development. Furthermore, site hosts gained a better insight into the University and its community engagement focus by meeting the faculty face-to-face.
Mini CINC, sponsored by the Provost, the Vice Provost for Outreach and Engagement, and the Vice Provost for Continuing Education, was organized and managed by the McKimmon Center for Extension and Continuing Education (MCE&CE) in cooperation with a task force consisting of staff from Lenoir Community College, a local farmer from Lenoir County, a local businessman from Kinston, Cooperative Extension staff, NC State Alumni relations staff and other key NC State staff members from Continuing Education and IES. Prior to the tour, the participants attended a mini tour orientation on May 11th and were given a detailed resource notebook which contained information relevant to Lenoir County and the sites comprising the one-day itinerary. The group of twenty-one left the campus and “hit-the-road” on May 24th for a bus tour that gave them a first-hand opportunity to get to know more about Lenoir County and Kinston, its native sons and daughters; to witness the economic development role of our University, and to better understand the impact of NC State University on the quality of life and livelihood of its citizens.
The 2016 Mini CINC tour can be labeled a success since all seven questions in the overall tour evaluation range from 4.4 to 5.00 on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being “excellent”. The “overall value of the tour” criterion was 4.6.
Individual tour sites were evaluated by the participants with ranges from 4.6 at Spirit Aerosystems; 4.7 at Tull Hill Farms; 4.7 at Cunningham Research Farm; 4.4 at SmART Historical Homes; 4.6 at Mother Earth Brewery; and 4.6 at the O’Neil Hotel. The numerical values were reinforced by voluntary participant comments received on the evaluation forms or in subsequent thank-you notes and emails. As shared in previous years, one general conclusion to be drawn from the participant ratings is that the stronger the relationship a given site has with NC State, the more meaningful the overall visitation/interaction.
Overall Comments from 2016:
- Meeting other members of NC State community
- Learning about the changings economy of Kinston
- See impacts of extension efforts
- Gained ideas for community redevelopment
- Proud all over again of my home state and its rural roots
- Greater knowledge of challenges facing postindustrial small towns in NC
- Networking with other campus colleagues
- Broadens depth of understanding, put a personal face on what we do
- Learning about NC State’s research in other parts of the state
- Building relationships with communities outside of Raleigh
- Learning more about North Carolina Agriculture
- Greater knowledge of the impact of community colleges on the educational system and the county.
- Including the awareness of the advantages of practical, technical experience.
- Learning about the ways NC State contributes and interacts with the community.
- Deeper understanding of the challenges, opportunities, and strategies for small town revitalization
- Seeing my hometown from a different perspective
- Brainstorm with colleagues on specific engagement activities regarding Rutherford County
- Write an article feature story for external communications
- Continue to explore NC & learn more about the community needs regionally
- Remain in contact with goals of promoting both industry folks & academic recruitment (job & education)
- Inform others of the opportunities that exist & engage in partnerships that promote improved environmental sustainability while producing high quality products
- I will follow up on possible library collaborations in Rutherford/ Polk counties
- I will promote extension support & awareness in the libraries
- Contact and collaborate with Trelleborg
- Collaborate with two NC State colleagues
- I will definitely recommend the tour to other people
- I will look into service programs that might work for our students in underserved areas of the state
- I will consider how to make a connection to the individuals I met. I will provide more support to extension activities