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Janice Gilliam

Residence: Blountville, TN

Organization: Northeast State Community College

Occupation: President

First job:
 Cosmetologist, then Faculty Isothermal Community College, Spindale NC, then at Haywood Community College, Clyde NC, then VP of Student Development, Haywood CC

Philosophy: Community Colleges have democratized higher education; my role as president is “talent recovery” and make students aware of opportunities and change lives, as the community college has changed mine, as a graduate and employee (NC Community Colleges 28.5 years, President at NeState 4.5 years)

Favorite music: Easy Listening and Classical Country (Vince Gill)

Favorite movie:  "Gone with the Wind"

Favorite book:  John Maxwell’s 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership


What got me interested in my work: I wanted to be a math teacher in high school, but my parents were concerned about sending me off to college (riots and hippies in the 70’s) so I chose to be a cosmetology teacher instead, which led me to faculty and administrator positions in the community college

Greatest accomplishment:   Raising three sons with my husband, Austin; completing my doctorate, a first generation college graduate (Mother and father completed 8th grade)

Success is...Being a servant leader where ever you are

Favorite Quote: John Maxwell, “The heart of leadership is putting others ahead of yourself. It’s doing whatever is best for the team.”

Current Project/s:                

  • Sharing our mission, which is about Access, Completion, and Community

  • Providing access to higher education within 20-30 miles of every citizen (Opening/expanding new teaching sites and advancing use of technology in delivering higher education)

  • Growing our capacity to serve students and change their lives—improving “wrap around services” to help students persist and complete a certificate or degree

  • Expanding workforce development in the region

  • Professional development/leadership for employees to prepare the college for the future

  • Leading through entrepreneurial skills sets (previously owned a business, certified as a REAL Instructor (Rural Entrepreneurship through Action Learning)—developed a cost center approach to budgeting/planning; Gain/loss statements for each program/service area—revenues vs expenses, break-even analysis for teaching sites for example; access to information through iDashboards to make data-informed decisions

  • Improving efficiency and sustainability by implementing  strategies to reduce cost while providing the highest quality education (leveraging technology, such as video conferencing, to reduce travel costs from campuses to attend meetings; paperless workflow saved the college $30K last year, new HVAC boilers saving $80K annually)

How has NACCE impacted your work?

I was involved with integrating entrepreneurial skill sets across the college at Haywood Community College and as a faculty member in a program of study (NC REAL), so getting engaged in the NACCE was a welcomed opportunity to expand these concepts at Northeast State. Entrepreneurship Certificate is being developed as part of our Small Business Operations AAS degree, we are committed to leading entrepreneurially through transformative leadership. We have sent faculty to REAL training and currently providing support to our local small businesses through the SAM’s Shared Vision grant in collaboration with ARC.


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