Dr. Ralls

Mining Our Deep Job Veins

Political unrest across the country and the globe was the story of the past year. I believe that widespread economic insecurity has been at the root of much of that discontent. American community colleges, the sector of higher education closely tied to jobs and workforce development, have a unique leadership opportunity to step forward, but we face challenges created by the growing inequalities in regional … Continue reading Mining Our Deep Job Veins

Paving Our Pathway Pipelines

Part I of a six-part series outlining opportunities unique to NOVA to further our goal to help every student succeed, every program achieve and every community prosper. I am biased that community colleges are among the most important institutions in our country today. No other institution provides a pathway to the American Dream for so many as community colleges. Yet we have an Achilles heel, … Continue reading Paving Our Pathway Pipelines

Confronted by Our Challenges, Defined by Our Opportunities

As a kid, I always enjoyed team sports more than individual sports, and during my community college career, my appreciation of teams, or cohorts as we sometimes call them, has only increased. Teams support us when we stumble or slow down, challenge us to broaden our thinking and see different perspectives, and push us to go further than we would typically go alone. One of my … Continue reading Confronted by Our Challenges, Defined by Our Opportunities


Communication; I’ve never worked with or for an organization where people complained that we have too much of it. Open communication is one of the most important characteristics of a healthy, thriving organization. However, all too frequently it falls behind on the daily priority list, even with good intentions. Case in point, I stated in an email earlier that I intended to start a blog … Continue reading Communication