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Q&A with Jennifer Haygood

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Jennifer Haygood

What is the most interesting work or highlight so far in your career?

Having worked for both the NC Community College System and the University of North Carolina System, I have gained a unique perspective on the similarities and differences between these two systems of public higher education. Both have strengths that the other can learn from. Collectively, our state’s colleges and universities provide a wide array of opportunities for North Carolinians to earn high-quality postsecondary credentials without incurring crippling student debt.

What are you most proud of in your career to date?

I am most proud of my contributions related to reforming the community college funding model. While no formula is perfect, the model now funds instruction year-round (not just during the traditional academic year), supports programs leading to high-quality workforce credentials, recognizes program cost differentials, and includes a performance-based funding component. Collectively, these changes helped align the funding formula’s incentives with our student success goals.

What is the most important skill that policy students should learn?

To communicate clear, concise, actionable information. Policy makers generally have limited time to make consequential decisions. To effectively influence policy, students need to learn how to distill their message to its essential elements.

Terry Sanford implored students to ‘stand for something.’ What do you stand for?

Never forget the “public” in “public policy”. Those in public service have an awesome responsibility to put the collective good ahead of individual interests and to foster the principles of good government, even when inconvenient or unpopular. I also believe we should embrace compromise as the healthy outcome of the democratic process, rather than a betrayal of ideals.

UNC Photo: Credit Jack A. Lanier