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Raising the Bar with Dr. Phil Neal, president, Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College

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Today’s episode is brought to you by CCCSE. For 20 years, CCCSE has delivered “aha” moments about the community college student experience based on insights that matter. As part of our CCCSE series on community college leadership, your host Ralph Newell sits down for a one-on-one with the president of Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College (SKYCTC), Dr. Phil Neal.

Tune in as Dr. Neal shares how raising the bar and setting high expetations on student engagement launched SKYCTC in their work with CCCSE. Addressing equity with a focus on the human connection within the student experience, he views higher education through a lens of human growth and development. Asking questions not just about degree completion but what the community college experience does for the person emotionally, for their long-term career success, and their potential to change their lives, their families, and the communities in which they live.


  • Dr. Phil Neil’s journey in higher education and love for the community college mission
  • How CCCSE aids institutions to ensure student success
  • What is the workplace ethics program, and why is it so important?
  • The culture of caring as the foundation of SKYCTC
  • “Students don’t do optional” - making student engagement inescapable 
  • Designing a "work and learn" model of teaching and learning 
  • How pandemic access measures uncovered a path to access for more diverse populations


“I love the idea of student engagement. I believe in it wholeheartedly. The key to student success is when we engage with each other in ways that are meaningful and supportive so that we all move forward in better ways.”

“When you believe in people and you set high expectations, they will rise to the occasion. And every student has some different challenges or strengths in life, and we've got to be there to help them along, but if you don't set the bar high for people, achievable but high, they don't think you believe in them.”

Learn more about CCCSE at:

Meet Dr. Linda García, Executive Director for the Center for Community College Student Engagement:­s/podcast/15109685/meet-dr-linda-garca-e­xecutive-director-for-the-center-for-com­munity-college-student-engagement

Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College Leadership (SKYCTC):


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In The Margins is produced by Diverse: Issues In Higher Education and edited by Instapodcasts (visit at

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