Dr. Mark A. Sorrells has been selected as the next President of Fayetteville Technical Community College, the FTCC Board of Trustees announced today.
Sorrells, currently the College’s Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Services, will succeed Dr. J. Larry Keen, effective Jan. 1, 2023. Keen, who announced his retirement plans in January of this year, has been FTCC’s President since 2007.
“We are delighted to have a leader of Dr. Sorrells’ caliber to guide FTCC into the future,” said David Williford, Chairman of FTCC’s Board of Trustees. “We’re confident that he is the right person to lead our faculty and staff and to help our students achieve their goals. FTCC has a history of success and we believe this will continue under Dr. Sorrells’ leadership.”
Sorrells was selected after a nationwide search that began in March. The North Carolina State Board of Community Colleges approved his selection on Friday, Sept. 16. The FTCC Board of Trustees finalized the selection this morning.
Sorrells will be the fifth president of FTCC, which was founded in 1961. FTCC is the state’s third largest community college serving over 28,000 students annually.
Sorrells said he is excited to continue building on Dr. Keen’s vision of establishing FTCC as a leader in economic and workforce development in Cumberland County, the region and the state.
“I’m humbled by and grateful for the vote of confidence by the Board of Trustees,” Sorrells said. “I will do my best to carry on the legacy of Dr. Keen, who has been a wonderful mentor and friend. I can assure you that we will stay the course and carry out and build on the vision that Dr. Keen has established for FTCC to serve as a leader in economic and workforce development for Cumberland County, the region and the State.”
Sorrells said he appreciated the support and encouragement he received from faculty, staff and members of the community through the presidential selection process. “Cumberland County is a ‘can do’ community,” he said. “I’m eager to continue serving with other community leaders to improve the higher education and economic opportunities that are available to the community and to enhance the social mobility of our citizens.”
Sorrells joined FTCC in January 2019 in his current position. His duties have included managing and overseeing 86 curriculum programs, corporate and continuing education, student services, and academic support divisions, as well as assessment, accreditation, and faculty development.
Since joining FTCC, Sorrells has honed the College’s commitment to providing educational and workforce-training solutions for the diverse community of students served by FTCC.
Under his leadership, FTCC has worked with private and public partners to identify critical needs in economic and workforce development and created innovative solutions to address those issues. A key initiative is the Carolina Cyber Network (CCN), a partnership of 2- and 4-year colleges and universities working together, with the support of the North Carolina General Assembly to address the significant skills gap and talent needed to respond to cyber threats faced by public and private entities across North Carolina and the nation. The protection of our national security and financial interests is of great importance to the economy and stability of our organizational systems. FTCC led the formation of the CCN and remains a leader in the organization.
At FTCC, Sorrells has worked with administration, faculty, and staff to grow programs that align with the workforce needs of the employers in the county and the region. As a result, the College is starting new and expanding a number of healthcare programs, including its nursing and respiratory programs. The College is currently renovating an existing facility to create a state-of-the-art Nursing Education and Simulation Center, which will allow it to increase enrollment and thereby grow the supply of talent for employers in the area.
Sorrells has also been a key catalyst in the creation of FTCC’s H.O.P.E. Re-connect initiative, which provides on-the-job training in high-demand skills and the prospect of an accelerated path to employment. H.O.P.E. Re-connect is aimed at adult learners who lack college or high school credentials and may face career barriers as a result.
Prior to joining FTCC, Sorrells spent 17 years at the Golden LEAF Foundation Inc., including fourteen years as its Senior Vice President. His responsibilities there included program development and financial management for the $1.1 billion nonprofit organization. Earlier in his career, he served as Executive Director of North Carolina REAL Enterprises, a statewide organization implementing entrepreneurial education in participating schools and community colleges as an economic development strategy for rural communities. Sorrells’ career in higher education began at Haywood Community College as a Business Administration Instructor in 1985.
Sorrells earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Business Administration from the University of Tennessee. He also holds a Doctor of Education in Education Leadership from East Carolina University. He completed Executive Programs for Philanthropic and Nonprofit Leaders through Stanford University and was a Fellow with the William C. Friday Fellowship for Human Relations’ Wildacres Leadership Initiative. Sorrells has been married to his wife, Leslie, for 37 years.
During a public forum for faculty, staff and the community, Sorrells described himself “as a servant leader who actively listens to understand diverse perspectives, seeks to coach team members to achieve high levels of performance, and is successful at building strong partnerships to achieve meaningful outcomes.”
He has said his 35 years of experience in higher education and economic development has given him an understanding of “the needs of economically challenged communities as well as the needs of the people and organizations served by community colleges.”