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Investing in Students’ Futures With ANC President Christopher Heigle

2 min read

Christopher Heigle grew up in Heber Springs and worked as an aide to U.S. Rep. Marion Berry. He spent eight years at East Arkansas Community College, then joined Arkansas Northeastern College in 2020 as director of federal grant development and special projects and was promoted to vice president for student affairs in 2021. On July 1, 2023, he became ANC’s fifth president.

Heigle earned a bachelor’s from Arkansas State University in 2007, then master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Memphis.

ANC’s enrollment is stable. Where do you recruit students, and what’s your sales pitch?

Well, at Arkansas Northeastern College, we’re all about tapping into the local spirit and potential. Most of our students come from right here in Mississippi County and the Bootheel of Missouri. We’re proud to be a part of this community and its growth. My pitch? Simple. ANC offers you a chance to invest in your future without breaking the bank. We’re preparing folks for real jobs that pay real money right here in our own backyard, especially in booming sectors like steel and health care. Our commitment? To get you from classroom to paycheck as smoothly as possible.

ANC has the lowest tuition but the highest salaries for recent graduates. How was that achieved?

The reason we can boast about high salaries for our graduates is largely thanks to our focus on workforce-aligned programs — particularly courses in steel manufacturing, nursing and other technical trades, like HVAC and construction. These aren’t just jobs; they’re careers that build communities. Our partnerships with local industries ensure that the skills you learn here are the skills employers are desperately seeking. It’s crucial to align our programs and services to meet the needs of our local economy. As a community college, it’s our job to anticipate economic trends and build our communities in ways that address those potential challenges.

You have a grant-writing and fundraising background. Does that help you now?

Absolutely. My background is continually at play. Leveraging existing resources to bring about meaningful change is a fundamental part of my role. Whether it’s updating our tech labs, expanding our campus facilities or enhancing our student services, this work ensures we’re not just keeping pace but setting the pace in community college education. Seeing opportunities to leverage grants and donations means we can make substantial impacts without relying solely on tuition and state funding.

Was education in the Delta a career you sought out or did it find you?

You could say education in the Delta chose me. After working for the U.S. Congress, moving into education here seemed natural. I’ve been in the Delta for 18 years now, and it’s a place where you can see the direct impact of your efforts.

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