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Avery County Native Liz Silvers Promoted to Vice- President at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute

By Tim Gardner

Liz Silvers, a veteran educator who was raised in the Powdermill Community of Avery County, has been promoted to Vice-President for Instruction at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute, which has campuses in Caldwell and Watauga counties with its main headquarters located in Hudson.

Silvers has 30 years’ experience working in higher education and her background in such is widely-varied.  

She previously served in two other administrative posts during her six-and-a-half years working at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute.

She was its Executive Director for Accountability and Strategic Initiatives for two years and four months (2020-2022) after beginning work there in 2016 as Director of Institutional Effectiveness, Research, Grants and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) Accreditation Liaison.

Silvers’ job duties at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute have included oversight and supervision for institutional planning, strategic planning, leadership, research, grant writing, institutional effectiveness, assessment, evaluation strategies, federal reporting, educational consulting, trend analysis for environmental scanning and SACSCOC accreditation. Silvers has also coordinated college-wide systems and processes to ensure the school receives meaningful, appropriate and accurate data necessary to meet its decision-making needs. 

Her role as vice-president focuses on developing programs to respond to workforce needs, elevate partnerships and help students find their pathways to family-sustaining wages.

“Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute is such a special place, and I’m very blessed to be given this opportunity to make a difference for our students and the community,” Silvers said. “Anticipating needs and preparing the community for tomorrow’s jobs and challenges is a huge task, but we have a great team of educators and other staff and I’m excited to work with them to make a difference in the lives of our students.”

Silvers is part of two new leadership team hires at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute. Dr. Jason Chaffin has also joined the school as its chief of staff. Chaffin previously served as Vice-President for Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer at Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, NC.

The expertise that Silvers and Chaffin bring to their new positions will be a tremendous asset to the college, Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute President Dr. Mark Poarch said.

“I am confident that Liz and Jason will position the college to continue our great work of supporting students, employees and our communities as we continue to make CCC&TI the best community college in North Carolina,” he commented.

Prior to her tenure at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute, Silvers worked in administration at Mayland Community College in Spruce Pine, NC for 24 years (1992-2016) as an instructor, Interim Vice-President of Academics and Interim Dean of Arts and Sciences.  She held supervisory roles for 15 years there. 

Her multiple jobs during her tenure at Mayland Community College included federal and SACSCOC Accreditation compliance and managing the program review process. She often worked as a consultant to other colleges as a trained SACSCOC peer reviewer to help them through accreditation and institutional effectiveness processes. Silvers was also responsible for evaluation of programs, institutional effectiveness, assessment (including student learning and program outcomes) research, professional development, planning, grant writing, foundation activities, marketing, publications, child care management, instruction and early college high school and public relations. 

Silvers has also served since 2011 as Community College Planning and Research Organization (CCPRO) President for Western North Carolina.

Her first practical experience as an educator came as an Interim Teacher at Avery County High School in Newland, followed by a short stint in the same role in the Mitchell County, NC School System. 

Silvers earned her Master of Arts degree in Leadership/Higher Education Administration from Appalachian State University in 1997. She previously received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Lees-McRae College (1991) in Banner Elk in English/Language Arts Techer Education for Grades 6-12.

Additionally, she earned eighteen graduate hours in Early Childhood from the University of Iowa.

Silvers is a 1987 Avery County High School graduate.

She is the daughter of the late Pat and Janet Buchanan.  She is married to Rodney Silvers, an executive with Pittman Signs and Printing of Avery/Mitchell County.  They have one child, son Taylor, a deputy sheriff in Mitchell County.