Message from Dr. Belinda S. Miles – February 23, 2015
I am prefacing this update with a provocative opinion from this weeks’ Washington Post http://wapo.st/17pr2ZS. The implications for our work and future are profound. I’d love to hear your responses. Recent campus highlights for your information follow.
The spring 2015 Student Involvement Fair was a huge success! Despite sub-freezing temperatures, hundreds of students gathered in the gymnasium to learn about the many college clubs and organizations available at WCC. It was a personal delight to meet students at this event and encourage their participation. Thanks to the Student Involvement Office for coordinating this event and to the faculty and staff who serve as advisers to these co-curricular experiences.
The work of “telling our story,” advocating for resources, and fostering win-win partnerships continues to gain momentum: recent meeting with County Executive to discuss WCC priorities and plans; strategic outreach for WCC budget and programming support in Albany with various State legislators; local inauguration for newly elected assembly member, Rebecca Seawright, 76th district. Also, partnership development meetings are scheduled in the coming weeks with Dr. Marsha Gordon of the Business Council of Westchester, Yonkers Thrives, and the Westchester County Board of Legislators.
I am grateful for the opportunity to have engaged with staff during a “Meet and Greet” event celebrating Mardi Gras which featured a spectacular meal prepared by culinary arts students in the Buffet Catering practicum course led by Prof. Phil McGrath. So much of what we accomplish at WCC is the result of the efforts of our staff and it was wonderful to share this time together getting better acquainted!
WCC a enjoys the rank of third place (tied) on the list of signups by community college students committed to smoking cessation as part of the University of Rochester’s student survey on smoking. Through emails, social networking posts and more, we helped get the word out on this effort to encourage students to stop smoking. Our participation is supported by our President’s Advisory Committee for a Tobacco-Free Campus. Thanks to Prof. Sheldon Malev for his steadfast dedication to this work.
Special thanks to counseling faculty member, Ellen Zendman, for joining me in Baltimore, MD a for the 2015 Achieving the Dream National Reform Network Conference on Student Success as guests of the CollegeBoard. Achieving the Dream promotes five key principles — Broad Engagement, Committed Leadership, Use of Evidence, Systemic Institutional Improvement, and Equity — to improve institutional outcomes for retention, academic success, and graduation. We look forward to sharing new ideas and best practices with colleagues.
We congratulate Academic Vice President Dr. Joanne Russell as she transitions to a new role with SUNY Central Administration later this week. Thanks for your leadership and best wishes!
Huge thanks to the Westchester Community College Faculty Federation of Teachers (WCCFT) for, once again, generously supporting student retention and completion through scholarships. The WCCFT is giving $6,000 toward four student scholarships: 3 for continuing students and one for a graduating student.
The College is committed to business continuity and service excellence and is now advertising several full-time and part-time positions.
Thank you to the more than 100 faculty, staff, and administrators who contributed to the College’s self-study providing evidence of how we are meeting standards in 14 categories established by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE):
- Mission and Goals
- Planning, Resource Allocation and Institutional Renewal
- Institutional Resources
- Leadership and Governance
- Institutional Assessment
- Student Admissions and Retention
- Student Support Services
- Educational Offerings
- General Education
- Basic Skills
- Assessment of Student Learning
The self-study is complete and was successfully submitted to the MSCHE review team last week in preparation for their site review visit next month. MSCHE standings determine institution quality and status. Please be present at work and available during the visit dates (March 29th thru April 1st) in case you are needed to share perspectives and expertise.
WCC joins SUNY in promoting the SUNY Investment Fund which would increase spending on student success initiatives over the next 5 years including the goal of graduating more “prepared” students on time so they can enter and be effective in the workforce.
Kudos to Ann Rubenzahl and Jeanne Maloney for their article published in the Westchester Council Business Journal (Feb. 9, 2015) focused on best practices and partnerships between community colleges and business/industry [see attached PDF document]. WCC’s partnerships in manufacturing are among featured items discussed.
UPCOMING MEETINGS AND DATES
The entire college community is encouraged to attend any one of the upcoming Town Hall Meetings to discuss campus updates including information about the upcoming Middle States visit. Schedule is as follows:
- Monday, March 2nd – 10- 12 – Classroom 200
- Thursday, March 5th – 4 – 6 – Gateway, Davis Auditorium
- Wednesday, March 11th – 11 – 1 – Classroom 200
Thank you for your continued support and commitment to excellence at WCC.