Message from Dr. Belinda S. Miles – May 13, 2016
Next week we will celebrate student achievement. Our focus will be on the more than 2,170 graduates combined from August, December, and May—which is about 150 more than last year’s record-breaking graduating class. We recognize their accomplishments, and thank the faculty, counselors, support staff, and others who have helped create the conditions for their success.
In many areas of our work, we’ve made wonderful progress building on strong foundations of learning and service at the college. In other areas, we have developed momentum around new areas of opportunity for our continued progress. One of the main initiatives we took on together this year was finding ways to improve the student academic experience through the college. While an impressive number of our hard-working students complete degrees every year, many others struggle to find their place, take the right classes at the right time, get the support they need, and make timely progress through our curriculum.
Through months of collective brainstorming, deliberations, discussions, and refinements, we have established a “schools structure” that will help redefine the student experience at Westchester Community College. The process followed the familiar team development stages of forming, storming, norming, and performing. We confidently end the academic year with four new schools, and a plan to bring this to life for our students in the fall.
Here are the new schools followed by a link with information about the departments within them.
- School of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
- School of Business and Professional Careers
- School of Health Careers and Applied Learning
- School of Mathematics, Science, and Engineering
The schools are comprised of clusters of curricula designed to network faculty, advance deep learning, facilitate coordinated co-curricular engagement (such as guest lectures, mentoring, club activities), and promote applied learning opportunities. They will foster closer and earlier student-student and student-teacher bonds and provide greater clarity regarding transfer and employment opportunities.
We are already welcoming students to their schools through our open houses and orientation programs. As they enter, students are introduced to specific academic program clusters based upon their interests. With counselors, advisors, and faculty, students have access to information and support structures that keep them focused on their goals by taking the right classes and getting involved in relevant activities that support their learning.
The schools structure aligns well with several other key college initiatives: Middle States monitoring report → clearer enrollment management processes and experiences; Achieving the Dream/PRESS → increased clarity regarding the student journey and experience; and Academic Master Plan → more focus regarding academic programs, objectives, and operations. Your contributions to these and other processes are significant and have consistently improved our efforts and achievements.
So before commencement week, I offer a big thank you to each of you for your hard work and for making valuable contributions to our mission of access, affordability, and high-quality learning experiences for our community. Next week is about our students and what they have done to achieve success, but this week we remind ourselves of the important roles we play in making their success happen.
Thanks for making it a great week!
Dr. Belinda S. Miles