WESTCHESTER COMMUNITY COLLEGE RECEIVES GRANT TO CREATE NATIONAL COMMUNITY COLLEGE CONSORTIUM FOR IMMIGRANT EDUCATION AND NAMES PROJECT DIRECTOR
The J.M. Kaplan Fund has awarded a $125,000 grant to Westchester Community College to create a national Community College Consortium for Immigrant Education (CCCIE). The grant will provide seed money for a project to raise the profile of immigrant education among community college administrators and educators and their professional associations. With this funding, Westchester Community College has hired a dynamic leader as its director and will establish a blue ribbon panel of experts in the field of immigrant education. Together, the CCCIE director and blue ribbon panel will recruit and organize a speakers’ bureau whose members will present at several conferences in 2008-2009, and hold a strategic conference at the college in the spring of 2009.
“This grant will help us, and many other community colleges across the country, adapt to changing demographics,” says Westchester Community College President Joseph Hankin. “As community colleges, a key part of our mission is to educate those who may not have the means to otherwise improve their lives. This includes those who are new to this country and others who cannot afford four-year institutions. By researching new approaches to immigrant education, we will be better able to serve this population, and will help other institutions do the same.”
The grant from the J.M. Kaplan Fund recognizes Westchester Community College’s leading role in providing educational opportunities for immigrants. The college has demonstrated a deep commitment to providing excellent and affordable education that reflects the needs of the increasingly diverse Westchester County population. The grant will ensure that visionary and dedicated community colleges across the nation will have a vehicle for sharing their resources and expertise to the field of immigrant and adult education more broadly in response to the pressing needs of immigrants and communities.
The Community College Consortium for Immigrant Education will seek to increase awareness among the nation’s 1,200 community colleges as well as the professional organizations that serve community colleges, higher education providers and English language acquisition programs. Over the grant period, the college will develop a structure to assemble and disseminate key resources and raise the visibility of the issue with the ultimate goal of increasing immigrant education program offerings and quality.
Teresita Bango Wisell (White Plains resident) will serve as the director of this new initiative at Westchester Community College. Since 1996, Wisell has been Director of Admissions at the college. Formerly, she was Associate Director of Admissions at Temple University and Director of Admissions at Saint Joseph’s University. Both universities are located in Philadelphia. She holds a Bachelors degree in International Relations and Spanish and an MBA in Marketing. She received the State University of New York Chancellor’s award in Professional Service, was awarded a Leadership Fellowship by the National Community College Hispanic Council, and was honored with the City of White Plains Youth Bureau Hispanic Heritage Award for her service to youth. She regularly serves as a panelist and lecturer on issues regarding access to education and the immigrant population.
The Kaplan-funded initiative builds on Westchester Community College’s ambitious plans to serve its community’s needs. In 2010, the college plans to open The Gateway Center, a 70,000-square-foot building that will house a variety of programs and services in an innovative and exciting learning environment. Gateway will provide resources for immigrants, international students, traditional students, as well as community-based organizations, businesses, and other relevant entities. The Gateway Center will encompass the English Language Institute, the county’s largest English language acquisition program, and the college’s Business Programs, Modern Language Programs, International Student Services, Professional Development Center (which provides workforce training to local businesses) and Volunteer Corps.