Message from Dr. Belinda S. Miles: Building our Community – December 11, 2020
December 11, 2020
One of the great attractions of community colleges is that we are comprehensive institutions. Our access mission opens doors to a wide spectrum of programs and reaches far throughout the community. This week’s message highlights a few examples of the breadth and diversity of opportunities we provide to build and strengthen our community.
The Educational Opportunity Center (EOC) is distinct among our opportunity programs with its focus on helping adults earn high school equivalency credentials and short-term training that leads to immediate employment or further education. Yesterday, SUNY Chancellor Dr. Jim Malatras announced the launch of the new SUNY FOR ALL campaign to expand access to higher education and prepare students for college in online training programs facilitated through the state’s Educational Opportunity Centers.
Students successfully completing any of the Online Training Center certificates with a high school diploma or high school equivalency credential will be automatically accepted into any of SUNY’s 30 community colleges with the application fee waived. This provides another terrific pipeline for students to find their way to Westchester Community College, and we are exploring how this new program aligns with our existing pathways.
Our Honors Program is another distinguished opportunity within our diverse learning experiences and offerings. The Honors Program is designed to facilitate in depth learning that broadens critical thinking, creates cohorts of very high-achieving students in intellectually rigorous classes, provides co-curricular activities that expand students’ portfolios, and propels students to reach their fullest potential at Westchester Community College and beyond. Dr. Mira Sakrajda put out a call earlier this week for recommendations for potential candidates for the program and we appreciate your assistance in making referrals. If you have students who are ready for this challenging opportunity, please email email@example.com
Of course, our traditional degree seekers remain core to our mission. Please be reminded that our students need special and extra encouragement this year as they continue to exhibit fortitude during this year of learning in new ways. Enrollment for the winter and spring terms is well underway. Winter classes start on December 22 and spring instruction begins January 25, 2021. Consider taking a moment to make a few more calls, send that extra email, or make announcements at events and in classes to encourage students to enroll — whether they have just started and are continuing or are on track for May 2021 completion.
As we support continuing students through registration, we are excited to pause and celebrate graduates at our 72nd Commencement on Tuesday, December 22 at 6 p.m. We take this time to honor the achievements of our students, many who have faced unimaginable challenges to show up and complete their studies. These are certainly among the strongest of our #VikingStrong students.<
Although the holiday season may look and feel different – like most of 2020 – there are many ways to celebrate, reflect upon, and engage in activities that are most meaningful to us and to others. We wish a very Happy Chanukah to our colleagues and friends who may be celebrating. And please join me in thanking our WCC Helping Hands and Senior Administrative Leadership Team (SALT) volunteers, capably led by Nikki Rutledge, who received, packaged, and distributed our donations to Hillside Food Outreach in Elmsford, NY. If you are interested in participating in this initiative, online donations are still being accepted: Donate online to Hillside Food Outreach. Please be sure to note “WCC Community Service Drive” in your response to how you heard about Hillside.
Wishing the best to each of you always!
Dr. Belinda S. Miles