Message from Dr. Belinda S. Miles: Celebrating Community
September 17, 2021
Today is Constitution Day, set aside each year to remind “We the People” of the rights we are guaranteed as citizens of the United States, and just how fragile our system of government can become if not guarded. Constitution Day is also a reminder that it is the job of each of us as responsible citizens to know our rights – to question these rights – and to protect these rights. Special thanks to Professor Gelaine Williams and the 2021 Planning Committee, faculty, and staff who collaborated to create relevant programming designed around the theme, Truth and Promise – Life, Liberty, Freedom, and Democracy at a Crossroads and Tested by the Present, and offering students and our college community an opportunity to learn about and be exposed to new ideas and perspectives.
On Wednesday, we kicked off Latin American History Month, celebrating this year’s theme, Esperanza: A Celebration of Latinx Heritage and Hope. As a community, we take pride in our diversity, equity, and inclusion, and programming such as Latin American history adds to a vibrant student experience and gives us all an opportunity to better understand our diverse community. Thanks to students Brenda K. Herrera, Kiana Domenech, Paola Beber, and Maiara Costa Da Pereira Rodrigues for collaborating with faculty and staff to create opportunities to learn about and embrace our Latinx community. Be sure to check the Event Calendar for information on LAHM and other co- and extra-curricular programs.
As a Hispanic and Minority Serving Institution and an Achieving the Dream institution, we are working intentionally to redesign programs, services, and even curriculum to be culturally responsive and to help students succeed. Programs like the Black and Hispanic Male Initiative, scholarship and mentoring programs like Uplift and SMILE (Success Matters in Life & Education) offered by the PepsiCo Foundation, and other programs are designed to help students stay on track toward degree or certificate completion and create pathways to greater opportunities for our diverse student body.
While the national debate continues regarding creating greater access to higher education through free community college, we must be laser focused in creating pathways to success through retention and persistence – and helping our students to achieve their academic and career goals.
Special thanks to Faculty Senate Presiding Officer Chad Thompson for convening the 2021 Faculty Convocation and inviting the college community to celebrate the start of the academic year and the achievements of our colleagues. We welcomed new employees to the college, each of whom will be valuable contributors in pursuing the college’s mission. Please also join me in congratulating the following recipients of Faculty Excellence Awards: Professor Kamil Hamaoui (Excellence in Teaching); Professor Nicole Tschampel (Excellence in Service); and Professors Megan Leight and Tina Margolis (Adjunct Awards). We thank the WCC Foundation for supporting programs like the Excellence Awards that recognize the achievements and contributions of our faculty and staff.
Finally, classes for our 12-week session will begin next Wednesday, September 22. There is still opportunity for students to enroll in our 7.5 week session, which begins on October 25. Thank you for helping to get students enrolled in this session, especially those who may be on track to complete in December.
Dr. Belinda S. Miles