Message from Dr. Belinda S. Miles: Co-Creating our “Next Normal”
June 25, 2021
Thanks for attending Wednesday’s Town Hall meeting on pandemic re-emergence and sharing your thoughtful ideas and sometimes very personal experiences in the breakout groups and the surveys. The high attendance number and the comments shared say a lot about the critical importance of this topic and the genuine desire to serve more students on campus while retaining virtual experiences that have worked well. We have posted the video of the Town Hall.
The Pandemic Response Team has commenced an immediate review of all your input as well as the latest information (still evolving) on recommended practices from federal, state, and county agencies, including SUNY. Health and safety will remain central to re-emergence plans alongside exemplary 21st-century student learning and engagement practices we have learned for reaching students who we may not have engaged fully in the past. Across all functions, whether directly serving students or providing mission-critical leadership and support, we have an unprecedented opportunity to create re-envisioned in-person and virtual spaces where great ideas can be introduced, cultivated, and manifested.
Our re-emergence will reaffirm our commitment to the distinctive community college access mission which includes being present where our students need us most. This includes the classroom and other learning spaces; the cafeteria and coffee shop and other places to meet up and collaborate. And it includes new virtual spaces and experiences where students engage in the free moments and scheduled times that occur in their busy, complex lives, even during evenings and weekends. Our agile practices—flattening the organizational structure, sharing information quickly across functional units, and following iterative prototyping and testing processes—is keeping us responsive and relevant as we design the programs and systems that will support student success when we fully emerge from the pandemic.
Some of you lamented the lack of specific directives and return-to-campus timelines at the Town Hall this week, and that is understandable. Our commitment is for change to happen with you and not just to you. Accordingly, we will keep you informed in an open and transparent manner and invite your input as we co-create Westchester Community College’s next chapter together. Further, PRT will provide more regular updates on our re-emergence plans and will schedule another Town Hall meeting in mid-July. Watch for announcements and Zoom links.
All of us have a role in the college’s success, and as we continue to celebrate our 75th anniversary, I look forward to collaborating with you to advance our mission, meet our goals, and ensure that WCC remains the premier college for teaching, learning, and workforce development in and beyond our region.
Wishing you a very productive, healthy, and rejuvenating summer!
Dr. Belinda S. Miles