Message from Dr. Belinda S. Miles: Creating a Community of Learners
May 11, 2018
Last week, I shared our Strategic Plan, mentioning how it drives our work, helps us track our progress, and reminds us of remaining work. One distinctive aspect of the plan is a focus on college readiness with emphasis on working across the high school and college continuum to ensure student success at Westchester Community College.
To engage with students before they graduate high school, WCC works with area schools to reimagine senior English and math courses so that students are ready to enter college without the need for remediation. StepUp: Transition to College, a WCC Foundation-sponsored initiative, works with 12th graders to improve essential reading, writing, and numeracy skills needed for success in first-year college courses. This year, more than 600 students from nine partner high schools were enrolled in StepUp, and WCC will collaborate with six additional schools over the next two years. On May 4, approximately 140 StepUp students were on campus for StepUp Intake Day gaining exposure to the campus and preparing to enroll this fall. Students received information about joining the new Viking ROADS cohort, STEM Pathways, and other cohort-based opportunity programs.
Spanning the bridge between high school and college, the P-TECH (Pathways in Technology Early College High School) program blends the six years from high school to associate degree completion into a single seamless experience for students. On May 9, we shared with 15 students and their parents, a glimpse of their fall semester as our first on-campus cohort of P-TECH students who are on track to complete their AAS degree in Civil Engineering by spring 2020. Just one week ago, Governor Cuomo announced the winners of the latest P-TECH partnership awards supporting a new P-TECH partnership between Yonkers Public Schools and WCC connecting to our newly approved degree program in Health Information Technologies. Here is a link to the announcement.
These special cohort-based programs are among several dynamic experiences at WCC designed to enrich the teaching, learning, and support experiences for our students including: Viking ROADS (WCC’s replication of CUNY’s ASAP Program), TRIO Student Support Services, the Honors College, EOP, STEM Baccalaureate Transfer Programs (NSF LSAMP, NIH Bridges and Mercy STEM Scholars), and the STEM Technician Applied Engineering Programs (Bright Futures Academic/Career Pathways and NSF PAL-TEC Grant in Photonics). Our first STEM Pathways recruitment event for prospective students occurred this past Wednesday, where interested students and families learned first-hand about the many exciting STEM programs and pathways available to them.
Very special thanks to Laurie Miller McNeill for her extraordinary work in institutional advancement. We also thank Jeanette Kim and her team in High School Partnerships; Lenore Rodrigues and the Viking ROADS team; Maria Boada, Ray Houston, Kary Ioannou, and Matt Sokol for their outreach to STEM students; our faculty for designing the rich and engaging curriculum and for working with our partners; and to Shaunyce Jones and the Admissions and Counseling Team for welcoming our newly admitted and prospective students to campus this past week.
Let’s continue to provide a very warm welcome to prospective students during the May 15 Open House from 4 – 6 pm! And as we welcome new and prospective students and support those who are continuing, we ready ourselves to send the Class of 2018 off to four-year colleges and universities, the workforce, or whichever new paths they choose. We look forward to their return as committed alums. Westchester Community College is a very special community of learners. It is an honor and a pleasure to serve alongside each of you!
Dr. Belinda S. Miles