Message from Dr. Belinda S. Miles: Dreaming to Doing
January 15, 2021
At this time of domestic turmoil, it is fitting that we pause to honor the man who moved a nation with his stirring words, “I have a dream.” More than 57 years have passed since Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., delivered this speech, and it is upon us to gauge our progress towards that dream. While Dr. King focused our efforts on the march along this path to equality and opportunity, we still have many miles to walk to reach our destination grounded in hope, courage, and service.
At Westchester Community College, we are dedicated to seeing Dr. King’s dream become reality through education and student success. WCC offers numerous opportunity programs that serve historically underrepresented segments of our community striving for better lives. To achieve this, we work to ensure that the best practices of diversity, equity and inclusion principles are ingrained throughout our campus. This includes ensuring that our student and staff population have a voice, feel valued and enjoy opportunities to enrich their lived experiences.
Westchester Community College is seen by the community as an accelerator along the road to opportunity. Our college provides essential programs and services to advance student success. We provide a foundation of critical thinking and learning, which enables our students to realize their dreams. This includes targeted programming such as Vikings Roads, Title V, Guided Pathways, SUNY for ALL, and other unique experiences geared toward student success. Due to our collective efforts as a College, we saw an increase in our overall graduation rates and data shows that 20% of WCC students move up 2 income quintiles after attending Westchester Community College. We also have extensive partnerships and articulation agreements with other institutions that foster continued growth and self-exploration for all our students.
Seeing our students pursue their academic goals in the face of current events with grit and determination inspires us all. Our students faced unimaginable hurdles and hardships in just one year. Many lost jobs, suffered food insecurity, health concerns, loss of loved ones, unmet childcare needs, and homeschooling demands. And yet they persisted. They kept their eyes on the prize to achieve more for themselves, their loved ones, and their community. The line from the Langston Hughes poem, Dreams, “Hold fast to dreams, For if dreams die Life is a broken-winged bird, That cannot fly,” reminds us of the important roles we can play in helping students move from dreaming to doing.
So, as we commemorate Dr. King’s spirit and words, let us keep his dream alive by pursuing equality and opportunity for all. Encourage students to continue pursuing their dreams, and do not waver. We must encourage and direct students who are short of their academic goals by guiding them to helpful resources. Remind students to register for Spring courses. If students are struggling financially, refer them to our Financial Aid office, which is holding weekend hours to better serve them. If students are battling stress or other mental health issues, remind them of our excellent Personal Counseling Office. We are here to serve our community. #WCChereforyou
Dr. Belinda S. Miles