Message from Dr. Belinda S. Miles: Envisioning the Future While Innovating Each Day – April 12, 2019
April 12, 2019
Headline writers know how to capture our attention in a few words, and I admit this one caused me to stop and think: “Escaping the Death Spiral by Becoming the Community’s College.” It is about four-year universities that have for years focused on stemming enrollment declines by recruiting out-of-state students, which the author contends has led to a diminished impact by those universities in their local communities. The article lists several ways these institutions can become a local hub of learning and innovation to remain relevant and thrive in the future.
In many respects, this is a strong endorsement for community colleges, which have been focused on meeting local community needs since their inception. It may also be a clarion call for what might come in the near future: much more intense competition for serving students and meeting education and training needs in our own backyards.
This also underscores the importance and consequence of our strategic planning efforts. A planning team convened by Prof. Phil McGrath and Controller Dawn Gillins held a final focus group session today with the college community which expanded our discussion into creating a vision for the college. A significant aspect of this work is considering the challenge of how our academic programs will meet students’ needs in a rapidly changing world. These are tough and important questions and I’m proud that we are engaging in this dialogue and embracing new ideas and methods in our current work.
The college’s second Imaginarium session this week was one such forum for new ideas as many members of the college community got a taste of virtual reality, an immersive experience in an altered environment. Deans, faculty, staff, and students took turns with guided assistance running around twisty cliffs, exploring outer space, learning about the body, and going fishing. The group asked questions about current and future implications of VR technology for education. These types of learning opportunities and conversations help us to ensure that Westchester Community College remains a relevant and future-focused institution of higher education.
Thank you for the ideas and innovations you bring to our work. Keep them coming!
Dr. Belinda S. Miles