Message from Dr. Belinda S. Miles – February 19, 2016
My weekly message usually celebrates accomplishments, contemplates future endeavors, or honors the community college tradition. Every week, I have new reasons to be excited for the future at Westchester Community College, and today my inspiration comes from conversations with faculty and staff and vibrant discussions in our Student Success Summits. We have many impressive employees who bring talent and great ideas. It is also true that more time and human resources would enable us to push forward with equal devotion on these many strong ideas. Still, if you attended a Summit, you know that the college is seeking to invest in the student success initiatives where we can make the biggest difference, not just for our students and our college, but especially for our community.
According to the American Association of Colleges and Universities, “Education serves democracy best when it prepares us for just the kinds of questions we face now: questions about a wider world, about our own values, and about difficult choices we must make both as human beings and citizens.” We don’t need to look beyond our college’s borders to see that we are facing questions about our own culture, values, and difficult choices. While I am extremely positive about Westchester Community College’s future, I am not blind to the expressive emails that have been exchanged in our community this week.
Many of the expressions represented an ongoing struggle to be respected, valued, and understood – much like the role models and sources of inspiration about whom I have been reflecting and speaking during this month’s commemoration of Black History contributions. I am reminded of the courage and commitment involved in being dedicated to the work of making a positive impact on people and community, to advocate for what is right and good in the world, and to do so in a thoughtful, genuine, and respectful way. I have been making deliberate efforts to pause and listen and better understand how we can advance our objectives. I will continue to do so in a range of venues and with various groups and individuals and believe that clarity will emerge from our collectively powering through these times of uncertainty.
As I close this message, I want to address an issue that I know is on our minds. After a year of considerable effort, we have been unable to complete the process of resolving our two long outstanding collective bargaining agreements. Both processes are still underway though at different stages. Despite the lack of a resolution at this time, I am grateful for the many individuals who remain committed to the excellent work we do daily for our students and institution. We will steadfastly continue to persist in our efforts to achieve fair and equitable results appropriate for our institution and work constructively to teach, support, and serve our students in the meantime.
Thanks for making it a great week.
Dr. Belinda S. Miles