Message from Dr. Belinda S. Miles – July 24, 2020
July 24, 2020
We are five weeks to the start of the fall 2020 semester. Many of you are doing tremendous work with data-driven student outreach and strategic messaging. Others have shared videos with students as they prepare for remote learning this fall. And more are collaborating across departments on ways to help students stay on track. These efforts are making a difference, and we need to stay focused on delivering excellent remote communications and services so that new and continuing students can successfully navigate this new environment and get registered.
Westchester Community College provides a gateway to opportunity that supports individual goals and a pathway to social mobility. A report by the Brookings Institution identified public colleges as “the workhorse of middle-class mobility,” noting that “students who attend college – particularly a four-year college – are significantly more likely to experience upward mobility in adulthood, relative to their parents’ position in the income distribution, than nonattenders.” Community colleges contribute to this by preparing students for transfer as well as for entry into middle-skills careers keeping the transfer option in mind for the future.
We provide access to relevant knowledge, content, and skills needed for academic credentials and career success. The experiences our students have with faculty and classmates in study groups, through leadership activities and student clubs, through workshops and guest speakers, and during extra- and co-curricular programming changes them as they obtain the building blocks for future goal attainment. We’ve seen thousands of students successfully enter the workforce directly or transfer directly and find success at public and private institutions including SUNY, CUNY, NYU, Columbia, Yale, among the many options they choose. It is imperative that we each remain committed to providing these high-quality Viking experiences to ensure that these opportunities continue for our students.
We must also be steadfast in advocacy for Westchester Community College and the entire community college sector. With tens of millions of individuals unemployed, community colleges are perfectly placed to serve those seeking an affordable education option close to home. This affordability and commitment to equity is possible due to local, state, and federal investments in public education for which we are grateful. We must continuously promote and pursue resources to support our institution as we are called on to do so much for those in need during these difficult times, especially given extraordinary financial constraints in New York State due to COVID-19. We are working diligently to ensure that we can sustain and continue this mission. Prudently, we are beginning to develop contingency plans for the college in the face of uncertain enrollments and State funding.
I encourage you not to grow weary in well doing. We will persist and I will keep you posted.
Dr. Belinda S. Miles