Message from Dr. Belinda S. Miles: Learning and Evolving – September 18, 2020
September 18, 2020
Last week I asked you to share how you are creating community with students and each other this semester. From creating spaces for student-driven conversations to a “bring your pet to Zoom day” and from robust alumni programming to making yourselves available to students and colleagues, thank you for sharing the many caring and innovative ways you build community in and beyond the classroom.
Our fall semester events and celebrations also provide an occasion for building community and I am always so pleased to see you and our students in attendance. Our Constitution Day activities provided civic learning and engagement to our students, especially during these challenging times when we are facing social unrest. Our Latin American Heritage Month programming celebrates the contributions of the Latin American community and provides additional learning opportunities for students and further exposes them to our diverse community. Please check the web event calendar for information on future events.
Our Viking Spirit was in full effect during Blue and Gold day and Faculty Convocation. Several members of the college community proudly sported our school colors while Prof. Chad Thompson, Presiding Officer of the Faculty Senate, led Convocation kicking off the fall semester, welcoming our newest colleagues, and celebrating the achievements of our faculty, including Prof. Elizabeth Miller who received a Westchester Community College Foundation Faculty Excellence Award for Excellence in Service. Congratulations, all!
Special acknowledgement to one additional new Viking – Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs Dr. Gail Fernandez who came to WCC from Bergen Community College in February. Dr. Fernandez has already become a valued member of our team with leadership for our growing transfer partnerships and other strategic academic operations. Her full bio will be available with other newcomers soon.
Prof. Thompson reminded us at Convocation that it was the 6-month anniversary of our transition to remote operations. I often reflect on the collaborative work we did – as a community – to keep our doors open, to ensure that students had what they needed to succeed – that we were ready for them – and that we could offer high-quality learning experiences to our students. We are still learning, evolving, and strengthening our capacity as a community.
In late August Assistant Dean Liza Adams shared results from the SUNY Spring 2020 Student Remote Instruction Survey indicating how Westchester Community College compared favorably among SUNY community colleges with respect to student perception of remote instruction and COVID-19 response. These outcomes are a testament to your commitment to student and institutional success and are worth revisiting at this 6-month point.
- Satisfied with COVID-19 response: 83% WCC vs 76% other SUNY community colleges.
- Overall satisfaction (satisfied/very satisfied) with the academic instruction received at our campus after the transition to remote instruction is 70% for WCC compared to 63% at other community colleges.
- Mental health counseling services was rated as excellent/above average by 46% of WCC respondents compared to 34% at other community colleges.
Thank you for all you do for our students and for being so #VikingStrong!
Dr. Belinda S. Miles