Message from Dr. Belinda S. Miles: Looking Back and Looking Forward – March 12, 2021
March 12, 2021
Collectively, communities across the globe are reflecting on the year that has passed and questioning what is ahead. We, too, look back and look forward, reimagining our world, our work, and our lives.
In the past year and within our college community, weddings have taken place, babies have been born, we have celebrated birthdays and anniversaries, and we have mourned the loss of dear friends, colleagues, and cherished family members.
In the past year, students have enrolled, persisted, and graduated. We have welcomed new faculty and staff to Westchester Community College and marvel at how they have become part of our college community without stepping onto our campus. We have connected in many ways during this time. We have supported each other, our mission, and most importantly, our students.
In 1946, for the first time, we opened our doors and welcomed new students. This fall, 75 years later, we will repeat that ritual under very different circumstances but with the same expectation that we will leave an indelible mark on the lives of our students, and by extension, the great contributions they will make to their communities and families.
This fall may be particularly special because, if public health conditions continue to improve and safety conditions are met as anticipated, we may be able to return more classes to in-person instruction. While there is much to consider before making any decision on in-person or remote instruction, Provost Morest, VP Wisell, and members of their teams – in consideration of safety for all members and operations of our college community – are working tirelessly with facilities, security, and health services staff on preparing for the next great chapter of the college’s history when we take everything we’ve learned during the pandemic and use it to improve and expand our college and grow our enrollment to meet the mounting needs for economic recovery in the community. We remain #VikingStrong.
Børge Brende, President of the World Economic Forum stated at The Great Reset: Harnessing the Fourth Industrial Revolution webinar last fall, “Studies show that in the early days of the pandemic, the world leaped ahead five years in terms of digital uptake.” Westchester Community College was part of this leap in advancing academic and operational innovation during the past year. And now we turn toward re-emergence, working with our business and community partners to lead our region’s post-pandemic recovery.
Earlier this week, the Westchester County Office of Economic Development launched its Advanced Manufacturing Industry Desk, designed to attract new businesses to Westchester County in the fields of advanced manufacturing, financial technology (FINTECH), alternative energy, and bioscience. Westchester Community College is well poised to support this initiative by providing high quality education and the skills needed to enter the workforce. In support of this effort, we thank VP Tere Wisell for serving on the newly formed Advanced Manufacturing Task Force. Westchester County Director of Economic Development Bridget Gibbons discusses the County’s advanced manufacturing sector here.
Finally, I had the great pleasure of joining Dr. Cristle Collins Judd, President of Sarah Lawrence College, and Dr. Thomas Isekenegbe, President of Bronx Community College, in signing an articulation agreement that outlines a 2+2+1 academic pathway for our students completing their two-year Early Childhood Education coursework to transfer into Sarah Lawrence College to earn a bachelor’s degree, with the option of automatic admission into their one-year Art of Teaching master’s program. Sarah Lawrence College will also offer two scholarships for WCC’s transferring students. We thank faculty members and all who worked to bring this partnership to fruition.
We have had a challenging year, yet we have found many opportunities to help our students achieve their educational goals and provide pathways to economic mobility to even greater numbers of WCC students. We truly are building minds and building futures.
Dr. Belinda S. Miles