Message from Dr. Belinda S. Miles: On Track & Engaged – March 5, 2021
March 5, 2021
Just as students look to us for education that leads to career success, our region also relies on us to prepare individuals for necessary and meaningful career pathways. We are doing this work against the force of a deadly pandemic that has devastated our economy and dashed hopes for many who are battling illness, caring for loved ones, or picking up extra shifts or gig work just to survive – all activities that detract from a full focus on academic endeavors.
As part of our commitment to meet local demand for existing and emerging industry and service sector needs, our Executive Action Leadership Team (EXALT) will take a deep dive into our enrollment metrics, processes, and forecasting for 2021-2022 at its next meeting. We are currently at just over 87% of our budget goals for spring 2021, which allows us to do this mission centered work. Therefore, our efforts must continue in earnest to help students get into the classes they need to complete their studies at Westchester Community College. Please remind students, especially those on target to graduate in May or August, that enrollment continues for 7.5-week courses that begin on March 22. Registration is also open for students looking ahead to summer 2021.
Getting started with educational goals is important but staying on track and engaged requires additional focus. In order to benchmark the work we do to foster student engagement, we will once again participate in the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) beginning next week. CCSSE is a national student survey focused on teaching, learning, and retention in community colleges that will shed light on how well we are meeting the challenge of engagement, which may be more difficult in our remote environment.
Research shows that the more actively engaged students are — with college faculty and staff, with other students, and with the subject matter being learned — the more likely they are to persist in their college studies and to achieve at higher levels. Are we doing enough to keep students connected to each other to support their learning? How have you had to adjust your teaching to keep students engaged? Are we making the right adjustments to our class schedules and programs to meet the needs of our students who require flexible schedules that complement their work and family commitments or those seeking micro credentials to either advance in their work or gain skills to seek new employment in a post-pandemic economy?
In closing, here are a few events to keep in mind as you plan your calendars.
March: Westchester Community College celebrates Women’s History Month with programming focused on the myriad contributions of women in our society, globally, and throughout history. Please share information with students and consider attending events with your classes.
April 9: Allied Strategic Planning Experience Network (ASPEN) Summit. Join the college community at A Journey of Success for Every Student: A Collaboration as we examine the Strategic Plan for Westchester Community College. Check your email for additional information on this event.
Dr. Belinda S. Miles