Message from Dr. Belinda S. Miles: Our Continuing Commitment to Serve
January 21, 2022
This week featured several exciting developments. We began with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday which commemorates Dr. King’s life and the principles he shared – equality, equity, access and opportunity for all. These principles are aligned with Westchester Community College’s mission and values and are more relevant than ever as we continuously do our part to address civil turmoil, dissension, and discord throughout our nation.
Our work to prepare students to participate meaningfully in our community is not unthwarted or unsupported. I am heartened by the exciting investments in New York State public higher education, health, and well-being proposed in the Governor’s 2022-2023 budget. These resources support our continuing commitment to serve our students and lead them to their academic and career goals and many of the goals we envision for our society.
Tuesday was the first day of class for our Spring semester. Please join me in extending appreciation to all the employees who committed themselves over the past two weekends to ensure that our Enrollment Saturdays were a big success as we registered hundreds of students. We started the semester in remote-only mode to minimize population density on campus in the face of the Omicron surge and welcomed new and continuing students to begin their classes on schedule. We look forward to our students and faculty returning to campus beginning January 31.
Our experience during the pandemic has shown that remote instruction can be effective for many of our students. Still, many of our students prefer, and achieve superior outcomes, with in-person learning. Research conducted by Susanna Loeb, director of Brown University’s Annenberg Institute for School Reform, revealed that there was very little difference in learning for high-performing students in the online and in-person settings. On the other hand, lower performing students performed meaningfully worse in online courses than in in-person courses. Furthermore, according to this study, taking a course online, instead of in-person, increases the probability that the student will drop out of school. In the semester after taking an online course, students are about 9 percentage points less likely to remain enrolled.
To help us all prepare for a robust return to campus on January 31, please plan to attend the information session to provide updates and answer questions about protocols to ensure a safe, vibrant learning environment scheduled next week for employees (Employees – Friday, January 28, 9am.) A separate event for students is scheduled next Thursday (Students – Thursday, January 27, 4pm). Details about the information sessions and a form to submit questions are available on the linked event pages.
I look forward to your participation!
Dr. Belinda S. Miles