Message from Dr. Belinda S. Miles: Staying the Course – December 4, 2020
December 4, 2020
This week, our region continues to experience increases in the spread of coronavirus infections, with several areas in the yellow and orange categories. Whether we are working remotely or at any of our facilities, Westchester Community College is not exempt from this dangerous development. As such, our Pandemic Response Team reiterates the protocols required to access campus and to keep ourselves safe. Please review this information and share with students and anyone who may have need to be on campus.
Each of us has done so much to ensure that we can safely conduct in-class instruction, do our jobs, and provide access to co- and extra-curricular programs and celebrations like yesterday’s Scholarship Ceremony hosted by the WCC Foundation and the virtual signing of our transfer agreement with SUNY Empire College. We must remain vigilant, especially at this time of year when students are preparing to present final projects, take finals, preparing for transfer or to take their place in the workforce and contributing to our economic recovery.
The precautions we take now demonstrate, in part, our caring for the students we serve and the ones we are recruiting. Many may be vulnerable, overwhelmed, or distraught and may feel tempted to give up on their goals. Some are persisting and need ongoing support. Others may be choosing between various educational providers or personal and professional responsibilities. We must show them what makes us stand out as a place that can best help them fulfill their ambitions, especially during this busy and crucial enrollment period leading to winter and spring sessions.
The activities in some of our most successful opportunity programs provide insight to what works best to keep students enrolled, engaged, and on the path to completion as we continuously work to recruit others. At a time when some population segments, particularly Black males, are exiting from community colleges across the country due to other pressures, WCC shows what is possible through focused support programs that remove barriers to success by embedding wraparound services like counseling, tutoring, and advising into students’ participation requirements. Programs such EOP, TRIO, and Viking Roads are increasing the retention and graduation rates of students that might otherwise fall short of their academic goals.
Our safety measures and intentional support initiatives help students stay the course and may also help us to enjoy a safe, healthy, joyous, and restful holiday break – and an especially jubilant Commencement celebration on December 22. The holidays and special events feel different from how we have celebrated in the past because they are different. Let’s do all we can to protect ourselves, our students, and our communities as we work to make them thrive.
Dr. Belinda S. Miles