Message from Dr. Belinda S. Miles: Westchester Welcome – January 25
Welcome back Viking colleagues!
Thanks for extending a warm Westchester Welcome to all of our new and returning students. Even in the bitter cold, I saw many smiling faces as students returned to their studies this week.
The same week we celebrated the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and opened our doors for another semester of teaching and learning, the New York State legislature passed the DREAM Act, providing new pathways for some undocumented youth to apply for state financial assistance programs for New York State colleges and universities. A team led by Vice President Tere Wisell and Associate Dean Dr. Ruben Barato is compiling information about how we may help students access these resources. Watch for details soon. In the meantime, we are especially appreciative of the lawmakers who are advocates for higher education and providing access to high-quality programs for our residents. Together we are driving growth in our regional economy through the skills in high demand acquired here and at other colleges and universities.
I had the opportunity this week to represent Westchester Community College at the annual meeting of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). The theme, “Reclaiming the Narrative on the Value of Higher Education,” is especially relevant to our mission and strategic goals for advancing student success, ensuring future employability for our students, and meeting the needs of the workplace. I was energized by learning about challenges and successes colleagues are experiencing that are relevant to our work — operationalizing high impact practices including civic engagement throughout the curriculum, changing expectations of general education in our increasingly complex world, and growth in learning and economic mobility for students.
As usual, we have a busy semester ahead with numerous opportunities for participation. Please encourage students to participate in co- and extra-curricular activities including clubs, athletics, and campus initiatives such as the upcoming Black History Month events and celebrations. A great place for students to explore our 60+ clubs is at the Student Involvement Fair on January 30. Be sure to check the website event calendar for the most up to date information. Also, our work to develop the college’s next strategic plan continues. In the meantime, everyone is invited to the State of the College address during common hour on February 7, 2019. I look forward to seeing you then.
In closing, thanks to all who shared such kind thoughts about Dr. Hankin. These past few weeks have brought out the very best of our compassion, camaraderie, and sense of community. I would also like to thank Laurie Corey for sharing this inspiring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. quote:
“Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter” (King, The Drum Major, 185–186).
Dr. Belinda S. Miles