Message from Dr. Belinda S. Miles: Weekly Message December 17, 2021
December 17, 2021
As a community, we celebrated yet another rite of passage with our students. Approximately 169 students were present on Thursday for our December 2021 Completion Ceremony. Families, friends, loved ones, and members of our college community cheered for and supported our graduates via livestream. In total, 873 August and December graduates earned 900 degrees and certificates and are well prepared for transfer and to take their place in the workforce.
I offer special recognition to our dedicated faculty and staff who worked to make this outcome a reality for our students. As I pored over reappointment portfolios in recent weeks, I saw the tremendous commitment of our newest faculty members who join their colleagues in innovative teaching, learning, and services such First-Year Experience, guided pathways efforts, initiatives to reduce remediation, a range of co- and extracurricular activities, mental health support, and more.
Professional development programming offered through the Center for Teaching and Learning is building empathy, engagement, and capacity to serve more students in improved ways. Accreditation, course/program redesign, and program review are strengthening the curriculum throughout each of our four academic schools. Workforce training is experiencing new types of support to meet real regional needs in the broader community. These high-impact practices and experiences are making a difference for our students!
Following guidelines from the CDC, the Westchester County Department of Health, and our own Pandemic Response Team, our August and December 2021 graduates came together to celebrate their completion in person by following best practices including COVID surveillance testing, vaccinations, boosters, social distancing, and wearing masks! These measures have consistently resulted in 1.8% or lower COVID positivity rates within the WCC community since August, far below Westchester County and NYS levels. It is imperative that we remain vigilant regarding these proven practices as we prepare for more students and employees during spring semester.
Commenting on highlights from this year’s Dallas Herring Lecture, “Redefining Access: The Power of Proximity,” by Broward College President Gregory Haile, Achieving the Dream President Dr. Karen Stout notes “the need for our colleges to be in physical, social, and financial proximity to our students if we are going to equitably serve — and help to change — our whole communities.” We cannot underestimate the importance of “place” that our institution serves. You may listen to President Haile’s remarks, they begin at 18:52 here.
Stay healthy and safe!
Dr. Belinda S. Miles