Weekly Message from Dr. Belinda S. Miles – October 14, 2016
I had the pleasure of joining members of the Student Government Association leadership for lunch this week in our fabulous Culinary Arts Dining Hall. Our conversation reminded me how effective leadership supports democracy, shared governance, and the value of including many voices and working to integrate multiple perspectives. I was inspired by the commitment of our students to their peers and to the institution as they serve and lead.
Integrating different perspectives was also a dominant theme during the Student Success and Academic Excellence Summit where we carved out space for multiple voices to identify actionable focus areas that draw upon research, initiatives, and experiences to improve student success. Together, we developed a shared language for student success, clarified urgent needs and overlapping efforts, and identified specific goals and steps to reach them. A pre-Summit campaign engaged students in sharing what they wish the college knew about them as a student and has garnered some profound responses that we will compile and share with the community. Here is a sample of the more than 100 responses:
- “Westchester Community College is part of my American Dream.”
- “I am appreciative for an institution that makes it possible for somebody like me to start on a new path at an advanced stage in his life without taking on tremendous amount of debt.”
- “I’m not just a face, I’m the future!”
- “I’m a military veteran who has embraced the diversity and exposure I have encountered while attending Westchester Community College.”
- “I wish they knew about my current living conditions.”
These statements remind us of the core reason why we are all here: to serve students in building minds and building futures. Thank you to the more than 125 people who participated in the Summit in person and online and to the hard work and planning carried out by the dedicated steering committee led by Dr. Heather Ostman, Gelaine Williams, and Dr. Nicola Blake.
We had so much more to celebrate this week, such as:
- A $700,000 federal grant announced by U.S. Representative Nita Lowey for a partnership with Mercy College to increase participation of Hispanic and low-income students in STEM pathways to science and engineering careers.
- Almost 3,000 students from 35 high schools, including three area BOCES programs, enrolling in our Early College Experience program.
- Very positive feedback from the site visit team evaluating accreditation of our EMS program—congratulations Robert Gurliacci and his team for this two-day success!
- I also thank the individuals who participated in my open hour this week. I enjoyed hearing about the ongoing work happening across the campus.
Finally, I am grateful for everyone involved in encouraging student participation in our Get Out the Vote drive. There’s still time to make a difference—voter registration forms are due by midnight tonight. There is also time to encourage students to enroll in 7.5-week classes that start October 31. A full list of classes is on MyWCC.
Thanks for making it a great week!
Dr. Belinda S. Miles