Monday, September 10, 2007


For the past few weeks, I have been asking questions. I've been asking about what needs to change and asking about what needs to be preserved. The responses have been very insightful and reminded me about the power of positive psychology. I've added to the "Profile" section of my blog and included brief summaries of my top five themes from StrengthsQuest - a psychometric instrument developed by Gallup University. I had a chance to get to know some of the amazing staff at Gallup when I worked in Omaha, Nebraska (where the University is based). I read the Now Discover Your Strengths book along with How Full is Your Bucket? These books are part of the positive psychology movement that provides a research base toward exploring the notion of abundance, which focuses on what is good and what should be enhanced versus a deficit approach that looks at what is broken and what needs to be fixed.

Recently, I was compelled to dash down a list of abundance from what I've learned so far at MVCC. When my family and I moved halfway across the country here, I was excited to become a part of a MVCC - a comprehensive community college with all the components of a complex mission that is the basis for serving the community so well; a place where the people are very giving and want to be appreciated for hard work; a college well-respected and supported in the community with an amazing alumni base; and an organization with a solid financial base from which to approach a complex future. Since I've been here, I've found all of that to be true and much more. My preliminary list of abundance is one that not everyone at the College may agree with or even be aware of, but I hope it prompts some more thinking about just how many great things are already in place as we strive to identify ways for MVCC to build on past success to a position of future significance.

  • According to state education records, 28% of all graduating high school seniors in Oneida County attend MVCC each fall. Many community colleges tend to secure about 15% or so.

  • Like the best community colleges in the country, MVCC sets high standards for all students and then provides key support to assist students to achieve those standards. A national model to address this is supplemental instruction (SI) - in the simplest form, SI is basically a system of enhanced/intensive peer tutoring. Many colleges are just now experimenting with SI...MVCC has had it in place since 1993.

  • The athletic program is amazing. In the last 10 years, MVCC has won 11 national team championships; 8 national runner-ups; 94 individual national champions; 266 all-americans; 19 coach of the year recipients; 9 national player of the year recipients; and had an overall winning percentage of 71% across all 20 athletic teams.

  • With limited resources, I have found many aspects of the College extremely efficient. From scheduling and class fill rates to money and environment-saving steps taken in physical plant management, MVCC has many points of pride.

  • As a former Resident Assistant and Resident Director in residence halls, I am very impressed and pleased to know that the policies and procedures in place and the talent of the residence life staff associated with the operation of our residence halls are second to none to provide a safe and engaging residential life experience for our students.

  • The fact that everyone worked so hard to get multi-year labor agreements in place is a great testimony to the manner in which the College can come together for the common good and provide a solid base for the future.

  • Transfer data show time and again that MVCC students who transfer to SUNY four-year institutions outperform other SUNY community college transfer students in their first year after transferring.

  • Many community colleges try to provide some kind of solid experience for first-year students. A key component is a College Seminar class. Things can always be improved but the basic infrastructure is already in place at MVCC with the ED 100 class. Many community colleges would be envious to have such a program in place.

  • The commitment among faculty and staff to diversity and global view for our students is inspiring. The foundation for a solid international program is in place at MVCC well beyond what most community colleges have even approached.

  • Our student life area takes a partnership approach to positioning student life as an integrated compliment to the overall student learning experience. We have only begun to pursue the potential of this wonderful commitment.
I'm sure I have left out many aspects of wonder as to what MVCC has in abundance that provides a great foundation for an exciting future.

What would be on your list of abundance for MVCC? Let me know at presblog@mvcc.edu.