Monday, November 19, 2007

Creating a Culture of Partnership

Each week I have the good fortune to tour local businesses and agencies, as well as some of our own instructional labs to learn about community needs and MVCC's ability to respond to those needs. These experiences have helped expand my thinking on the notion of partnerships. While I will continue to gather information through the many meetings and tours that are scheduled in the weeks to come, I wanted to share some possible answers to the interesting questions - what does partnering mean and what does it take to create a culture of partnership at MVCC?

I have recently met with representatives from BOCES, SUNY IT, Utica College, many local businesses, particularly in the important healthcare sector, as well as individuals at the Resource Center for Independent Living, Upstate Cerebral Palsy, the Refugee Center, and others covering the full spectrum of potential partners for MVCC. From these meetings, I've found that partnering can mean a number of things - MVCC providing direct training to meet an employer need; MVCC breaking down barriers so that those served by various agencies have increased access to our educational programs and services; MVCC and a partner joining forces around some initiative or idea to strengthen our community; or at the most basic level, simply establishing a common connection based on like interests and a commitment to help one another, thus creating an environment that sets the stage for some future undefined activity that could only be brought about through partnership

If we are to reach out to unserved and underserved populations in ways that this community so badly needs, we are not going to be able to do so through standard operating procedures. Serving these populations will require us to think differently, act differently, and for many quite possibly feel differently. A focus on an expanded notion of partnership will allow MVCC to serve these communities in the Mohawk Valley in new and different ways. Partnership will require streamlined curriculum and program development systems, the removal of barriers that we may not even think exist (until we look at things through the eyes of those we are not currently serving), a streamlined intake system, and an unwavering commitment on the part of everyone at MVCC to serve others. I like the saying that success yields more success. I believe this is especially true if it results from intentional efforts like creating a culture a partnership, for it is through partnering that we will be able to expand our abilities to serve others and realize success beyond any of our current expectations.

If you have any thoughts or insights on partnerships or anything else, please share them with me at presblog@mvcc.edu.