Monday, March 24, 2008

The Value of Coming Together

During the first two weeks in March more than twenty workshops were held to assist the College in preparing for the upcoming accreditation site visit. The opportunity was seized to use the workshops as a conversation about the values we all share and the mission and vision statements that should lead us through the door every day at Mohawk Valley Community College.

However, while values, mission, and accreditation were the identified content areas, a key objective was to capitalize on the value of faculty and staff coming together in mixed groups to interact in new and different ways. Overall, the workshop evaluations were positive. The most consistent feedback I've received from those that participated in the workshop was, "it was good - not as bad as I thought it was going to be." Some of the evaluation forms further stated, "a little too touchy-feely for me." For a pilot project experience, I'll take it. The workshops were a great example of small change - just getting people to interact in a new environment and have some new conversations prompted a similar reaction to most changes designed to create positive results - we as humans find ourselves not looking forward to it on the front end and generally thankful for the experience in retrospect. Besides, from everything I've gathered in talking to faculty and staff over the past few months, we could use a few "touchy-feely" experiences anyway.

The evaluations will be used if future similar workshops are developed. The input from the workshops on the creation of a values statement and the revision of the mission and vision statements is being forwarded to the Strategic Planning Committee (SPC). In combination with some additional research and review of statements from other community colleges, SPC members will go about the task of creating a values statement and updating the vision and mission statements. With MVCC poised to move from a successful community college to a significant community asset, the results from these workshops and the ultimate work of the SPC will provide a solid base and clear direction for us to enthusiastically approach an ever-increasingly complex and changing future.

If you have any thoughts on this or other matters, you can reach me at presblog@mvcc.edu.