Monday, August 24, 2009

Day One.

Enrollment is up 10 percent. MVCC has new deans and Academic Centers. The flowers on the Utica Campus and the trees on the Rome Campus are as beautiful as ever. The registrations on our Virtual Campus are generating 20 percent more credit hours than this time last year. Indeed, we are navigating much change here this fall.

We won’t have the official total for a few weeks, but at this point it appears likely that this fall will bring the highest year-to-year increase in student enrollment in our history. The enrollment surge certainly has much to do with the economy, but our ability to handle such an increase comes from one thing that is constant: the commitment among faculty and staff to think in new and different ways to problem solve with students.

Walking around today, I spoke with a number of faculty and staff who were working hard to find the right answers for students. With so many changes underway, I couldn’t help but see the parallel between the uncertainty that comes with organizational change and the anxiety that comes with being a student on the first day. A sense of vulnerability is natural – opening oneself up to the possibilities and relying on someone else is at the core of the learning process. In talking to staff here during such a busy time, it’s increasingly important that we reflect on how we’re handling this enrollment surge so we can continue to improve our systems and service to students.

“Learning is not a spectator sport…students must talk about what they are learning, write about it, relate it to past experiences, (and) apply it to their daily lives. They must make what they learn part of themselves.” (Chickering and Gamson, 1987). This quote helps us get ready for a semester to remember, and reminds us to reflect and learn from all that Fall 2009 will have to offer. It will make us that much better in the future.

If you have any thoughts about the first week of classes, please let me know at presblog@mvcc.edu.