Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Year in the Life of MVCC

The core of our academic year ended last month with the moving graduation event, followed a few days later with our Summer Institute and springtime celebration of success for faculty and staff. But as we now move to one of our busiest summers in memory, I am moved to reflect on a very successful year in the life of MVCC. Last spring the Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) created a forward thinking Strategic Plan with ambitious annual initiatives to coordinate our collective priorities and efforts. The SPC recently evaluated our progress and we were pleased to note many accomplishments from the past year.

Student Success is our first strategic priority. Thanks to the work of many staff and faculty this past year, the College implemented priority registration; developed waitlists for full course sections; hired our first college-wide advisors; renovated testing space and expanded testing services at the Utica Campus; redesigned our new student orientation process; and established the first-year experience office.

Academic Excellence is another strategic priority where we piloted a creative learning community; received national accreditation for our dual credit program; successfully implemented the diversity and global view general education requirement; and thanks to Dr. Eannace and members of the Reorganization Design Team, achieved Board of Trustees approval for the reorganization in Academic Affairs. These steps will foster significant innovations for years to come.

The strategic priority of Creative Partnerships helped CCED staff and several talented faculty members develop summer Career Camps for kids. CCED broke $1 million in revenues and served more than 6,000 individuals last year and we are on track for a similar performance this year. We greatly expanded our transfer opportunities for students (including a transfer agreement for 20 programs in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell) with the new office of Career, Transfer and Job Placement Services working closely with our university partners. And we strengthened lines of communication with SUNY-IT with biannual meetings of our two President’s Cabinets to discuss ongoing partnerships.

Our Vibrant Culture strategic priority saw much activity and developed a strong foundation for exciting changes in the future. While implementation of a comprehensive professional development program won’t be rolled out until next fall, the New Faculty Institute was by all accounts a tremendous success—I would like to thank David Katz and his many colleagues for contributing time and talent to the effort. Our "Hawks that Soar" employee recognition program was recently announced and will get off to a great start in August. And thanks to Sue Smith and her advisory group, we began implementation of a comprehensive Adjunct Faculty Support System.

Our fifth priority of Leveraged Resources guided us to a 20% increase in annual campaign revenues for the Foundation. We added 720 new donors thanks to Frank DuRoss and his Institutional Advancement staff, who helped us have a great year. We secured funding for the new Robert Jorgensen Fieldhouse and expect to break ground after the first of the year. We secured funding for site improvements to the campuses and dollars for the Master Plan, which will get underway in the fall. And thanks to the incredible efforts of our Information Technology staff, we are in the process of putting telephones in every classroom and lab at both campuses. This will improve campus safety and bring in Internet capability, allowing us to greatly expand the number of smart classrooms at the College with help from our Educational Technology staff.

While many other accomplishments could be named, the ones highlighted here relate directly to the Strategic Plan—they are good examples of the plan’s direction. The Strategic Plan allows us to focus on what we think we can control in these uncertain times. Yet, we know that every day our students come to our Utica, Rome and Virtual campuses and bring us situations and issues that we can’t predict. As influential NASA Administrator Dan Goldin has said, “Overcoming the unexpected and discovering the unknown is what ignites our spirit. It’s what life is all about.” I submit that helping students and helping each other overcome the unexpected and helping students discover themselves is what should ignite our collective spirit – it’s what I believe we are all about at MVCC.
If you have any thoughts on the past year, let me know at presblog@mvcc.edu.