Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Year-End Reflections

Last week, our annual Summer Institute Luncheon amplified much of the excellence individually and collectively achieved this past academic year, as we basked in the joy of our largest class of graduates ever. As I shared with those present at the luncheon, many of largest successes this past year were guided by our Strategic Plan – comprised of five strategic priorities. I’ve organized a brief summary here around those priorities.

Student Success- is our first strategic priority. Thanks to the work of so many staff and faculty, we were able to make refinements to our new student orientation; piloted the Pathways to Academic Recovery for students on academic probation; while the economy certainly led new students to our front door, our student retention rates increased more than five percent and helped continue ten consecutive semesters of enrollment growth; our Phi Theta Kappa student honor organization achieved a four out of five stars in the national rankings; our athletic program saw multiple levels of national recognition, including Kyle Richardson winning the national scholar-athlete of the year – our fifth athlete in the last six years in competition with more than 700 community colleges nationwide, while no other community college has had more than two winners in the last 20 years!

Academic Excellence is another strategic priority where we expanded our learning community pilot; created an instructional lab for our surgical technology lab; hosted a statewide workshop on the assessment of student learning; and spent the year implementing a comprehensive reorganization in the face of unprecedented enrollment growth. The work of the Deans, Assistant Deans, secretaries, faculty and all the offices they work with on a daily basis cannot be underestimated for the significance and challenge of this work. The changes of the sort we’ve implemented here are not simple, are not easy, are not quick, and are not insignificant. They are complex, hard, slow and significant. I thank everyone for their time, talent, effort, patience and professionalism this past year.

Creative Partnerships took center stage this year as we saw our partnership with Kien Giang Community College in Vietnam bring us Ms. Khanh; our partnership with the Municipal Housing Authority has provided us with a toe-hold in Cornhill to position the College for an even greater impact in that area; with CCED staff leading the way working with other offices on campus, we offered creative programming through Mohawk Valley Community Action and Johnson Park; and we signed a number of new transfer articulation agreements, including 44 programs pathways to Buffalo State and 22 programs to SUNY-Plattsburgh.

Our Vibrant Culture strategic priority saw much activity and developed a strong foundation for exciting changes in the future. We continued the second year of our New Faculty Institute; implemented the recommendations of the Professional Development Design Team and created an employee enrichment program with five institutes throughout the year to complement a number of weekly offerings and expanding training opportunities for faculty and staff. Once again, Team MVCC raised thousands for community causes and helped us connect to the community in wonderful ways; and the College Senate reviewed all by-laws and created new charters for every committee – laying a positive foundation to strengthen our governance system.

And our fifth priority of Leveraged Resources was the catalyst for the development of a comprehensive master plan to guide facilities work at the College for the next twenty years; we break ground next month for the beautiful Robert Jorgensen Fieldhouse; and we saw a number of major IT projects to completion, including upgrading to Banner 8, transitioning to Linux, implementing document imaging, installing phones in every classroom and lab, replacing the fiber cable at the Utica Campus, and expanding our Internet capacity by a factor of five; we upgraded classroom furniture in 9 classrooms and labs, added 18 smartboards and added 29 new smart classrooms; and all of this as we ready ourselves for another bold endeavor through the MVCC Foundation that will take shape over the next year.

And that’s just a broad brushstroke of the amazing picture that came into focus over the past year. Thanks to everyone for an amazing year. If you have any thoughts on this post, please contact me directly at presblog@mvcc.edu.