Monday, November 21, 2011

Giving Thanks

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches and we reflect on the things we are thankful for in our lives, I’m compelled to reflect upon things at MVCC for which I am most thankful. In these challenging times with such uncertainty in so many parts of our lives and communities, it’s often humbling to be part of such meaningful work as helping advance the mission of this great organization.

I am thankful for our students. This fall we have a record number of individual credit students (unofficially more than 7,600 enrolled for credit) and what’s likely to be another record-breaking year of students enrolled in our noncredit offerings. Our younger students provide such hope as they continue their educational journeys and define and clarify their career paths. Our older students provide tremendous inspiration as they recalibrate their complex lives to integrate a college education into their daily schedules of work and family.

MVCC students eat lunch on the lawn outside of the Academic Building on the Utica Campus.

I am thankful for our faculty and staff. I’m amazed on a regular basis by what I see and hear from everyone who works here. Faculty are continuing to refine the art of teaching to reach students and bring content alive in new and interesting ways. And staff, whether working directly or indirectly with students, seem to be increasingly understanding of the critical role they play in helping to create the student experience as we know (and will know it in the future) today. With the civility project gaining momentum, I’m encouraged and thankful to see colleagues paying closer attention to each other and holding themselves and others accountable for behavior.

More than 150 MVCC faculty, staff and students participated in the 2011 Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in October. Team MVCC raised more than $4,500 for the cause.

I am thankful for our community partners. Together with our partners, we are making great things happen. Working with our partners in government to help meet our operational needs; working with school districts to seal the leaky educational pipeline; customizing training for employers to create capacity in their workforce; collaborating with local non-profit partners that help us make college education more accessible for so many underserved populations in our area; and having the friends and supporters we do through the MVCC Foundation help us bridge that margin of excellence to further realize our potential expands our presence as an anchor institution in this community.

While MVCC hosts most of its courses on its Rome and Utica campuses, the college opened the MVCC Education Center at 524 Elizabeth St. in Utica to make education more readily available to the community. The center is in partnership with the Utica Municipal Housing Authority.

Working at MVCC allows me to plug in to a 65-year storied history that has great meaning and respect. As a member of the MVCC community, I get to be part of something so much bigger than myself – it’s meaningful work. Our community faces many challenges, and I’d be hard pressed to identify a challenge or problem that could not somehow involve MVCC as part of the solution. These are a few of the many reasons I came here to be a part of this – all that’s happening at MVCC now and that which is yet to come. So much of our recent successes sometimes seem beyond my imagination and yet it feels like I’m just starting to understand it all – and that simultaneous feeling of wonder and knowing … for that I am extremely thankful.

If you have questions or comments on this post, please contact me directly at presblog@mvcc.edu.