Friday, September 5, 2014

Kick off Weekend

The following is an excerpt from my second annual fall State-of-the-College address plus photos from Kickoff Weekend:

Think about where Northwest College was a year ago, where we are now and the potential we have for the future. Imagine where we will be 10 years from now if we continue on this trajectory! It's pride that can take us on that trajectory, and we have already started that process. I see more pride on campus than when I arrived a year ago.

I am proud to report that employee responses to the Chronicle of Higher Education's Great Colleges to Work For employment satisfaction survey show a 23% increase in satisfaction with shared governance and 25% improvement in satisfaction with senior leadership since 2012.There are many reasons why the climate has improved on campus. We accomplished a great deal in the last year.

The evidence can be found in our 2013-14 Annual Report. I have a great deal of pride in the accomplishments highlighted in the report. Although it's impossible to list all the things we accomplished last year, our annual report demonstrates that we are getting things done. The annual report is on our website at Check it out!

Another point of pride for our campus community is our new alumni magazine. I'm really excited about the new format of our alumni publication. Projecting the excellence of our college makes a strong statement to our alumni and donor audiences. Kudos to College Relations, Printing Services and NWC Foundation personnel for producing this high-class publication.

We're making substantial progress implementing high-impact practices that research shows make the most difference in community college student completion. Pride in the student experience is the reason we are here.

I am proud of the Summer Bridge Math program for NWC-bound high school graduates recently taught by Assistant Professor of Mathematics Don Anderson. Research shows that these types of courses minimize the number of college courses students need to take.

Student success research clearly demonstrates that directed advising shows students how each course brings them closer to the certificate or degree they seek. Last year our Academic & Career Advising Center logged 922 student consultations.

Recent research confirms that students who participate in first-year experience programs demonstrate more positive relationships with faculty, greater knowledge and use of campus resources, more involvement in campus activities, and better time-management skills than their non-participating peers. Last year's fall-to-spring retention rate for NWC students enrolled in freshman seminars was 91%. I'm proud of those students and the faculty and staff who helped them succeed.

Likewise, I'm proud that NWC Foundation staff and the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office have partnered to develop a Higher Education Resource Opportunity (HERO) grant to provide emergency funds to help at-risk students. In doing so, they have also begun considering ways to maximize scholarship funding. Nonetheless, we MUST do more to heed the emerging promising practices and strategies that are associated with student success. Recent proliferation of student success research demonstrates that we have to be much more directive because too many options tend to overwhelm and hinder the success of today's community college students.

When you believe the purpose of your institution is to make students better through pride, you take risks. We will take risks to implement best practices because we have determined it's the best practice for our students. We will NOT compromise our academic integrity, rigor or standards. We will value innovation and creativity and seek solutions to problems in new and collaborative ways. We will make strategic shifts to move our focus from striving to be better by doing more, to BEING better by doing things differently. We will continue to hire high-quality, qualified faculty and staff. And finally, we will continue to serve our citizenry as intended by the referendum which established us as a comprehensive community college in 1953. We were chartered to serve our community and support our citizens in achieving their dreams.

To close, I will leave you with one of my favorite Goethe quotes: "Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Begin it now!"

Begin it with Northwest College pride.
Have a great weekend.


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