Amidst the dreary January weather, our faculty members have been preparing for the launch of our spring semester. The start of a new semester represents a new beginning for some, a milestone of accomplishments for others, and for all of us the chance to reflect on our purpose, our direction and our source of motivation. What better time to do this than when our semester start coincides with the start of a brand-new year?
Last week the College hosted Josh Wyner, Founder, Vice President, and Executive Director for the College Excellence Program at the Aspen Institute to serve as our keynote speaker at our mid-year convocation. The Aspen Institute is an internationally recognized educational and policy studies organization that provides a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. Under Josh’s leadership, the Institute has done tremendous work nationwide in identifying key components to community college success. But they don’t stop at policy – the Aspen Institute actively engages colleges and their leaders to create sustainable change and help students achieve their dreams.
LCCC’s connection to the Aspen Institute runs deep – LCCC has twice been named one of the Aspen Institute’s top 120 colleges and last year I was selected for the Aspen Fellowship program. It has been a wonderful experience working with Josh and other leaders to identify best practices that we can apply right here at LCCC.
The Community College Excellence Program has identified the following formula as the new definition of college success: Access + Completion + Post-Graduation Student Success. As a community college, creating access is part of our mission and has always been a core focus of our work. More recently, we have worked to improve our student completion rates and I am pleased to announce that our rates of students completing their degree within three years have more than doubled since 2010. This is a wonderful tribute to the hard work of our Student Success Council team and many others on campus who have played a role in our success.
We continuously use data to inform our strategies, practices and policies to improve student success. While the numbers often provide insight, I am reminded that it is the real people behind the data points that truly matter. Along with Josh Wyner, we invited several inspiring students to speak at our mid-year convocation and they talked about what this college means to them.
Each of them come from incredibly different backgrounds, but have a consistent theme to their story – that they chose LCCC because they wanted a clear pathway to a successful future at a college where they can connect with their faculty and peers. That personal connection to our faculty and staff was repeated several times that morning and speaks volumes to the dedication of our employees – many of who often go above and beyond to help our students be successful.
As a way to celebrate our faculty and staff for their extraordinary efforts that support our vision, I have created a small recognition symbol and award. The idea came from a story I shared in an earlier post of Espy Correa gifting a bike to a student to help him get to class. The first recipients were LCCC’s website redesign team led by Lori Martin and the email migration team led by Don Huffman and Norm Lease. Thank you for all of your hard work on these challenging projects!
The message of the BIKE card is a wonderful reminder of why we, as faculty and staff, are all here. THIS is why I come to work every day – to see our students fully realize their potential and create better lives for themselves and their families.
- Believe in every student…for they have a dream.
- Inspire every student to achieve their greatest potential.
- Be Kind, for the smallest gesture of kindness could mean the difference in success or failure for that student.
- Empower every student by taking action to help break down every barrier to success.
If you would like to nominate someone for the BIKE card, you may do so here. Thank you for helping me recognize and celebrate our LCCC team.