Dear CCRI community,
As we begin this season of gratitude and appreciation, I would like to thank all of you for welcoming me and all of the new faculty and staff who have joined our college this year and for all of your hard work.
Every day I am inspired by the passion and talents of our faculty and staff who serve our mission and our students. As I walked to the cafeteria yesterday afternoon, I was lucky enough to see inside a classroom where one of our instructors had his entire classroom captivated. I could feel the energy coming right through the windows, and I'm so grateful for his work and for the work each of you does every day. I'm immensely appreciative for your dedication to this institution and to our students.
While our calendar year is winding down, please know that the college is actively searching to fill the roles of Dean of Business, Science and Technology and Dean of Health and Rehabilitative Sciences. These are tremendously important positions, and we are excited to bring new colleagues on board to advance our shared mission of student success.
Enjoy the season and your loved ones.
From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for the many kindnesses you have shown to me and our family during this very sad time. Your words and presence at the memorial service were a wonderful tribute to Walter, as was your message to the college community. The flowers were beautiful, too, and such a thoughtful gesture.
There has been a tremendous outpouring of love and support from CCRI. Please thank them for us. All of this has been a great source of comfort and we are so appreciative of the warmth and caring.
State legislation has been proposed to allocate a portion of higher education funding – above and beyond the education and general funds that CCRI already receives from the state – based on performance indicators.
Performance-based funding is intended to support CCRI in our efforts to serve students better. The measures we have proposed will focus our efforts on areas that matter most to our students – increasing successful completion of credit-bearing, transferable math and English gateway courses; improving graduation, persistence and transfer rates; and amplifying the number of certificates earned.
As you know, we held an open meeting on Feb. 9 to announce the initiative and subsequently formed a working group composed of faculty, staff and students. The charge of the working group was to draft a set of proposed metrics to be submitted to the Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner (OPC) for consideration. Sara Enright, vice president of student affairs/chief outcomes officer, and Dr. Rosemary Costigan, interim vice president for academic affairs, led this group to develop these measures collaboratively, and we presented them to OPC on Tuesday, Feb. 23. I can confidently report that CCRI presented a strong and mission-driven proposal to the commissioner, and I was deeply proud to be part of a team that worked so quickly and collaboratively in support of our college. Thank you to the faculty, staff and students who participated in the workgroup and to the team in Institutional Research who provided critical support. The next step is for OPC to provide feedback on our proposed measures, goals and weighting. Once we have received feedback from OPC, we will share that information with our CCRI workgroup to determine any additional next steps that may be required. It is our intent that this process continues to move swiftly so that we have a strong set of measures agreed upon with OPC before any legislation passes.
A group including Sara and Rosemary as well as Associate Vice President for Student Services Ron Schertz, Dean Peter Woodberry, interim Dean John Cole and Professor Ray Kilduff is working to design a master schedule that will be implemented in Spring 2017. A standard practice at most community colleges and four-year institutions, a master schedule is an essential component of increasing our persistence and graduation rates, and our students have been asking for this for many years. In addition, a master schedule will also facilitate our ability to use our classroom space more efficiently and effectively.
For years we have used ACCUPLACER testing to guide course placements and to ensure that students have the reading, writing and mathematics skills required for academic success. Starting this fall, we will embark on a pilot initiative that will use ACCUPLACER scores in concert with incoming students' high school transcripts and any available test scores such as SAT or ACT to determine placement.
There is a growing body of evidence that demonstrates that high school coursework and GPA are better predictors of success in college-level coursework than ACCUPLACER scores. Data also tells us that students who are placed into gateway courses have higher degree completion and transfer rates than those placed in developmental courses. As we improve our ability to more accurately place our students, they will spend less time in developmental coursework and can achieve their degrees or certificates more quickly.
I thank Academic Affairs, the deans, faculty members, Admissions and Student Services staff for your dedicated and collaborative work to bring these critical initiatives to fruition.
Like so many of the projects we have undertaken in these first few weeks, these three initiatives share a common thread – serving our students better – and underscore our commitment to student success. I am confident that we are building a way of working that is open and collaborative, and as I learn from so many of you every day about ways to reimagine what is possible at CCRI, I am deeply grateful for your willingness to engage in this work together.