Dr. Sandra Kurtinitis
After two months of the balmiest winter weather we have had in many a year, who would have thought we would end January with the blizzard of the century—the son of Snowmaggedon, the name we gave to the last big snow storm several years ago. Although everyone—even college presidents—loves a Snow Day now and then, this one was off the charts. I had been thinking this might just be the year that Spring Break would arrive without our needing to schedule any Snow Days. I couldn’t have been more wrong!
Nonetheless, we have all made it back. As I welcome you to the Spring semester, I want to acquaint you with a huge new initiative at the college of direct consequence and benefit to all current and future students. CCBC is developing its new strategic plan that will take the college right up to the next decade. We are calling it CCBC 2020. To that end, on January 8th, we conducted a college wide conversation in the form of the FY’17-’19 Strategic Planning Summit. The 180 people who attended the event formed a brain trust of sorts, representing perspectives from all areas of the college, including students. Your student leaders lent their voices as a vocal contingent to the discussion of an action plan designed to keep the college on the cutting edge as we make our way to 2020.
Chief among the challenges we face together are the twin pressures of declining enrollment and declining resources. Both problems inevitably translate into higher costs for students. Although colleges across the country suffer these same distresses, CCBC intends its new Strategic Plan to double down on both fronts in an effort to reverse—or at least stabilize—these trends. You know how important the college is to your own future well-being; remaining viable and affordable is important to everyone in the communities we serve. As President Obama repeated again in his January 12th State of the Union Address, community colleges are the single most important sector of public higher education for millions of Americans—people just like you—seeking access to opportunity to good jobs to support their families.
As CCBC students, you know this well. You have made the smart decision to put yourselves under our care. And for roughly $3,500/year for two years (or however long it takes you to replicate that goal attending part time), your associate degree will prepare you well to step into a career or to transfer to a four year institution. A CCBC degree regularly enables community college graduates to transfer to the baccalaureate institution of your choice with junior status, having saved half the cost of a four year education. Whether or not President Obama is successful in making a community college education free for all responsible students, you have already made a smart choice to take advantage of what is essentially the very best deal in higher education.
The goal of CCBC’s FY’17-’19 Strategic Plan, then, is to usher the college into a new decade—2020—with the same “cutting edge” curriculum, equipment, facilities, institutional systems, and faculty/staff expertise that we strive to deliver today. We make this commitment on your behalf—and on behalf of all those who will follow you—so that all of our students benefit from the important conversations we will have over the next six months as we carve out this new direction for CCBC.
Articles reflect the views of the author and or those quoted and do not necessarily represent the views of CCBC or the CCBC Connection.