As we welcome students, faculty and staff back to our campuses, a thrill of renewal – both of purpose and engagement – fills every classroom, every office and every hallway. For a few weeks at least, we will be imbued with the joy and the energy that comes from the launch of a new academic year. As is my wont, at the college’s opening celebration I shared the theme for this year: “An Extraordinary Time for Transformation.” Rolled up within the powerful energy of this theme are three components carried over from last year when we pledged to “reframe the conversation; to invest in our future; and to lead with equity.” Proudly we have made progress on advancing all three.

This theme of transformation extends to the transformational growth of each of our students. With the 50,000 students we serve each year, our college is the size and heft of a small city. Our goal is to provide these students with state-of-the-art curriculum, equipment, facilities, institutional systems, and faculty and staff expertise. We have indeed “reframed the conversation!” Guided by a new strategic plan dubbed “Momentum in Motion,” CCBC is looking forward, leaving the sad pandemic years well behind.

The best part is that as our students enter CCBC this year, they are embarking on a new “student journey.” Over the past two years, several hundred faculty and staff members have worked tirelessly to define and create a new pathway for students from point of entry to point of exit. With the purchase of a new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, we will be able to support students as they walk in the door, make their way through the metaphoric hallway, and eventually exit this institution with a credential or degree in hand.

At CCBC, we believe that a student is a student is a student, no matter at what point they intersect with the college. Simply put, whether they seek a degree to transfer to Towson, UMBC, or Princeton to become a teacher or a doctor or depart with a workforce credential to drive a truck, repair an air conditioner, or weld the struts on a wind energy tower, everything we do at CCBC is workforce development. Our great gift to our community is that 95% of our graduates return to live and work in our local region. We are not only building workforce capacity but building communities. So, we begin a new academic year with all the hope and promise of our entry theme: “An Extraordinary Time for Transformation!” Think of where we’ve been, think of where we are going and think of all that yet lies ahead.