Every community college president enjoys earning bragging rights when his or her faculty or staff are rewarded with accolades for their good work in classrooms and service areas across the college. So . . . today is my turn to brag! The Community College of Baltimore County received the 2022 Bellwether Award in Instructional Programs and Services at the 28th Annual Community College Futures Assembly. CCBC’s award winning innovation, High Impact Practices, has already inspired improved course engagement and completion for 34,000 students in many popular General Education courses. Designed to increase retention, engagement and overall student success, CCBC’s High Impact Practices include collaborative assignments and projects, service learning opportunities, global/diversity learning and more.
Several hundred submissions for the Bellwether prize are submitted each year from community colleges across the country, and 30 are chosen as finalists for this coveted award, widely regarded as one of the nation’s most competitive and prestigious recognitions for community colleges. In the past 15 years, CCBC has competed five times for the Bellwether Award and our teams have emerged three times as award recipients. This is not surprising to me. Our college works hard to develop delivery models designed to measurably improve the success of our students, both in and out of the classroom. Our faculty and staff make this effort without expectation of recognition or thanks and yet it is always gratifying to see their work recognized by colleagues. My job as president is to promote an environment which supports this creative dynamic leading to a fertile realm of innovation.
CCBC is a college rich in reputation for the creative initiatives. Our faculty have developed innovative models such as Developmental Acceleration, Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning, and Self Directed Placement, all of which we have been pleased to share with colleagues across the country. We focus our work by looking at who is sitting in our classrooms today, meaning that we now view everything we do through an equity lens. This work is guided by two premises. The first – for all of us in the CCBC community — is “Every One of Us Counts.” The second is that although good words can be noble, it is “actions that matter.” Our faculty and staff focus on creating actions that matter for the students sitting in front of them. The High Impact Practices program is now a compelling addition to an impressive suite of success-oriented academic initiatives. Developing strong and effective academic interventions is an important key to our college’s ability to emerge from the pandemic as a 21st century college for 21st century students for 21st century jobs.