President Gregory W. Gray, Ph.D., newly appointed leader of the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education, brought his vision for the 17 sister institutions that make up Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (ConnSCU) to Naugatuck Valley Community College on Tues., Oct. 8, and happily for Naugatuck Valley supporters, raising the public and political value of community colleges comprises a large part of his plan.
During his conversations with faculty, students and community leaders, Dr. Gray made it clear that community colleges are a critical component of economic and community vitality, and a constituency that needs to be the focus of legislative discussions.
“This is a time when community colleges are receiving more national press than ever before,” said Dr. Gray. “Not only are we seeing a need for skill-driven jobs at the local level, the President of the United States is talking about the importance of community colleges.”
Echoing familiar sentiments, Dr. Gray also talked about making a “better system for the primary purpose of serving students.”
“We want to be a world class system for higher education, and that will require us to look at things differently,” he said.
Close to 300 faculty, staff and students attended Dr. Gray’s first presentation and more than 50 members of NVCC’s legislative delegation, Regional Advisory Council, Foundation Board and Manufacturing Council attended the community session. NVCC’s hospitality management program provided refreshments and presentations were made by the student newspaper, public safety and horticulture and manufacturing students.
“I am so, so happy and proud of the turnout for this event,” said President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D. “The presence of so many friends and colleagues speaks to a shared belief in education and in the work we do at Naugatuck Valley Community College. We find ourselves partnering in new and creative ways as we work together toward common goals of individual and collective successes and ultimately, toward social justice.”
In September, NVCC presented its 2013-2016 Strategic Plan to the community at the campus All-College Meeting, which was attended by more than 250 staff, students and community partners. The plan takes into consideration the strategic priorities set forth by the Board of Regents, presidential goals and the collective input of all NVCC stakeholders.
“As we look to move forward on a number of important initiatives, all of which are premised on student success, we are grateful to Dr. Gray for his vision of a Connecticut that is bolstered by student outcomes and accountable leadership,” said President De Filippis, who recently provided a preliminary submission to the Board of Regents plan. The submission was created with input from multiple competencies at the college and shared with the college community with the understanding that only some of those elements would be included in the final system-wide plan, which is still being developed.
“It is a new academic year and the start of a new phase in our journey ‘toward a splendid college’,” said President De Filippis. “As a College we are invigorated by our recent successes and confident in the work we will continue to do to support Dr. Gray’s ‘world class system’.’”