My Dear Colleagues and Students,
It is good to come together to celebrate the new semester and to share information as we continue to engage in meaningful ways despite the challenges, weather and otherwise. Generosity of spirit and commitment were very much present during the recent storms. Leonides Luciano and his staff serve as role-models for all of us. Our colleagues in Student Services deserve our applause as they worked diligently throughout the week and on Saturdays to ensure that all students who needed to come to us had access to services. Mil gracias de todo corazón.
It is a new semester. This is another fine opportunity to excel in our teaching and learning. What a good beginning of the semester it was for all of us to read Assistant Professor Angela Tiru’s thoughtful reminders and suggestions for the classroom experience. Wonderful! Engagement and excitement are palpable as I pass classes in session and meet you in my office and hallways! Estela, Jim and I were the recipients of so much warmth and enthusiasm on the first day of classes. I love when students approach us to tell us how they are doing and how good they feel about the learning experience you all work so hard to provide them. Grazie tante. Welcome, everyone, to another semester and to the opportunity to contribute in meaningful and productive ways.
Registration continues and colleagues will be here tomorrow for another FAST TRACK opportunity. There are also some courses opening for our Late Start semester. Our enrollment numbers at this time point to a semester that will most likely reflect a decline in our projected FTE and headcount numbers, as compared to last spring. The latest report I received shows a headcount of 6,664 and an FTE number of 3875. In a little over a week, Joan Arbusto will be sending out our final numbers to the College community. I thank everyone for all you do each and every day for our students, and in particular, I thank our colleagues in Admissions, the Center for Academic Planning and Student Success, the Office of Financial Aid, the Registrar, the Business Office, Cashier’s Office, Public Safety and Academic Affairs for their support of advisement and registration. Colleagues at our Danbury Center are to be congratulated for their sustained growth which at this time indicates a 980 credit student headcount and 446 FTE.
For the beauty of this morning, we thank Beth Monchun and Ann DeVito in my office, our colleagues in facilities, the Horticulture Program and the Agrobiology Club and Dr. Richard Gard. For their continued support and care, I thank members of the President’s Management Team: Jim Troup, AJ Dubois, Estela Lopez, Sarah Gager, Wally Kostrzewa, Kim Carolina, Kathy Taylor, Conal Larkin, Sydney Voghel-Ochs and Beth Monchun.
As we consider where we are at midpoint in academic year 2013-2014, I invite you to celebrate a number of significant achievements, and the balance of achievements and challenges cannot be more significant than the content of some of our presentations: We welcome our colleagues from Moser Pilon Nelson, Macchi Engineers and Joel Baronowski from the CT Department of Construction Services. The renovation of Founders Hall, a building with so much history and beloved by many of our founding faculty and alumni, is a powerful event. The proposed project will have the entrance of our new Center for Health Sciences face the rest of the campus, providing an anchor and a sense of powerful completion. Our campus improvement project will provide a direct connection via a walkway from Technology Hall to Founders Hall. We have much to celebrate and yet as you will hear in Provost Troup’s update, the budget continues to challenge us.
I offer some highlights of our achievements:
- We celebrate the results of our Nursing students whose passing rate of 97% in 2013 made it the number one program in Connecticut and placed us in the top 5% nationwide.
- Our Advanced Manufacturing Technology program is contributing to the renaissance of manufacturing in CT. Our inaugural year 2012-2013 saw the awarding of 109 certificates, with 40 students receiving Level II certificates. This spring’s evening cohort has exceeded its projected enrollment of 25. There are currently 30 registered and a waiting list of three students.
- Much work is taking place to prepare us for the implementation of PA 12-40 and the TAP requirements. Our September awards and the number of applications for May conferral at this time are up as compared to last year.
- We look forward to being to say in May that, once again, this is the largest ever graduating class at NVCC.
Other achievements to mention:
- GEAR UP is in its second year
- we have Oonya Kempadoo, our second Fulbright-Scholar-in-Residence enriching the classroom experience and broadening our opportunities for intellectual discourse on campus
- our St. Vincent de Paul Soup Kitchen contribution on Sundays is in its sixth year and so many continue to participate in generous ways
- enrollment is up in Danbury and we are in the process of securing larger quarters, hopefully to be occupied in January of 2015
Evening bus service usage by the City of Waterbury records show that 901 of our students were given UPasses, for over 16,000 U-Pass evening rides. Moreover, as we review evening bus service usage by the City of Waterbury at large in the past two years, we note over 300,000 rides. That is community action. Despite the recent article in the Republican- American, we are assured that this initiative will be supported in years to come.
Dear colleagues and students, as you have experienced and I have tried to capture in words, this is a powerful time for us for we are growing and achieving. This is also a time that requires reflection and commitment, a sense of humor and an open and creative mind, as budget challenges appear to be in our lives for a while. Thank you for embracing our mission, for your support and for your continuing commitment to making this the most splendid college on the face of the earth, for the sake of our students and on behalf of all those who will come after us.
I close my remarks by reading a brief excerpt from Pablo Neruda’s Nobel Laureate Speech, words many of you have heard me read many times before:
All paths lead to the same goal; to convey to others what
we are…but in this dance or in this song, there are fulfilled
the most ancient rites of our conscience in the awareness of
being human and of believing in a common destiny.
The Journey toward a Splendid College continues. Thank you for your support. Mil gracias y bendiciones.
Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D.