Good Afternoon, dear friends and family of Naugatuck Valley Community College. It is a joy to welcome you this afternoon to our fifth community meeting and to thank you for joining us for an update on our first year’s implementation of “Toward a Splendid College: Naugatuck Valley Community College Strategic Plan: 2013-2016”. This is a good opportunity for us to hear your comments about our common interests as we map out the work to be undertaken in the next academic year. How wonderful it is to see so many of you, partners and supporters, a room filled with generosity and intelligence: our elected officials, members of the NVCC Foundation, of the NVCC Regional Advisory Council and Manufacturing Council, fellow community leaders representing so many agencies and NVCC management, faculty, staff and students. It is good to have our community partners with us, and to welcome speakers who are engaged in the college’s journey to provide a world-class education to the communities we all serve. Dr. Nivea Torres and Dr. Kathleen Ouellette, I am honored by your presence and look forward with great anticipation to your presentations this afternoon. Mr. Douglas Rhynhart , who earned a Level II Certificate in Advanced Manufacturing Technology this May has a compelling story to share with us. I look forward to hearing his remarks. Provost Jim Troup will be providing you with an update on progress being made toward the creation of our Health Sciences Center, in the soon to be renovated Founders Hall. Dean Kostrzewa will be helping us move the process of presentations and discussions so that all voices are heard and become part of the fabric of the work plan, connected to our strategic priorities and responsive to community needs. Group discussions will be facilitated by members of the NVCC family, including our consultant extraordinaire Anna Pond.
It gives me pleasure to affirm that five strategic goals continue to guide our efforts and to support continuous improvement and enhancement of educational opportunities for our students. These are: At NVCC, students achieve their goals; faculty and staff make a difference; programs meet and exceed academic and industry standards; we are an engine of change for the communities we serve; we are an effective, performance-based institution.
This is my sixth year as the president of your community college, and I am proud to report that it has been a very productive and rewarding year. Naugatuck Valley is practicing its mission. We believe in opportunity, access, inclusiveness, academic excellence and community engagement. We believe in our students and in our faculty and staff’s capacity to guide their way to a better future. We believe in our communities and our partners. We believe in you. We believe in the awesome potential that our working together has to produce meaningful outcomes. It has and will continue to do so.
As academic year 2013-2014 ends, we are about to embark on a series of activities to commemorate 50 years in the history of our institution. Our work, our commitment to mission and what the college represents for so many is tied to the most beautiful and fundamental democratic principles. These principles led to the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and also to the founding of community colleges in Connecticut in 1965. We are proud to say that our work continues to honor and support that vision of a just and inclusive society. It is in that spirit that I welcome you to our fifth annual community meeting and dialogue between the campus and our partners and multiple stakeholders. In your folders you will find our community report as well as a report on activities in support of our goals for the first year of the strategic plan.
A challenging year comes to an end with significant accomplishments for Naugatuck Valley Community College. The College continued its trajectory of fiscal responsibility, our Danbury Center has now been accredited by NEASC (The New England Association of Schools and Colleges) to offer associate degrees and to be officially designated the NVCC Danbury Campus, successful implementation of our second year of the GEAR UP program and the successes of the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Program. The Facilities Department had an active year with the upcoming renovation of Founders Hall and the Campus Improvement Project (Provost Troup will have much more to say about these projects), and the HVAC renovation of our science laboratories was supported at the Bond Commission meeting of May 30. Other significant achievements include but are not limited to the following:
- The college hosted its second Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence, renowned author Oonya Kempadoo. Ms. Kempadoo taught Caribbean Literature and Creative Writing both at NVCC and at Capital Community College, and established the ongoing, multi-media, interactive story project “Naniki” as her educational legacy
- Early college partnerships have been formed, and planning is underway in both Danbury and Waterbury to offer credit courses to high school students, in the high schools, this coming fall
- Pass rates on certification and licensure exams for five of NVCC’s allied health career programs are at or near the 100% level. NVCC’s Nursing program ranks in the top 5% nationally according to the National Council of State Boards for Nursing, and first in Connecticut, with a 97% pass rate on the NCLEX exam
- Evening bus service for the campus and the City of Waterbury advocated by NVCC with the support of many community partners and initiated in October of 2011, has reported citywide a tremendous growth in city-wide bus rides. Students using the U-Pass have taken over 200,000 day and evening bus rides, and Waterbury residents have utilized evening bus service to take over 400,000 rides. Funding for evening service in the coming year has been assured in the General Assembly, and for that we thank our state legislative delegation
- NVCC doubled the number of President-to-President Scholarships presented to NVCC graduates this year to include Central, Eastern, Southern and Western Connecticut State Universities, Charter Oak State College, U-CONN Waterbury, Post University and the University of Hartford
- Through the efforts of the NVCC Foundation, the College added five new scholarships and doubled the amount of scholarship money granted in Honors Night awards, provided support to keep the library and ACE open on weekends during the spring semester and raised $60,000 to support the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center.
I could go on and on, but you have sufficient information in your folders. However, I will just tell you about one more: I am thrilled to report that the Graduating class of 2014 with 880 degrees and 445 certificates for a TOTAL of 1325 (1050 unduplicated) awards is now the largest ever graduating class in the fifty year history of Naugatuck Valley Community College.
I close my remarks this morning by reading a poem about our holding hands to become stronger as we come together with open hearts and open minds, to work for the common good and the betterment of our students and the communities we serve:
Can Any Beauty Match This?
By Hafiz, 14th century Persian poet
When the sun within speaks, when love
Reaches out its hand and places it upon
any power the stars and planets might
have upon us,
any fears you can muster can become so
What one heart can do for another heart,
is there any beauty in the world that can
Brotherhood, sisterhood, humanity becomes
the joy and the emancipation.
Naugatuck Valley Community College
5th Annual Community Meeting
June 13, 2014
Remarks by Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D., President