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11 October 2019

Naugatuck Valley Community College Kicks Off Campus-wide Retention Campaign

Naugatuck Valley Community College Kicks Off Campus-wide Retention Campaign

NVCC President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D., Dean of Academic Affairs, Lisa Dresdner, Ph.D., the students, faculty and staff of the College hosted an all-campus meeting to introduce a campaign focused on student retention, NVCC’s Doing Our P.A.R.T. (Paying Attention to Retention Today!) President De Filippis opened the meeting with enthusiasm and confidence “as we engage in the finest example of shared governance to achieve results that reflect the equitable, collaborative nature of this College.”

The campus-wide kickoff event included the presentation of a new video that features  faculty, students, staff, and others talking about their role in NVCC’s Doing Our P.A.R.T. https://youtu.be/m_ztCKcRGgw 

NVCC’s Coaches from Achieving the Dream (ATD) - the national, nonprofit leader in championing evidence-based institutional improvement, attended the meeting. Achieving the Dream is a network whose primary mission is equity. As a member of this network, NVCC benefits from the guidance of coaches like Dr. Donna McKusick and Dr. Mary Ostrye.  Consistent with the mission of ATD, the coaches reminded the audience that we strengthen our communities by relentlessly addressing systemic inequities within higher education to increase social and economic mobility for all students and families. “It’s about social justice,” commented Dr. Ostrye.  Dr. Donna McKusick reminded the audience that as a part of Achieving the Dream, we are working with America’s largest network of community colleges to become strong engines of student and community growth. Led by the President and Dean of Academic Affairs, the committee has representatives from all departments across campus, including students and alumni. The committee is organized by their newly adopted mission and vision:

MISSION: Each member of the NVCC community plays a part in empowering students by forging connections with them inside and outside of the classroom and these connections require faculty and staff to work toward closing equity gaps to ensure all students reach their goals.
VISION:  Doing Our P.A.R.T. is a campus–wide movement responding to NVCC’s recognition that as a caring academic community we must work strategically to achieve greater impact in our efforts to increase students’ successful course completion, retention, and success, and to close the equity gap. 

Dean Dresdner introduced the committees that lead the initiative. The Steering Committee, led by college-wide leaders, President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D., and Lisa Dresdner, Ph.D., has 5 other members, including, team leaders, Jeff Damiano, Ed.D., Associate Professor of Biology, STEM Division; and Jaime Hammond, Director of Library Services; Beth Monchun, Executive Assistant to the President; Sohair Omar, Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness; and Bonnie Goulet, Director of Student Development Services.

The Advisory Committee consists of 20 members (not all present) from across the college community, including employees (faculty and staff) and student representatives for a one-year term of service with an option for reappointment.  The Advisory Committee member are Robyn-Jay Bage, Professor of Management; Karlene Ball, ESL Program Coordinator; Deirdre D’Amore, Enrollment/Retention Specialist; Cathy Hardy, Director of Director, Financial Aid/Veterans’ Affairs; Alexandra (Lexie) Lopes, Academic Advisor and Student Retention Specialist at NVCC’s Danbury Campus; Donna Marotti, Professor of Business; Dr. Anne Mattrella, Professor of Modern Languages; Dr. Patti Pallis, Professor of English; Dr. Ron Picard, Professor of English; Chris Rempfer, Assistant Professor of English;  Dr. Lisa Rodrigues-Doolabh, Director of Institutional Research;  Michael Schwartz, Academic Assistant;  Beth-Ann Scott, Professor of English; Rob Sheftel, Director, Academic Support Center; Kathy Taylor, Professor of Legal Assistant/Paralegal; Jane Wampler, Professor of Mathematics;

The meeting also featured speakers from academic areas around the College. Ron Picard, Professor of English represented the Faculty Senate; Chris Rempfer, Assistant Professor of English, represented the Center for Teaching (CFT); Waldemar Kostrzewa, Dean of Community Engagement, represented the Vanguard Academy.

President De Filippis closed the meeting by reminding everyone that this campaign is “another opportunity to dream big, as we organize to prepare a plan that will be complete by December.”

Summarizing the event, Dean Lisa Dresdner commented, “I’m so excited about the enthusiasm our faculty and staff have in finding individual and collective ways they can do their part to help students reach their goals. What we know – from our own experiences and national data – is that when we connect with students, when we engage them in their learning both inside and outside of the classroom – we make a difference in their abilities to complete courses successfully and reach their goals.”

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