NVCC President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, students, deans, faculty and staff opened the spring semester on a high note with a campus-wide Diversity and Inclusion Inventory. Traditionally each semester opens and closes with an all-college meeting to update progress on the College’s strategic plan and all activities – academic, extracurricular and community- that support it. This semester the meeting opened with fun, facts and fellowship announcing a number of campus-wide initiatives.
The meeting was characterized by energy and optimism. The agenda opened with a welcome by President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, who presented a photo of the billboard for the Danbury campus, so generously donated by Joe DaSilva, landlord of the Danbury campus at 190 Main Street. She described the campus there as “a small place with a big heart” and expressed our gratitude to Mr. DaSilva for his generous support.
Jason Seabury, associate professor of Mathematics and chairman of the Curriculum and Educational Affairs Committee introduced 8 curriculum proposals from the Allied Health division which were unanimously approved. Seabury’s announcements usually come with theatrics inspired by the best of Broadway, and the performing arts. He almost let the audience think that this meeting would be different. A few familiar notes on the piano started the song that broke into his almost quiet exit. He burst into a beautiful, spirited re-write of Elvis Presley’s I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You. “I can’t help singing at staff meetings…Like our Wally knows, if you give me a microphone, this is how it goes…” Laughter, applause and good cheer followed.
Dean of Academic Affairs, Lisa Dresdner presented an update on retention through NVCC’s Doing our PART (Paying Attention to Retention Today.) Dresdner shared the Doing our PART video produced by the committee. https://youtu.be/m_ztCKcRGgw She invited faculty including Jane Wampler, Professor of Mathematics; Althea, Hayes, Assistant Professor of English; and Karen Rotella, Professor/Coordinator of Hospitality Management to share 30-second anecdotes of the how they are listening to their students and using that feedback to adjust curriculum and practices to support retention and completion. Examples of faculty doing their PART ranged from intrusive emails to having the students grade their professor and research topics of interest. Changing the way that they connect to students was clearly the theme. Dresdner noted “the shift occurs when we move from intuitive to intentional. That’s what Doing our PART is about.”
Dean of Community Engagement, Waldemar Kostrzewa presented a chronology of NVCC’s four past Fulbright Scholars-in-Residence, with an update on the work each scholar is doing since they left the College. In preparation for the College’s 5th Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence, Dean Kostrzewa presented a lively introduction of Stacy Sacks, whose arrival the College will celebrate this fall. Sasha Bratt, Professor of Theater and B.L. Baker, Associate Dean of Liberal Arts & Behavioral/Social Sciences discussed new curriculum and events that will coincide with the scholar’s arrival.
Individual department updates followed the opening program. The President and College offered special thanks to Professor Gil Harel and NVCC music students for their generous and beautiful musical performances, and to Professor Chris Tuccio and the NVCC Horticulture students for the beautiful flowers.