Building Communities of Learners

As we enter the fifth week of the semester, in the context of improving student persistence and success, I ask you to focus on how we can better establish meaningful relationships with our students. We know that learning is inherently a social endeavor and that students are more likely to succeed if they feel connected to the college.

On Friday, I attended the 375 Student Voices workshop led and facilitated by our Equity NOW team co-chairs – Stephanie Bjork and Leila Palis, during which time they shared their research on our students. The survey research was conducted during the spring semester in order for us to learn how to better serve students.

One startling finding, at least to me, was that only 55 percent of our students reported a strong connection to at least one faculty or staff member. I know that in most classes an emphasis, especially early in the semester, is placed on building relationships – yet this survey finding indicates we can get better. Here is a quick reference article on strengthening our capacity around building a sense of community with our students.

Your continued work to build many communities of learners is appreciated.

Setting the Stage – Convocation Follow-up

Your collective efforts across the college to make Fall 2019 start-up a wonderful success is very much appreciated. As you know, our enrollment is holding steady at a 2.5 percent increase over Fall 2018. Now we have the opportunity to positively impact student retention and persistence through active and engaged student learning both in and out of the classroom. Let’s collectively “bring learning alive.”

Briefly, I wanted to share several notes of follow through and next steps from our Fall Convocation:

Fields of Interest (FOIs) – there was substantive and engaging conversations around the process to fully implement FOIs inclusive of both faculty and staff. FOI teams will continue to meet throughout the fall semester as PVCC is committed to accelerating the full implementation of Guided Pathways far before the Fall 2020 target date.

 Puma Promise – during convocation we began the process to re-commit to our respective personal “whys” that drive our passions for teaching, learning and student success. Building on this foundation, early in fall semester, we will hold a number of open meetings to translate our personal “whys” into the overarching purpose of PVCC. This work will translate into an updated college vision statement, inform our new 2020-2023 Strategic Plan, and launch an overt covenant with our students, faculty and staff.

PVCC 2020-2023 Strategic Plan – while we have a number of innovative initiatives driven by our current strategic plan, it is time to re-set our plan to guide us over the next three years. Work and listening sessions are under development in order to seek input from all stakeholders. Watch for a timeline and calendar of sessions.

Leadership focus 2019- 2020 – I am pleased to see institutional progress already around our four leadership themes: 1) a renewed focus on the student experience; 2) redefining our organization around innovation; 3) creating conditions for employee engagement and success; and 4) strengthening our local impact through positive social change. Thank you and keep up the good work.

Energized, engaged, spirited, and committed are organizational attributes that I see across campus these first two weeks – all reassuring that the 2019-2020 academic year is off to a great start.