As we end the seventh week of the semester, I have been reminded in very visual and meaningful ways that faculty and staff are “leading and learning with unwavering commitment” – our leadership theme for the year. I’ve seen firsthand as I’ve attended or stopped by events such as the: Assessment Extravaganza, Entrepreneurial Education/Creative Writing guest lecture, Public Philosophy Lecture, Career Services inaugural community advisory meeting, and the committee meetings of Guided Pathways and closing the equity gap, that collectively our college is leading in an unwavering fashion. We have also been unwavering in our community-facing events such as the Desperado Film Festival and the scholarship fund raising tribute concert to Tom Petty and David Bowie – just to name a few examples.
At the same time, as we have encountered vexing and difficult issues – both at the college and system levels – I’ve also been reminded that the president’s leadership team needs to “step up our game” in terms of leading from an unwavering position. As we approach new and different directions with developmental education and student placement, launching a responsive strategic enrollment management plan, closing the equity gap, narrowing budget priorities to match limited and declining resources and perhaps most importantly improving student learning and success, we need to be courageous in our leadership approach.
So what does courageous, unwavering leadership look like? It means that: our first response is “how can we…;” we won’t be tentative and wait rather we will be relentless in moving forward; we will accelerate and follow through; and we will stay committed to student learning and success as the drivers of our work.
In the midst of these organizational leadership opportunities and challenges are our remarkable students. And I believe that our students are remarkable as defined in any Webster dictionary as “…being extraordinary; unusual or special and therefore surprising and worth mentioning.” You know our students, perhaps better than I – working fifty hours a week in a restaurant and taking four classes (three online and one in person); completing that one last class for an AAS degree in order to get a supervisory promotion at work, and the student who not so perfectly syncs the receipt of his financial aid funds in time to buy books for a chapter quiz the next day.
It is imperative that executive and college-wide leadership continue to match our unwavering leadership commitment to solve challenging organizational issues with the same levels of unwavering commitment that our remarkable students, faculty and staff exhibit as they successfully navigate the many and varied learning opportunities at PVCC. Because we believe in positive social change in all manifested forms – equity, social justice, and social/economic mobility, I know that this will be our daily legacy.