One of the joys of my role as college president is to meet individually with all new employees primarily to welcome them, provide a learning-centered context, and to open up conversation and dialogue. A staple in these meetings is a conversation about positive social change – the third pillar of our vision statement. In 2015, I also reflected on the nature of positive social change and I believe that it is important for all of us, on a regular basis, to refresh on the meaning and intent of the vision of PVCC – our “north star.”
Positive social change at PVCC is manifested on at least two levels: institutional and individual. As an institution, through student success and degree/transfer completion we strive to be a driver of economic and social mobility for our students, especially for those who are first-generation and underrepresented. The college’s commitment to issues of social importance (i.e. diversity and inclusion, closing the equity attainment gaps, sustainability) also demonstrates positive social change. While we do not always label our good work in this context, positive social change abounds in activities such as: Festival of Tales, Farmer’s Market food distribution, service learning, work with veterans in the arts programs, outreach into PVSchools and programming in the Palomino community just to name a few.
Perhaps equally as important is the vision that students will leave PVCC with the skills, abilities, and commitment to elicit positive social change on an issue that they care deeply about. Whether that passion is attached to a social issue of importance (homelessness, food insecurity, illiteracy, etc.) or equally as lofty like solving one of the many ‘isms of the world (racism, sexism, ageism, etc.), we hope that students use their critical, creative and entrepreneurial thinking skills to make the world a better place. Let’s continue to look for curricular and co-curricular opportunities to build context around the notion of positive social change.
A call for action: this semester, a group of faculty and staff will explore the feasibility for a PVCC Center for Positive Social Change to increase, accelerate, and amplify the college’s efforts in this space. Rather than a physical entity, the Center will serve as an organizational umbrella to align existing and new programs. If you are interested in joining this team, please contact Dr. Jana Schwartz, Vice President of Student Affairs.
At PVCC, learning is valued as a means to greater ends – certainly inclusive of positive social change.