December 15, 2008

Greetings all,

Welcome to issue number nine of “What’s On My Mind?” It is hard to believe that Finals Week is already here – it seems like yesterday that we were welcoming new students to campus! My last note of 2008 will touch on a number of sights and sounds from around the College that are indicative of our continued commitment to student success, community building, bringing learning alive and positive social change.

First of all I’d be remiss if I did not comment on the positive participation of everyone as it relates to our ongoing discussions on the budget. I’ve received a number of e-mails from faculty and staff offering not only helpful feedback, but notes of personal willingness to do more, to take on additional responsibility and to be part of the solution. Thank you.

Over the last several weeks, I have been privileged to really see learning come alive…the fall Dance Concert was very well done and played to two SRO crowds…our men’s cross county NJCAA National Champions made an excellent presentation to the District Governing Board…last Wednesday night a number of the PVCC Jazz Ensembles delivered an outstanding holiday concert…the student art show currently up at the Center for Performing Arts is also amazing …the high level of support of the Adopt-A-Family program sponsored by Student Life and Leadership… and Phi Theta Kappa welcoming a large class of inductees. Spending time at each of these activities is a powerful reminder that all the budget deliberations are worth it – because learning is alive at PVCC!

My thanks to everyone who turned out at our reception last week to celebrate Linda Rosenthal’s twenty-nine years of service to MCCD. Marilyn Cristiano’s comments were especially well done. Linda will not be missed because she will always be a part of the PVCC family.

We will miss Jane Marks and J. David Williams who both will be retiring the end of the semester. Thank you Jane and J. David for a job well done.

As I said during my convocation remarks in August, PVCC will continue to be the very best because we focus on student learning, have extraordinary employees even with less than ordinary resources and are willing and able to learn from difficult and painful challenges. Our challenge when we return to campus in January will be to set aside our angst with budgets and shift our focus full force back to student success. It is refreshing to know that our core purpose for being – creating conditions that engage students in educationally purposeful activities – is the single biggest predictor of student success which in turn leads to increased student persistence to goal completion. It is student success that leads to a steady and predictable revenue stream.

My heartfelt thanks to all of you for all you do for students and the student learning experience at PVCC. May you and your family have a blessed holiday season.

Have a great holiday break.

A quick addendum – I was remiss by not including – Gene Rister’s retirement as well. Thank you Gene for your many years of service to students.

Regards,

Paul Dale, Ed.D.
Interim President

November 21, 2008

Greetings all,

Welcome to issue number seven of “What’s On My Mind?” This week I’d like to reflect on a number of sights and sounds from around the College that are indicative of our continued commitment to student success, community building, bringing learning alive and positive social change. First though, let me comment on the historical presidential election of Barack Obama and what this might mean to students and learning.

Over the last several weeks, I have been trying to understand – through the eyes of students – the significance of the U.S. electorate choosing Obama decisively by popular vote as our first African-American President. It has been reported that young voters (ages 18 – 29, many who are students) overwhelmingly supported Obama – 68 percent to 30 percent for McCain. I talked with a student while waiting in line for fry bread during a Native American dance exhibition. She shared how pleased she was that Barack had been elected, but found that many of her friends seemed to discount the importance of the election and were hesitant to talk openly about an African-American being elected president. She was disappointed that at least among her peer group, there seemed to be lack of engaging conversation. Later that week, I visited with a PVCC faculty member who shared that one of her students – as evidenced by a pre-class impassioned discussion with other students – was now empowered and engaged because in his words “everything is possible now.” Lastly, I was thumbing through a high school newspaper of one of our feeder high schools and ran across a student written editorial reflecting on post election racist mal-behavior – tiny hanging nooses being waved towards African-American students during an in class discussion of the election results. Are these behaviors representative of the larger student population and society in general? Perhaps – I don’t know. We know that learning occurs best when done in the context of a compelling situation and the election of an African-American is a historically compelling situation. Take the time and talk with students about the election – you will be surprised what you’ll learn and how much more we all need to learn.

Sights and sounds around the college…

The Business/IT Division is “double-dog daring” all other divisions and departments to join in on the fun with Relay for Life. There has got to be other groups that will compete with the folks in Business/IT. BTW – ask Gary Smith what he is doing to raise money for Relay – it is impressive. I hear that faculty members Brett Reed in music and Catherin Snyder in psychology are doing some amazing engaging activities in class – ask them about their approaches!

Stop by the reception for the PVCC Men’s NJCAA National Cross Country Champions on Tuesday, November 25 – what a success story for coach Dave Barney and his student-athletes.

Have a great week.

Regards,

Paul Dale, Ed.D.
Interim President