Extraordinary Hurt and Anguish

With the convergence of three national crises – the recent deaths of George Floyd while in the custody of police and Breonna Taylor, shot by police in her apartment, and the resulting righteous protests, the persistent and overwhelming pandemic, and the growing economic downturn manifested by historical levels of unemployment, I am struck by how much further this nation needs to progress in the collective journey towards positive social change and fair-minded critical thinking. Ibram X. Kendi in his book How to be an Antiracist wrote “Racist ideas love believers, not thinkers.”

Our current reality is that African-Americans and people of color are disproportionality and adversely impacted by both the pandemic and the looming unemployment crisis. Both of these outcomes are resultant of hundreds of years of systemic and structural racism and discrimination.

Additionally, African-American men and women continue to be victims of unimaginable and extreme brutality while in police custody. In the reality of this weekend, I can’t begin to presume the grief and anger the Floyd and Taylor families must be feeling. We all should feel hurt and anguish.

But let’s not let hurt and anguish be where our feelings and actions stop. If PVCC is to be part of the solution around any of these three national crises, we need for these feelings to then translate into compassion, empathy and love for all. We need to do more than just commenting after the fact on the injustices or academically articulate on the impact of fair-minded critical thinking.  We as fair-minded critical thinkers and leaders need to be more “all in” every day.

These events have caused me to pause and reflect on the following questions: To what degree are our efforts around equity and diversity and inclusion really making a difference? How can we accelerate the accomplishment of our diversity and inclusion goals that are a part of our long-standing culture at PVCC?

These are extraordinary times providing PVCC an opportunity to confront pain with a renewed commitment to sustained positive social change.  Following the system-wide conversations announced today by the Chancellor, PVCC will hold several open, virtual conversations  to better understand and challenge our actions moving forward. Details of our conversations will be available soon.

Summer Update #1

Welcome to Summer Session 2020 where I begin with positive anticipation that our collective communities (students, faculty and staff) remain safe and healthy as we continue to navigate this very real pandemic. I’d like to close out the spring semester with the highest level of gratitude to the PVCC family for their collective and unrelenting hard work to ensure students successfully completed their course work enabling them one step closer to completion of a degree or certificate.

I hope you all had the opportunity to see the end of semester update from our Office of Development, Alumni & Community Relations in The Daily Growl this morning. I want to echo the appreciation that was expressed for the entire campus as we work together to build a culture of philanthropy at PVCC that benefits our students and engages our alumni and community. Thank you to Jessi, Becky, Cecile and Steve for their dedication and good work this semester.

Additionally, my deepest thanks to the faculty and staff who volunteered to safely greet and cheer our 2019-2020 graduates celebrating during our “drive through” event. What a gift it was to see students in-person in such an appreciative and joyous fashion.

Allow me to share what our specific goals that we will be working towards achieving throughout the summer:

  • Targeting a fall 2020 enrollment that meets or exceeds fall 2019 levels.
  • Continued development and delivery of a fall schedule of classes with the best mix of Live Online, Online, Hybrid and In-person formats that meets the needs of the greatest number of students – knowing that we are an essentially online college this fall
  • Meaningful and deliberate engagement with current students to ensure all students have an educational plan, engaged in the field of interest (FOI) and are retained
  • Significant marketing and outreach targeting our 20 zip code service areas communicating the student experience
  • Support and professional development for faculty and staff to ensure that we thrive in the virtual environments.
  • Integration of the findings and recommendations of the Futures Think Tank into the design and re-imagination of PVCC as a relevant and thriving college as we continue to transition through the pandemic.

Our next all-college meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 9th at 2:30pm where the topic will be on the college’s on-site return to work plans. Throughout the summer, I will provide weekly updates.

Be well and take care.