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Published on May 20th, 2014 | by editor


A Year in Review and Exciting Things to Come

A message from President Potash . . .

Congrats to Norma Romanowski and Neida Hernandez-Santamaria (pictured with President Potash), winners of the Bang Bang Pie Shop gift certificates! Happy Pi(e) Day!

President Potash awards Bang Bang Pie Shop gift certificates to Norma Romanowski and Neida Hernandez-Santamaria during the Spring 2014 State of the College address (also, Pi(e) Day).

As my first year at Wright College draws to a close – punctuated by the opportunity to celebrate graduation with our students – I have been taking stock of the many accomplishments of our fine institution and Wright’s community of students, faculty and staff. It has been a good year for Wright and the City Colleges of Chicago.

Following a five-year strategic plan released in the summer of 2013, Wright College exceeded or met 10 of its 12 goals. At the top of the list is a rising graduation rate. More students graduated this year with associate degrees and certificates from Wright than in prior years. In fact, we are on track to doubling the number of degrees awarded since 2010. While we can track accomplishments and progress on many fronts, the completion of a degree or certificate is the ultimate way our success as a college is measured.

Making this possible is academic quality at Wright and the dedication and expertise of our faculty. Our institutional success rests on a commitment to academic quality and the ongoing hard work of teaching, learning outcomes assessment, curricular development and review, and a learning-focused culture. Supporting student completion is a team activity, with students responsible for the lion’s share of the work.

This year, we reworked our advisement and registration procedures, giving students clearer information about course planning and requirements. Wright College advisors reached out to more students through more means – emails, letters, texts, social media, phone calls, open houses and open forums – and we will continue to develop better communication systems to promote student resources.

We have created an environment that increasingly helps students succeed and many of the students I’ve talked with recognize and appreciate this support.

Evidence of student success is demonstrated in transfer activity –  last year, 43 percent of our credit students transferred to a four-year institution within two years of completing their degree. This year, Wright students are transferring to local institutions such as DePaul University, Illinois Institute of Technology, Loyola University, Northeastern Illinois University, the School of the Art Institute, and the University of Illinois at Chicago; outside of Chicagoland, destinations include Carthage College, Smith College, Stanford University, the University of Illinois, and the University of Toronto, among many others. I’ve had the opportunity to meet and talk with many of these students and have been inspired by the stories they have shared of their personal journeys, as well as their hopes, plans and expectations for the future.

To further support students, Wright’s AQIP processes facilitated ongoing improvements in many areas, from completion to the Wright in Your Corner student center to the opening of our Center for Teaching and Learning (both Title V-supported programs). We created “Wright Now” and to keep the community informed. We partnered on numerous events, from Earth Day to Career Fairs to many different awards and recognition ceremonies. From these activities, to the many student-led efforts and events, including the annual Art Show and Stage Wright productions, it’s clear that ours is a vibrant college community.

I am particularly excited about the new programs being developed for Information Technology (IT) as part of City Colleges’ College to Careers program. We have a new AAS in networking, an AAS in web development, and an AS in computer science – and more new degrees and certificates are on the way. Wright is making good progress leading CCC in IT programs and helping students prepare for career opportunities in the IT field.

The impressive skylight on the new LRC rooftop is an example of how we have enhanced our facilities, and work on improving Wright College will continue over the summer. A dance/fitness studio is being constructed next to the gymnasium in our former wrestling space. We are creating lounges in the vending machine spaces in the Arts and Science buildings for students. Ten more smart classrooms are being installed with state-of-the-art IT equipment. We are also upgrading our classroom furniture.

We have much to look forward to in the coming academic year and I want to highlight two important initiatives that will start in the fall. We will embark on a master space planning process with STL Architects, developing a long-term capital plan for the college. We will also be focusing collectively on the first year experience, partnering with Academic Affairs and Reinvention. I am very excited and look forward to realizing measurable progress in these areas.

On a personal note, I am extraordinarily thankful for the support, colleagueship, and commitment from Wright’s community. You have made me feel at home at Wright. I am grateful for the opportunity and responsibility to serve as your president. Thank you.

With all best wishes,

David Potash, President
Wilbur Wright College

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