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Published on November 18th, 2013 | by editor


Promoting Wright’s Successes

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the honor and pleasure of representing Wright College at several events and before a variety of esteemed audiences, giving me the opportunity to share the results of your hard work, ideas and dedication to student success.  Below, I’ve summarized some of the events. As always, I am happy to share additional detail with anyone interested.

October 28: Meeting with U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan:

Summary: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan met with 15 college presidents of HSIs (Hispanic Serving Institutions) at the HACU national conference in Chicago. The Secretary’s aim was to ask for feedback about President Obama’s plan for college affordability.

Much of the interest and controversy centered on the linkage of financial aid to a new college ratings system. The discussion highlighted the challenges of designing a rating system and the Obama’s administration’s commitment to the concept.

I raised the issue of higher education systems on individual institutional performance. Higher education systems allocate resources and students, set priorities and policies, and interact with the public and the government – all of which have a tremendous impact on institutional effectiveness.  Wright College, like most public institutions of higher education, is dependent upon the effectiveness of its system.

For additional details on the meeting, see here.

November 4:  Presentation to Mayor Rahm Emanuel with City Colleges Chancellor Cheryl Hyman

Summary: For the past several months, Wright’s College to Careers (C2C) team, led by C2C Dean Brian Randolph, has been busy building the structure our developing Information Technology program. The purpose of this meeting was to update Mayor Emanuel on our progress since Wright was designated as City Colleges’ C2C IT hub last year. Joining the mayor, the chancellor, and I were Interim VP Mike Davis, Vice Chancellor for Strategy Rasmus Lynnerup and C2C partner representatives from Cisco and Google.

We emphasized that, through C2C, Wright College is focusing first on building three strong foundational pathways in IT and computer science. These pathways are designed to allow high school students from the Early College STEM schools a smooth transition to college; provide opportunities direct to employment for students in Networking Technology after completing an AAS degree aligned to the Cisco certifications (CCENT and CCNA); and provide seamless transfer opportunities for students to four year institutions in computer science, database systems and web development – where a bachelor’s degree is the minimum working degree in the field.

The mayor’s primary interest was ensuring that the structure of the evolving program is effectively planned and developed. As we all agreed, once that is achieved, the jobs and careers for students will follow. I want to thank Brian Randolph and his team for their outreach to partners and for gathering key information and data for this meeting and presentation.

November 7: Meeting with City Colleges of Chicago Board of Trustees

Summary: The presentation to the Board of Trustees was an opportunity to showcase Wright’s recent successes and opportunities for growth. This included sharing positive growth trends in terms of degrees awarded and enrollment at both the main and Humboldt Park campuses.

One of our standout Computer Science students, Recep Dereli, joined me for the presentation, where he was recognized for his recent “Fifty for the Future” award from the Illinois Technology Foundation.  The meeting participants were especially interested in the information I presented about our outstanding Math on Demand initiative, including the new Math Center and improved student outcomes.

I want to thank Kevin Li and his team, as well as Brian Trzebiatowski and Angela O’Connor, for contributing mightily to the content of this presentation, and of course to everyone who is working to ensure MOD and the Math Center are effectively serving our students. (Presentations for both events will be posted shortly.)

On a related note, congratulations to Kevin and his team for their planning and execution of last week’s AQIP retreat. The retreat was a successful show of collaboration and community, with discussion that generated a lot of passion and ideas. I look forward to seeing the fruits of these discussions and working with all of you to implement the ideas that will lead to enhanced enrollment, improved completion, and increased retention.

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