By TAYLOR ROBINSON
- President Rose Bellanca shares WCC’s six institutional initiatives
After much discussion, President Rose Bellanca and fellow administrators have come up with six priorities that they would like to focus on and discuss in detail this academic year.
According to Bellanca, they are not presented in any particular order. The first of the six is focused on student completion and student retention. Essentially this discussion would be based on what steps need to be taken for students to be successful in the classroom and how to reach their goals.
Campus safety and security is the second initiative and she asked what it means particularly for our college.
“We’ve realized that a lot of things are going on in the area around us and in the world around us,” Bellanca said.
The campus master plan and a campus technology master plan are part of the third area of discussion. Bellanca said that the last campus master plan was completed in 2007. Especially with the fusion of technology and instruction in the classroom, how does technology fit into our college today, Bellanca inquired.
The questions centered around international education, the fourth initiative, include recruitment and whether or not student exchange and faculty exchange are in existence or possibilities.
The fifth, which was prominent in discussion during the meeting, is that of diversity and inclusion and what has already been done in that area.
“But, there is so much more than that,” Bellanca said. “A lot has to do with our own personal feelings about diversity and inclusion and understanding where we come from and understanding what we need to do to create a culture…that embraces people of diverse backgrounds of diverse interests and welcoming that.”
Lastly, the sixth focus is college affordability. Particularly with the rising discussion of free college tuition in various states, it raises a question on whether or not WCC will be one of those places looking at that option and what it would mean for students and the surrounding community.
- Spanish instructor Olivia Wylie voices concern over lack of diversity among faculty
One of the meeting’s main focuses was the issue of a lack of diversity at WCC, among students and faculty. Spanish instructor Olivia Wylie, who is Hispanic and Latina, commented that in each of her classes, she’s noticing more and more Spanish-speaking students.
“I wanted to bring to your attention that 300+ million Americans, one in four, are Spanish-speaking,” Wylie said.
She also informs the board that during her time as a part-timer throughout the last 10-15 years, there has never been a Latino hired as full-time.
“When we talk about diversity, I’d like to see it, evidence of it,” Wylie said. “I want to see the visible evidence of it as opposed to just lip service. I’m seeing less and less minority faculty and I don’t know why.”
Wylie expressed to the board the importance of increasing diversity among WCC’s camps and that it’ll “help us grow.”
- Recommendation to board for approval of $1,107,749 equipment purchase
Brandon Tucker, dean of advanced technology and public service careers, asked of the board for consideration of completing phase one of purchasing equipment through the CC STEP Grant awarded to the department earlier this year.
Tucker comments that the equipment purchased is either new or a replacement for current equipment. According to Tucker, some of the equipment in need of replacement has broken down more than once and could potentially affect instruction.
The equipment is considered long-lead equipment, meaning that the delivery could take anywhere from 8-26 weeks. Also taking into account the amount of time dedicated to installing such equipment, Tucker is inquiring now so that everything could be ready by the spring/summer semester, tentatively.
“You’ll find, as we’ve mentioned previously, all equipment purchases have the caveat of either improving current curriculum, enhancing it, or validating new curriculum,” Tucker said. The board is expected to vote on this matter at the next meeting in late October.
For those who can’t make it to board meetings, video recordings of the meetings are now available in full in the WCC board of trustees meeting archives online.