At the culmination of the third full semester under the ongoing global pandemic, we have much to look forward to. After successive semesters of declining enrollment, we are finally looking forward to Spring 2022 with more students enrolled in MJC than in Spring 2021! An increase of 35% in unduplicated headcount is significant at any time; it is particularly laudable as the trend across the State continues to be downward. It was made possible by a focused marketing campaign followed by strong collective support from all of you, especially student services, to get students into the classes they need. Thank you for the great work!
During the Fall semester, we celebrated our 100th birthday and renewed our pledge to serve our communities. We embarked upon a very ambitious goal of developing our strategic plan that will be our roadmap for the next five years. We have established the Applied Creativity and Community Transformation (ACCT) initiative to address the need of future-focused learners. Our outreach effort to local educational partners and the community increased despite the pandemic. We increased our workforce development and lifelong learning activities in the community; the division expanded job training to local industries. We are nearing finalization of our strategic enrollment management plan with a focus on guided pathways. Our faculty prioritization process has been completed before the end of the Fall semester. Our women’s golf team won their second State Championship in five years, and our football team not only won the NorCal Grizzly Bowl, but were also recognized for playing the game with a positive spirit. With a focus on open educational resources and zero textbook cost, we saved our students nearly $2 million! None of this would be possible without your commitment and hard work. Thank you for all you do for our students and our communities!
Although much has been accomplished in Fall, we have some unfinished business to be completed in Spring 2022. We could not consolidate our work on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, commonly referred to as DEI. This is particularly important for our future as an institution for several reasons. The male population among our students, particularly from underrepresented minorities, is declining. We are also committed to eliminating the achievement gap. It is my goal to start this important work in early Spring and I look forward to your support. We do not have an emergency management plan – another unfinished business that I would like to complete in Spring. We will have an ambitious recruitment plan to hire at least fifteen faculty members and two deans. I am confident that working together, we will be able to accomplish all of these tasks in Spring and make MJC a stronger institution focused on the future.
The biggest task ahead of us for the Spring semester and beyond is to prepare for the rapid change of pace in higher education. Higher education has changed more in the last ten years than it has the past several decades. Advancements in technology, changing demographics of student populations, and rapid job churn that demands learning evolving skills have all contributed to the change. Prior to the pandemic, nearly 25% of our classes were online; in the last three semesters, the demand for online classes has soared. All of this has profound implications on what we teach, how we teach, and where we teach. As an institution of higher education, our purpose is to distribute knowledge in the most appropriate manner. When our student body and their needs change rapidly, we will require nimbleness in developing curriculum, adopting different teaching and learning modalities, creativity in assessment, introducing programs that impart skills demanded by employers, and continuously adjusting to the needs of the future-focused learner. Our success will depend upon our ability to anticipate both stated and implied needs of the communities we serve.
The rapid change of pace makes the future exciting! I look forward to engaging in this conversation with each of you in the upcoming semester and beyond to ensure we remain relevant to our students and community. However, that’s for the next semester and the new year. In the upcoming days, please get the much needed rest and relaxation with your friends and family. If you are traveling, be safe. I appreciate all that you do each and every day for our students and community.
This is the season of joy and giving. I admire your generosity at the Holiday Party and the Tree Decorating Contest where many of you donated the ornaments to decorate the trees. When our students picked up the decorated trees to take home, I saw tears of joy and that is when I realized how much this gesture meant to them! Thank you for bringing so much joy this season by giving to our students’ and making an impact in their lives. I consider myself privileged to lead this fine institution!
WE are MJC! The Community’s College!