Leadership is all about decision-making. As leaders, the decisions we make impact entire organizations. As the president, I realize that the decisions I make impact all employees at MCCC. Some decisions are much more impactful than others – some may be popular, others unpopular, but that is the nature of leadership. It is important to note that in all my decision-making, there are NO instances where I put myself first. It is always about the institution, NEVER about me. With new leadership comes change, which is sometimes difficult and uncomfortable. When change comes, how we adapt to it is what determines our ability to be successful. I encourage anyone who is uncomfortable with any decisions I make to feel comfortable to stop by and have a conversation with me. I am sure we may both learn something from these conversations.
As an institution, we must brace ourselves for additional changes, some of which will be uncomfortable and difficult but positively impactful for MCCC.
Listening is a trait that I have picked up in my many years as an educator. I have learned a considerable amount by listening, and once heard someone say, “if you are not listening, you are not learning”. I want to learn as much as I can.
It has been almost four months since I assumed the presidency of Monroe County Community College. Since then, I have been listening; just as I said I would when I interviewed. I have been listening to faculty, staff, students, and the community. So far, I have met individually with every full-time faculty member and all administrators, and perhaps 50 percent of the full-time staff. I plan to set aside times to meet with adjunct faculty and part-time staff. I have immersed myself in the community by attending numerous events, just to meet and listen to our community. Our most recent effort involves the community” listening tours” designed to feel the pulse of our community; remember, that is who we serve .
We all know that simply listening is not enough without follow up action. Therefore, it is important as we listen that we take action to remedy those situations that we can. There are some instances in which we may have no power to affect change – that is simply one of those stark realities. What can we change, what can we do better, and what do we need to stop doing? These are all legitimate questions. Every one of us is a leader in this community, and as leaders, we must listen. We have almost completed our official listening tours, but the listening will continue as we attempt to affect positive change on campus and in our community.
Dear MCCC Family,
Health is of critical importance to all of us. I find that the busier I get the less likely I am to take time to manage my health. I am sure some of you may find that your circumstances are similar to mine. Well, I have decided to try to change that for me, and hopefully for you. We have a wonderful Fitness Center that is underutilized by faculty and staff; this gives us an opportunity to use it more as we build a greater sense of camaraderie and espirit de corps at MCCC.
Beginning on Tuesday, November 26 (before I overeat at Thanksgiving), I will be going to our Fitness Center to work out for 30 to 45 minutes – “Workout with the President.” We will begin at 6:45 p.m. and conclude at 7:30 p.m. Other dates before the Christmas Holidays are: Tuesday, December 3, Thursday December 5, and Wednesday, December 11 (after overeating at Thanksgiving). I will send out another email after the holidays to schedule a regular time for us to work out together throughout the year.
You are all invited to please join me, at your convenience, as we will not only be enriching lives, but even saving lives.
Imagine a world with no hate, no violence, and no prejudice. A world where all are welcome, regardless of race, gender, nationality, ethnicity, age, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, economic status or any other differences. What a wonderful world it would be!
Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance – a day to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred and prejudice. I state unequivocally that discrimination in any form is wrong! Therefore, as members of the human race, we need to value each other and be more tolerant of our differences. We are all different; no two people in this world are the same, so let us continue to celebrate our differences (diversity) as we memorialize those who have lost their lives because of hatred and violence.
Dear MCCC Family,
Last Friday, MCCC lost our single most important benefactor, Mrs. Shirley Meyer. Mrs. Meyer was our single most important benefactor, not only because of the funds she gave to MCCC, but also because of the time and talents she shared with MCCC. I am sad to say that I never had the honor, privilege, or pleasure to meet Mrs. Meyer. Of course, I heard much about her and frequently asked about her, but never had the opportunity to meet her because of her failing health. Although we never met, her legendary reputation preceded her. I remain in awe of this great woman whose spirit remained indomitable to the very end.
Mrs. Meyer is one of those giants on whose shoulders I stand today as I proudly serve as the fifth president of this great institution. It is because of Mrs. Meyer’s generosity and magnanimity that we now have an established MCCC Foundation that awards over $500,000 in scholarships to needy and deserving students each year. It is because of Mrs. Meyer’s philanthropic spirit and largesse that the La-Z- Boy Center now stands on campus as a center of educational upliftment and entertainment for the entire Monroe County Community. It is because of Mrs. Meyer’s vision and fortitude that we now have a grants office that has secured additional funds to sustain this great institution.
Thank you, Mrs. Shirley Meyer for your lifelong dedication and commitment to serving the underserved and less fortunate of our county. May your soul rest in eternal peace.
November is Native American Month. I did not know that until I attended the Turtle Island Dream Keepers meeting on campus a couple of weeks ago. Diversity is about tolerance, understanding, and celebration. The United States is the greatest country in the world because of our diversity, we become greater and better as our diversity grows and as we allow for more expression of our differences.
To commemorate and celebrate Native American Month, I contacted the Turtle Island Dream Keepers and several self-identified Native American students on campus. We have planned the following: a display of Native American artifacts, up today in the glass case of Building A, and a panel discussion on Wednesday November 6, on Native American names and mascots in sports (a topic that is very much in the news these days – think Washington Redskins). There will be other events throughout the month. So join me as we celebrate our diversity during Native American month.
Monroe County Community College was founded 50 years ago in this community, by this community, to serve this community. That is our fundamental mission. The MCCC Mission reads, “Monroe County Community College provides a variety of higher education opportunities to enrich the lives ofthe residents of Monroe County. While I believe that at this point in the development of our county, region, state, nation and world, our mission is much more encompassing, that is not the focus of this blog.
The focus of my blog this morning is on serving our community – Monroe County. Our mission as currently stated is to serve our county. To quote Dr. Ronald Campbell, our first president: “In short, Monroe County Community College is your college, Mr. and Mrs. Citizen. You created it, you support it, you use it. That’s why we’re here, and that’s why we operate with you in mind” (“Campus Notebook,” Carleton Messenger, 17 March 1972). Our mission is to serve ALL members of this community/county, without regard to age, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, etc. Our mission, simply put, is to provide opportunity and access, while maintaining our standards. So, if there are ANY members of our community who meet those standards and in any way feel that they are not being provided with the opportunity to access the “Community’s College”, then we are not meeting our mission.
My fellow educators, for 50 years we have served this community par excellence, and our community is the better for it. In a new day and age, as the world around us changes and as the” ground shifts”, let us find new and innovative ways of serving our community by providing opportunity and access to continue enriching the lives of all our residents.