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Honoring the Past and Preparing for the Future

College President Joann La Perla-Morales greeted the College community at the Fall Convocation August 31 and talked about successes of the past – 2009 marks the 45th anniversary of the College – and plans for the future.

"It is my privilege to be here to work with all of you to lead the College at this time, a time of great challenge but also of great opportunity," she said. "Indeed, we are in one of the worst economic downturns in the country's history. But the county, the state and the country have never needed community colleges as much as we are needed now. Consider the many challenges facing the country and the role we can play to provide solutions: unemployment, changing job-markets, economic development, developing a skilled workforce, access to higher education for those who cannot typically afford it, access to higher education for students unprepared for traditional higher education, and quality degree programs that lead to jobs or transfer to four-year institutions. With our experience and 45 years of success, we are uniquely equipped to provide solutions to these challenges."

Dr. La Perla-Morales also talked about the growth in the First Year Experience Program, the Summer Bridge Program, learning communities, assessment initiatives, as well as new academic programs and facilities upgrades.

She also spoke about the strategic plan. Last year, the College community developed five institutional goals:

• To provide an excellent education to students pursuing professional, academic, and/or personal goals.

• To foster knowledge and self-awareness, and support personal and intellectual growth while stimulating lifelong learning.

• To respond collaboratively to the changing needs of the community.

• To offer access to education and resources that enrich the quality of life for the community.

• To provide a variety of learning experiences to promote success.

With these goals in place, the three planning committees began to develop strategic goals. The committees are Pathways to Teaching and Learning, chaired by Professor Juan Saborido; Pathways to Engagement and Success, chaired by Professor Alice Picardo; and Pathways to Collaboration and Community, chaired by Dr. Roseann Bucciarelli.