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Friday, April 11, 2014

Student Awards Underscore Clinton's Diversity

Last week, four Clinton Community College students were honored at two ceremonies that took place at the New York State Convention Center in Albany.  Matthew Coupal and Vihan Wickramasinghe each received the Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence, the highest award that SUNY can bestow on a student. Janelle Menard and Paul Larche were recognized for their inclusion on the Phi Theta Kappa All New York Academic Team for their scholarship and contributions to the campus and the community. Individually, each of these students is remarkable, but collectively they illustrate the rich diversity of students that exists on the Clinton campus.

Matthew Coupal is a traditional-age college student who graduated from Northeastern Clinton Central School in nearby Champlain, New York. He came to Clinton on a Presidential Scholarship. Mild mannered and respectful, Mathew has nonetheless become a prominent figure on campus. He is past President of the local chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa international honor society and also a talented musical performer who entertains the college community at the piano throughout his time here at Clinton. Mathew will graduate next month with an A.A.S. in Computer Information Systems.

Vihan Wickramasinge was born in Sri Lanka and grew up in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. He attended Sherwood Academy, a prestigious private school in the U.A.E., where he distinguished himself academically. An extrovert, Vihan is probably best known for his daily piano recitals in the "Concourse," the second floor lobby of the George Moore Academic and Administration Building. Vihan is Vice President of the local chapter of Phi Theta Kappa. He will graduate next month with an A.S. in Liberal Arts: Mathematics and Science.

Janelle Menard is a Presidential Scholar and a member of Phi Theta Kappa. She is a graduate of Northeastern Clinton Central School and has already earned one degree from Clinton: an A.S. in Liberal Arts in December. She earned that degree summa cum laude, with highest honors. She will receive her second degree, an A.A.S in Business Administration, next month. Here at Clinton, Janelle is a student ambassador. She is prominent in this role as she guides campus tours for prospective students and their families.

Paul Larche is a non-traditional student who came back to college to change careers. After working in the world of business for many years, Paul decided to pursue a new passion in health care. Paul is one month away from his A.A.S. in Nursing. He is senior class representative for the Nursing students and a member of Phi Theta Kappa. In addition to his inclusion on the Phi Theta Kappa All New York list, Paul was recognized with the Frank Lanza Memorial Scholarship and a Clinton County Medical Society Nursing Scholarship. Paul's face is prominently featured on the Clinton web site as part of our college completion campaign: "Commit, Complete, Compete".

These four students illustrate the point that Clinton provides pathways to success to students with diverse backgrounds and aspirations. Most of our students are from right here in the North Country, but our campus is enriched by a growing number of students who come here from all over the country and around the world. Some of our students aspire to work in a career and technical position immediately after they graduate from Clinton, while others are here to complete the first two years of a bachelor's degree. Some come to Clinton immediately upon high school graduation, but others find that Clinton can help them to change directions years after high school. Whatever the case, the student body here at Clinton is rich and diverse, providing students with excellent opportunities to learn from each other. Clinton Community College is a great place to learn and succeed. That's why we encourage students and prospective students to "Start Up Here!"

That's what I think. Please let me know what you think by sending an e-mail to presidentsblog@Clinton.edu.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Gaining Momentum for 2014

Happy New Year! As we say good-bye to 2013 and ring in a brand new year, Clinton Community College is proud to share its 2013 Annual Report, “Gaining Momentum.”

The big highlight of 2013 was Clinton’s ranking as one of the Best Community Colleges in the Nation. Washington Monthly Magazine based our national ranking on eight statistics, including our high graduation and transfer rate and our outstanding support for student learners. It is noteworthy that Clinton was the only college in New York State to make this list this year.

As exciting as that is, our national ranking is just one of many indications that Clinton Community College is gaining momentum. Here are a few more highlights from 2013:
  • Clinton had more graduates than any other year since its founding in 1966, 
  • Several of our students, faculty and staff were recognized at the state and national levels for their individual achievements,
  • The College was reaccredited for 10 years by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 
  • Clinton’s College Advancement Program (CAP) became one of only 89 programs nationwide to be accredited by the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP), and
  • Our Center for Community and Workforce Development saw its non-credit business and industry enrollment grow by more than 35%.
In these and many other ways, Clinton is gaining momentum. For those who would like to read more, our annual report is available online at http://www.clinton.edu/annualreport/.

It takes many people – students, faculty, staff and volunteers – to accomplish our mission.  Although it is impossible to list everyone and everything in such a brief report, we touch on some highlights. Give it a read, and see for yourself why we say, “Clinton Community College: Start Up Here!”

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Story and a Suggestion

Last week, I had the honor of conferring certificates and degrees on Clinton’s most recent graduating class. The valedictorian was Christopher Bowlby of Schuyler Falls, who received a degree in Electrical Technology: Electronics.

Chris graduated from Peru High School back in 1993 and went to work for Bombardier in an entry-level job. In his commencement speech, Chris explained that he was laid off (downsized) in 2010. With financial aid for displaced workers, Chris made a commitment to his college education.

Chris had been a full-time student for only three semesters, when he was hired back by Bombardier, this time at a more advanced level because of his education at Clinton. It might have been easy for Chris to drop out of college at that point, but he didn’t. He took the full-time position, and he completed his degree on a part-time basis. It wasn’t easy for Chris to balance a full-time job, family and school, but he said that it was worth the effort. According to Chris, coming to Clinton was the opportunity of a lifetime not only for him, but for his family.

Chris Bowlby’s commencement speech underscores the advice that we give to all our students: commit, complete, compete. Chris committed to his college education; he completed his associate’s degree; and now he is competing in the workforce and in the world.

If you’re thinking about making a New Year’s resolution to better your own life, I suggest "Clinton Community College: Start Up Here."

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Giving Thanks

Clinton Community College has accomplished some remarkable things in 2013. Earlier this year, Clinton  was selected by Washington Monthly Magazine as one of the best community colleges in the nation. Clinton is the only community college in New York State to make the list this year. This year, we also graduated more students than ever before in the history of the college. It was also a great year for our Center for Community and Workforce Development, which grew its non-credit business and industry training by more than 35% over the previous year. In these and many other ways, Clinton is accomplishing its mission in and for our community.

With Thanksgiving now upon us, I take this opportunity to gratefully acknowledge the many people who contribute to our ongoing success: 

  • First, through their support, our County sponsor and the people of New York State allows us to provide affordable access to higher education.
  • Our Board of Trustees is a dedicated group of leaders who govern the college in and for our community.
  • I also thank the many people who contribute their time, talent and treasure through our Clearly Clinton Campaign, the Clinton Community College Foundation and our Alumni Association. Their efforts are helping us to go from good to great!
  • Our faculty and staff provide students with a first-class education, personal attention and a supportive learning environment.
  • And our students are remarkable. They challenge us and inspire us to be the best that we can be.
It takes people working in many capacities to achieve the kind of results that we have seen recently at Clinton. On this Thanksgiving Day, I gratefully acknowledge them all for the important role that they play.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

One of the Best in the Nation

Washington Monthly Cover
Last week, Washington Monthly magazine announced its list of the Top 50 Community Colleges in the nation, and guess what. Clinton Community College made the list! In fact, Clinton is the only community college in New York State to be in the 2013 national ranking. 

Washington Monthly is a news magazine based in the nation’s capital. It is read by policy makers and thought leaders throughout the country. The Washington Monthly ranking of America’s best community colleges is based on two sources of information: 
  • The Community College Survey of Student Engagement (better known as CCSSE), and
  • The U.S. Department of Education measures of student retention and completion. 
As Washington Monthly points out, since 2003 CCSSE has been administered to the vast majority of community colleges. It provides an assessment of each community college in five benchmark areas:

1.      Active and Collaborative Learning
2.      Student Effort
3.      Academic Challenge
4.      Student-Faculty Interaction, and
5.      Support for Learners. 

These benchmarks comprise five-eighths of the Washington Monthly ranking system.

The remaining three-eighths are based on data from the National Center for Education Statistics at the U.S. Department of Education:
  1. First-year retention rate.
  2. Percentage of first-time, full-time, degree-seeking students who graduate or transfer within three years.
  3. The ratio of degrees awarded during a given academic year to the number of full-time equivalent students enrolled. 
Clinton’s high ranking on these eight measures of student engagement and student success doesn't surprise some people. It reflects what many already know from first-hand experience: that our faculty and staff are committed to teaching, learning and student success. Still, all of us at Clinton are pleased to have external validation by such a credible source.

That's what I think. Please let me know what you think by e-mailing me at presidentsblog@clinton.edu.

Friday, August 30, 2013

What I Did on My "Summer Vacation"

After 27 years in higher education, I still operate under the fallacy that summer will be a quiet, restful season. You'd think I'd have learned by now. In fact, in my current job as President of Clinton Community College, I have found that summer is an especially busy season -- a time of year when back-office planning and preparation is done in anticipation of the start of a new academic year. Nonetheless, my brothers still tease me from time to time and ask me how my "summer vacation" is going. Maybe they're jealous that I work on a college campus, but I think they do it just to get a rise out of me. In that spirit of good-natured kidding, I thought it would be a good time to take up this blog again, and share a little of my "summer vacation."
  • Just when students were exhaling from our spring commencement ceremonies and beginning their summer vacation, several of us at Clinton were burning the candle at both ends to write and submit a federal Title III grant requesting $2.25M. On some of those weekends and late nights, we felt like we were college students once again cramming for an exam.
  • At the beginning of June, it was an honor for me to make a presentation at the College for Every Student (CFES) Persistence Summit. CFES is a national organization, based in Essex, NY, and dedicated to helping under-served populations to attain a college education. Steve Tyrell, President of a neighboring community college, and I led a discussion on the great potential of community colleges to help the nation increase its competitive advantage through increased persistence of community college students.
  • Just a few days later, I helped to welcome a group of international guidance counselors who visited Clinton Community College and our sister college, SUNY Plattsburgh. It was a great opportunity to show off our beautiful campus on Lake Champlain and our outstanding academic programs. Now that the counselors have seen us up close and personal, I hope that they'll put in a good word for us when they talk to their students back home.
  • Governor Cuomo kept all of us in SUNY busy during the month of June as he launched Start UP NY, an ambitious program designed to stimulate economic development and job growth by incentivizing business and industries to partner with SUNY campuses. In addition to state-wide events in Albany, I also participated in local events including a public forum hosted at Clinton and a visit by the Governor himself to our sister college, SUNY Plattsburgh.
  • June also gave me an opportunity to participate in a series of meetings with Asept Pak, a local company that is expanding its current medical device manufacturing business into a pharmaceutical business right here in Plattsburgh. As a result of those discussions, out faculty and staff are working with the company to develop a skilled workforce for their new operation, which should be up and running soon.
  • SUNY Plattsburgh President John Ettling and I had the honor of facilitating a discussion with a group of bright, young Canadian high school students. They came from all over Canada to SUNY Plattsburgh for the intensive Canadian Youth Ambassador program. We engaged the students in a discussion of "Higher Education and the Role of Leadership," with special emphasis on the similarities and differences between higher education in Canada and the U.S. Their bold thinking and thirst for understanding reminded me of why I have made my career in education.
  • To round out the month of June, I had "Dinner with the Mob." It was the largest single fundraising event in the history of the Clinton Community College Foundation. The interactive dinner theater engaged a crowd of nearly 300 guests in a murder mystery. I hadn't seen so many fedoras and flapper dresses since I watched The Sting.
  • For two weeks in July, Clinton was home to a group of 19 Chinese students and leaders who came for an intensive summer program on English language and American culture. It was a pleasure for me to dine with them on several occasions and practice a few words of Mandarin with them as they ran circles around me with their newly acquired skills in English.
  • The visiting Chinese students got a real treat when a sitting United States Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, came to Clinton Community College to announce legislation that would protect our waterways from invasive species. The Senator chose Clinton for its outstanding location overlooking Lake Champlain.
  • Mixed in with all of those fun events was some serious work on strategic planning. Starting with the recommendations of the College's Strategic Planning Committee, Clinton's senior leaders held a President's Council Retreat in July. It was an opportunity for us to examine the internal and external environment at Clinton and set plans for the coming year. Later, we would digest the discussions with the Board of Trustees as it held its own retreat in August.
  • But, as they say, "All work and no play..." July also gave us an opportunity to set up a booth at the Clinton County Fair. Besides the usual table full of recruiting materials, we also gave fair goers the opportunity to compete for prizes on our wind turbine training ladder and in the robot wars designed and built by members of our Computer Technology program.
  • At the conclusion of the Fair, we got back to the grind. The entire President's Council and several other staff members participated in three days of training on the national Incident Command System. The training will help the College to be prepared for any unplanned incidents that may arise, but it has also provided us with some good management tools to use for other types of events that we may plan at the College.
  • One of the most unique courses that was offered this summer at Clinton revolved around an archaeological dig at Pike's Cantonment. Right here in Plattsburgh, Pike's Cantonment was the site of a military encampment that was burned by the British during the War of 1812. As far as we know, it is the only pristine archaeological dig site from that war. Nothing existed on that site before it was a cantonment, and nothing has been built on top of it since then. I visited the site again this July as Clinton students were excavating the site under the able tutelage of Professor Tim Abel.
  • I've never been on stage with Mick Jagger, but I think I might have an idea what it's like. At the end of July, I was co-presenter with SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher at the second annual convening of the New York State Cradle to Career Alliance at the SUNY Global Center in Manhattan. The Chancellor and I led a session on "Setting the Leadership Table." It was an opportunity for me to share personal experiences on the Clinton County THRIVE Cradle-through-Career Partnership with the Chancellor -- a real "rock star" in the field -- who was instrumental in founding the national Strive Network of cradle to career partnerships. Clinton County is the first rural community to become affiliated with Strive.
  • No grass grows under our Chancellor's feet. The very next day after we presented together in Manhattan, Nancy Zimpher came back to Clinton County to help us announce that the Clearly Clinton Campaign has reached the $2M milestone. We made the announcement at a private reception for campaign donors and friends of the College. Clearly Clinton is a 5-year campaign to raise funds to build a Twenty-First Century Learning Commons at Clinton Community College.
  • On August 7, I kicked off a new series of radio spots on Hometown Radio, WIRY in Plattsburgh. The radio spots tell the story of Clinton Community College, where "community is our middle name." The 90-second spots run twice a week. Each week, another member of the Clinton faculty and staff presents a topic of interest.
  • While all of this was going on, the College administration and the Board of Trustees were hard at work preparing a balanced budget for 2013-2014. The budget was adopted by the Board of Trustees in July and the Clinton County Legislature in August. Although it wasn't easy, the College managed to compensate for escalating health insurance and retirement costs, and the lasting effects of deep cuts in base aid over the past few years.
  • As if the earlier visits by the Governor and Senator Gillibrand were not enough for one season, Congressman Bill Owens held a Town Hall meeting on our campus on August 20. As moderator for the forum, it was an honor for me welcome the Congressman's constituents from as they prepared to pose questions on a variety of topics. "Community" truly is our middle name.
  • The last days of August seemed like a blur. Unofficially, summer was already over as we welcomed our resident hall staff back to campus, dined with new and returning students, welcomed our men's and women's soccer teams and made presentations at several new student orientations. There was definitely a buzz in the air!
Whew! I knew it had been a busy summer, but now I feel a bit tired just summing it all up. It's a good thing that the Fall semester is already underway, because when everyone else gets busy, my office quiets down just a bit. Or maybe that's just another fallacy. In either case, it sure is exciting to be at Clinton!

That's what I think. Please let me know what you think by sending an e-mail to presidentsblog@clinton.edu.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Unexpected Inspiration

Inspiration often comes at unexpected times, from unexpected sources. I was inspired this week to share these thoughts with the Clinton Community College graduating class and their guests at their commencement ceremony on May 17, 2013.


Members of the platform party, faculty and staff, family, friends, honored guests, and members of the Class of 2013…

It is an honor for me to welcome you to this commencement ceremony. I have been the President of Clinton Community College for four years; we have two commencement ceremonies per year; so this will be the eighth time that I have delivered such a greeting here. And if the truth be told, I have delivered similar remarks with only minor variations at most of the previous seven commencements. So this time, I thought that I should change things up a bit, but over the last few days, writer’s block has made it hard for me to get out of my rut.

Yesterday, after several unproductive hours of straining to write and then starting over again, I set my writing aside and turned my attention to the mountain of e-mail that was accumulating in my inbox. It was there that I found a message from a dear friend. This friend went out of their way to say a few kind words and to brighten my day. Their e-mail concluded with an uplifting quote from a famous person. The exact quote is irrelevant to today’s ceremony, but my friend’s random act of kindness refocused my attention. As I composed my response to thank them, I looked for a quote to send to them in reply.

An Internet search for -- you guessed it -- “quotes on kindness” returned a long list of suggestions. But as luck would have it, the first one I saw was attributed to Mother Teresa. Without going into too much personal detail, suffice it to say that I never thought I would be quoting Mother Teresa. Most people would think it more likely for me to quote a scientist like Albert Einstein, a statesman like Benjamin Franklin or a visionary like John F. Kennedy. But life is full of surprises.

When I read this particular quote, I knew it was just the right quote to send to my friend, but it also struck me as excellent advice for this year’s graduating class. Let me explain.

Have you noticed anything unusual about this year’s graduating class? Many of them are sporting special-edition Clinton Community College “Be Nice” sunglasses tonight. They are part of a year-long, grass-roots Campus Civility Campaign that has really caught on among our students.

I’m not sure who came up with the “Be Nice” tagline, but it is elegant in its simplicity. It appears on sunglasses, buttons, wristbands and lanyards that people have been wearing around campus. Those gadgets have been a constant reminder to us to… well… to be nice. And Class of 2013, let me applaud you for being one of the nicest classes of students that I have had the pleasure to know. I hope that in some small way, your experience at Clinton has helped you in that regard.

What you have learned in your classes and from your textbooks is excellent preparation for life and career. While it is no guarantee of future success, it will help you to be better prepared for the opportunities that will come your way after you leave Clinton. As important, or maybe even more important, are those lessons that I hope you have learned about your fellow human beings and how we all interact with each other. For therein lies the true power of our human society.

One of Clinton Community College’s Core Values is “Community.” When the College identified that Core Value as part of our 2012-2017 Vision, Mission and Values, the definition of “Community” was deliberately left open to interpretation. To some, and at some times, we think of how we value and serve our external community: Plattsburgh, Clinton County or even New York State and the World. But to others, and at other times, we think of how we value each other within this campus community, and how important it is for each of us to be a productive part of our campus community.

As my friend’s random act of kindness distracted me from my writer’s block, I found that it also allowed me to clear my head and be open to what was already right in front of me. And so, members of Class of 2013, I close by congratulating you on your accomplishments to date and wishing you continued success as you meet the challenges and opportunities of the future. And I leave you with this quote from Mother Teresa:

People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.


That's what I think. Please let me know what you thing by emailing presidentsblog@clinton.edu.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

fDi Magazine Puts Plattsburgh on the Map

Plattsburgh's economy is more international than most people realize. Fortunately, "most people" does not include the editors of fDi Magazine (Foreign Direct Investment, online at www.fdiintelligence.com). The magazine, a publication of The Financial Times of London, recently named Plattsburgh #4 on its 2013-2014 list of Micro American Cities for economic potential. The rankings are selected from all North and South American cities with populations under 100,000.

According to Garry Douglas, President of the North Country Chamber of Commerce, "This international review is especially significant and gratifying as it looks for signs and trends identifying Cities of the Future." fDi's Cities of the Future rankings are created by a distinguished panel of judges who review and analyze dozens of data points, including GDP, total inward and outward foreign direct investment, and the number of projects and jobs. (Mountain Lake PBS is producing the "Made in Clinton County" series that highlights the international businesses that are based here in our region.)

In a press release, Mr. Douglas attributes Plattsburgh's high ranking to the area's economic development team, which includes The Chamber, The Development Corporation, local government, the North Country Workforce Investment Board, CV-TEC, SUNY Plattsburgh and Clinton Community College.

It is not surprising that Clinton Community College and other educational institutions are on that list of economic development partners. Paul Grasso, President and CEO of The Development Corporation has often remarked that workforce development and economic development are "two sides of the same coin." Much of what we do at Clinton is related to workforce development, through our credit and non-credit  courses and programs in Electronics, Industrial Technology, Wind Energy & Turbine Technology, Computer Information Systems, Computer Technology and Environmental Technology, to name a few. Underscoring the point that education is an important factor for economic development is the fact that Plattsburgh also scored on fDi's top 10 list for human resources.

Another factor that cannot be overlooked is our geographic location. Clinton is the northernmost county in New York State. It shares an international border with Quebec, Canada. The Port of Excellence at Champlain, New York, is a thoroughfare for commerce between two of North America's most cosmopolitan cities: Montreal and New York. When I first met Garry Douglas four years ago, he provided me with an orientation to the regional economy. It was then that he explained to me that Plattsburgh was "Montreal's U.S. Suburb." At first I chuckled, thinking that he was making a joke. After an awkward pause and a piercing stare from him, I realized that he was dead serious. Now that I have lived in this region for four years, I realize how accurate his description was, and how tightly the Plattsburgh economy is linked to Montreal.

Here at Clinton Community College, Community is our middle name. When we developed our 2012-2017 Strategic Plan, one of our top-level goals was to "create a culture that embraces internationalism and diversity as essential to the economy and the quality of life in our region." As we continue to pursue that goal, fDi Magazine's Cities of the Future List is validation that we are on the right track.

That's what I think. Please let me know what you think by e-mailing me at presidentsblog@clinton.edu.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Power of Collaboration

Recent events at Clinton Community College remind me of a quote by naturalist Charles Darwin:

"It is the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed."

Over the last several weeks, members of our Faculty Association (the faculty union), the Administration and the Board of Trustees worked together to adopt a collaborative solution to some of the financial pressures that are impacting next year's annual operating budget. On November 30, those financial pressures triggered layoffs that would have become effective next September, when the College begins its next fiscal year. The announcements were painful and disruptive to say the least.

Many of us at Clinton saw the opportunity for alternative solutions through collaboration. In February, leaders within the Faculty Association proposed a retirement incentive that would help the College to achieve significant cost savings next year so that some of the people who were scheduled for layoffs could be reinstated. The Administration and the Board of Trustees recognized the potential, and they formally adopted the retirement incentive proposal in March.

As a result of the retirement incentive, five senior faculty members have opted to retire from the College in exchange for a cash payout. The College stands to save almost $400,000 next year from the retirements. That savings is an attractive alternative to the layoffs that otherwise would have taken effect. As a result of the retirement incentive, four full-time teaching faculty members have been reinstated, just in time for Fall registration, which begins on April 11.

These recent labor-management discussions have resulted in some immediate relief from the pain that comes with layoffs, but as important, they demonstrate the power of collaborative problem solving. As Darwin suggested, this sort of collaborative problem solving holds our best promise of future success.

That's what I think. Please let me know what you think by e-mailing me at presidentsblog@clinton.edu.

Monday, January 28, 2013

On Janus and January

I was recently reminded that the month of January is named for Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and transitions. Symbolic of his role in the ancient religion, Janus is usually depicted with one forward-looking face and one backward-looking face. In the spirit of the month, I take this opportunity to reflect backward on some of the notable accomplishments of the 2012 calendar year and to look ahead at upcoming events.

The Year in Review

Despite the economic pressures that faced the College, we accomplished much during the past year. We continued to advance the mission of the College as we provided a private good to each of our students and a public good to the community at-large. Our 2012-2017 Strategic Plan was developed with broad input from students, faculty and staff and formally adopted by eight separate stakeholder groups: the Strategic Planning Committee, the Student Senate, the Faculty Council, the Cabinet, the President's Council, the Alumni Board, the Foundation Board and the Board of Trustees. Many of the accomplishments listed below are the direct result of actions taken by our dedicated faculty and staff as we execute the Strategic Plan that we developed:
  • A record number of Presidential Scholars (41) enrolled at Clinton in Fall 2012. In fact, the number was almost twice as much as the previous year (22).
  • We also set a new record for the number of credits taken by high school students in our College Advancement Program (CAP): 3,306 credits in 2012 vs. 3,197 credits in 2011.
  • In 2012, a record number of international students (33) studied at Clinton. By this semester, the number has more than tripled (37) since we began actively recruiting international students in 2010 (12). We are already well on our way to our 2017 strategic goal of 50.
  • Sixty-three (63) students were inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa honor society last year, up from 57 in 2011.
  • Although we didn't set a new record for the total number of graduates, we came very close at 313. This is especially notable since it was very close to the mark (320) that was set in 2011, when enrollment was at an historic high.
  • One hundred percent (100%) of our 2012 class of nurses passed the NCLEX, the national nursing license exam. Our nursing students almost always post scores that are higher than the state and national averages, but a 100% pass rate is especially remarkable.
  • Three new academic programs were introduced in Fall 2012: an A.A.S. and a Certificate in Alternative Energy Technologies and an A.A. in Criminal Justice. All three of these programs are built around existing courses, and thus provide additional options to our students without placing an additional burden on the College's operating budget.
  • Our Center for Community and Workforce Development (CCWD) received funding to develop training that will lead to industry certification awarded by the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC).
  • With our partners in the Workforce Investment Board, CITEC and others, the CCWD also co-sponsored a National Manufacturing Day event at CCC to help to build a ready workforce in support of the region's manufacturing industry.
  • The Clearly Clinton Capital Campaign exceeded its first-year goal ($1M in pledges and gifts) in only 11 months, one month ahead of schedule.
  • In 2012, the CCC Foundation received the largest gift ever made by an alumnus ($200,000 from Wayne and Sylvia Manor).
  • In 2012, we received the largest and most valuable in-kind gift ever made to the College: a 30-ton GE wind turbine valued at $400,000.
  • Clinton Community College and SUNY Plattsburgh signed a "shared services" agreement, opening the door to improved student services and increased operating efficiencies on the two campuses.
  • For the first time in history, Clinton Community College students were given the opportunity to register online using CAMS, our new Comprehensive Academic Management System.
  • Without spending a dime of our operating budget, the College launched its new brand and tagline: Start Up Here. This resulted in a redesigned web site with a more modern look and feel and increased functionality.
  • We have completed a comprehensive Institutional Effectiveness Plan that was formally approved by the Strategic Planning Committee, the Faculty Council, the Cabinet, the President's Council and the Board of Trustees.
  • As part of our Strategic Plan and our Facilities Master Plan, capital funding for the replacement of the 50-year-old heating plant in the Moore Building was approved by the Board of Trustees and by the Clinton County Legislature.
The Year Ahead

The year ahead (2013) is filled with challenges and opportunities. Economic conditions through the region, the state and the nation are still bearing down on us, but they also provide us with opportunities to serve the needs of the community.
  • The Governor's executive budget calls for no change in the base aid rate for community colleges. Funding would remain at $2,272, still 15% lower than the 2009 rate of $2675 per full-time equivalent student.
  • Enrollment in local high schools in the region continues to decline, affecting the College's ability to recruit traditional age students. Therefore, we are working to remain competitive as we compete for local and out-of-county students.
  • We have established a Budget Advisory Council with representative from all three of our collective bargaining groups. The BAC provides the opportunity for broad input from faculty and staff as we meet our charge to deliver a balanced budget for 2013-14.

  • On the bright side, with the support of the CCC Foundation, we have contracted the services of Lighthouse Consulting to help us to prepare an application for a $2-million Title III grant to accomplish many of the items included in our 2012-2017 Strategic Plan.
  • Our faculty and staff continue to explore opportunities to increase student retention and to support student success, particularly in math and English courses that so often provide barriers to degree attainment.
  • With our newly adopted Institutional Effectiveness Plan and with the Middle States Monitoring Report that is currently being vetted through our shared governance organizations, we are well positioned to be reaccredited for ten more years.
  • Our Nursing program is actively engaged in its own reaccreditation process. An accreditation visit is scheduled for February.
  • Our Clearly Clinton Campaign continues to receive significant gifts and pledges from businesses and individuals who want to support student success.
  • Consistent with our Strategic Plan and our Facilities Master Plan, work on the Moore Building heating plant and the Forrence Center roof is scheduled to begin in 2013.
  • We are on-pace to set new records for international students and Presidential Scholars in 2013.
  • Under the auspices of our Strategic Planning Committee, we continue to work on the long-term goals and annual objectives that have been developed by our faculty and staff.
At the end of one calendar and the beginning of another, we have a Janus-like opportunity to simultaneously reflect on the past and to look ahead to the future. We cannot change the past, but we can celebrate accomplishments and learn from our experiences. Looking forward, we can see both challenges and opportunities. It is up to us to make the best of both.

That's what I think. Please let me know what you think by emailing presidentsblog@clinton.edu.