Monday, August 25, 2008

From Dr. Nancy McCallin, System President

Welcome to a New Year!

Hello all and welcome to a new academic year. As we begin this new year, I want to thank you for the accomplishments of the past year. I look forward to building upon the great progress we have made in the year to come!

We have much to be proud of:

Student enrollment is on track to increase significantly this fall. Last academic year we had enrollment increases each term: up 2.8% in the fall, 3% in the spring, and 2.2% this past summer. The Colorado Community College System tied with Metropolitan State College of Denver to have the highest growth rate in student enrollment among all of Colorado’s public higher education institutions!

Student Success: Another significant achievement for our colleges is our increased graduation rate statewide. The Colorado community colleges’ graduation rate increased from 20.1% to 25.9%, helping Colorado to rank 8th in the nation among two-year colleges in graduation rates. Retention and graduation of students are two critical indicators of success at our colleges. Every faculty member and staff member has a contribution to make toward these goals. Keep up the great work!

92% of our students said they were either satisfied or very satisfied with the community colleges and more than 70% have already or were very likely to recommend the community college system to a friend.

Funding: There is good news concerning funding for our colleges. For this fiscal year we secured $10 million in new operating funds and potentially an additional $1.5 million for renewable energy programs. Also, through intensive work on a bill that reallocated federal mineral lease funds, we received $48 million in new capital construction funds for the colleges.

Banner: As many of you are aware, there is good news on the Banner front. The Banner Finance and HR/Payroll modules successfully went live July 1. Employees and vendors were paid using the new system. In total, 7,300 payroll checks were processed, totaling $15.5 million in July and an additional 6,400 non-payroll checks totaling $14.5 million were processed! The Student and Financial Aid modules have been stabilized. Thanks to all of you for your hard work and patience as we have implemented this legislatively-mandated ERP system.

I also want to let you know that in July the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education met with the college presidents and senior staff and articulated a new vision statement for the community college system. Our vision is:

Colorado community colleges are unsurpassed at providing quality educational opportunities for all who aspire to enrich their lives.
The words in this statement were chosen with considerable thought. The words “unsurpassed” and “enrich” were chosen to convey the notion that the community colleges currently do the best job of serving students with a wide range of goals, from attainment of degrees and certificates to tuning up job skills and personal enrichment. These words also express a vision for the future, as our community colleges continue to respond to a dynamic labor market, changing workforce needs, and demographic shifts in Colorado’s population. The Board also sought to encompass the varied constituencies served by community colleges, including high school students in dual enrollment programs, traditional college-age students, and adult learners of all ages.

The word “all” was chosen to convey our open access mission. For community colleges, excellence does not come from being overly selective and keeping students out. Excellence comes from letting students in and then providing them with the best learning environment to enable them to succeed. Our open access mission signifies this excellence.

The word “quality” was deliberately chosen to assure that the education we provide our students is top notch. We know that our students who transfer to other public colleges in Colorado do as well or better than students who start at those institutions. Our students deserve this quality education so that they can be successful in their lives.

You, the employees of the community colleges, are the key to serving our students. You do a superb job with limited resources. Thank you for all you do and best wishes for a successful year. I want to close with one quote from Jim Collins, author of Good to Great: “We don’t remain good, if we don’t always strive to become better.”

Dr. Nancy McCallin
Colorado Community College System President

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