Norco College faculty, students and staff turned out to hear Acting President Debbie DiThomas give a state-of-the-college address on October 7.
DiThomas laid out her strategy and mission for the next eight months, mixing personal observations with a professional assessment of the college. First, however, the former vice president of Student Services paid tribute to the accomplishments of faculty and staff. In rapid succession, she called attention to 16 professional achievements and 10 team achievements at the College.
“Our faculty and staff are doing amazing things inside and outside the classroom,” she said. “Norco College is a very good college.”
Yet she acknowledged that the College faces challenges ahead, not only from the state funding cuts, but also increased regulations related to accountability. In response, she said, Norco College has adjusted its strategic planning.
“We are bringing more grants into the institutions as shown by the recent NSF national center for excellence grant for supply chain technology education and the HSI-STEM grant that will allow us to establish a pre-engineering associate degree pathway to CSU and UC,” she said. “We are also supporting the Invest in Excellence: 100@100 Campaign that will give us new resources to build and expand programs and increase student success.”
Expanding on the concept of student success, DiThomas talked about the College’s need to work harder on assessment, saying, “We have made good progress, but we have work to do to ensure that we are at proficiency levels in assessment of student learning outcomes by fall 2012.”
She also discussed strategic planning and a recent reorganization that addressed five issues including accountability, focusing on the mission of the college, and increased opportunities for faculty training in key areas.
In setting the course for the future, DiThomas praised faculty, staff and students for being independent and determined. She urged them to become leaders in whatever role they played at the College--to get involved, to stand up for what’s right, and to embrace shared respect and teamwork.
In closing, she proposed a new unofficial call to action for Norco College--one that embodies discussion, collaboration, and shared purpose. Three simple words, she said: Make it so.
Make it so students “are successful, programs align with core missions, policies and processes benefit students, faculty infuse students with a love for learning, staff thrive, and the communities served by the College invest in the institution.”