Happy holidays! Final exams have ended, and the rush to prepare for celebrations during the next several weeks now claim our time and our attention.
As we look forward to the coming year and all of the ways in which we will support our students and each other, I want to share some thoughts about priorities, networking and strengthening our district and the communities we serve.
This week, our trustees participated in a compression planning session so they could prepare to meet the challenges we will face in higher education and in Dallas County.
They know that one of our objectives is to meet the 60-by-30 Texas goals set by the Higher Education Coordinating Board.
They also discussed the forecast for Dallas County in 2030 and what DCCCD's role will be to train a qualified workforce and address the growing poverty level in our area.
They talked through each of their strategic priorities, identifying ways that we, as a district, can address the needs of our students and our community. Some of those areas included:
- Streamlining navigation to and through our system;
- Being student-centric instead of institution-centric;
- Identifying employees for promotion and providing professional development;
- Ensuring that our district reflects our community.
These practices and priorities will guide us as we work with students who are here to earn a college credential, enter the workforce, and support both their families and their communities.
It's important to move forward together, and we are doing that through our network by removing barriers, providing solutions to problems, and offering concrete help to our students and our community.
With that in mind, I've scheduled time to visit every college in our district during the months of January and February. We've created a successful network by weaving together offerings that have received so much attention in Dallas and the surrounding area, and also in higher education circles.
For example….the Dallas County Promise, which we announced this fall, along with the support of the DCCCD Foundation, removes economic barriers for high school students who believe that college is out of reach.
We know that students – and some employees – may not have the nutritious food they need each day to study, to work, and to accomplish the tasks of everyday life.
Our new partnership with the North Texas Food Bank, with regularly-scheduled visits to our colleges, is one solution to that challenge.
As you know, transportation can be expensive. Providing districtwide DART passes for students removes that barrier.
All of these efforts and more help us create an expanding network that will continue to grow next year and in the years to come. I look forward to talking with you about those needs and goals when we meet on campus this winter.
I want to thank each of you for the work you do every day. You are the face of DCCCD for our students and in our communities.
You are an integral part of the higher education network we're building to serve those students. We couldn't do it without you.
Our mission to educate students and serve communities guides us each day. Our trustees support us throughout the year. Our communities depend on us.
Together, we are creating a positive experience for our students. We are building tomorrow's workforce by teaching skills that students need to succeed so that large and small businesses can grow.
And we are creating and sustaining a higher education network that supports our communities and economic development.
I am very proud of the accomplishments of our district, and I look forward to working with you and our students in 2018.
Have a safe and happy holiday with family and friends, and I will see you next year!