On October 28 in Theatre 2, BMCC hosted its first Town Hall to update students, faculty and staff on the status of the college’s Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) institutional self-study.
During his opening remarks, BMCC President Antonio Pérez said the Middle States Commission provides accreditation after evaluating how effectively a college delivers upon its mission and institutional goals.
The college-wide self-study is based on input from faculty, students and staff, “who all see this process with a different perspective,” he said. “We need to show that our students leave BMCC with something of value,” such as real-world experience gained through internships, and the knowledge and skills to continue in their field of study or enter a career.
Karrin E. Wilks, Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs, told the audience that BMCC is “very sharply focused on improving student success and college readiness” through strategies from developmental education and gateway courses, to academic advisement. The college, she said, aims to “improve retention, graduation and transfer rates, as well as job placements that provide family-sustaining wages.”
Holding ourselves accountable
The 20 Strategic Plan Outcomes featured in the Reaching Greater Levels Strategic Plan 2015-2010 were created at BMCC through committees of faculty, students and staff. Seven of those outcomes have been identified as the focus of this first phase of the self-study process, said Provost Wilks, and they include:
(2) Improved Development Pass Rates;
(4) Reduced DFW Rates in Gateway Courses;
(5) Increased 1st- and 2nd-year Credit Accumulation;
(6) Increase 1st-year Retention Rate;
(12) Increase Student Satisfaction with Student Services and Communication;
(14) Increased Participation in Workforce Development, and
(15) Increased Participation in Co/Extra-Curricular Activities.
Christopher Shults, Dean of Institutional Effectiveness and Strategic Planning, talked about BMCC’s Strategic Priorities. “This is what we hold ourselves accountable to. We’re in very good shape. Accreditation offers the college community an opportunity to self-reflect on how well we are serving our students.”
He told the group that there will be a Town Hall to update the BMCC community on the self-study every semester, and encouraged people to check the BMCC Share Point site to review documents related to the process.
Working groups present updates
The Standards Working Groups are reviewing whether the college is meeting, exceeding or approaching the Middle States Standards. Leaders of those groups presented their initial findings:
Standard I group (Mission and Goals): Michael Hutmaker, Dean for Student Affairs and Maria Enrico, Chair of the Modern Languages Department.
Standard II group (Ethics and Integrity): Sangeeta Bishop, Chair of the Social Sciences, Human Services and Criminal Justice Department and Robert Diaz, Vice President for Legal Affairs and Faculty and Staff Relations.
Standard III group (Design and Delivery of the Student Learning Experience): Hollis Glaser, Professor of Speech, Communications and Theatre Arts and Professor of Science Sarah Salm.
Standard IV group (Support of the Student Experience): Marva Craig, Vice President for Student Affairs and Kenneth Levinson, Chair of the Academic Literacy and Linguistics Department.
Standard V group (Educational Effectiveness Assessment): Erwin Wong, Dean for Academic Programs and Anna Salvati, Professor of Computer Information Systems.
Standard VI group (Planning, Resources and Institutional Improvement): John Montanez, Dean of Grants and Charles McGill, Professor of Art.
Standard VII group (Governance, Leadership and Administration): Sunil Gupta, Dean of the Center for Continuing Education and Workforce Development and Janice Walters, Chair of the Teacher Education department.
Christopher Shults concluded the Town Hall by encouraging the BMCC community to review each groups’ documents on the BMCC Share Point site, and provide input. “We are the inaugural class focused on the new standards, and we are going to set the benchmarks for other colleges,” he said. “We’re trailblazers.”