NVCC CEO, Lisa Dresdner, Ph.D., students, deans, faculty, and staff opened the spring semester with the traditional All-College meeting done virtually through TEAMS. Dr. Dresdner welcomed participants and recognized their passion and perseverance by invoking Angela Duckworth’s definition of grit. “When Angela Duckworth introduced the term ‘grit’ several years ago,” Dresdner said, “we thought of it primarily in terms of introducing students to the value of that personality trait. And here all of us are, digging deep into our bones to manifest our own grit. So, let me remind you, that Duckworth defines grit as the power of passion and perseverance to achieve long term goals!”
Dr. Dresdner presented awards that recognized superlative efforts across the campus. Staff recognition or “shout outs” were given to the NVCC maintenance crew, led by Angela Maggi, for their ongoing efforts in snow removal and keeping the campus safe to visit; Karen Morris and Ed Nicholson in Accounting for their frugality in effecting savings in a mailing to over 5,000 students; the NVCC Admissions staff led by Associate Dean Noel Rosamilio for their effective transition to a paperless application process; Karen Blake and the Student Activities staff for their creativity in student engagement through a new, virtual orientation; and the efforts of the IT and Distance Learning departments, led by Neph Villanueva and Carrie Horvath respectively, for their responsiveness to transition to online teaching/learning modalities.
Jason Seabury, professor of Mathematics and chairman of the Curriculum and Educational Affairs Committee introduced a roster of curriculum proposals from the four divisions of the College which were unanimously approved. Seabury’s announcements are usually animated by music and dance, and this virtual meeting was no exception. Capitalizing on the waxing popularity of the Sea Shanty genre, Professor Seabury in collaboration with Assistant Professor of Music, Dr. Gil Harel, channeled their formidable lyrical and arranging skills to create yet another bright spot in his prodigious oeuvre of All College Meeting performances. With its fast tempo and minor key tonality, this particular sea shanty (based on "The Wellerman") was filled with witty commentary on contemporary issues in education, including continued online teaching and the ongoing work toward consolidation. Joining him in this production were Kat Lee, as well as friend, colleague, and collaborator Dr. Gil Harel, and three advanced music students: Emily Burns, Amelia McGee, and Brianna Mattingly.
Individual department updates followed the opening program, including the announcement of the You Changed My Life Faculty Award to Associate Professor of Nursing, Lisa Anderson. Presented annually by the NVCC Foundation, the award recognizes the faculty member whom the students, by survey, identify as “someone who stands out because they have gone above and beyond.” The feedback for Professor Anderson was exceptional as graduating students praised her for her advocacy and encouragement. Professor Anderson commented. "I appreciate this award presented by the NVCC Foundation. It means so much to me because it is from our students."
Important updates included Harold Burt, Professor of Mathematics, and co-chair of the NECHE steering committee who reminded everyone that individual standards committees are currently writing their initial drafts for the comprehensive self-study. Rob Sheftel, Director of the ACE, along with Antonio Santiago, Dean of the Danbury Campus and B. L. Baker, Associate Dean of LABSS, presented on the Male Encouragement Network’s new spring 2021 initiative to conduct targeted outreach and provide valuable mentorship and support services to male students of color. Senate President, Dr. Ron Picard, updated the attendees about ongoing Senate initiatives including outreach and efforts regarding the consolidation and their work on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the classroom and across the curriculum.
Student Government Association president, Hailey Moran, welcomed everyone back for the semester and summarized the roster of student events designed to promote fun and engagement. Once again, the NVCC SGA has a robust calendar of educational and recreational programs for students to learn and enjoy from the safety of their own homes.
The All-College Meeting concluded with a 45-minute Virtual Town Hall in which Dr. Dresdner and members of her Leadership Team fielded questions from faculty and staff on a variety of topics related to academic affairs and COVID-19 protocols.