WSCC president sees many positives in upcoming year

If West Shore Community College receives a manufacturing grant in 2014 it could result in $3 million to the college for training purposes.

If West Shore Community College receives a manufacturing grant in 2014 it could result in $3 million to the college for training purposes.

Editor’s note: This is the second of a two-part series with West Shore Community College president Dr. Charles Dillon. On Thursday he took a look back at the past year at the college and today he looks ahead to 2014.

SCOTTVILLE — When West Shore Community College president looks to the upcoming year he sees a college committed to the success of its students.

“I see a greater focus on student success in 2014,” he said. “Some things we have done recently will be working in a combination of ways. The board has taken a position by recently passing policy where student success is a priority.”

He pointed out that they have put in place tools that will focus on those areas.

“By joining the voluntary framework of accountability which is an American Association of community colleges, it gives us better data to define who we really are,” he said.

Dillon said that will give the college faculty and administration vital information on where assistance is needed for students. They gained that data through the use of Civitas data program and Canvas Course management one.

“Having all those things work together will give us a stronger commitment to student success and better data to allow us to help intervene with students when necessary,” he said.

Another major milestone this year will be the celebration of the career technical partnership with West Shore ESD. It is a partnership that has provided valuable vocational education opportunities to thousands of students.

Dillon said another thing to watch is the growth that will occur in the business opportunity center.

“We have also collaborated with six other community colleges to go after a Federal Advanced Manufacturing grant,” he said. “If we are successful our share will be about $3 million for training. Manufacturing training is where the most of the money will go and it will be huge.”

Dillon said the college will remain focused on improving at all levels.

“We are going to have a new strategic plan that will be bigger, bolder and more focused on school success with measurement,” he said. “It is a blueprint to the future that will guide us all.”

The West Shore Community College Foundation has been a major attribute to the college and Dillon expects that to really shine in 2014. Director Julie Van Dyke will be in her first full year in that position and looking to move it forward.

“I expect that Julie Van Dyke will do a great job in that area,” he said.

Several facility updates will also be taking place in the upcoming year.

“This coming summer we are going to renovate locker rooms and repair the ceiling in the pool area,” he said.

It is because of all of these things that Dillon sees 2014 as being very positive. He hopes prospective students realize what the college has to offer.

“I think overall it is going to be a great year for the college and the community,” he said. “Most of the students in our area are better served by coming to West Shore first and I don’t mean every single one. Not because what they will get is almost just as good as four-year college, but what they will get is better.”

He attributed that what the college has to offer the students.

“Students will get small class sizes, full time tenured faculty members teaching their classes and not graduate assistants. They are going to get lots of attention and opportunity.”

He adds that West Shore does an excellent job of preparing them for the next step both educationally and from a financial standpoint.

“When they transfer to a four-year university they are going to perform better than those who started at that university and the other big difference is they will have way less debt,” he said.

Dillon said the view of 2014 is very positive. He added that attending the full two years and getting a degree from the college is also important.

“I look at 2014, and West Shore has a great staff who are dedicated to students and I think a great deal of people in our community see the value and quality that we are,” he said. “Graduating makes a difference. Getting started at West Shore is the way people have traditionally looked at it, but getting finished is the best thing you can do because you are more likely to be successful at the next level if you finish that first degree. That is what the student success agenda is all about and we are very committed to it.”

 

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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