President’s All College Update February ’21

16 Feb 2021

Transforming Vermont Technical College

The work of presenting the charter documents and assimilating feedback is complete. The working groups for each charter are starting to form and collaborate on their priority. The documents on the website are up to date and available to everyone to keep track of our progress. I will be adding more content from the Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation committee work, making sure the website is a central spot for all things transformation!

Employees:  Please do not forget the opportunity I sent in an email earlier today to weigh in with the Board of Trustees tomorrow night!  I hope a lot of students were able to attend the meeting with the Chancellor last evening.  There are chances to send written comments regarding transformation on the VSCS web site.

A very important note about the “Transforming Vermont Technical College” work is its role as the college’s strategic planning process moving forward. As I noted in my response to the NECHE visiting team’s concerns, our 2018-2023 strategic planning process and documentation was robust and vital to our operations up to the point of the dual crises of the pandemic and threat of drastic system changes in the spring of 2020. Without leaving the priorities identified in that 2018-2023 plan, we have found ways to weave them into the forward-reaching work of the transformation projects. The objectives of the 2018-2023 plan – enrollment, financial stability, accessibility of programs, and program review – are all to be found across the five charters. There is continuity in the strategic work, even as the way we are organizing our efforts has evolved to the project-management-based work of the charter teams. The Transforming Vermont Technical College work is the strategic planning process that guides our future.

Strategic Action for Year One, 2020-2021 (VSCS)

As I have had the chance to discuss at a few stakeholder meetings recently, the Board of Trustees has aggregated input from the Chancellor’s Office and the colleges around five key strategies for the year. We were able to frame our current and ongoing work with our transformation projects and charter documents into the priorities, so as to not create parallel processes as well as to stay aligned with the system goals. The Strategic Action document (PDF) is available on our Transforming Vermont Tech webpages, under the Resources content.

Professor Scott Sabol, PE, Engineer of the Year

We are thrilled, if not surprised, that Scott Sabol has been named Engineer of the Year by the professional association for engineers in Vermont. Scott is a licensed structural engineer and holds the position of Secretary as a member of the Vermont Board of Professional Engineering, a position he was named to by Governor Scott. On top of that and his full teaching responsibilities, Scott is active in many professional societies and recently volunteered to work with the Equity Alliance to promote diversity in the workforce. Teaching and launching the next generations of engineers is very important to Scott, as we all witness daily. As proof of his priority, Schylar Corsones-Brown, a current AET student credits Professor Sabol with stopping, “at nothing to ensure we reach our full potential.” Likewise, AET alumni and Professional Engineer with the City of Rutland, Ted Guillien says Professor Sabol’s, “infectious passion for engineering and influence on countless professionals is beyond deserving of the title, ‘Vermont 2021 Engineer of the Year.’” We are proud that Scott is being recognized by his peers!

“Best Bet” Programs + Scholarship

As mentioned last November when we first received the funding from the Lois J. McClure Foundation, there are Vermont Tech programs that have additional scholarship funding and marketing support as they align with the Department of Labor and McClure’s analysis of “best bet” jobs in the state. You can read more on the college’s website. These programs are able to be completed in 18 months or less, so offer participants an accelerated path to a good-paying, satisfying career in Vermont. The certificate programs covered under this initiative are:

These scholarships are being offered on a first-come, first-serve basis. If you know of someone interested in changing careers or launching a new career in a field with growth opportunities and livable wages, be sure to refer them to one of our best bets!

Workforce Initiative a Success

The VSC system participated in a workforce initiative at the end of last year, funded by the Legislature with Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) money. Short courses and non-credit programs that could be delivered during the fall term were offered at no tuition cost to participants with additional financial assistance available for class materials, like laptops and Wi-Fi hot spots. Vermont Tech’s Continuing Education and Workforce Development (CEWD) provided the classes for our part in the initiative to much success. We served 223 participants from around the state in 271 classes. CEWD purchased 47 laptops and welding equipment for 10 participants. There were over 300 inquiries into the program! The VSC collaborated on a website and marketing for the program, showing how we can work together across the system. More importantly, we are thrilled that so many Vermonters took part in this opportunity to gain new skills and explore new career options through these classes!

Relocation of IT as Advanced Manufacturing Expansion Starts

The Office of Information Technology in Randolph Center will be moving to their new space in Judd (the old Campus Bookstore space) in early to mid-March.  Temporally housed on the first floor of Admin, and out of their space in Morrill, the department is excited to move into the new space and hopefully offer a more accessible “storefront.”  As part of the move, the entire core infrastructure was upgraded, with Judd now housing our new data center. This upgrade and move ensures a more sustainable and secure infrastructure.

Progress on the exciting new Advanced Manufacturing Center project in Morrill is being made daily. Construction managers and engineers have finalized plans for the renovation and work will begin in earnest in the weeks ahead. Requests for Proposals for several pieces of incredible state-of-the-art additive machines (and related equipment) are being finalized. The first ones – to procure a powder bed fusion machine and a 5-axis machine – have already been published. Lastly, the search for a permanent Executive Director for the lab is under way, as is the search for a lead technician – both critical hires.

Who’s New at VTC?

We have a not-so-new name to share with you of those that have recently joined the Vermont Tech ranks. This employee will be rejoining the Vermont Tech team:

  • Brenda Flint, Controller

Welcome back, Brenda, to our community!