President's All College Update: September '19

Amanda Chaulk
Patricia Moulton

A huge WELCOME to all the new Vermont Tech community members – students and employees alike – and welcome back to our returning students and colleagues! We welcomed a large incoming class this fall with over 700 new students! My wish is that you all find a place in this community that fosters your growth, connects you to others, and helps you reach your goal. I also want to see you walk across the stage at Commencement when it is your turn, so remember to reach out for help at any time if ever something looks like it could get in your way of continuation or graduation. We are here to help!

ACCREDITATION

The accreditation process is top of mind these days in many ways. The new nursing accreditors, CNEA, are visiting campus later this month and the engineering technology departments are gearing up for an ABET visit next fall. Our overall accreditors, NECHE, are expecting us to deliver the first draft of our self-study mid-October to early-November of this year. The time is here for a concerted focus on these efforts. Expect Rosemary Distel to be tapping the Steering Committee and those of you who worked on sub-standards to dig back into this process for the final efforts needed for the first draft. It should be everyone’s priority to the very best of your abilities as accreditation is the key feature that lets us remain educators.

NEW AND FAMILIAR TRADITIONS

So many colleges and universities host their Homecoming, Reunion, and Family Day celebrations in the fall. At Vermont Tech, it is the perfect season to bring back alums and invite families and friends of our current students to our main campus. Who else has an apple orchard to enhance their festivities? This year’s Homecoming Weekend is being preceded by a first-ever “Spirit Week” set of activities. Student life (on both residential campuses) has a fun week of events to get you in the mood for the Homecoming Weekend.
Homecoming starts on Friday, September 20th with a 4:00 pm Knighting Ceremony to recognize first-year students. It’s our second-annual event to welcome those transfer, returning, and incoming freshmen to the Vermont Tech community. I hope our entire college can turn up to welcome them! Transportation from the Williston campus requires signing up at the front desk in 200. If you’re traveling from a distance site or extended campus, please check in with your Site Director. Stay for the complimentary dinner after, watch the comedian in the Campus Center, and roast s’mores at the bonfire. Then bring your family and friends to campus on Saturday for a free brunch, tours of campus, games, and activities on the green, and apple picking in the orchard.

A special “thank you” to the Haskins family. We are going to be dedicating the new Environmental Engineering and Renewable Energy Lab on Saturday of Homecoming thanks to their very generous donation in memory of Delbert Haskins, a 1969 graduate of the college. We are ecstatic at their desire to support the college in any way that was needed. With the accreditation requirements of our programs, we have to invest in this lab. To do so with the backing of generous alumni is wonderful. Please join us in honoring Delbert Haskins at Homecoming.

I can’t wait to see a bustling campus over the two days of Homecoming. See you there!

A NEW AMPHIBIOUS NEIGHBOR

The Vermont Agriculture and Environmental Lab (VAEL) has been in operation in Randolph Center since its opening in February. I know of at least one alumni who started working there summer too! Thanks to the Art in State Buildings Project, a frog sculpture by Randolph’s own Jim Sardonis (you know his whales’ tails) is being installed and celebrated. The VAEL folks let me know that everyone from Vermont Tech is welcome to join the unveiling ceremony on Friday, September 20th at 10:00 am.

SECURING THE FUTURE FOR THE VSCS

You are invited to attend ANY of the upcoming information sessions at any of the VSCS campuses for the “Serving Vermont’s Students by Securing the Future of the Vermont State Colleges System” initiative. Chancellor Spaulding and members of the VSCS Board of Trustees will be at the Randolph Center campus on Wednesday, September 11. Now is the time to participate in this discussion and share your ideas. Here is the full list of available information sessions:
• Community College of Vermont, Monday, September 9, 3:30 – 5:00PM - CCV Montpelier Great Room
• Castleton University: Tuesday, September 10, 3:30 – 5:00PM, Casella Theater in the Fine Arts Center
• Vermont Tech, Randolph: Wednesday, September 11, 3:30 – 5:00PM – Conant 102
• Northern Vermont University-Lyndon: Thursday, September 12, 11:30 – 1:00PM – Moore Community Room (ASAC 100)
• Northern Vermont University-Johnson: Friday, September 13, 11:30 – 1:00 — Stearns Performance Space.  

CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS

What work was largely completed over the summer included the access control upgrades in Williston and the residence halls in Randolph. There have been a reports of some students locking themselves out of their rooms, so the transition to the new technology is ongoing! We have repaved a number of areas in Randolph and replaced the hot water heater in Morey Hall. The set up for our new Radiologic Sciences program was completed in Williston, just in time for our incoming class! We are teaching out the bachelor’s degree for displaced College of St. Joseph’s students, as well as welcoming a new class of associate degree students.

The Wi-Fi upgrades to the remaining residence halls in Randolph are by far what I am hearing the most positive response about from students. I am thrilled that students are better able to do their homework from their rooms with these improvements. Know that the student survey feedback helped us prioritize this work, so always take time to respond to those annual surveys. We need to hear from you every year to know how we’re doing and where we can improve!

Speaking of “hearing you” via surveys, I am pleased to report we are moving forward with planning for bathroom renovations in Keenan Hall.  We are starting in Keenan but depending on our capital funding capacity, we will be undergoing renovations in most of the residence halls in Randolph Center over the next several years. This is a direct result of the feedback students have given us so keep it coming!

KNIGHTS IN THE KNOW

I sincerely believe in continuous improvement. I also believe that every member of our team has something to contribute to make us a better organization. As an introduction to all of our new community members, please know that the college has an electronic "suggestion box" to share ideas with me and the administration about areas of improvement or recognition. It’s also a reminder for everyone to keep sending me your thoughts and ideas.

Have a faculty member you think deserves kudos for the experiential learning project she embedded in your class? Have you thought of a more efficient process we should implement for cost savings? Do you see a way to improve safety on your campus? Want to nominate a student, faculty or staff member to be profiled as an excellent example of Vermont Tech-ness on our website? Use this suggestion box for these ideas and more.

This form is in addition to the college’s Care & Concern form (to report any student safety issues) or the Whistle-Blower Hotline (to report issues of ethical, financial, legal or other concern).

EMPLOYEE MEETINGS

Mark your calendars for the upcoming Staff Council and President’s Meeting with Faculty Assembly. These are important opportunities for sharing information and open dialog.
• Staff Council Meeting is on Friday, September 13th, noon-1pm in Clark 110 or Zoom
• President’s Meeting w/ Faculty Assembly is Thursday, September 26th, noon-1pm in Clark 110 or Zoom

If you are new to the college, please come up and introduce yourself to me when I am on your campus, or send me an email to say hello! I host open office hours every semester and hope you will come by.