Quinsigamond Community College’s faculty and staff prepared for the start of the 2017-2018 academic year with an All College Day, held on September 5 in the college’s Athletic Center. Faculty and staff were broken up into tables of 10 and after a hot breakfast buffet, new employees were introduced, followed by organized table discussions and the recognition of NISOD and Commonwealth Citation for Outstanding Performance award winners.
The highlight of the morning event included a rousing talk from new President Dr. Luis G. Pedraja, who set the tone for his presidency and discussed looking toward the future.
“I don’t stand much on formality, just call me ‘Luis,’” Dr. Pedraja said to the crowd in his opening statement, telling those assembled he is looking to foster a culture of collaboration, transparency and respect. “Do not be defined by your roles…we are a team. We are most successful when we work together. Student success is all of our duties and with respect, collaboration and dialog we will succeed. ”
“My hope is for this to be the best place to work in America. I want us to be known for that and known as a college that is committed to the success of our students,” he continued.
Dr. Pedraja discussed his own past and how the support of many people helped to get him where he is today.
“Anyone can achieve anything. Touch someone’s life and leave it a little bit better,” he said. “I believe education is the pathway for achieving equity. Education will help achieve an equitable and just future.”
He told the crowd that everyone who is employed at QCC should be out in the community serving as a mentor and helping the community understand the value of education.
“Student success is the only reason we are here. We will work together to empower the students to succeed. All departments have a role in students’ success,” he said.
He discussed the need to recognize where we are as a college and then move forward and work on overcoming any barriers that may hamper a student from attending QCC.
He told those assembled that he has been working with staff to create new initiatives for new students to get clear directions (on registering for classes etc.) and is working on setting up a welcome center and creating a student success taskforce. In addition, other initiatives include working with public schools to increase dual enrollment and improving the use of Starfish. A core team dedicated to the strategic plan has also been set up that is being co-chaired by Ingrid Skadberg, Dean of Institutional Research and Planning and Kathy Rentsch, Dean of Business, Engineering and Technology.
“Our ultimate goal is for all our students to succeed. Until we get 100 percent success, we will never rest,” he said. “How will what we do help contribute to students’ success is our utmost criteria. This has to be our vision.”
Dr. Pedraja encouraged everyone to bring their “ideas to the table,” to create a vision for QCC’s future, one that is not defined by the campus but by the community where students can come to achieve their dreams.