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Beginnings in the Circle of Life

“I believe in new beginnings…all these things and happy endings too.”  These words to a song by Neil Diamond remind me of the state of my life, both personally and professionally.

Tristan Thorne Wood
Born: August 29, 2014

On a recent trip to Texas, I visited my son, Caleb, and his 10-month-old son, Tristan. Seeing my son with his son certainly made me contemplate the circle of life. Through the generations, many things are similar—and it was touching watching my son with his son as I remembered caring for him when he was young. I recall the postcard I purchased in Paris before he was born, which reads, “Avoir un fils….c’est bien; en faire…. Un homme!  C’est mieux.“ I don’t speak French but I am told a loose translation is, “To have a son is good, but to make a man is better.” That’s the interpretation I have appreciated for nearly forty years—as Caleb will turn 40 years old on June 28.

And, for me, it was a wonderful beginning to see my son, this wonderful man, with his first child -- and this new little being, both journeying within the circle of life.

As much as many things are similar, many things change. There are many differences in child rearing since I raised children years ago. In fact, the rules and recommendations seem to change with each generation. In this circle of life, the College is also dynamic, some things staying the same and some things changing over time. RCC has had to do some things differently because of demographic changes in our community, changes in local job opportunities and changes in the needs of our students.

Our charge is to meet the needs of the Rockland County community. To do that, we must have new beginnings, and there are several I would like to report. Some initiatives are already in place, some are about to begin and others are proposed. All will move the College and the County forward in the circle of our institutional, academic and community life. These changes will ensure that RCC remains viable in its enrollment, programs and services.

A Few of RCC’s New Initiatives

  • The employment services currently handled by Tomorrow’s Workplace will now transition to the Rockland County Career Center under the auspices of RCC. Before the end of 2015, the Center will open in two locations - on the main campus and Haverstraw, providing a full range of employment and training services.

  • RCC’s University Center has expanded to include Bellevue University. Students can earn bachelor’s degrees fully online, and there will be a full-time person on campus to support students who will find more than 50 degrees available.

  • We are offering a free course in Medical Records to qualified students.

  • RCC has received a Liberty Partnership Program (LPP) award through the NYS Department of Education to deliver programming to students enrolled in public and non-public schools that are identified as having a high risk of students dropping out of school. Our program will provide a structured after-school and summer program for up to 160 eligible at-risk students in grades 5-12.

  • We have submitted a proposal to the Rockland County Legislature to allow the College to build a residence hall with private funding.

  • To move forward with our efforts to become a more sustainable institution, we have submitted a proposal to allow us to secure an energy performance contract.

  • We are also submitting a proposal for a Regional Biotech Innovation Center in Pearl River.

  • We have our first Start-Up NY business, which is York Analyticals.

  • We have hired a new Coordinator of International Students. This is a new beginning as we bring more international students to the campus to diversify our student body and to boost enrollment.

  • RCC is a participant in SUNY’s First in the World Grant proposal to the US Department of Education for a project entitled “Coaching Toward Completion: Replicating Inside Track within the State University of New York System.” The project is designed to study the impact of the Inside Track coaching model on at-risk student retention at ten diverse SUNY institutions. The awards will be announced in September.

  • Fourteen full-time faculty members recently attended a presentation by NobelStream, a company offering digital course materials via technology. The program can help students with early intervention and enables students to track their own progress and get support. It would also decrease the amount students currently pay for textbooks.

  • We anticipate that by Fall 2015, our arrangement with Follett will enable students to use their financial aid to acquire a laptop or tablet so they can have better access to educational resources.
So, as RCC’s commitment to provide knowledge, understanding and skills to our students remains the same, some of the ways in which we meet these goals must necessarily change if we are to best serve our constituency. Thus, to complete our mission – our circle of life, if you will, we need these new beginnings.


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