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posted: 8/28/2013 1:43 PM

Embracing engagment at Waubonsee Community College

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Education has embraced the three "Rs" since at least the late 1700s. While Waubonsee Community College remains committed to teaching students to excel in reading, writing and arithmetic (along with other vital academic skills), this year we're focusing on the three "Cs": connect, collaborate and cultivate.

A central element of Waubonsee's strategic planning process is the development of an annual Presidential Action Initiative. This initiative provides clear direction for the Waubonsee community on emerging issues while setting the tone and theme for the year. This year's focus is "Embracing Engagement: Connect, Collaborate, Cultivate," which builds on initiatives of the past two years. Each "C" relates to how we engage with our students, our community and each other. Connect is a strong word. It is the name of Waubonsee's alumni publication and directly speaks to our goal of engaging our current and former students, parents, businesses, local leaders, schools and our community as a whole. As a community college, connecting is what we do. We have always connected our students to resources, but this fall, we're looking to improve that process as teams of staff and faculty implement recommendations from our participation in the national Foundations of Excellence project. We also have an enhanced commitment to connecting with our employees. We're implementing a new employee engagement initiative to improve communication and ultimately strengthen our service to students.

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Collaborate is another priority for a community college. We exist to serve our area residents. Collaborations enable us to extend our reach and engage more fully. That's why we're partners in projects such as Pathways to Prosperity, which links secondary schools, colleges and universities, and the workforce to create opportunities for career success. Brighter Futures is another example of collaboration formed to bring hope and the promise of possibilities to those affected by the economic downturn. Next month, we're hosting a collaborative job fair at our downtown Aurora Campus with a significant number of partners to help jobseekers and employers alike. More information on the Brighter Futures events and resources can be found at waubonsee.edu/brighterfutures.

Serving a region that has a strong agricultural sector, we also know about cultivating. While the word cultivate has its origins in growing crops, it also can be used when fostering other types of growth.

Waubonsee cultivates the minds and skills of our students. We cultivate relationships to enhance the student experience and outcomes. We invest in the cultivation of the personal and professional development of our employees. Ultimately, we cultivate our community. It is an honor to serve and contribute to such a vital and growing region.

Connect! Collaborate! Cultivate! These three "Cs" will be our road map for the year.

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