Montgomery College shuffle ahead, president says -- Gazette.Net


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Montgomery College will shuffle administration and establish college-wide academic leadership in an effort to ensure its students have a similar experience at all three of its campuses, the college president said Wednesday in a speech.

“We must ensure that a multi-campus organization does not stand in the way of consistent learning experiences for our students,” DeRionne P. Pollard said in her 2013 State of the College speech at the college’s Takoma Park/Silver Spring campus.

She addressed concerns from staff by stating that their thoughts will be heard in this process.

This semester, the college has 25,515 students at its three campuses in Takoma Park/Silver Spring, Rockville and Germantown. And 3,500 students are taking classes at more than one campus, Pollard said.

To best serve students, Pollard said teaching methods, classes and services must be made more similar at all three campuses.

This is essential for creating structure and establishing the same expectations for students academically, collegewide, said Brad J. Stewart, vice president and provost of the Takoma Park/Silver Spring campus.

Pollard explained after her speech that she has heard from students who say classes and services need to be better organized throughout the campuses, and because all students get the same diploma, they should all get the same experience.

Pollard said she reviewed the workings of the institution when developing the college’s new strategic plan, MC2020, which went into effect this summer, she realized that the college is strong, but there are ways to make it stronger.

She called those initiatives “hallmarks of urgency.”

In the last five years, the number of students applying for financial aid has increased by 80 percent, Pollard said.

The college must use early recruiting, welcoming processes and successful retention programs to help the county’s “underserved” population get to college and then succeed, Pollard said.

To make campuses more friendly to potential and incoming students, Pollard explained how welcome centers are being established for student services at all campuses. The Rockville and Germantown centers will open in the fall; the Takoma Park/Silver Spring center will open later, college spokeswoman Elizabeth Homan said.

Pollard encouraged the creative ideas of her faculty, who have began teaching Massive Open Online Courses, which are free for students so they can refresh their skills, and who are finding ways to incorporate technology into their lessons.

Pollard explained the importance of one of the college’s goals in the college’s strategic plan, Montgomery College Global Initiatives.

Through this, the college will market its services to other countries, such as India, as a way to collect more revenue for the college, she explained.

Innovation and urgency are key to the college’s success, she said.

“Find the revolution before it finds you,” Pollard said.

jbondeson@gazette.net