Monday, January 12, 2015

Welcome back to returning students, faculty and Greetings to New Students of The College of Westchester

Happy 2015!

Hello everyone, and Happy New Year!  It is CW's 100th anniversary as a college this year, and it is a great year to celebrate!


The 2015 economic outlook is bright, and that means that it is also bright for CW grads.  If you are a new CW student, or a continuing student, keep your eye on the prize.  While a CW education has almost always proven to be recession proof, in pursuing and securing employment in the field in which you have chosen and immersed yourself throughout your studies, the local, regional, national and global economy is catching up.

I attended a function last Thursday, January 8, featuring Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino's plans for Westchester in 2015, followed by an economic overview from Lisa Shalett, head of investment and portfolio solutions, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management and roundtable discussion on economic trends for the business community in the year ahead that featured  William Cuddy, CBRE, Guy Leibler, Simone Development Companies, Christopher Meyers, Houlihan Lawrence, Inc., Ayall Schanzer, Friedland Realty Advisors and Glenn Walsh, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank.

Overall, the tone was positive.  Jobs are up, real estate is appreciating in both private and commercial sectors, and the investment (stock and bond) market is healing and growing locally and globally.  This is all good news.  The best news, to me, is that consumers will begin to drive the market and lead economic growth.  

Translation, more jobs, better pay, more disposable income for people.  Economic and financial freedom means more choices, a chance to breathe.  After a tough time for so many, I am hopeful that this will mean great things for our students, grads, families and CW family too!

So Happy New Year, everyone!  Prepare to continue to work hard, have a personal and profession vision including goals.  Don't be afraid to be patient, roll up your shirt-sleeves and believe in yourself and the value of your college education.  Put it to work now.

County Executive Rob Astorino's plans for Westchester in 2015, followed by an economic overview from Lisa Shalett,head of investment and portfolio solutions, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management and roundtable discussion on economic trends for the business community in the year ahead. 


Moderator:
William Cuddy, CBRE

Panel:
Guy Leibler, Simone Development Companies
Christopher Meyers, Houlihan Lawrence, Inc.
Ayall Schanzer, Friedland Realty Advisors
Glenn Walsh, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank
- See more at: http://westchester.org/article.php?a=553#sthash.MJfHuXul.dpuf
Hear County Executive Rob Astorino's plans for Westchester in 2015, followed by an economic overview from Lisa Shalett,head of investment and portfolio solutions, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management and roundtable discussion on economic trends for the business community in the year ahead. 


Moderator:
William Cuddy, CBRE

Panel:
Guy Leibler, Simone Development Companies
Christopher Meyers, Houlihan Lawrence, Inc.
Ayall Schanzer, Friedland Realty Advisors
Glenn Walsh, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank
- See more at: http://westchester.org/article.php?a=553#sthash.MJfHuXul.dpuf
Hear County Executive Rob Astorino's plans for Westchester in 2015, followed by an economic overview from Lisa Shalett,head of investment and portfolio solutions, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management and roundtable discussion on economic trends for the business community in the year ahead. 


Moderator:
William Cuddy, CBRE

Panel:
Guy Leibler, Simone Development Companies
Christopher Meyers, Houlihan Lawrence, Inc.
Ayall Schanzer, Friedland Realty Advisors
Glenn Walsh, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank
- See more at: http://westchester.org/article.php?a=553#sthash.MJfHuXul.dpuf

Friday, December 26, 2014

Fail Better in the New Year!

As a college president, I do not encourage our students to fail, however, there is a place for failing.  When we try something new, we will not always succeed.  I was recently in a meeting.  One of the participants, CIO for a large financial firm who hires new networking grads, said that the number one attribute that he always wants in a new hire is curiosity, and desire to learn, to solve a puzzle, to not be afraid to fail.

This was a significant statement that stuck with me.

Inventors know this is true.  Here's a quote from Thomas Edison; "I have not failed.  I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."  What if Edison gave up?  We might not have had all the wonderful inventions that we now take for granted.

And for those of you who want more education related inspiration; "Learning starts with failure; the first failure is the beginning of education." -- John Hersey

If we knew everything, why would we bother to learn.  And we all know that we don't always get it right.  Trial and error, guessing, trying again, cultivating curiosity, a thick skin, the ability to go back into the fray and keep doing it until we get it right.

I always found that I strove to learn more when things were not as comfortable, when situations were on the precipice of tipping over the edge.  While in social work school, I learned about homeostasis, which is a balance, but often an uncomfortable balance.  We are not happy in that homeostasis, quite often.  Do you remember being a child on the playground, up at the top side of the teeter-totter?  We knew that if our fellow teeter-totterer was kind, we would land gently, but it was just as likely that we could come down with a crash.  I don't know about you, but I would often climb down from that tippy top place (which felt so high up as a young child), so I would not come crashing down.  I learned a new way.

courtesy of http://minneapolisparkhistory.com/2012/09/24/now-thats-a-teeter-totter/
 The 11/16/14 issue of NY Times Magazine is the innovation issue, or as they state; "this issue is dedicated to innovation's less remarked-upon cousin, without which there would be no better mousetrap:  failure." (p39)

And often, when we get lost, we find new things to explore and love.  "We learn wisdom from failure much more than from success.  We often discover what will do by finding out what will not do; and probably he who never made a mistake, never made a discovery." -- Samuel Smiles

Here's to a New Year filled with discovery, joy, innovation, tipping the balance and failure!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Some awesome CW info to share

Just busting to show you this awesome commercial that features College of Westchester graduates and faculty.  Thanks to you all for participating!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

CW Visits Washington, DC

As part of our continued responsibility to CW excellence, a group including myself, Dr Joann Mulqueen, Dr Warren Rosenberg and Dr Beth Coyle attended the Middle States Commission for Higher Education's annual conference, Dec 3-5.  The Commission has just spent the last few years revamping and updating the guidelines by which colleges innovate and maintain excellence, called the Standards of Accreditation, formerly called the Characteristics of Excellence. These characteristics were approved by all member institutions.   Much discussion was held regarding peer review, government intervention, and the need to embrace the importance of independent oversight.   The College of Westchester is a member institution of the Middle States Commission.  Click here to see a complete list of member institutions. 

While in DC, we visited House of Representatives congressional members including Dr. Virginia Foxx, Chair of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training, We also visited with aides of Congressman John Kline, chair of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.  While it is always a good idea to visit with congressional members, these particular members are involved with oversight of higher education community, with an eye on making certain that students are immersed in studies that will help make them employable. We shared with them all of the wonderful things we do at CW, including graduate job placement, connection to our corporate community, educational innovations, community involvement and student and family support.
Congresswoman Virginia Foxx & MB Del Balzo

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Best Wishes for a Healthy, Joyful Holiday Season

When the cold weather comes around to stay for the season, I always begin to think of what I am grateful for, and for this life we live.  I look around at our students, catch up with grads on Facebook, LinkedIn, at events, through calls and emails, and am always renewed by seeing the world through their eyes.

One fairly recent grad, Michael Adebiyi , CW Class of 2012, attended our alumni homecoming event a couple of weeks ago. I was lucky enough to have Michael as a BBA intern.  Smart, insightful, ambitious – it was a pleasure working with him.  Even before he graduated, Hertz snatched him up.  Michael is now a manager, and trainer of managers at Hertz’s largest Brooklyn location.  Clearly, he is happy and not finished climbing the success ladder.

This is what we at CW do.  We continue to be the facilitators and launching pad for thousands and thousands of young people like Michael.  The stories of success are endless!

I am grateful for the community of CW.  You all make this journey at CW worth it every day.

May the coming holidays be ones of great joy for you and yours, and may you find something fascinating in the everyday.  May you feel camaraderie and take comfort and support from those around you.  May your challenges bring unexpected opportunities, and as your best laid plans go awry, may you find that your life is joyous, unexpected and new.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Thank you to our Military Members and Veterans

Uncle Mac Sutkowski in uniform
I remember, as a child, being amazed by the story my Uncle Mac would tell about his time in Orbec, France, hiding with a farm family, his plane having been shot down during WWII.  He had just started seeing my aunt, his sweetheart, Helen, before he left Connecticut for the Air Force, deployed to Europe.  As a tail gunner on a bomber, her was doing his duty with his fellow soldiers, and on that fateful mission they were shot down over farmland in rural France. The family who took him in thought fast and sequestered him in their barn, initially. After a while he lived among them, taking meals with the family.  It took almost one and a half years for the French Underground to help get him out of Europe and back to my grandparents, his brother, my Dad, other siblings and his sweetheart Helen.  He had been missing in action throughout that period, as all communication sources were monitored, so the reunion was a huge surprise, and joyful.
Uncle Fred and Aunt Junko Blovat

Another lesser known story was about my mother's brother, Fred. My mom's family, from the Leatherstocking region of upstate NY State, lived a simple, honest life. Fred was also in the Air Force, a career soldier who retired after 25 years of service.  We never heard anything about his service, except that he served. About 10 years ago, a book was released outlining stories of the the hundreds of soldier spies who carried sensitive documents behind enemy lines, with extra risk during World War II. Who was included among these stories?  My Uncle Fred.

Thanks also to my cousins and nephews who have served, and many friends, coworkers, graduates and students at The College of Westchester.  WWII, Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf conflicts and wars.  Thank you.

Some of you reading this may have risked your lives in ways that we may never know. Today we honor you and thank you for the countless sacrifices, risks and secret missions that may be too painful to recount now, or that we might just not understand. We wish you, our US Veterans, peace and gratitude. Prayers and good thoughts toward you always. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving


When November rolls around, I always begin to think of what I am grateful for, and for this life we live.  I look around at our students, catch up with grads on Facebook, LinkedIn, at events, through calls and emails, and am always renewed by seeing the world through their eyes.

One fairly recent grad, Michael Adebiyi , CW Class of 2012, attended our alumni homecoming event a couple of weeks ago. I was lucky enough to have Michael as a BBA intern.  Smart, insightful, ambitious – it was a pleasure working with him.  Even before he graduated, Hertz snatched him up.  Michael is now a manager, and trainer of managers at Hertz’s largest Brooklyn location.  Clearly, he is happy and not finished climbing the success ladder.

This is what we at CW do.  We continue to be the facilitators and launching pad for thousands and thousands of young people like Michael.  The stories of success are endless!

I was fortunate to hear Dr. Merryl H. Tisch, Chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents, speak at the most recent Association of Proprietary Colleges meeting in Albany last week.  Dr. Tisch is the leader of education in the state of New York.  If you have ever met her or observed her in practice at a Regents meeting, you know that she is not a shrinking violet, and she always has a firm grasp on those things within her domain.  Dr. Tisch is a force to be reckoned with, and she shares her opinions clearly; she said many inspiring things last week.  The one that stuck with me most clearly was this; “the Proprietary Colleges in New York State are the gold standard for higher education in our state.”  With many wonderful colleges and universities in NY, this was an amazing thing to hear from the person who holds the fate of colleges within her leadership of the Regents.

With the release of the US Department of Education’s Gainful Employment rules on October 31, it is good to know that our state leadership believes in what we do, and understands that proprietary colleges play an essential role in educating New York’s students.  The State of New York stands with us and, even more importantly, they stand with our students’ opportunities for choices when deciding on a college.

I am grateful for the community of CW.  You all make this journey at CW worth it every day.

May the coming holidays be ones of great joy for you and yours, and may you find something fascinating in the everyday.  May you feel camaraderie and take comfort and support from those around you.  May your challenges bring unexpected opportunities, and as your best laid plans go awry, may you find that your life is joyous, unexpected and new.