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President's Address Highlights Challenges, Opportunities

January 25, 2019 – Approximately 150 local business and community leaders, donors and friends gathered Jan. 24 for the 26th Annual Dutchess Community College State of the College Address hosted by the DCC Foundation at the Poughkeepsie campus. The remarks of DCC President Dr. Pamela Edington centered on the theme, “We Won’t Back Down.”

Edington noted that “one-third of Dutchess County high school students choose to attend DCC,” which is one of the largest capture rates in the state. She also reported that 85% of DCC students transfer to earn a bachelor’s degree from public and private four-year institutions locally, nationally and globally.

The president highlighted many accomplishments and initiatives that have positively impacted student success. Students are completing their degree requirements more efficiently, almost doubling the two-year graduation rate for full-time, first-time associate degree students between 2010 and 2016. Additionally, due to enhanced academic advising, students are taking an average of four fewer unnecessary credits than they were just four years ago, enabling them to transfer or enter the workforce more quickly.

Students also are experiencing tremendous savings on textbooks. Through faculty-developed or selected Open Educational Resources, which are available to students at no cost, 3,100 students in 15 courses saved over $360,000 last semester. 

Noting the national attention being paid to the increasing needs of college students, Edington reported that the College is doing its part to assist students in danger of dropping out due to financial emergencies. DCC CARES, a program supported by grants and a host of on- and off-campus resources, helps students stay in school by providing funds to pay for emergencies including car repair, rent, utilities, child care and other unforeseen expenses.   

Edington also presented an update on the College’s partnership with Dutchess County to launch an intensive 12-month aviation maintenance program at Hudson Valley Regional Airport in fall 2020. Plans are underway to build a new hangar, laboratory and classroom facility to support the academic initiative, which will equip graduates for high-paying careers as aircraft mechanics.

The address also focused on the challenges facing community colleges and the need for continued and increased state support, especially as local demographics change and students require additional academic and support services. She explained that SUNY and the community colleges are advocating for the state funding model used for the four-year institutions, which is stable and predictable and does not fluctuate with enrollment.

“We must continue to invest in faculty and staff – those doing the labor-intensive work of transforming lives,” said Edington. “We can’t dial or text it in; it’s not available on a phone app. It’s personal attention – from admissions through graduation – that has been the hallmark of a DCC education for six decades.”

She added, “Together we will collaborate and innovate to secure the future of Dutchess Community College. We won’t back down from challenges or our commitment to the people of this county.”

The College’s 2018 Annual Report was distributed at the event. It is available here. The State of the College Address was sponsored by TD Bank.

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