BY AMANDA ALLER
County College of Morris President Dr. Anthony Iacono continued his caffeine fueled conversation tour on Wednesday, Nov. 9 to discuss any issues that might be plaguing the campus community.
The first subject brought up was the feeling that there’s less community at CCM.
“When I first started working here, CCM was more of a community,” said Cheryl Smarth, department administrative assistant. “For example, I was walking out of Henderson Hall for lunch and there was a ceremony going on for Dr. Yaw and I was just wondering why the campus wasn’t made aware of that. I don’t think everyone needs to know what’s going on all the time, but that feeling of community is lost.The communication isn’t what it was. We just don’t get information that is truly needed or that maybe people just want to know.”
Joanne Goffredo, administrative assistant, agreed. She also said that people who are affected by decisions made at the college are not included enough in the decision-making process.
“We had an issue in career profession programs last summer when they were redoing the cafeteria,” said Goffredo. “We had the brochure out and we were not aware the cafeteria was going to be closed and I got calls from students. We didn’t know where to feed them.”
Iacono said that the brevity of his appointment thus far does not allow him to make the same comparisons as Goffredo and Smarth.
“I do sit through board meetings, and read the CCM memo, and read the student paper,” said Iacono. “The college council minutes are published consistently which tells you a lot about what’s going on. Mostly we just post right on the website for anyone to see.”
Iacono said they are working on moving away from text and including more video clips. He explained that there’s a lot going on in which people don’t know, which can be solved with a stronger focus on more internal marketing.
Another discussion point was “Guided Pathways”, which is a program which maps out a concrete academic plan and makes decision making much easier for students. It also gives frequent feedback so that students can graduate in a more timely manner. The CCM administration is planning to begin implementing this program here.
“The schools that have done this have found that it eases a lot of anxiety, gives them a very clear road map,” said Iacono. “It also helps students understand that if you move out of this realm, it’s going to change your graduation date and impact your financial aid, so that’s a big piece that probably in the new year we’ll unveil.”
Iacono said that there is a CCM app for iOS and android devices which is currently in the making and soon to be released in app stores to help students and faculty to be more connected and create a better sense of community. The website is also being worked on, with the goal to make it more navigable.
Jeffrey Jones, mathematics professor, posts videos of his math lessons on Youtube. He said it is so that when class is over, students still have the option to go back and review anything they might have missed.
“Jeff can’t go home with 100 students at the end of the day just in case they might all need him but he’s going home with them through his technology,” said Iacono. “So do we still need the math professors? Absolutely. But this is a good example of using technology to the best of your advantage.”
A concern raised was also the infrequency of CCM students graduating within two years of enrolling.
“The two year community college experience is not very common anywhere anymore,” said Iacono. “Most students at community colleges go part time. So getting done in two years assumes several things. It assumes the student will go full time and pass their classes continuously and not make any changes along the way. So if you’re going to enroll in 15 credits worth of courses, to pass all of them and make no changes, assumes a lot. It assumes the students aren’t working, and even if they are working, that they have few other responsibilities. Most students have more going on than just class. According to the average graduation rate, most students will take three to four years. My philosophy is, this is not a sprint.”