Dr. Stephen C. Scott is the third president in Wake Tech’s history. His personal focus is on continuous improvement through a process called Applied Benchmarking.
A Proud Day
October 30, 2014, was a proud day in Wake Tech history. We had just wrapped up a three-day visit from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), our accrediting body. This was the big one – the once-every-ten-years review of our programs, processes, faculty, and staff that reaffirms our accreditation, or lets us know if we’re passing muster. We’d been getting ready for this visit for more than a year.
Reaccreditation includes a Compliance Certification Report and a Quality Enhancement Plan, or QEP. Our Compliance Certification Report was large, not surprising for the largest community college in North Carolina. It totaled thousands of pages and included input from hundreds of staff and faculty members. Our QEP was equally complex and had also engaged the entire college community. From an RFP-style selection process, we had developed a plan to improve student success online called e-Learning Preparedness Initiative across the College, or EPIC.
All that preparation was behind us on October 30, as a group of our administrators and faculty waited in a Marriott conference room to hear the results of the SACS visit. We were confident yet realistic, assuming we would hear a list of recommendations for improvement before our reaffirmation could be approved. To our surprise and delight, however, we didn’t. The committee’s report of “no recommendations” meant that they found no errors, no areas of our operations that needed improving! In my 42 years in community colleges – which have included seven such visits from SACS – I have never seen that happen. The SACS committee members themselves acknowledged that it was indeed a rare occurrence!
This glowing report is validation from our peers across the Southeast that Wake Tech is maintaining its standard of excellence in the programs and services we provide for our students and our community. I am extremely happy to see Wake Tech faculty and staff recognized in this way for the exceptional job they are doing – and as President, I could not be prouder to be a part of this great institution!
Preparing Students for Success in a Global Economy
On October 17th, Wake Tech held a grand opening for our new Confucius Classroom. It’s a unique partnership between Wake Tech, NC State’s Confucius Institute, Nanjing Norman University, and Hanban/Confucius Headquarters, in China, to improve the skills necessary for success in a global economy. Our partnership with these institutions will provide our students with the necessary language and communication skills to serve as a bridge between China and the world.
This is an exciting initiative for Wake Tech. Our students will have an extraordinary opportunity to collaborate with qualified instructors, improve their language and communication skills, and have cultural experiences beyond the classroom. They will build skills for working within diverse groups, appreciating differences and negotiating to find common ground. I believe these learning experiences will lead the way to better business relationships between China and the United States.
At Wake Tech, our Confucius Classroom will offer a nurturing environment to help students build new skills and become successful world citizens. We will offer our students the opportunity to attain cultural Chinese competencies, like language and communication, needed for today’s competitive global workforce. The ingredients are here for a bright future between two economic giants, China and the United States. However, like all other programs offered at Wake Tech, it’ll take hard work in and out of the classroom to achieve success.
While learning the intricacies of a foreign culture may seem difficult, I am reminded of the words of Confucius himself: “Choose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.” It’s up to us to provide students with opportunities to succeed and to find jobs that they love. The Confucius Classroom is a perfect example of how we’re striving to open doors to a future of achievement on a global scale for our students.
Reaching for the Sky
Recently, we paid tribute to the heroic men and women who protect us – and who remind us that our freedom should never be taken for granted. At Wake Tech, we remember the past and honor it by focusing on the future – and striving to make it better. We believe the best way to do that is through our commitment to innovation and higher learning. To remain on the cutting edge in the 21st century, we must continue to grow to meet the changing needs of our students, and we’re doing just that. Most recently, we “topped out” Building F, the newest instructional building on our Northern Wake Campus. This 87,000-square-foot building will soon house a state-of-the-art library and learning commons, classrooms, a tutoring center, and disability support services. It will provide valuable resources and allow us to offer more education and training to students in the northern part of Wake County.
Our expansion would not be possible without the support of this community. The voters of Wake County agreed by a resounding 73% to pass the 2012 bond referendum, providing funds to allow Wake Tech to expand capacity and enhance programs and services. We strive to be good stewards of your tax dollars and to reward your good faith in us by extending our reach to more of the residents of Wake County.
Thank you for supporting Wake Tech – and for allowing us the opportunity to reach for the sky!