TO: All VCCS employees
FROM: Glenn DuBois
DATE: April 7, 2010
RE: Rethinking Virginia’s Community Colleges

Dear colleague,

We are taking a hard look at the way Virginia’s Community Colleges work. I want to share with you what is informing that effort and offer you a way to contribute ideas that you may have.

Last fall, I announced a Reengineering Taskforce to lead the effort to rethink how we are meeting the mission of Virginia’s Community Colleges given the unprecedented changes we are seeing in our state, our students and our resources.

Today, I would like to invite you to a Web site that we have created to share with you a lot of the information that is driving our need to reexamine the way we operate. The address is http://vccsblogs.com/rethink.

While the questions and conundrums this work reveals are not easy to resolve, the need to work through this process is clear and can be summarized in three statements:

The numbers don’t add up. Over the last two years, we have enrolled an additional 22,000 new students – a group that is roughly the size of the University of Virginia – and we continue to grow. Meanwhile, we are on track to lose more than $100 million in state funding by the end of FY 2012.

More graduates are needed now. In a time of intense partisan friction there is one need that has earned broad political consensus: the need for more college graduates. President Obama is calling for an additional five million U.S. college graduates in the next decade. Governor McDonnell is calling for an additional 100,000 Virginia college graduates over the next 15 years. These goals are about both the success of individuals and the competitiveness of our state and nation. Further, they are not achievable without an increase in community college graduates.

We pursue a compelling public agenda. Achieve 2015, our recently adopted six year strategic plan, is gaining support on our campuses and throughout the larger community because people see the connection between our success and Virginia’s economic recovery.

I invite you to explore the Web site which contains further information on these and additional challenges we face including Virginia’s changing demographics – with an increase in families that have little to no familiarity with higher education – and the persistent challenges of underprepared students and developmental education.

The bottom line is that Virginia’s Community Colleges cannot shrink their way to success. However, business as usual is simply unsustainable.

I intend to email you again throughout the process to ensure that you understand the needs behind this work. And I invite you to email me with thoughts or questions you may have about it. The email address for that (an email address that comes directly to me) is rethink@vccs.edu. I will be happy to pass along interesting thoughts to the appropriate taskforce members and may even discuss them with you and our colleagues in a future email message.

Thank you for your ideas and thoughts for this process and thank you for your hard work every day at your community college.

Sincerely,

Glenn DuBois

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