MCC to Inaugurate 5th College President

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Dr. Gena Glickman
President, MCC
Manchester, Conn., - (April 1, 2009)Ö Dr. Gena Glickman will be inaugurated as the fifth president of Manchester Community College on Friday, May 1. In reflecting over her first year as president, Glickman shares the importance of the inaugural ceremony and what it means to her. She also reveals how the college plans to work through the current state budget crisis and how she will continue to focus on getting to know the college community.

Q. In September, you stated that your first priority was ďgetting to know the college, our students and our service community,Ē How is that going and have your priorities shifted?

Getting to know the college, our students, our alumni and our community early in my presidency was one of the best decisions Iíve made. Itís been fundamental to understanding the culture of our college and has given me a foundation to guide the institution. Of course, getting to know the college community really never ends. For me, listening and learning are cornerstones for building a sustainable and innovative future for the college and for the State of Connecticut.

Q. What were some of the major obstacles you faced during the first few months as president?

When I started in July, I learned then that we could face a difficult budget year. I have to say that, while the budget crisis is certainly a challenge for us, the college community has been amazingly strong and cohesive in retaining the best possible services for students, participating as part of the solution for workforce initiatives, and remaining an institution of academic distinction.

Q. Did anything surprise you?

One of the things that continues to surprise me is how energized people are about doing new things Ė and their level of creativity. We have terrific new academic programs- Environmental Science, Music and Pathways to Teaching- and co-curricular activities, everything from sustainability initiatives to entrepreneurship opportunities to providing community career and job seminars to service learning opportunities.

A new president can throw a college into a tizzy because expectations and style may be different than people are accustomed to, yet everyone at MCC has been incredibly welcoming. We are looking toward the future with enthusiasm and new energy.

Another surprise is that people talk about me all the time. Iím joking, but there is always a buzz about a new president and what that person is really thinking, so my ears are always ringing.

Q. How does the college plan to work through the current challenging economic times?

Together. Working together, the campus administration, faculty, staff and the community foster shared governance, diversity and creative partnerships to meet the collegeís goals. The voice of the college is the voice of every one of its members. Each of us has an obligation to be an advocate for the collegeís mission and goals both internally and externally. We each have a responsibility to develop, promote and sustain relationships; navigate issues; share our expertise; and understand the role of the college within the larger context of life-long learning and community needs.

Q. How has the state budget crisis shaped your leadership of the college and vision for the future?

I believe leadership is a process that begins with the idea of service to mission, values and people. It is about relationships, vision, stewardship, humor, learning and growth, personal mastery and self-awareness, adaptability, resiliency and integrity. The budget crisis has caused me to be more focused on bringing people together to prepare and approve a strategic plan that we can all agree on. We need to be clearly focused on where we want to be and how weíre going to get there.

I see my role as a venue for helping external constituencies better understand the mission and goals of the college and, because of the synergy between the institution and the external community, it is vital to share how both can be part of the success of the institution and the region. Additionally, my role is to guide the college in defining the core mission, goals and effectiveness indicators, and setting the stage for initiatives in assessment, accountability and enhancing opportunities.

Q. The college is currently going through a strategic planning process. What have you learned about MCC since beginning this process?

Iíve learned that some people are a little afraid to step out of their comfort zone and that they do not necessarily believe they can be leaders in this process. Iíve also learned that we have some of the most creative collective minds in higher education.

Q. Why is it important for the college to go through this process?

It is important because leadership is not one defining action or one personís responsibility. Leadership is setting the stage for working through the issues of what we care deeply about. This process helps us to evaluate how we can be the best at what we do and understand what drives us. Whether that is providing excellent service to students, building relevant programs, striving to keep up with technology, or finding the funding and talented people to support our mission, our role and responsibility as a learner community is to promote professional and personal growth and to work to ensure we are achieving our academic and personal goals.

Q. How can alumni help?

Alumni can help by sharing their stories with me and within their communities. Iím always interested in peopleís stories, their successes and their challenges. The one thing that we pride ourselves on is how we impact peopleís lives. The personal stories are what keeps me motivated and, I believe, keep us all motivated to continue to create opportunities for continuous learning.

Q. What are a few of your accomplishments since becoming president, and what lies ahead?

Itís not really about what Iíve been able to accomplish; rather, itís about what faculty and staff have accomplished. Iím very proud of our new Academic Support Center for students. Weíve been able to create an environment that reflects how much we value our students and their learning. We have also reconfigured our student administrative services areas to provide better services to students from the time they arrive on campus, enroll in courses and, ultimately, graduate.

Q. What does the inauguration mean to you?

Iím honored that Iíve been entrusted with the opportunity to have a lasting impact on thousands of people each year and on the well-being of our community. I have been given an incredible gift Ė the opportunity to lead an institution that facilitates cross-disciplinary discussions, defines academic values and quality, and strives for integrity in all academic programs and student services.

Q. How did you select the keynote speaker for the inauguration?

It was an instantaneous decision. Dr. Freeman Hrabowski is an amazing man, a true leader, an internationally recognized expert, and an incredibly motivational speaker. He has always inspired me and Iím thrilled and honored that he accepted my invitation. As you know, I worked in Maryland for many years when he was first at Coppin State College and now at UMBC, which is how I know him. He was instrumental in creating an honors university that is a world model, and he has had an impact on the lives of so many young people, all while never wavering in his belief that when you set the bar high, students will reach high.

Q. Does being the first female president of MCC have any significance?

I think that, being a female president, I am a role model for the younger women who may succeed me in the future. Being a woman president in a community college is not unusual anymore, nor is it unusual to be a woman leader in many professions, though certainly we are still underrepresented in many sectors. Gender has been a factor in whether or not doors open or whether or not there is a glass ceiling. I am of a generation where it was clear that the women who came before us helped open doors. I see it as part of my responsibility to help open the doors for others.

Q. What are you most proud of since becoming president of MCC?

Iím proud of the way our college community Ė faculty, staff, our Regional Advisory Board, the Foundation Board, our towns, and Alumni - have pulled together to address tough financial issues and continue to find ways to serve our growing and diverse student body. Scores of volunteers are working diligently to ensure that our students have affordable and accessible educational opportunities and acclimate to a college culture. Iím also proud of the willingness of our faculty and staff to look for ways to serve all of our students with new and innovative programs and with increased access to all types of learning and support services.

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Students of any age who possess the desire to pursue higher education are welcome at Manchester Community College. MCC is proud of its academic excellence, new facilities, flexible schedules, small classes, low tuition and faculty with both academic and ďreal worldĒ credentials. The College offers over 60 programs, transfer options, financial aid and scholarships, as well as access to baccalaureate degrees through guaranteed admissions programs with several universities. MCC is situated on a park-like campus and is easily accessible from I-84.

News Item Posted On: April 01, 2009
For Additional Information Contact: Endia DeCordova-Murphy at (860) 512-2914