Dr. Spriggs and a student

Good afternoon, Forsyth Tech faculty and staff!

Over the past two years, I have often encouraged you to imagine without boundaries. I use that phrase to inspire us to look beyond the way we have always done things, challenging the status quo when necessary, as we work together to realize our shared vision of being a catalyst for equitable economic mobility, empowering lives and transforming communities. I am proud when I look back at the ways we have clearly employed that sentiment as a guiding principle for our mission to advance student success through excellence in learning, completion, equity, and post-graduation outcomes.

We have reimagined the student experience, building a proactive, intentional, and relational approach to advising. We have created holistic, wraparound support services through our Forsyth Tech Cares office, helping students navigate forward even when life happens barriers threaten to push them backwards. We are embracing the Student-Ready ONE College model, to undergird our culture of belonging, as we intentionally design the college experience to ensure that each learner receives what they need to be successful. This is complex work and it is hard work, but it is the right work to help us create equitable, seamless, and easy-to-navigate processes and systems that will ultimately lead more students to achieve their dreams.

There is much evidence that suggests our ultimate success will depend on alignment between non-credit and credit programs. A recent report by the Education Strategy Group (ESG) recommends colleges align non-credit, short-term workforce training programs with complementary career and technical education and transfer credit programs. The ESG report says having two tracks, non-credit and credit, “has resulted in a bifurcated institutional structure that does not equitably serve and prepare all students for workforce opportunities and career advancement.” This report also suggests, the “division is felt particularly acutely now, as many workers displaced by the pandemic seek non-degree training opportunities to re-skill and get back to work.”

ESG provides a framework for aligning industry-focused non-credit programs with credit programs and the framework includes the five key principles for change detailed below and copied from this article in the American Association of Community Colleges, CC Daily newsletter on October 15, 2020:

  • “Treat all students as students. Colleges should address the structural inequities that give an advantage to students in credit programs.
  • Build clear pathways between noncredit and credit credentials. No program should be an educational dead-end.
  • Align departments and governance. Consider organizing relevant noncredit and credit programs into the same department or establishing joint leadership.
  • Make programs credit-worthy or credit-based. Ensure that learning in industry-focused noncredit programs counts for credit through such bridge tools as credit matrices, articulation agreements or equivalency agreements.
  • Remove barriers to transition. Reduce the numbers of forms and processes required to transition. Provide navigational assistance and similar course schedules across programs.”

Today, I am announcing organizational changes that we believe will better align departments and governance and help us build clear pathways between non-credit and credit credentials. Additionally, we are making organizational changes for our off-Main Campuses and Centers located throughout Forsyth and Stokes counties that will save budget dollars while also creating more efficient workflows. Finally, I am making a change in my executive leadership team that will reduce the number of executive team leaders on ELT, while also strengthening institutional capacity. These structural changes are detailed in the following sections.

Organization Structure Changes

  1. Aligning Departments and Governance
    These important changes will bring us closer to achieving our Student-Ready One College Effective January 1, 2021:

    1. All public safety industry programs, both short-term non-credit and credit programs, will fall into a single department under the Division for Economic and Workforce Development (EWD) led by vice president, Dr. Alan Murdock. All public safety curriculum and EWD faculty, and all public safety support staff will report to Dean Wesley Hutchins. This includes our fire, EMS, EMT, CPR, criminal justice and basic law enforcement training (BLET) programs.
    2. Similarly, all health programs, both short-term non-credit and credit programs, will join the Division for Student Academic Success led by vice president and chief academic officer, Dr. Jacob Surratt. These programs will be structured within the Health Technologies department and report to the dean, Dr. Linda Latham. In addition to the seventeen existing curriculum health technologies programs, Dean Latham will now also lead these EWD programs: nurse aide, medical coding, medical office, imaging, and phlebotomy.
  2. Off-Main Campuses and Centers
    Kristie Hendrix served as executive director of our off-Main campuses and centers for several years, but has recently moved into the safety and emergency manager position. Rather than replacing the executive director role, we are moving to a new administrator-in-charge model for oversight of our critical off-Main operations.  The administrators-in-charge at each off-Main campus or center will report through either the Division for Economic and Workforce Development or the Division for Student Academic Success. The new and returning administrators-in-charge are listed below and these changes are also effective January 1, 2021.Dr. Alan Murdock, vice president for economic and workforce development, will serve as administrator-in-charge for West Campus, reporting directly to me.  Reporting to Dr. Murdock:

    • Stokes Center: Sally Elliot
    • Northwest Forsyth Center: Wesley Hutchins
    • Innovation Quarter: Jennifer Coulombe

    Reporting to Dr. Jacob Surratt, vice president for student academic success:

    • Transportation Technology Campus: Kirsten Seamster
    • Swisher Center: Kirsten Seamster (Interim)
    • Mazie Woodruff Center and Aviation Center: Sydney Richardson
  3. President’s Office & Executive Leadership Team
    Executive Director and Board Liaison Sherri Bowen was recently selected for the open advisor and recruiter for short-term health technology programs, located on the West Campus and will move into her new role effective Dec. 14, 2020. This change presented an opportunity for me to reimagine the structure of the president’s office and the ELT, and I decided not to refill the executive director and board liaison role.Instead, I am expanding Paula Dibley’s associate vice president for marketing, communications, recruitment and educational partnerships role. Since joining us in September 2019, Paula has reported to vice president for community engagement and executive director for the foundation, Bill Green. Paula’s new title is vice president for strategy and outreach and in this new role, she will maintain leadership and oversight for the marketing, events, communications, recruitment and educational partnerships teams (outreach areas), while taking on new responsibilities in support of the president and the Board of Trustees (the strategy component). Effective December 1, Paula is now reporting to me. This change does not add any additional direct reports to me, but does reduce by one the total number of leaders on the Executive Leadership Team (as an AVP, Paula is already a member of the ELT and I am not replacing Sherri’s position). My executive assistant, Ashley Warren, will provide administrative support for Paula and me, as well as providing administrative support to our Board of Trustees.

In Closing —Thank You!

“Change is the law of life.  And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”

~President John F. Kennedy

I am confident these organizational changes will positively impact student success and lead us closer to realizing our vision. When we created our shared vision and built our Vision 2025 Strategic Plan with bold strategic goals and outcomes, we knew success would involve doing some things differently. Transformational change — imagining without boundaries, challenging the status quo, and embracing emerging and innovative ideas — can be difficult. However, change is the only constant in life, and the price of standing still as the world around us changes is far greater than the price of change.  Being a catalyst means creating change!

Thank you for everything you do every day to love and serve each student.

Take care and stay safe!

Warm Regards,

Dr. Janet N. Spriggs