Good afternoon, Forsyth Tech faculty and staff,
In January, I will have had the pleasure to be your president for two years. In some ways, this time has flown by, but in other ways I feel like I’ve been here in Winston-Salem and working alongside you at Forsyth Tech for much longer.
This year has been both humbling and challenging. It has been full of ups and downs. It has been full of change and disruption. Many of those changes were out of our control and not something I’d wish on anyone. We have faced a global pandemic and learned how to work remotely and to do so efficiently and effectively. We have grieved the racial injustices that have plagued our country for so very many years and saw that the work toward dismantling systemic racism is still a pressing concern. We have seen our country wrestle with a polarizing election and realized we are a nation that remains divided in many ways.
However, there have also been changes here at Forsyth Tech that were deliberate and positive. We implemented a new student success portal, Navigate, replacing three other technology solutions in the process and beginning a plan of coordinated support and communication with our students, 1,778 who have already been utilizing this important tool. We successfully moved Colleague to the cloud. We brought Forsyth Tech Cares to life, providing almost 4,000 students with assistance and securing a substantial grant of $440,000 from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust to grow these critical holistic supports to undergird student success. We moved from teaching zero online live (synchronous) courses, to teaching 368 courses in this way! We brought 28 full-time and 90 part time new employees onboard to Forsyth Tech… during the middle of a pandemic. We redesigned and launched a unique approach to recruiting and advising our students to success that is intentional, proactive, and relational. All this tells me we are unstoppable. We are capable of conquering some of the hardest things that will ever come our way. In the name of transforming students’ lives and in the spirit of our shared vision – we will persevere.
While I do not wish to relive those unforeseen challenges, I am proud of us for the changes we have made to respond with excellence even during unprecedented conditions, and for the way we remained focused on our mission, vision, equity focus, and values. I hope we will see fewer uncontrollable disruptions in the new year, but I am eager to continue to imagine without boundaries with you, and create change when necessary to move us to Vision 2025. As they say,
“If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.”
Our OneWord for 2021
As you recall, my OneWord for 2020 was Elevate, “to raise or lift something to a higher level.” While we certainly ELEVATED, we did it ways we could not have imagined during the pandemic. I’m so grateful for all you did during 2020 to keep us all #ForsythTechStrong and facing each challenge with courage!
For 2021, I would like to ask your thoughts on OneWord to would welcome the new year, still full of hopes and possibilities to continue forward toward VISION 2025. Let’s start the new year with new ideas and new beginnings! Please submit your OneWord and your definition of what that means to you to email@example.com. I’ll review those and announce in January.
As we wind down the year and prepare for the holidays and our winter break, thank you for everything you have done this year to help our students weather the storms of 2020 and achieve their dreams. You are valued and appreciated. Together, we will be a catalyst for equitable economic mobility, empowering lives and transforming communities.
Take care, stay safe and stay #ForsythTechStrong!
Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for a Transformative New Year!
Dr. Janet Spriggs