Dear Union Students and Colleagues:
Welcome back for what promises to be an inspiring and successful Spring semester at Union County College.
Last Spring, Union launched “Operation Graduation,” a College-wide commitment to encourage students on the threshold of an associate degree to make every effort to achieve this goal. Through the efforts of counselors, faculty, staff, the Office of College Life, and the Student Government Association, more students than ever in Union’s history graduated in 2011. We were pleased to have 1,065 graduates earning a place in our May commencement ceremonies.
This year we’re raising the bar even higher. Consistent with President Obama’s challenge to boost student completion among colleges and universities throughout the nation, Union intends to meet or exceed the President’s expectations for graduation rates for community college students.
Last Fall, our honor society students in Phi Theta Kappa got the process started by sponsoring a “Commit to Complete” event that attracted hundreds of students who made a pledge to graduate. As an emblem of this commitment, a banner with these student signatures continues to hang in the Richel Commons on the Cranford Campus.
We begin the Spring semester with our second annual “Operation Graduation” campaign. Our goal is to once again encourage students on the threshold of graduation to complete their associate degree or certificate in time for Spring commencement.
New Jersey’s Lampitt Bill gives students a strong financial incentive to complete an associate of arts or science. With the degree in hand, these students are guaranteed to be able to transfer into any New Jersey public university as a junior and have all of their program credits transfer over. Without the degree, many of these students’ community college credits may be lost when students attempt to transfer.
Student Affairs Vice President Dr. Ralph Ford, College Life Dean Tammy Smith, Counseling Director Heather Keith, student leaders in the SGA, and our faculty will play key roles to lead the campaign this semester.
Union has a number of other initiatives in place to support student success. During the Spring Orientation Program and the Spring ESL Orientation Program, we once again encouraged our new students to sign a “pledge to graduate” banner. As they did last semester, Phi Theta Kappa will have host “Commit to Complete” events at the Cranford and Elizabeth campuses.
Our student-services staff will identify students who applied to graduate but may have transferred elsewhere prior to graduation. The staff will contact these students and explain the value of adding a Union County College degree to their credentials.
One of the more prominent initiatives taking place at the start of the Spring semester is the opening of a Mathematics Lab on the first floor of the MacKay Library, in close proximity to our Academic Learning Center. The new Lab will complement the ALC by featuring group tutoring for students working to succeed in all levels of math classes.
This May, I am looking forward to shaking more hands of graduates than ever in the 79-year history of Union County College.
Have a joyous and prosperous Spring semester. Thank you for choosing Union County College.
Dr. Margaret M. McMenamin