Carmen I. Coballes-Vega
This is the fourth edition of Touchstone, the scholarly journal of the college. Its publication continues the vibrant and forward-looking aspirations of its founders and editors to provide a public medium of communication for all facets of faculty scholarship at Eugenio Maria de Hostos Community College. Ten years into the 21st Century the challenges for community colleges is clearly evident. More and more of this nation’s first-year college-age students are enrolling at public two- year institutions. Hostos Community College, along with many other urban-based colleges throughout the country, has demonstrated the critical and strategic role it plays in preparing a highly motivated, articulate, and competent workforce. Hostos faculty, staff, and administrators have shown what they can do in preparing the future workforce. The scholarly writings in this journal are but a small indication of the commitment and the capability of Hostos as an institution to contribute to the nation’s future prosperity.
The Division of Academic Affairs in collaboration with the Magda Vasillov Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) has provided a number of opportunities for faculty engagement in scholarship and the improvement of teaching through workshops, conferences, Professional Development Institutes (PDIs), guest speaker series, and focused colloquia. The E-Portfolio Implementation Committee (EPIC) offered a number of sessions concentrated on mentoring orientation opportunities. The Committee on Beautiful Ideas (COBI) has continued and faculty projects were reviewed and will continue to be funded. The On-Line Facilitators’ Investigation Group hosted a series of faculty and staff conversations regarding online teaching, assessment of online learning, promotion of advisement for students, and the development of student focus groups. The richness of these conversations is evident through faculty presentations both on and off-campus. The Office of Academic Affairs, the Office of Educational Technology (formerly the Office of Instructional Technology) and the CTL hosted the Technology Day with Dr. Helen Barrett as keynote speaker. Dr. Barrett is a well-known expert on E-portfolios and former faculty member of the College of Education at the University of Alaska Anchorage. She delivered an informative and engaging presentation on the development of E-portfolios. The sessions included presentations by Hostos faculty and the audience included faculty and administrators from public and private colleges in the metropolitan area. Hostos faculty remain dynamically and professionally engaged. They continue to prepare, deliver, and disseminate knowledge about their research and teaching practice at local, state and national levels.
In addition to the activities listed above, this year Hostos administrators, faculty, staff and students have been involved in a number of institutional review processes including national accreditation through the Middle States Association, strategic planning, and the Foundations of Excellence® in the First College Year Self Study. A major strength of these processes has been the involvement of a wide cross- section of individuals from various departments, units, and divisions. The level of engagement has re-energized the college and will, no doubt, bring the college closer to achieving new goals and outcomes as we move into the next phase of our history. Consistent with our mission, the college offers “access to higher education leading to intellectual growth and socio-economic mobility through the development of linguistic, mathematical, technological, and critical thinking proficiencies needed for lifelong learning and for success in a variety of programs including careers, liberal arts, transfer, and those professional programs leading to licensure.” There is no greater time for our college to embrace the educational needs and aspirations of Bronx residents, particularly as we strive to reduce the achievement gap for Latino and other minorities who continue to lag behind other groups in the United States. The reaffirmation of the campus commitment to the mission will propel us forward and ensure a more hopeful and prosperous future for our diverse communities.
Carmen I. Coballes-Vega, Ph.D.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs