MWCC e-News

Sept. 10, 2014

In This Issue
A Message from President Asquino
Transformative Academic Year Begins
Thoroughly Thoreau: MWCC Humanities Project Begins with a Series of Events
MWCC Foundation Supports Innovation in the Classroom
MWCC Mathematics Professor Selected as AMATYC Project ACCCESS Fellow
Art Students Lend Talents to Johnny Appleseed Trail Association Project
Upcoming Events
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A Message from President Daniel M. Asquino

President Daniel M. Asquino

Each September, as I reflect on the successes of the previous 12 months, I cannot help but look forward with anticipation to what we will achieve together in the coming academic year.

This year, we move forward with our FY2015-FY2017 strategic plan, "Embracing Transformation," which remains focused on four strategic, college-wide goals - Access, Success, Learning, and Progress. Our plan is shaped by the key outcomes of the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education Vision Project, including College Participation; College Completion; Student Learning; Workforce Alignment; Preparing Citizens; and Closing Achievement Gaps.

Among many anticipated highlights, we'll break ground on our science and technology building, which will feature the latest in innovation to prepare students in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

We'll also "saunter" into the first year of the MWCC Humanities Project, with campus and community activities focusing 19th century author, philosopher, naturalist, and abolitionist Henry David Thoreau and one of his most famous works, Walden: or Life in the Woods.

These events are aptly paired, as Thoreau considered himself as much a scientist as a poet, and his scientific observations and inquiries are still as relevant today as his philosophical gems.

And of course, Thoreau, the creator of the modern concept of civil disobedience, provides a perfect vehicle for examining the power and responsibility of the individual citizen in a healthy democracy, principles emphasized through experiential learning opportunities coordinated by our endowed Center for Civic Learning and Community Engagement.


These initiatives exemplify our mission of providing new opportunities for our students and ensuring they receive a holistic educational experience in order to achieve their own personal and professional goals. 


To paraphrase a line from Thoreau's Walden, "In the long run, we only hit what we aim at."



Transformative Academic Year Begins
Many changes and new initiatives marked the start of the 2014-2015 academic year. Not only are the college's campuses filled with thousands of new and returning students, but several faculty and staff members have joined the college community or stepped into new roles. Approximately 950 new students participated in day, evening and program-specific orientations, which provide students with an opportunity to learn about college life and MWCC programs, support services, and activities.
MWCC Humanities Project Begins with Series of Events on Thoreau's Walden

This month, Mount Wachusett Community College launches "East Meets West in a Cabin in Concord: Walden and Beyond," the first year of a multi-year, college and community project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The project will begin with a book discussion on Walden, or Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau, famed Massachusetts author and the focus of this year's initiative. Led by English Professors Michelle Valois and Susan Blake, the discussion will take place Sept. 17 at the Gardner campus and is the first in a full slate of free events taking place at venues throughout North Central Massachusetts. Established through a $500,000 challenge grant the college received from the NEH,  the project will continue through 2019 with a new theme each academic year.


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MWCC Foundation Supports Innovation in the Classroom
With the start of the new academic year, the Mount Wachusett Community College Foundation has provided funds totaling $46,044 for eight innovative projects conceived by college faculty and staff. New Innovation Fund projects include the acquisition of adaptive equipment for students with disabilities, a Graphic and Interactive Design dual enrollment program for Gardner High School students, and additional student support programs. "The Innovation Fund allows us to financially support inventive staff and faculty and give them the opportunity to implement their concepts," said Foundation Executive Director Carla DeFosse.
MWCC Mathematics Professor Selected as AMATYC Project ACCCESS Fellow

Mount Wachusett Community College Assistant Professor of Mathematics Aliza Miller has been selected as a Project ACCCESS Fellow with the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges (AMATYC). Project ACCESS (Advancing Community College Careers: Education, Scholarship, and Services), is a professional development and mentoring program for mathematics professors at two-year colleges. Miller, selected to participate in a cohort of 24 math educators, will develop, implement and evaluate educational projects at MWCC and collaborate electronically with colleagues in the cohort. 

Art Students Lend Talents to Johnny Appleseed Trail Association Project
"Take a Seat in Johnny Appleseed Country" is a community project aimed at increasing foot traffic in the cities and towns that make up North Central Massachusetts. The Johnny Appleseed Trail Association met with the Wachusett Mountain Ski Resort and rather than throw away inoperative ski lift chairs, both organizations decided to use them as a promotional opportunity.
Upcoming Events
  • Remember to Remember 9/11 Memorial
  • NEACAC College Fair Sept. 17
  • United Way Day of Caring Sept. 18
  • Theatre at the Mount Presents Les Miserables in October

For information about upcoming events, click here.

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Janice O'Connor
Director of Public Relations
Mount Wachusett Community College