The Call to Transformation
Montgomery College and, indeed, Montgomery County have good reason to take pride in the people, employers, and organizations that make up this region. As the most populous and most diverse county in the state, residents are a beautiful quilt of races and ethnicities and include many who hail from around the globe. This is home to more than one million people. A thriving employer community includes business, industry, nonprofits, government agencies, and educational institutions.
We embrace the pride—and, at the same time, we also see persistent needs and untapped opportunities to take action that can transform student lives and build economic opportunity. Specifically, we see challenges to:
- Reach many more of the county residents who can benefit from postsecondary education to transform their lives.
- Confront the financial difficulties that many MC students face while attending school, including food and housing insecurities.
- Move students toward completion and transform outcomes for so many who do not complete what they came to do.
- Be ready to provide flexible resources for employers seeking employees or professional development for their workforces.
To be sure, Montgomery College has made great strides over the past decade. Graduation rates are up. Equity gaps are closing. Robust county and state support provide the resources to staff and equip excellent programs. Philanthropic donations have provided record levels of scholarships to students.
The PTAC knows that the College, in partnership with this vibrant community, can work together to transform the lives of individuals and businesses across the county. Transforming the life of an individual improves the life of their family. Transforming families improves communities. Transforming communities improves Montgomery County. Transforming Montgomery County improves the state.
The call to action is to chart pathways that transform opportunity for Montgomery College students and our community. This reaffirms Dr. Williams’ vision that the current institutional challenges and opportunities require courage and a willingness to change that will not wait. The College’s moment is now. The pathways ahead are informed by the fundamental values and aspirations that have guided our unique and collective history. The PTAC affirms the values that underlie Montgomery College’s mission and history of commitment to its students and the community. We endorse them as the foundational strategic objectives for a transformational future:
- Keep students first—Focus on students from how we reach out to them, how we serve them, and what we enable them to become, and measure their success by the life opportunities we create for them, not only by their completion of our programs.
- Invest in innovation to be effective—Promote innovation and career opportunities for faculty and staff, data-informed decision making, and effective management systems.
- Be a leading community partner—Accelerate work with other organizations to meet the needs of the College’s students, the needs of residents, and the needs of the employer community.
- Nurture a climate of care—Attend to the health and wellness of our students, employees, and the community.
With this foundation, the PTAC recommends comprehensive program refinement at Montgomery College. Programs must be up to date, systems must be improved, and customer service must be excellent. The future of our county requires that we think big. The PTAC asks:
- Why shouldn’t every county resident be engaged in the postsecondary education they need to improve their lives?
- Why shouldn’t every Montgomery College student’s financial challenges and food and housing insecurities be addressed fully through financial aid and other resources?
- Why shouldn’t every Montgomery College student complete what they came to do, and move forward with transformed opportunities for their lives?
- Why shouldn't every county employer avail their employees of the professional development they need through engagement with Montgomery College?
Furthermore, the College, the county, indeed, the nation finds itself in a time of historic opportunity to face the injustices of the past and to seek equity for all. This is a time to redouble efforts to weave social justice into the very fabric of the College—its policies, processes, and, especially, its culture—and to assure that every student, every employee feels welcome and respected at Montgomery College. The College has been a model for celebrating diversity and growing in inclusion. We must do more to transform into an institution that achieves equitable outcomes for all and that operates as an antiracist organization.
These, then, are key challenges for Dr. Williams, for the faculty and staff of Montgomery College, and for the Board of Trustees. Be proud of our students and graduates, our excellent programs, our amazing faculty and staff, and our achievements. Then advance the institution as an antiracist community college that is a national leader in radical inclusion, completion with equitable outcomes, superior post-completion success, and relevant service to local employers and the community. The PTAC has provided recommendations and action opportunities for the president. We know that to achieve these, Dr. Williams will need to address resource allocation, engage the College in new technology infrastructures, and refresh the strategic plan. We encourage him and the Montgomery College community to be courageous to fulfill its mission to empower students to change their lives.