January 2014

Thanks to all who attended the 2014 State of the College presentation last Thursday. Annette Parker, Dr. Jenifer Blair, Chandragupta Gudena, Tyler Hart and I appreciated the opportunity to provide employees, students and community members a status report of progress, to date, in reaching RBC-19 goals. Even at this early stage—Year One into plan—there are promising indicators that we are trending in the right direction as a result of the various initiatives underway to increase enrollment and improve the student academic profile, expand and enhance programs and delivery, and develop the technological infrastructure and processes that will create an efficient and effective operation to advance 100% student success. If you were unable to attend the January 30 event, I urge you to review the slide deck by clicking on State of the College.



Visit from RBC Committee Chair John Littel and Vice Chair Ann Green Baise

On Tuesday, January 28, RBC Committee Chair John Littel and Vice-Chair Ann Green Baise were on campus and spent the better part of a day visiting with faculty, students and staff in open session and small groups. They asked that I extend their appreciation to all those with whom they met. For our part, we are tremendously fortunate to have in Chairman Littel and Vice Chair Baise governing board members who are interested and actively engaged in helping to advance the mission, vision and goals of Richard Bland College.


At the February 5 meeting of the RBC Committee in Williamsburg, Chandragupta Gudena will be the featured speaker as we focus on the theme of “leapfrogging technologies,” i.e., making significant operational, academic and student service improvements in quality, efficiency and sustainability by utilizing the power of automated systems, cloud-solutions and artificial intelligence.


Institutional Advancement

Earlier this month, Stephen Wilson, President of Riverside Hospitality in Richmond, hosted an Alumni Social for the graduating classes of 1991-1993 at Longstreet’s Deli in Petersburg. The event brought together twenty RBC alumni from the East Coast, the West Coast and points in between. The Advancement team and I were buoyed by stories about the profound influence that RBC and its academically rigorous and nurturing environment had on the lives of these individuals some twenty years ago. As you would expect, everyone’s story was different, but collectively they capture what has historically distinguished Richard Bland College—highly capable, caring and engaged faculty and staff who go the extra mile with and for their students. Preserving that legacy is a responsibility that we all share, and an obligation both to those who preceded us and those who will follow.



Donors who have contributed to the RBC Foundation consecutively for 16 years will receive special recognition at a Sweet 16 Dessert Reception at the Barn Theater on February 16. All donors who have consecutively given to the Foundation for 10 years or more will be invited to this special event. Our donors invest in our mission and in our students, so we will continue to look for ways to recognize their important contributions.


Discussions with the William A. Cooke Foundation are underway to expand scholarship opportunities available to RBC students from Louisa and Orange Counties. Other funding opportunities are also being pursued in an effort to ensure that RBC remains affordable and accessible.

Nature Trail

Kudos to our Property Management team for braving the elements this month to clear ice and snow from the roads and sidewalks. This outstanding team led by Eric Kondzielawa has also been hard at work readying the Water Garden, Nature Trail and grounds for spring. If you haven’t stopped by the Water Garden or hiked the RBC Nature Trail in a while, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the improvements. Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction aside, if the weather accommodates outdoor activities—both academic and recreational—in the coming weeks, the campus stands ready thanks to our grounds team.



New Partnerships

Efforts to expand RBC’s reach through new partnerships continue to yield promising returns. Five additional private (CICV) colleges intend to formally establish program-to-program guaranteed transfer agreements in the coming weeks. Given our university-transfer mission, these clear and well defined pathways to the baccalaureate degree—particularly in STEM-h disciplines—are an important part of our role and our promise.



Jim Aylor, Dean of the UVA School of Engineering and Applied Science, along with UVA’s Dean of Online Innovation and the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs, will be on campus next month to meet with Dean Fidelman and the administrative team to learn about MSVL and to discuss opportunities for program-to-program guaranteed transfer agreements in various engineering disciplines. I will continue to keep you informed about the development of this and other exciting partnership opportunities underway.


SACSCOC, Learning Outcomes Assessment and Dr. Lindquist

Former RBC Provost Dr. Vern Lindquist has agreed to assume a new role on campus. Many of you have told me how pleased you were to have Vern facilitate the January Faculty Retreat, which had student learning outcomes as a key theme. I am pleased to report that Dr. Lindquist has agreed to serve as SACSCOC and Learning Outcomes Assessment Specialist on a part-time basis through June 30, 2014. He will be working with Dean Fidelman and faculty to develop RBC’s five-year report to the SACS Commission on Colleges and to support efforts currently underway to develop specific, measurable learning outcomes for RBC’s highest-enrolled courses and core curriculum.



2014 Commencement Speaker: Dr. Javaid Siddiqi

Former Virginia Secretary of Education, current Director of Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows at the Hunt Institute in North Carolina, and RBC Alumnus Dr. Javaid Siddiqi will deliver the Commencement address on May 9, 2014. When Dr. Siddiqi visited his alma mater at the end of last year, he expressed a deep and abiding commitment to the College and its continued success. It will be wonderful to have him back on campus as an honored guest in May.



Go Statesmen!

In a Richmond-Times Dispatch newspaper article last week that highlighted Statesman Basketball’s ascent to the number 1 slot in the National Junior College Athletic Association ranks, our athletic director, Chuck Moore said, and I quote, “This is absolutely exhilarating … It’s great for our players, our staff and our school.” But here’s my favorite part: “Moore said the success of his basketball team is merely ‘a symbol’ of the transformation that is occurring on RBC’s campus.”


Transformation can be exhilarating. It can be scary. It can even be paralyzing. Our biggest challenge as a campus community is to set our sights on the rewards that come from being part of a high-performing team. We have a number of outstanding, dedicated employees who give their very best to RBC and work to advance student success every day, but what the Statesmen Men’s Basketball team can teach us a lot about is espirit de corps.



Let’s take a lesson from this impressive, high-performing team where every single player keeps learning and honing skills and being relentless about quality improvement and about winning. Let’s make 2014 and the years that follow as glorious as RBC’s past by boldly signing on as members of Team RBC, and let’s celebrate a victory every time a student succeeds.