MCC Daily Tribune
President's Wednesday Message
As we begin a new year at MCC, I wanted to share some steps administrators are taking to promote more open and frequent communication:
- This semester, all of us will have office hours at the circulation desks in both the Leroy V. Good Library and the Downtown Campus Learning Commons. The hours will be posted on the Library website. My thanks to the Library staff for this great recommendation. Given the number and scope of questions and concerns that our students bring to our libraries, we are excited for this opportunity.
- In addition, all of us will have office hours in the Brighton Campus Atrium and in the Downtown Campus Second Floor Student Lounge. These hours will be posted in the student and employee Daily Tribunes. My thanks to our student leaders for this suggestion. They saw the traffic that the yellow information booth brought to the Atrium and wondered if administrators might use the booth for a more informal channel of communication. It was a wonderful idea!
- The "Ask Anne" radio interview session that WMCC held late last fall brought in many more questions than could be answered on air. I've already met with the Monroe Doctrine to respond to the remaining questions for a follow-up article. Based on the response to the radio show, both WMCC and the MD are looking to schedule more, and because some questions related to Facilities, Public Safety, Diversity-Equity-Inclusion, and the MCC Association, I've encouraged both student media outlets to schedule sessions with these leaders.
- After a year spent visiting offices, classes, and department meetings, I'm returning to regularly scheduled office hours at the Brighton and Downtown campuses and the Applied Technologies Center. These will be posted in the Daily Tribunes.
It is always communication, communication, communication. In the Fall Message to the College Community, I called upon all of us to talk with each other, not about each other. The importance of taking this step--which can be very difficult, uncomfortable, and even frightening--and the consequences of not doing so can be seen from MCC to DC.
The College has corrected a number of errors in data posted on a personal blog linked to MCC. The writer could have reached out to the offices behind the data for a discussion before posting it, but did not. It does not appear that building a common understanding was the goal. Similarly, we have received complaints about employees and students that were filed through the ethics and bias hotlines but were about incidents that did not violate College standards for either ethics or inclusion. Instead, the incidents described could have been resolved through direct, difficult, but necessary conversations with coworkers, peers, and classes.
Recently, an employee filed a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request seeking all College documents related to all of my "positions at M&T Bank." I don't have any position at M&T Bank, which the individual would have learned if they had reached out. I do, however, sit on the bank's non-voting advisory council and their non-voting community reinvestment act council. When I was appointed, I did not feel it appropriate to benefit personally from serving, so rather than receiving bank stock for my own portfolio, I receive $700 per meeting and donate it to the MCC Foundation. In a conversation with the individual filing the FOIL, I could have explained this, and shared how the information I gain on the councils about the financial and economic landscape of our community benefits MCC and strengthens my work. I would have shared information about conflicts of interest, how they are resolved and addressed, and what distinguishes the requirements for voting trustees or directors from non-voting advisory members. But, again, opening a real dialogue was not the point of the FOIL request.
I would hope that we're above trying to play "gotcha": it hurts our College. If you have questions about data, about sources or uses of funds, about programs, about decisions, about how I spend my time, go to the source and ask with a commitment to listening to the answer. We do not have to agree with each other to understand each other's perspectives, but we do need to talk with each other. It is this understanding that builds bridges instead of walls, and I am committed to it.
As always, I welcome your thoughts in the comment section on the blog, in emails, or in conversations in the hallway or (once more) in my office hours.
Office of the President