Hope the fall term is going great for all of you.
After absorbing a lot of the feedback from last month’s Convocation, I feel the need to unpack a couple things and have a discussion about what CNM Connect really means.
First, I would like to admit that I’m not the best public speaker. Even though I speak fairly frequently at functions at CNM and in the community, it’s still not easy for me. Getting up in front of large crowds and delivering clear messages that resonate in the way you intended for them to resonate sometimes is a tough challenge, especially for me.
Every year after I speak at Convocation, people always remind me what I forgot to say. Or they let me know that the way I said something was misunderstood by some in the audience. That seemed to be the case this year. When I spoke about CNM Connect during Convocation, I didn’t explain what CNM Connect means to me.
When I talked about our 2013 Student Success Award that was presented to CNM by the American Association of Community Colleges, I cited our graduation increases and the success of CNM Connect as reasons why we won the award. But when I refer to the big picture of CNM Connect, I’m not referring to CNM Connect locations. And I’m not referring only to CNM Connect staff members.
To me, CNM Connect is a college-wide philosophy that helps us achieve our vision of “Changing Lives, Building Community.” CNM Connect is a mindset that has been embedded in the culture of CNM since it opened in 1965. We have always connected students to the services and resources they need to succeed. Our employees have always cared about our students. They’ve always helped counsel students and they’ve always passionately provided the kind of personalized support each of our students need.
CNM Connect did not start when signs were put up on offices in February 2011. And CNM Connect representatives aren’t just the ones who work under the signs.
Even the name “CNM Connect” was chosen to help all faculty and staff understand that we need to facilitate connections that serve the best interests of our students, the community and CNM.
Every faculty and staff member in every department on every campus is part of the CNM Connect that I was referring to during Convocation. Any time we help a student find a tutor. Any time we help connect students with job opportunities. Any time we lend an ear and help a student find a solution to their challenges. Any time we create new education pathways to careers. Any time we help a student, in any way, we are a part of CNM Connect.
Yes, we have branded one department at the college as CNM Connect. But it’s only a portal, albeit a very important one, into the culture of our college.
That’s the way I look at it. We all are CNM Connect. It’s not simply a location or a staff of Achievement Coaches. It’s a philosophy. When we first opened the physical locations of CNM Connect, we passed out t-shirts to employees across the college that said, “I Am CNM Connect.”
That’s because, “We Are All CNM Connect.”
What do you think? Please post your thoughts.