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Yes these will be somewhat typical Thanksgiving comments, but as I hear about our student achievements, the innovative instructional techniques our faculty use, the challenges our Board members and our administrative team face, and the interest in serving our community’s educational needs – I am truly thankful to be associated with SCCC. We are nearly engulfed in the holiday season, and borrowing the concept of one of my favorite holiday songs I thought I would list you a few of "my favorite things" to be thankful for:
• I had the opportunity to see four of our Student Government Association members represent us at a recent meeting of the Board of Regents’ Student Advisory Council meeting. I was impressed with their presence, their interest in improving Kansas higher education, and their genuine appreciation for having the opportunity to attend. I was thankful for the way they represented our college and their families – and for the involvement of our Dean of Students, Ms. Celeste Donovan in making the arrangements;
• Our faculty members are utilizing advanced technologies to provide interactive instruction to students who reside miles away from Liberal as well as to students in the same rooms as the instructor. I’m thankful that SCCC has dedicated instructors who choose to be innovative and embrace the concepts of various teaching styles.
• SCCC has over 30 international students here who are pursuing their associate degrees. Additionally, we have scores of international students at the Colvin Adult Learning Center who are improving their knowledge of English as a new language and are pursuing United States citizenship. We held a short ceremony last week acknowledging these students and showing our gratitude that they chose to attend SCCC. I’m thankful that our College recognizes the value of learning about the world and the various cultures. I’m very thankful that I might have a small part in the experience these students have – and it was truly wonderful to have these students tell me how thankful they are to experience SCCC.
• We’ve started an informal book club on campus and we recently finished “The Kite Runner” written by Khaled Hosseini. I’m thankful that we have employees interested in reading and sharing their thoughts about this book. Throughout the reading and the discussion, I regained my appreciation for the open atmosphere of our higher education system and the encouragement we provide to students and families to receive an education.
• We will have a few days this week in which we can spend time with family and friends. Our students will have time to make a trip home or perhaps travel to a friends home and experience different holiday traditions. I am thankful that we have the opportunity, provided by our Board, to enjoy a short vacation as we draw another semester of classes to a close for this fall.

Enjoy this Thanksgiving and I encourage you to take time and reflect on what you may be thankful.
Halloween 2007 is just a memory but our College’s relationship with a lot of families will be a long lasting memory due to "Trick or Treat Street." Approximately 2000 kids dressed in their finest costumes were on campus and were truly treated to a great time. Nearly a dozen of our student organizations provided different activities (and candy too) for the youngsters with everything from a bag toss to having their pictures taken. Additionally, for those brave enough, a haunted hayrack ride provided that extra amount of Halloween excitement. (Periodically visit the on-line Crusader www.crusadernews.com for pictures) That interaction with our students and staff will be long-held memories for the families as they think about SCCC.

It is that memorable relationship between SCCC and our community that is critical for our College’s ability to meet an important aspect of our mission. We know that an increasing number of our students are the first in their family to attend college. We know that great organizations develop effective relationships with their constituents - and our community families are our constituents. We know that many of the parents of the children attending "Trick or Treat Street" are students at SCCC. We know that if they had a great memory those families will return to our campus for additional activities, classes, events, and educational assistance. We know that having our "traditional" students understand the importance of community relations is an important aspect of higher education. We know that those youngsters will be making decisions about education as they grow, and we hope they have such a great memory of SCCC that they do pursue higher education.

We’re launching our "recruiting teams" and with that comes a need to understand the purpose. That purpose is to build and strengthen community relationships – not just to recruit students to campus, but to recruit an understanding of what SCCC can provide. Whether the need is for a traditional class offering, an out-reach class, and on-line class, a business/industry customized training, a cultural event, assistance with understanding the nuances of federal financial aid programs, or simply to understand that our faculty are experts and can provide technical assistance – the relationship with our area communities is what makes us a “community college”. Something as simple as handing out candy during "Trick or Treat Street" is an effective community recruting activity. Full support and participation in the recruiting teams is critical for us to meet our mission.