January 2020 State of the College address

Release Date: 
Thursday, January 9, 2020

On January 8, 2020, President Kavalhuna and Trustee Michael Meade welcomed faculty and staff back to the College to begin the Winter 2020 semester. (Note: President Kavalhuna's first sentence is cut off in the video, but only a few words are missing at the very beginning).

Their remarks included context, updates, and information about what has happened at the College, and where we are headed, including major initiatives.

The video runs 1 hour, 20 minutes. A summary is below.

President Kavalhuna's powerpoint presentation from the State of the College is available here (PDF).

Dr. Meade's remarks

After President Kavalhuna's welcome, Dr. Michael Meade kicked off the event with a description of the duties of the Board of Trustees, and his reflections on the value of the community college mission and the difference it makes in the world. He expressed his pride in the quality of the College's employees, and optimism for the future with continued community involvement and commitment to mission.

"I do have one major disappointment," he said. "No filthy rich person has yet asked me to do something to admit their child!" The joke elicited laughter, after which Meade said, more seriously, "It is a great joy that we have open enrollment, and that we care about every student." Meade then lauded President Kavalhuna for the job he has done in his 18 months as president, and for being inclusive, authoritative, and caring toward students, faculty, and staff.

The role of the Board, he said, is to hire and evaluate the College president, to approve the Strategic Plan, to oversee the College's fiduciary responsibilities, and to set policies that allow the institution to be effective. Any inquiries that come to the Board are referred to the President for his consideration.

Meade concluded with a pitch for involvement of College-focused personnel in the 2020 election, during which four Board seats will be on the ballot.

President Kavalhuna's remarks

President Kavalhuna began by welcoming new team members who have been hired across the institution. He then spoke about what has happened at the College since the August 2019 State of the College meeting.

There are three "buckets" or priorities that have been central since Kavalhuna took the helm:
1. Academic success
2. Budget health
3. Culture change

Academic success

Our completion rate goal for the coming year is to increase form 8.4% to 15%. The Fall 2019 U.S. Dept. of Education scorecard has us at 15% already, but we know we have work to do.

The School of Liberal Arts continues to work on the Transfer Bridges program with the University of Michigan, funded by a $181,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation. Last year, the School doubled the number of transfers to UM-AA and added 19 more this year.

The School of Business, Entrepreneurship, and Professional Development's ASSET program The ASSET program was noted for six years in a row of meeting/exceeding all of Ford Motor Company’s performance metrics for ASSET programs. Ford is awarding HFC $4,000 for all students being employed, the instructors being 100% certified, ASSET class size, and fulfilling internal Ford requirements.

The School of Science, Technology, and Math's Engineering Dept. moved all classes to MTEC on our East Campus. New labs were used during Michigan Engineering Colleges conference and student engineering competitions.

Also, the Chemistry 111 pass rates increased 17% (F18 to F19). The course was redesigned under the Gateways to Completion project, a collaboration with the John N. Gardner Institute.

The School of Health and Human Services was awarded the MCCA Outstanding Team Award for work in assisting former ITT students to complete their education and career goals at HFC.

Also, several programs successfully completed accreditation reviews in Fall 2019: the Children and Families program, the Paramedic program, the Lactation Consultant program, and the Pharmacy Tech program.

Kavalhuna expressed pride in these and myriad other accomplishments too numerous to mention. "We have to work hard to continue to earn students' enrollment here, and to give value to students in everything we do," he said.

Enrollment is pivotal; SEM work continues

Kavalhuna joked about how frequently and persistently he talks about enrollment. The College's mission is driven by enrollment -- as are its budget and ability to innovate. The Strategic Enrollment Management (SEM) core team has been diligently working since fall on recruitment, persistence, and completion, and has formed several task forces that have contributed significantly to our enrollment gains -- the first such gains in 10 years.

Strategic Enrollment Management (SEM) is a long-term effort that will help us:

  • Decide how and where to grow our enrollment;
  • Define and assign responsibility for different aspects of the growth process;
  • Understand and implement best practices for increasing retention and completion rates;
  • Connect strategic plans with budgets and marketing/communications efforts;
  • Develop short-term planning objectives;
  • Develop long-term planning objectives, including personnel and infrastructure needs;
  • Develop multi-year financial projections; and
  • Measure, assess, benchmark, and continually improve our enrollment efforts.

SEM subteams include:

  • Adult Student Population
  • Focus on 45 (credit hours to graduation)
  • Latino/Latina Population
  • Transfer Opportunities
  • Optimal Enrollment Point (OEP)
  • 7 Steps to Enrollment Review
  • Year-Round Academic Schedule
  • Welcome Center service hours
  • Scholarship Team

As a result of their efforts and the changes that have taken place, team members have been asked to present at a national innovation conference in Seattle this spring.

Your suggestions for initiatives relating to strategic enrollment management are always welcome!

Culture of teamwork

The culture of teamwork is growing and is affecting the work we do across our entire campus. President Kavalhuna highlighted several ways these efforts are making a difference. Teamwork improves effectiveness, morale, and productivity. "The reason I made teamwork a top priority is that I thought you would want it, too," he said.

New HR executive director

President Kavalhuna introduced Dr. LaDonna Holley, whose first day at HFC was Jan. 6. She will lead the HR team as a model of service to the College. Kavalhuna also recognized the hard work of the entire HR team during a difficult period of months between executive leaders, and specifically praised Lynn Borzcon, who provided day-to-day leadership during the interim period, in addition to her regular duties.

Fundraising campaign

President Kavalhuna announced that the silent phase of the Investing in the Future fundraising campaign is drawing to a close, and the public phase will be announced soon. A recent leadership gift of $2.1 million will assist in the creation of a trade-school-based Early Middle College (more information forthcoming). The campaign's focus will be student success, academic success, and community and workforce development success.

The expansion of the Tech Building (the Entrepreneur and Innovation Institute) will also be moving forward in the coming year.

IEMP comes to fruition

A project that has been in the works for years, under the leadership of VP John Satkowski, is now moving forward. The Integrated Energy Master Plan (IEMP), a $23 million contract with Johnson Controls, will transform the College's use of energy, saving millions of dollars, and will also create a curriculum for the next generation of energy workers. The project will pay for itself within a generation.

HLC recap, Campus Safety, Strategic Planning

President Kavalhuna referenced his December email recounting the details of the HLC accreditation visit, and noting that the report will be presented to campus with public forums. The goal date for public presentation of the report is the end of January.

The Campus Safety Service Level Analysis project was completed with a report sent to President Kavalhuna in December. The report is being edited, and a presentation will be given in closed session to the Board of Trustees in a matter of weeks. The purpose of the closed session is to protect the College from potential exploitation of perceived vulnerabilities if all details were made public. The decision about whether any changes will be made to the Campus Safety structure or function will be announced at a later date.

The next strategic planning cycle takes place this year, and will be led by a team including VPs Lori Gonko and Michael Nealon.

On a personal note

President Kavalhuna concluded his remarks with a personal note about his support of all HFC employees, and some of the activities he and colleagues participated in during the past year. Selections included tree planting, Turkey Trot, Discover Day, Trunk or Treat, diploma and infrastructure review, student conversations, the Women of Color luncheon, equipment review, Hawks athletics, arts and culture events, and, of course, Commencement as the highlight of the year. "This is why we are here," he said. "Thank you for your time and expertise and effort in tackling our biggest problems. The best part of my job is working with students, and supporting all of you."

President Kavalhuna has begun Round 2 of his Listening Tour, and always welcomes your suggestions and comments on anything at the College. Reach out to him at president@hfcc.edu.