CODFA President Toler Comments to the BOT | Oct 24, 2019

Last night we welcomed program advisory committees from throughout COD to our campus for meetings and an appreciation reception. This event is a great example of how our staff, faculty and students can come together for impressive results. Barb Groves worked with culinary and hospitality faculty and students, as well as horticulture faculty, staff and students, to create an event that really did make everyone attending feel appreciated.

Charles Schwab once said, “The way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement.”

I think we often have a tendency to do one or the other – offer appreciation or offer encouragement, but we don’t think about how the two should really work together. Especially when it comes to student success. We do a lot to encourage students – inside and outside our classrooms. We may need to think more strategically about how to really appreciate them.

Faculty look forward to having these kinds of discussions around student success and how “one size fits all” measures are exactly what has fueled our current achievement on that front – which, by the way, is in line with most of our peer institutions. But if we are serious about moving the needle, we need to think creatively about our students. We need to think about appreciating them as individuals. We need to appreciate how they make us better teachers every day, better advisors every day, better Deans every day, a better President every day, a better institution every day.

We also need to make sure that we appreciate and encourage all constituent groups – whether they teach, counsel, protect, fix, organize – whether they do that for 10 hours/week or 60 hours/week. Developing the best in our people will help us develop the best our students.

Finally, I think we can all agree that it’s nice to get back to a more normal rhythm around here. I look at what is happening around us and I am especially grateful that we were able to reach a compromise that will support innovative teaching, first class curriculum, continuous improvement and, ultimately, student success. I’ve talked in the past about how learning is hard. One of the things that makes learning hard is the listening – not just hearing, but listening. Thank you, all of you, for listening when we really needed you to.