A new vision for CMC
“But you have to get them to commit to education over recreation. That’s a challenge,” says Curry, who took over as dean of CMC’s Vail-Eagle Valley campus on April 1.
Curry, who succeeds Jose Aypar, comes to CMC from Genesee Community College in Batavia, N.Y., where, as dean, she oversaw and developed five college locations in four counties.
“Dr. Curry’s experience with deploying continuous improvement processes will help us increase student persistence, satisfaction rates, workforce training and the participation of the diverse demographics that comprise our communities,” says CMC’s president, Cynthia Heelan.
Prior to her seven years at Genesee, Curry served 13 years at Westfield State College in Massachusetts, where she began as a staff assistant and ended as a chief academic officer for the college’s division of graduate and continuing education.
“The college (Genesee) started 25 years ago as a storefront and grew to a 3,000 student enrollment,” she says. “My biggest challenge there was to broaden their view of the world. Show people what value education has on people’s lives.”
One of the challenges she foresees as dean of CMC, Curry says, is to get people to complete their degrees at the college.
“We have a lot of transient students, and I’d like to see more committed participation. A lot of students start here and then move to other colleges or universities. I think we have accepted the transient students.”
Only 500 students – the Vail-Eagle Valley Campus has an enrollment of about 4,000 – complete their degrees at CMC’s campuses, says Joe Marquez, a spokesman for CMC.
“It’s alarming to me,” Curry says. “There are families who are committed to live here because of the lifestyle. But they also want to have quality education.”
Starting this fall, Curry says , the college will offer general education courses at Battle Mountain High School and Eagle Valley High School.
The courses will be taught during regular school hours and will gain credits towards a college degree.
“When they get to their senior year, a lot of high school students already have completed their credits and don’t have much to do,” Curry says. “If they start early ( in their junior year), they can even complete two years of college.”
Curry also is in tune with the varied demographics in the valley. Because of a large Hispanic population, CMC has a very active program in ESL, or English as a Second Language.
“I envision creating a transition from the ESL classes to college-level coursework for these people,” she says.
Curry, who will be instrumental part in the creation of the new campus in Edwards next year, will also help conduct a assessment of the schools needs – to guide the college’s allocation of services to western Eagle County.
With the new campus, she says, the quality of the education experience will be enhanced
“I’m not hang up on buildings,” she says. “We need good programs and good instruction.”
Curry, however, is excited that the new 35,000-square-foot campus will have a science lab, and every classroom will be equipped with its own interactive equipment.
“We also need to come up with a plan on how to maximize higher elective programs,” she says.
Other items high on her agenda include enhancing all campus programs, including local liberal arts, culinary, computer, fire science and ESL.
“We may be offering more informational technology courses,” she says. “There are lots of job possibilities on that field. And students could later complete a four-year degree.”
Curry also has insight into the needs of non-traditional students, which comprise a major percentage of the enrollement at CMC.
“A lot of women are trying to continue education, but you’ve got to involve the family. The husband has to be willing to cook when she has to be at school.”
Veronica Whitney can be reached at (970) 949-0555 ext. 454 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.