by Joyce Helens, President, St. Cloud Technical & Community College
A "wow moment" can change you. It can change an organization. We've seen it at St. Cloud Technical & Community College.
We begin every leadership meeting sharing "wow moments." Those first few minutes are among my favorite times as president of SCTCC. They remind us why we are here. We get to celebrate successes, but almost more importantly, we get to think about opportunities to enrich the work we do – for students and for the communities we serve.
At the college, the "wow moment" often becomes a question. We often go beyond the story to learn: Why were we successful? Who was involved in making it happen? How can we take that success and apply it elsewhere?
These simple questions ignite an inquiry process that can strengthen an organization's capacity for positive change. We're seeing it at SCTCC, and it's shaping the future.
Here are a few "wow" moments from this past school year:
- We inducted its largest group of students into Phi Theta Kappa, the official honor society for community colleges. Membership is based on academic achievement, demonstrated leadership, community involvement and fellowship. The minimum grade point average to be eligible for induction is 3.5. These are 125 of the future leaders in our communities.
- We received a $110,000 grant from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to provide scholarships to students in our new Energy Technician Program. SCTCC partnered with Xcel Energy in 2010 to develop this cutting-edge program to prepare graduates for work as nuclear plant maintenance technicians. The first set of students started the program last fall and received scholarships in January. This program continues our commitment to energy education that already includes wind, ethanol, bio-diesel, solar and fossil fuel energy production.
- Dental hygiene alumna Kelly Meyer was one of the nation's first seven students to graduate with a master's of science in oral health care practitioner. Her pioneering degree from Metropolitan State University enables her to serve as a mid-level dental provider, a position experts say increases access to health care.
- The SCTCC baseball team made its debut this past week in the College World Series in Tyler, Texas, after defeating Rochester Community and Technical College 8-3 to win the NJCAA Region XIII tournament.
- Freshman Ryan Schneider received the Rawlings Gold Glove Award. This award is the benchmark of excellence and performance on the diamond. Since 2007, the same award also has been awarded to collegiate players to recognize the best of the best at their level.
There are a countless number of these "wow moments" at St. Cloud Technical & Community College. As we close another school year, it is clear that together we have continued to successfully build a workforce for Central Minnesota and a citizenry to whom we can entrust our future.